Hi, I’m attorney Chuck Franklin and I’m going to give you some free legal advice.
Most people aren’t aware of how the process works – If you’ve been in an accident and it’s the other person’s fault, maybe partially your fault.
“Gee what do I do?”
Well the first thing you do if you’re capable at the scene is try to track down all the witnesses contact information and make sure you always call the police.
Always call the police, you want things documented, and then seek medical attention if you’re hurt.
Don’t try to be a brave guy because you got your adrenaline going and you’re like “I’m okay I’m a tough guy.”
Believe me, when you wake up that next morning you’re going to feel it especially if you were on a bike and in a car too.
But to make a successful claim against the other person who caused the accident, you have to document everything. That includes getting medical treatment and if you go to urgent care or you go to a hospital emergency room you tell the treating physicians and the staff what hurts on you.
Every little piece because if you don’t cover everything, down the road if you end up with a knee issue but your back hurt you that night and you never brought up the knee, that the knee was hurt a little bit or hit the dashboard or the ground or what-have-you the insurance carrier is going to say to you “Hey, you didn’t complain about it that night, so it can’t be from the accident.”
These insurance companies are very well trained – their adjusters are – to pick apart a case, to minimize. Their job is to minimize what they pay out.
My job is to maximize what I can put in your pocket.
So, we’ll talk about a liability issue. (A liability issue) is the first part of any kind of claim.
There are two parts: Liability and damages.
You have to have liability, in other words, you have to be able to prove that the other person caused the accident, caused the injuries and damages that you sustain.
Then you move on to the second phase which is the damages part.
The damages can include as I said before: lost wages, pain and suffering, travel time to and from the doctor, your medical expenses – whether insured or not.
The value of your claim sometimes is based on the amount of medical expenses.
It is also based upon what is called a permanent impairment.
God forbid you end up losing part of a leg or you have to have an ankle fused because you had it shattered.
That’s going to be with you for the rest of your life.
Or you have a back problem where you’re going to end up with arthritis.
There are plenty of of doctors that will tell you “here’s what you have to look forward to 10 or 20 or 30 years down the road.
But if you have a permanent impairment, then
it can beyou can get a rating and that rating will translate into larger damages – monetary damages from the insurance carrier.
Now, the biggest confusion I see is that you have someone that has, lets say a hundred-thousand-dollar policy but you have a claim worth $500,000, if that person has a hundred thousand dollars, that’s probably all you’re going to get because “you can’t squeeze blood out of a turnip.”
That’s another reason for you to have your own insurance policy to compensate you for the difference, but in any event, that money that the at fault party would tender to you to settle the claim, that is not free and clear money in your pocket. That can go toward medical expenses if they are outstanding, and any other bills which you may have as a result of the accident.
A lot of people believe that they get $100,000 for the pain and suffering and the person that caused the accident ends up paying for the medical expenses on top of that.
That’s not the way it is.
If the person has a hundred-thousand-dollar policy, that’s all you get.
A check for one hundred thousand dollars and then everything gets distributed out of that.
Your pain and suffering money, your medical expenses if they are not paid, any types of liens which I’ll get into in a later episode, and your attorney’s fees.
So just because someone has a hundred thousand dollars doesn’t mean you’re going to get $100,000 in your pocket.
That’s a pretty general explanation of how a claim would work and that it’s not as simple as one might think and what I do for my clients is attempt to maximize the amount of money in their pocket.
That’s really the bottom line. How much do you get to walk away with in your pocket after your medical expenses, your medical liens and everything else has been compensated.
That’s my free legal advice for you today.