I Was Injured in an Accident Two Weeks Ago and Haven’t Heard from Anyone
Twenty plus years ago, the aforementioned set of circumstances would probably never have happened. In the past, the person who was at fault for your accident and injury, whether it be a motorist or a landowner, would have contacted their insurance carrier and reported the incident. That insurance carrier would have promptly assigned the matter to a claims adjuster who, more likely than not, would have contacted you within days, if not hours of the incident and worked with you to assure you that your medical bills and lost wages would be covered.
Unfortunately those days are long behind us, and today we commonly hear from our new clients that weeks have gone by since their injury occurred; they’ve not heard from anyone; their medical bills are mounting up, and they are losing income.
The reasons for this difference in the claim handling procedure are numerous, but the bottom line is that in today’s world the insurance carrier for the at-fault party is rarely going to be of any assistance to you whatsoever.
We even had instances where the injured party has attempted either by mail or telephone to contact the at-fault party to start the claim handling procedure only to run into a stone wall.
Personal injury lawyers are not magicians, however, they are well-trained and experienced in representing people who have been injured through no fault of their own. More importantly, we know how to “get the attention” of the insurance carriers for the landowners, the businesses, or the motorists who are responsible for the injuries sustained.
In addition, most people now assume that there is insurance coverage available for the at-fault party when in fact that is not always the case. The alternative to having the at-fault party’s insurance carrier pay for medical bills and lost wages often involves a claim against the injured party’s own insurance carrier through either uninsured or under-insured motorist coverage, medical payments under the injured party’s own policy.
Quite often in premises liability cases there is also medical payments coverage available to pay the injured party’s medical bills irrespective of who is at fault.
All of these different possibilities require knowledge of how the insurance industry works, of the various forms of liability insurance coverage available, and how those coverages interplay with the facts of any particular accident involving injury.
The absolute worst thing that a layperson can do is to try to traverse these obstacles by themselves, as it is all too easy to commit a fatal mistake in the claim even after you determine to whom the claim is to be made.
For all these reasons, it is extremely important for injured parties to consult an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after any event which causes personal injuries.
*Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
While watching local media coverage of the recent snowstorms, we saw a truck driver tell a local television reporter that “he was driving his semi on the interstate and only going 45 mph when his trailer began to fishtail, and he ultimately jackknifed.” The truck driver told the reporter that this must be a “freak accident.” The very next scene showed an interview of the Indiana State Trooper who was involved in investigating and responding to the jackknifed semi-trailer. The trooper was obviously angry and explained to the reporter that he had just written a very expensive ticket to the truck driver, as driving 45 mph down on ice and snow-covered interstate in the middle of whiteout conditions was certainly traveling too fast for the conditions. In the Trooper’s opinion, had the truck driver been going 20-25 mph, this truck accident never would have occurred.
When you’re driving a motor vehicle in the state of Indiana, there is no such thing as a freak auto accident. Drivers of vehicles, whether they be semi-tractor/trailers or passenger cars, have a legal obligation to maintain their vehicle under control at all times and drive at a speed appropriate for whatever conditions are present on the road. In this particular case it sounds as though the driver and his employer are going to be held responsible for a massive traffic tie-up and are fortunate that they aren’t going to be held responsible for serious injury or death caused by this truck driver operating his vehicle at an unsafe speed.
Anyone who has been in central Indiana for the last 30 days has spent more time than they would have ever thought possible watching television, and in particular, innumerable television advertisements for legal services, and in particular, personal injury lawyers.
It strikes us that the average lay person would have no way of knowing which of several law firms might provide the legal services that that individual might require.
People of all shapes, sizes, ages and ethnicities suffer personal injuries themselves or have their lives effected by substantial and catastrophic injuries that no one ever asks for.
The question then becomes – “If I don’t know a lawyer personally, how do I pick the right personal injury attorney to represent me, and who will protect my interest and my interest alone?”
The simple answer to that question is that anyone who finds themselves in this predicament must develop a comfort level with that lawyer and the law firm they select to represent their interest. This can only happen after a long and frank discussion with the lawyer as opposed to an investigator or paralegal or that lawyer’s assistant.
Most personal injury claims take a fair amount of time to resolve and that necessitates a great deal of time spent between the lawyer and the client. For that reason alone the personal injury victim must feel that the lawyer knows what he or she is doing and has that victim’s best interest at heart.
Victims of personal injury accidents are entitled to straightforward answers to their questions regarding the length of time involved, fees and expenses to be incurred on their behalf, potential outcomes, and detailed knowledge of what they can reasonably expect their lawyer to do for them.
This can only come after personal contact between the lawyer and the client. If you have questions about your case or are struggling with choosing the right personal injury attorney, call or email me and I will personally answer your questions. There is never a fee unless I agree to take your case.