Did I need a lawyer after an accident?

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alil
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Did I need a lawyer after an accident?

Post by alil » Tue Jan 09, 2018 9:03 pm

Hello,

I was hoping to get your advice regarding the recent accident I was involved in. It happened in early November 2017 - insured drunk driver was speeding drove on red light and hit the passenger side of my car. I had minor injuries, required short stay in the ER (although total bills are about 23 K). My friend (the passenger required one day of hospitalization and for more serious injuries). We decided to involve a lawyer (an acquaintance). My medical insurance company has not paid any bills yet (I submitted all the required documentation and records). I am nervous about the delay as all the providers have sent their bills (nothing has been paid by insurance yet) and they bills are coming due. They lawyer said it can take some time, but was vague on the timeline and process. Is there anything I need to do at this point? Thank you.
Last edited by alil on Tue Jan 09, 2018 9:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

PFInterest
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Re: Do I need a lawyer after an accident

Post by PFInterest » Tue Jan 09, 2018 9:15 pm

So you already involved a lawyer...

alil
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Re: Did I need a lawyer after an accident?

Post by alil » Tue Jan 09, 2018 9:25 pm

Thank for you reply. Yes I have a lawyer involved (I corrected the subject of the post), yet seems like he is slowing things down rather and making things move along... For instance I had to obtain all the medical records and send them by myself...

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Wildebeest
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Re: Do I need a lawyer after an accident

Post by Wildebeest » Tue Jan 09, 2018 9:34 pm

I hope you are fully recovered. It is upsetting to hear that sustaining "minor injuries" caused you to have $ 23,000 in hospital bills ( may be you are better served if that would be your lawyer's focus to make you whole) .

My experience is that the insurance company typically wins and that your having a lawyer gives the insurance company an excuse to not pay any bills till your lawyer excuses him or herself.

The drunk driver may not have $ 23,000 to his name, but at least he had insurance.

I hope your friend is fully recovered as well.
The Golden Rule: One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.

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BolderBoy
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Re: Did I need a lawyer after an accident?

Post by BolderBoy » Tue Jan 09, 2018 10:03 pm

alil wrote:
Tue Jan 09, 2018 9:03 pm
My medical insurance company has not paid any bills yet (I submitted all the required documentation and records). I am nervous about the delay as all the providers have sent their bills (nothing has been paid by insurance yet) and they bills are coming due. They lawyer said it can take some time, but was vague on the timeline and process. Is there anything I need to do at this point? Thank you.
Once you (or your passenger) get EOBs from the insurance company showing what is your (and your passenger's) responsibility, someone needs to pay those bills promptly. If you try to wait until the crash issue is settled completely, you might find that your FICO score is in the 200s or worse (where it will take forever to recover). And besides, the healthcare providers weren't responsible for the crash and ought to be paid.

IANAL.
"Never underestimate one's capacity to overestimate one's abilities" - The Dunning-Kruger Effect

staythecourse
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Re: Did I need a lawyer after an accident?

Post by staythecourse » Tue Jan 09, 2018 10:11 pm

alil wrote:
Tue Jan 09, 2018 9:03 pm
Hello,

I was hoping to get your advice regarding the recent accident I was involved in. It happened in early November 2017 - insured drunk driver was speeding drove on red light and hit the passenger side of my car. I had minor injuries, required short stay in the ER (although total bills are about 23 K). My friend (the passenger required one day of hospitalization and for more serious injuries). We decided to involve a lawyer (an acquaintance). My medical insurance company has not paid any bills yet (I submitted all the required documentation and records). I am nervous about the delay as all the providers have sent their bills (nothing has been paid by insurance yet) and they bills are coming due. They lawyer said it can take some time, but was vague on the timeline and process. Is there anything I need to do at this point? Thank you.
This is typical. The wrangle is medical insurance will not want to pay since the insurers car insurance should be covering everything since it is related to a MVA. It is your lawyers job to communicate all of this to both insurers. You are fine.

Good luck.
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123
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Re: Did I need a lawyer after an accident?

Post by 123 » Tue Jan 09, 2018 10:11 pm

Maybe I'm naive but in accident situations like this don't people who are injured just use their own insurance coverage so the bills get paid and then the insurance companies fight each other out to recover from the responsible driver? What am I missing? Or does one or more of the injured parties lack their own insurance?
The closest helping hand is at the end of your own arm.

quantAndHold
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Re: Did I need a lawyer after an accident?

Post by quantAndHold » Tue Jan 09, 2018 10:58 pm

123 wrote:
Tue Jan 09, 2018 10:11 pm
Maybe I'm naive but in accident situations like this don't people who are injured just use their own insurance coverage so the bills get paid and then the insurance companies fight each other out to recover from the responsible driver? What am I missing? Or does one or more of the injured parties lack their own insurance?
The medical insurance isn’t going to pay until they’re sure that the various auto insurance companies have paid what they’re going to pay.

DUI guy’s insurance will pay, and the lawyer will be worth the fee he charges. But it takes time to work everything out. Let the lawyer do his job.

EddyB
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Re: Did I need a lawyer after an accident?

Post by EddyB » Tue Jan 09, 2018 11:43 pm

quantAndHold wrote:
Tue Jan 09, 2018 10:58 pm
123 wrote:
Tue Jan 09, 2018 10:11 pm
Maybe I'm naive but in accident situations like this don't people who are injured just use their own insurance coverage so the bills get paid and then the insurance companies fight each other out to recover from the responsible driver? What am I missing? Or does one or more of the injured parties lack their own insurance?
The medical insurance isn’t going to pay until they’re sure that the various auto insurance companies have paid what they’re going to pay.

DUI guy’s insurance will pay, and the lawyer will be worth the fee he charges. But it takes time to work everything out. Let the lawyer do his job.
Regardless of whether medical insurance is going to cover anything, in some jurisdictions the injured party’s own motor vehicle insurance will first cover its customer’s injuries, then seek reimbursement from the responsible party.

ResearchMed
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Re: Did I need a lawyer after an accident?

Post by ResearchMed » Wed Jan 10, 2018 3:53 am

Something is a bit off here, given a motor vehicle accident and significant medical expenses.

OP, you have an attorney.
What, exactly, is she/he doing?

The attorney should be handling most of this for you, including with the hospital billing office so at least they don't start collections.
That includes coordinating among insurers and providers.

(Some years ago, with extremely serious auto-related injuries, our attorney also arranged for massive private duty nursing, rehab, tutoring, etc., with all bills deferred until settlement. We (us, not the attorney) never heard a peep about "bills". But your case probably shouldn't take a long time til settlement, unless the injuries continue to be a problem for a long time.)

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djpeteski
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Re: Did I need a lawyer after an accident?

Post by djpeteski » Wed Jan 10, 2018 6:40 am

Did your lawyer do a "depreciated value claim" against the other's insurance?

If not you may want to seek new representation.

Along with the more important medical issues that you and your friends are dealing with, your suffered an asset loss. Your car, if not totaled, suffered a loss in value due to this accident. You should be compensated. Typically around $500-$1000.

c.coyle
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Re: Did I need a lawyer after an accident?

Post by c.coyle » Wed Jan 10, 2018 7:31 am

Lawyer here.

The problem with lots of these posts is that laws differ, often greatly, from state to state. So giving advice like "do a depreciated value claim", or "the DUI guy's insurance should pay" is useless, if not dangerous, unless it applies to the claimant's state.

Hey, do what you want. It's probably the only time in your life that you are going to have an injury claim. Once you settle and sign a release, you won't ever get another penny. So, if your arm falls off a minute later and the doc says it's accident related, you are S.O.L. That insurance adjuster has been doing it every day for years, knows what claim is really worth, and of course he will put your interests above the company's. Sounds like a fair fight to me.

And while you're at it, take 5 minutes to skim the Interwebs and expertize yourself about ERISA and Medicare subrogation liens. If private insurance or Medicare paid any of your bills, chances are there is one. So, when you sign that release in your DIY settlement, which the insurance company will draft, it will include a clause making you - not them - responsible for any unsatisfied liens.

What could possibly go wrong?

skepticalobserver
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Re: Did I need a lawyer after an accident?

Post by skepticalobserver » Wed Jan 10, 2018 7:43 am

alil wrote:
Tue Jan 09, 2018 9:03 pm
We decided to involve a lawyer
Same lawyer for you and your friend? No, no and no. No doubt your view of the facts will be challenged and it will be asserted that YOU were negligent. The mere the prospect of that scenario should inform your attorney of a conflict of interest.

scifilover
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Re: Did I need a lawyer after an accident?

Post by scifilover » Wed Jan 10, 2018 8:44 am

Do you have medical or personal injury protection on your own auto ins policy? If so, call your agent and make a claim. When the adjuster calls, advise him/her of your situation, including atty, and ask your company to pay your medical bills. You may have to sign subrogation agreement.

In every state, there is statutory period during which a lawsuit must be filed.....this may be up to a year or two after the accident. The OP's insurance company isn't going to do much if there is the prospect of a lawsuit. Also, nothing much will happen until you and your friend have finished any continuing medical treatment.

Do you know OP's insurance coverage? In some states, the minimum statutory required coverage is only 10/20 or 20/40. That reads $10,000 per person, and $20,000 per incident/accident. If your OP had minimum limits, often the case with DUI's since they are often repeaters, it won't be enough to handle the damages from your accident. In which case you will also be dealing with your own insurance UMBI coverage.

Additionally, if you want your car repaired promptly, file with your own carrier if you have collision.....

Generally a better strategy after an accident with such clear liability, is to deal without an atty in the beginning to get some money paid toward medical bills, and car repairs. Then when negotiations get tough about claim and suffering payments involve the atty.

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lthenderson
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Re: Did I need a lawyer after an accident?

Post by lthenderson » Wed Jan 10, 2018 9:05 am

alil wrote:
Tue Jan 09, 2018 9:03 pm
It happened in early November 2017

They lawyer said it can take some time
For what it is worth, I had someone run a red stoplight and nail me nearly head on almost two years ago. It took nearly 8 months before all the bills and settlement checks were finished. When dealing with lawyers and insurance companies, the wheels turn very slowly.

runner3081
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Re: Did I need a lawyer after an accident?

Post by runner3081 » Wed Jan 10, 2018 4:31 pm

EddyB wrote:
Tue Jan 09, 2018 11:43 pm
quantAndHold wrote:
Tue Jan 09, 2018 10:58 pm
123 wrote:
Tue Jan 09, 2018 10:11 pm
Maybe I'm naive but in accident situations like this don't people who are injured just use their own insurance coverage so the bills get paid and then the insurance companies fight each other out to recover from the responsible driver? What am I missing? Or does one or more of the injured parties lack their own insurance?
The medical insurance isn’t going to pay until they’re sure that the various auto insurance companies have paid what they’re going to pay.

DUI guy’s insurance will pay, and the lawyer will be worth the fee he charges. But it takes time to work everything out. Let the lawyer do his job.
Regardless of whether medical insurance is going to cover anything, in some jurisdictions the injured party’s own motor vehicle insurance will first cover its customer’s injuries, then seek reimbursement from the responsible party.
This is my experience. Had an accident, completely the fault of someone else. My medical bills were paid by my auto insurer initially. Once we eventually settled, I paid the lawyer his portion and then had to reimburse my own auto insurance for the medical bills.

alil
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Re: Did I need a lawyer after an accident?

Post by alil » Wed Jan 10, 2018 5:50 pm

BolderBoy wrote:
Tue Jan 09, 2018 10:03 pm
alil wrote:
Tue Jan 09, 2018 9:03 pm
My medical insurance company has not paid any bills yet (I submitted all the required documentation and records). I am nervous about the delay as all the providers have sent their bills (nothing has been paid by insurance yet) and they bills are coming due. They lawyer said it can take some time, but was vague on the timeline and process. Is there anything I need to do at this point? Thank you.
Once you (or your passenger) get EOBs from the insurance company showing what is your (and your passenger's) responsibility, someone needs to pay those bills promptly. If you try to wait until the crash issue is settled completely, you might find that your FICO score is in the 200s or worse (where it will take forever to recover). And besides, the healthcare providers weren't responsible for the crash and ought to be paid.

IANAL.
OP here
This is my main concern, I would like for the medical insurance company to pay the bills (first I don't have 23K readily available, second I would like the medical insurance company to fight the car insurance company and not me). Thank you for your response.

Chicago60
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Re: Did I need a lawyer after an accident?

Post by Chicago60 » Wed Jan 10, 2018 5:55 pm

c.coyle wrote:
Wed Jan 10, 2018 7:31 am
Lawyer here.

The problem with lots of these posts is that laws differ, often greatly, from state to state. So giving advice like "do a depreciated value claim", or "the DUI guy's insurance should pay" is useless, if not dangerous, unless it applies to the claimant's state.

Hey, do what you want. It's probably the only time in your life that you are going to have an injury claim. Once you settle and sign a release, you won't ever get another penny. So, if your arm falls off a minute later and the doc says it's accident related, you are S.O.L. That insurance adjuster has been doing it every day for years, knows what claim is really worth, and of course he will put your interests above the company's. Sounds like a fair fight to me.

And while you're at it, take 5 minutes to skim the Interwebs and expertize yourself about ERISA and Medicare subrogation liens. If private insurance or Medicare paid any of your bills, chances are there is one. So, when you sign that release in your DIY settlement, which the insurance company will draft, it will include a clause making you - not them - responsible for any unsatisfied liens.

What could possibly go wrong?
OP, Coyle's suggestion is perhaps too tongue in cheek, but the unstated advice is sound: hire a lawyer on a contingency who has experience with personal injury cases.

alil
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Re: Did I need a lawyer after an accident?

Post by alil » Wed Jan 10, 2018 5:56 pm

123 wrote:
Tue Jan 09, 2018 10:11 pm
Maybe I'm naive but in accident situations like this don't people who are injured just use their own insurance coverage so the bills get paid and then the insurance companies fight each other out to recover from the responsible driver? What am I missing? Or does one or more of the injured parties lack their own insurance?
OP here

All the parties have insurance including the person who caused the accident. It is my understanding that one of the car insurance companies (in this case the insurance company of the person who caused the accident) assumes liability (based on the official police report). In my case the insurance company of the person who caused the accident has assumed liability, which means they all the bills should be covered by it. My medical insurance company is delaying payment and the bills are coming to me ("patient's responsibility"). It may be because my lawyer is not prompt or just the process takes a long time. My big question is whether I should pay all the medical bills (23K) myself in order not to be late and ruin my credit score.

Thank you.

alil
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Re: Did I need a lawyer after an accident?

Post by alil » Wed Jan 10, 2018 6:01 pm

djpeteski wrote:
Wed Jan 10, 2018 6:40 am
Did your lawyer do a "depreciated value claim" against the other's insurance?

If not you may want to seek new representation.

Along with the more important medical issues that you and your friends are dealing with, your suffered an asset loss. Your car, if not totaled, suffered a loss in value due to this accident. You should be compensated. Typically around $500-$1000.
OP here

My car was totaled. The insurance company of the person that caused the accident covered the rental car and I got a decent reimbursement for my old car. I handled the whole thing by myself. This is another reason I am asking whether was needed to begin with, as things are very slow and I had to do some of work (filling some forms, obtaining and faxing medical records).

alil
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Re: Did I need a lawyer after an accident?

Post by alil » Wed Jan 10, 2018 6:06 pm

lthenderson wrote:
Wed Jan 10, 2018 9:05 am
alil wrote:
Tue Jan 09, 2018 9:03 pm
It happened in early November 2017

They lawyer said it can take some time
For what it is worth, I had someone run a red stoplight and nail me nearly head on almost two years ago. It took nearly 8 months before all the bills and settlement checks were finished. When dealing with lawyers and insurance companies, the wheels turn very slowly.
Thank your for your answer. Did you pay your medical bills at that time?

IowaFarmBoy
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Re: Did I need a lawyer after an accident?

Post by IowaFarmBoy » Wed Jan 10, 2018 7:06 pm

Any idea what kind of liability limits the other driver was carrying? If a habitual DUI, it was probably state minimum which can be as low as 15-25K so the insurance company may be waiting to be sure all the bills come in before releasing the money. I don't know how they would prioritize the bills between you and your passenger.

downshiftme
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Re: Did I need a lawyer after an accident?

Post by downshiftme » Wed Jan 10, 2018 7:13 pm

I imagine this varies by state. In California, my medical insurance would not pay anything until the liability of the other party had been resolved. If there had been no other party, medical insurance would cover me, but since there was a possibility of a settlement or liability claim against the other party, I could not get any action from my insurance even as the bills became overdue and went to collections. Medical insurance would not pay until they completely ruled out any payment from another possibly responsible party.

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BolderBoy
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Re: Did I need a lawyer after an accident?

Post by BolderBoy » Wed Jan 10, 2018 7:22 pm

alil wrote:
Wed Jan 10, 2018 5:56 pm
My big question is whether I should pay all the medical bills (23K) myself in order not to be late and ruin my credit score.
IANAL.

Pay the providers and they won't ruin your credit rating.

Make sure that your lawyer will be demanding 100% payment of your out-of-pocket medical costs.
"Never underestimate one's capacity to overestimate one's abilities" - The Dunning-Kruger Effect

Wakefield1
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Re: Did I need a lawyer after an accident?

Post by Wakefield1 » Wed Jan 10, 2018 7:33 pm

Wouldn't your own Insurance Agent and/or Company be one of the first sources to turn to for assistance with getting accident claims straight and paid up? Would this be rather straightforward provided proper Police reports were made? (Except for possible 'pain and suffering" claims?)

ResearchMed
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Re: Did I need a lawyer after an accident?

Post by ResearchMed » Wed Jan 10, 2018 10:09 pm

alil wrote:
Wed Jan 10, 2018 6:06 pm
lthenderson wrote:
Wed Jan 10, 2018 9:05 am
alil wrote:
Tue Jan 09, 2018 9:03 pm
It happened in early November 2017

They lawyer said it can take some time
For what it is worth, I had someone run a red stoplight and nail me nearly head on almost two years ago. It took nearly 8 months before all the bills and settlement checks were finished. When dealing with lawyers and insurance companies, the wheels turn very slowly.
Thank your for your answer. Did you pay your medical bills at that time?
Not lhenderson, but in case I mentioned above, most medical/care/etc., bills were paid later.
Attorney worked with all providers (hospital, surgeons, home nursing services, medical equipment rental, etc.) and arranged for payment, and kept them posted. Also, he collected ongoing bills for the services that did continue (not hospital/surgeon, but at home nursing, rental of hospital bed, etc.).

"We" didn't need to be involved in any of that.

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stlutz
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Re: Did I need a lawyer after an accident?

Post by stlutz » Wed Jan 10, 2018 11:13 pm

First off, I would be cautious about posting too many details about a pending legal case on an internet forum.

Second, the lawyer above is correct--without knowing what state you live in, nobody can offer useful suggestions. They whole payment process isn't just a little different from state to state--it's dramatically so.

Finally, I think the help that a [good] internet forum can offer is as a double-check to what your attorney is telling you. He/she does this stuff all day. Ask them first; then check here if something seems off to you, but only ask for input from people who are familiar with the current laws of your state.

knick17
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Re: Did I need a lawyer after an accident?

Post by knick17 » Wed Jan 10, 2018 11:41 pm

I belelieve it's all about the hierarchy of who has to pay who first...eventually all your bills should get in place, but it's the lawyer's job to make sure everythink is communicating properly.

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lthenderson
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Re: Did I need a lawyer after an accident?

Post by lthenderson » Thu Jan 11, 2018 9:06 am

alil wrote:
Wed Jan 10, 2018 6:06 pm
lthenderson wrote:
Wed Jan 10, 2018 9:05 am
alil wrote:
Tue Jan 09, 2018 9:03 pm
It happened in early November 2017

They lawyer said it can take some time
For what it is worth, I had someone run a red stoplight and nail me nearly head on almost two years ago. It took nearly 8 months before all the bills and settlement checks were finished. When dealing with lawyers and insurance companies, the wheels turn very slowly.
Thank your for your answer. Did you pay your medical bills at that time?
My insurance company paid my bills during that time. When everything was settled, the other person's insurance submitted me a check for my deductible and "pain and suffering".

jsapiandante
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Re: Did I need a lawyer after an accident?

Post by jsapiandante » Thu Jan 11, 2018 11:13 am

I'm not a lawyer, but I'm a chiropractic physician who deals with personal injury patients and know the process.

The short is no, you do not need a lawyer. But I always recommend a lawyer who has experience dealing with these cases. So unless you have experience in handling personal injury claims, you have a lot of questions to ask your lawyer or find someone better. Even if you've signed a retainer agreement with your current lawyer, you're still the boss and can fire him/her and find someone else. Leave it to your next lawyer to handle any attorney fees as they likely have to split the fees paid to them by the insurance.

Your medical insurance company will not pay your medical bills if they know that a third party insurance is liable. And unfortunately, that third party insurance won't act until all medical bills and reports are submitted to them for review. Depending on the state, they are protected by law not to respond to your claims after submission for 45-60 days. And this applies to both you and your passenger. Which means that if your passenger is still receiving treatment for their injuries, you'll just have to wait until they've either fully recovered, or reached their maximum medical improvement. The third party insurance will not accept any documents for review until you AND the passenger are done with your treatments.

Hope this helps. Good luck.

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