Personal Injury Information

Consult an Attorney First

Personal Injury/Insurance Law is very complex, and few people understand their legal rights or the real value of their claim.  Insurance adjusters and insurance companies are not reliable sources for explaining your rights, their responsibilities to you, or the value of your claim.  Insurance companies employ efficient professionals trained to minimize compensation to injured people.

What are my Rights?

Most injured people have the right to be reimbursed for their health care costs and to be fully and fairly compensated for their pain and suffering.  Neither you nor your health care provider should have to wait for payment of health care costs.

Your first source of payment is your own insurance.  You may receive immediate help through your car insurance personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, Labor and Industries, or medical insurance.

If your injury was caused by another person, you may have a claim against that person for compensation, including health care, lost wages, and suffering.

Even if your injuries were not your fault, use your own insurance for prompt payments.  Your insurance company should not raise your premiums or cancel your policy for using the coverage when you are not at fault.  You can pursue the at-fault person’s insurance at a later date, after you have healed.

Property Damage

When the cost of repairing your vehicle is less than its total value, the insurance company has the responsibility of paying for the repairs.  When the cost of repairing the vehicle exceeds its value, it is considered a total loss.  The insurance company must pay the market value of your car in its condition immediately before the collision.

You have a right to a rental car or loss of use compensation for each day your car cannot be used because it is being repaired, or for the time if takes for your car to be declared a total loss.

When working with an insurance company on property damage issues, do not discuss matters related to your injuries.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Will My Claim Take?
Your body’s healing time will control the timetable of your claim.  The case should not be settled until you reach maximum medical recovery.
Do I need an attorney?
Not everyone will need an attorney.  To protect yourself and your rights, however, you should consult a personal injury attorney to determine your legal rights.

How much will an attorney cost?
Our office does not charge for an initial consultation.  After your claim is settled, a percentage of those funds will go to attorney’s fees.

Is a lawsuit necessary to get compensation?
Not always.  Whether a lawsuit is necessary or not will depend on several factors.  Your attorney will work with you to establish whether a lawsuit is necessary and appropriate.

How much will my claim be worth?
The value of your claim will be based on the duration of your pain, necessary medical treatment, activity restrictions, wage loss, and the degree of any permanent injury you suffer.  An accurate valuation will not be possible until these factors are taken into account.

Connective Tissue Injuries

Hyperflexion (whiplash) and hyperextension injuries caused by rapid deceleration during a car wreck can cause severe, permanent injuries.  The most common car wreck injuries are connective tissue injuries resulting in neck and back pain.  Don’t wait to see if the pain goes away.  Prompt treatment will increase the speed and degree of your recovery, and will document your injury.

Do's and Don'ts

1. Do not discuss your case with anyone other than your healthcare provider and your lawyer.
2. Do keep all healthcare appointments and follow your treatment plan
3. Do not agree to insurance company requests for a medical second opinion without first talking to your healthcare provider and attorney.
4. Do not delay consulting with an attorney.
5. Do keep your receipts.
6. Do take photographs of your bodily injuries, property damage, and the scene of the wreck.
7. Do keep track of any time missed from work due to your injuries.
8. Do notify your attorney if you receive any correspondence from the insurance companies.
9. Do discuss openly with your doctor all the elements of your injuries.  Tell your doctor the effect the injuries are having on your life and employment.

Do Not Sign That Release

Despite what the insurance adjuster may tell you, once you sign an insurance release, you have settled your claim forever.

No matter how great your future health care bills or suffering may be, you will usually forfeit your right to further payment.

Talk to your lawyer before signing any document from the insurance company.

Insurance Companies want to Save Money

Insurance claims adjusters work for the insurance company, not for you.  Their job is to save the company money and avoid paying full value on your claim.  They are trained professionals, and you need trained professionals on your side to protect your legal rights.