Anyone that has been involved in a wreck can file a property damage and personal injury claim; your age doesn’t matter. You do not need to be 18 to file a claim. Anyone in almost any situation can file a claim, even if you have been convicted of a crime or are in the country illegally.
How Does It Impact Someone’s Personal Injury Claim If They Have A Bad Driving History Or A History Of Accidents?
If a claimant is not at fault, their personal driving history does not matter. Most of our cases are settled. The goal is always to get something resolved for our clients as quickly as possible so they can get back to their lives. Some cases don’t settle, and we work on those cases with the mindset that if we want to get it resolved for you, we are ready to go to court if we can’t. Usually, if the case settles, your past driving history, immigration status, and criminal history do not come up because it’s all before the incident. If we go to court, the insurance company’s attorney is entitled to ask you questions about yourself, and we have different ways to keep some of that from coming up if we go to court.
They are still entitled to ask about it through interrogatories which are written questions they send over if we go to court or deposition, like an interview that the insurance company’s attorney will conduct to determine your testimony. It’s such a small likelihood that any of it will ever come up, though, that it’s improbable to affect your claim and certainly shouldn’t keep anyone from pursuing a claim if they’ve been involved in an accident. We’ve actually represented people who have been charged with DWI in a car accident and still have been able to get them a settlement even though they were actually under the influence when they got hit.
They didn’t cause the wreck, they just happened to be intoxicated when they got hit, and it’s unfortunate, but we can still take measures to help people in those situations.
Who Is Responsible For Paying My Medical Bills When I Am Injured In A Car Wreck?
Once you are entirely done incurring all the medical bills for your treatments, the third party is responsible for paying those bills, but they will not settle them one at a time or send money over for them. So it is one check that is payable to cover the whole claim. But along the way, we can use other resources that might be available to help pay the bills or at least negotiate them down while we are waiting to negotiate a settlement with 3rd-party. For example, many people have medical payment coverage on their first-party insurance, which we highly recommend that people get. Here in Arkansas, if you don’t sign a rejection for your own insurance company rejecting the coverage, you automatically get $5,000 that kicks in whether the accident is your fault or not to pay towards medical providers.
You also may have health insurance that may pay some of your bills. So, if you go to the hospital after the wreck and use your health insurance to pay that, you may take a $10,000 ER bill, after your health insurance down to $1,000. That doesn’t mean that when it comes time to settle the other person’s insurance, the 3rd party Insurance gets to pay $1,000 towards the remainder of the bill. They still are on the hook for the full $10,000. They’ve still got to pay the full amount. Our job as your attorney is to bring all the sources of payment to the table so that ultimately, you get a better settlement because some of your bills have already been paid by your insurance, whether it’s your health insurance through your work or your medical payments coverage through your own insurance.
That is another major pitfall when people are trying to deal with negotiating their settlement because your first-party insurance company will come back around and say that they must be reimbursed from your settlement after they’ve paid your bills, and that’s not the case. Depending on the health insurance plan, it determines whether they have to be paid back at all. I don’t think people realize that your own insurance company, to which you’ve already made those premiums, doesn’t get to double-dip and come back and get reimbursed from your settlement. Complicated case law determines who gets paid back after anybody has made payments when a car wreck claim is involved.
Our job is to understand those laws and cases and how they apply to yours to ensure that you don’t give any of your settlement money away if you don’t have to if another insurance company may have paid some of your bills along the way.
What Happens If The At-Fault Driver Is Uninsured Or Underinsured?
If the at-fault driver is uninsured or under-insured, another type of coverage may kick in. We encourage people to get uninsured and underinsured coverage on their car because here in Arkansas, the state minimum policy is $25,000 and $50,000. $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident, and many times, that’s not enough to cover the injuries sustained in a car accident, especially if more than one person is involved. But if a driver is uninsured, we check your policy to see if there are any additional coverages on your policy that will kick in to cover you as if it was the person who hit you. Your insurance company steps into their shoes and takes care of your claim, as the person that hit you. There are also fact-specific, complicated things to look at, but we’ve had clients who have been in their friends’ car, and their friend caused an accident.
So, they are a passenger in the at-fault vehicle. Even though they weren’t in their own car, if anybody in their house has a car that’s got uninsured coverage on it, we can use that. There are ways to find coverage that a layperson may not even know about, and it’s our job to look at the entire situation, look at anything that may apply, and help people get compensation after their accidents.
For more information on Property Damage & Personal Injury Claims, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (479) 337-7077 today.