Personal Injury Frequently Asked Questions
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Who will pay my medical bills if the other person's insurance company won't pay my bills as they are incurred? How do my medical bills get paid in the meantime?
There are several ways to handle your bills up front: 1. Check your automobile insurance policy to see if you have medical payments coverage – "Med Pay" for short. If you do, your insurance company will cover your bills as you treat with the doctors up to the limits of your insurance policy. 2. You may also submit your bills to your health insurance company if you have one. 3. Unfortunately, few medical doctors will see you without up front payment. However, some medical doctors and most chiropractors will accept a "lien" – this is your written promise to pay the doctor out of any settlement money.
What about my wages while I am out of work?
The only way you can get help now is if your company has sick leave or if you have any private disability policy or you were injured while on the job. If you were hurt while you were on the job then you may have a workers' compensation claim. There are lots of deadlines and hoops you must jump through to protect your rights in those situations and you need to contact an attorney who specializes in that area. While we do not practice Worker's Compensation law, we know several very good lawyers who do and will refer you to one in your area.
The other person's insurance company sent me a letter saying that I do not need a lawyer and that they will treat me just as if I was their customer. Is this true?
This is an outright lie. I have never seen an insurance company explain all the rights to the victim. I have seen too many people get abused and frustrated by trying to handle their cases on their own. Car cases are more complicated than ever with today's law about subrogation, med-pay, under-insured motorist coverage and possible coordination with workers' compensation claims. Never forget that the job of your insurance adjuster is to pay you as little as possible in your claim. That is how they make profits for their company. They are not on your side. That is not what they are being paid for.
When should I go back to work after I have been injured? Does it "hurt" my claim if I return to work soon after an accident?
It is important that you go back to working full time as soon as your doctor advises or as soon as you are able to do so. So many people receive bad advice from what I call "Aunt Harriet" who tells them that they should not go back to work because they will make their claim worth less money. Nothing could be further from the truth. From my experience, if your case is tried to a judge or jury, it will actually add to the value of your case if you steadily worked before the wreck and get back to work as soon as possible and struggle to work and regain some sense of normalcy in your life. Frankly, most of us have to work to survive and no juror expects anything less from you than to try to get back to work as quickly as humanly possible. Practically speaking, it is pretty difficult to survive without working and having some kind of income.
What am I entitled to receive if my insurance company or the at fault party's insurance company declares my car a total loss?
When an auto insurer declares your vehicle a total loss, you might lose some hair because of the hassle, but you shouldn't lose your shirt. Auto insurers are responsible for paying the actual cash value or market value of your vehicle so you can replace it with a similar one, but that's only half the story. In Georgia, they are also responsible to pay for the "hidden" costs that come with purchasing a new vehicle, such as sales tax, title, and vehicle registration. The amount payable on taxes, license fees, and transfer fees shall be limited to the amount that would have been paid on the totaled, insured vehicle at the time of settlement.
Twenty-nine states require auto insurers to pay for the sales tax after you replace your crashed vehicle with a new or used one (see list at right). However, that doesn't necessarily mean insurers in those states are going to offer to pay sales tax up front, nor does it mean insurers in states that don't require those reimbursements will refuse to pay. That's why it's important to ask the insurer to reimburse you, even if the state in which you live does not require it.
How is an automobile accident case different from a tractor trailer accident case?
Usually trucks are required to carry higher amounts of insurance coverage. And the safety standards for truck drivers are much higher. There are also federal regulations that only apply to truck drivers as they travel for the purpose of interstate commerce. Trucking companies are obligated to conduct background checks on drivers they hire and must periodically evaluate existing employees. Their drivers are limited by a certain number of hours they can drive in a day. They get tested for alcohol and drugs – in case of an accident and randomly. And the basis for establishing fault on the part of the trucking company and its driver are violations of the FMCSRA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation Act). All of these and even more rules apply to the trucking companies and their drivers. If a violation of any of the rules took place or you were injured as a result of a truck driver’s negligence then you may sue for damages. We encourage that you contact us if you were involved in a tractor trailer accident because of case complexity. We work with best experts in Georgia who can help reconstruct the accident model and testify on your behalf. Experience and knowledge go hand in hand at Jason Schultz’s law firm. Do not hesitate to call us for a consultation on your tractor-trailer accident case at (404) 584-6668.
How much insurance are trucks required to carry by federal and/or state law?
If the truck operates between states (subject to federal law) then commercial vehicles are required to carry at least $750,000 of insurance for bodily injury. Georgia only imposes a minimum requirement of $100,00 for turcks that operate solely within Georgia.