If you’ve never been involved in an automobile accident before, there are a couple of things that are helpful for you to know right up front.
- First off, if there’s any way to get a bunch of pictures of the damage done to the vehicle you were in and any visible injuries that you might have, that’s always beneficial later on in documenting your injury claim.
- Second, if you talk to the insurance adjuster, you can talk to them as much as you need to about your vehicle damage, about the repairs to your vehicle, about getting a rental, and about having your vehicle moved from storage. But try not to talk to them about your injury claim. They are trained to ask you very specific questions, questions that are designed to get you to minimize your injuries, minimize your medical treatment, and minimize the value of your injury claim.
- Third, if you are set up with regular medical treatment at this point, try to make all of those appointments. One of the things that insurance companies look at when they’re evaluating your claim is whether or not you’ve got any delays or gaps in your treatment. Not only will the treatment help you physically, but it’s also good for you in terms of the best settlement we can get for your claim.
Compensation for your injuries after an Accident
When you’re involved in an accident, you’re legally entitled to be compensated in five different ways:
- property damage
- medical bills
- wage loss
- pain and suffering
You can separate those two different ways.
- You can split off property damage from the rest because it’s a claim. The good thing about that is you get your vehicle repaired first. You don’t have to wait on getting your medical treatment and resolving your injury claim at the same time.
- The other way you can separate those five is you can split off pain and suffering from the rest of them because all of those other four are pretty easy to put a dollar figure on:
- Property damage – An adjuster will come out, look at your vehicle, write up an estimate, and then once it gets into the shop, there may be supplements for things they couldn’t see from the outside. But all of that comes with a dollar figure.
- Medical bills – If you had to go to the emergency room, they’d be showing up at your house. If you go to a chiropractor or physical therapist for follow-up care, you can ask at any point in time what your balance stands at, and they’ll be able to tell you.
- If you had to miss time from work, just your hourly rate multiplied by however much time you might have had to miss.
- Permanence – The Bureau of Workers Comp has spent years in Ohio and put together a huge book that tells what every permanent injury is worth in terms of dollars. You may not have a permanent injury from this automobile accident, but if it turns out that you do, there is a way that I can get a dollar figure for it.
Pain and suffering are the most difficult ones. It’s very subjective. Everybody reacts differently to an injury. You can have two people in the same vehicle. One walks away without trouble, and the other is nearly crippled by an accident.
Three Benefits to having a Personal Injury Lawyer Representing You
There are three benefits to having an attorney represent you in your claim
- The first benefit deals with the pain and suffering aspect. If you have a personal injury attorney representing you, then once your medical treatment is finished, you’re not in the position to try to justify or explain to the insurance adjuster why your claim is worth a certain dollar amount of money.
- The second benefit to having our personal injury lawyer represent you is that once you have one, the insurance adjuster is not allowed to talk to you about your personal injury claim. It just keeps you from saying something you might regret later on. It also keeps the insurance adjuster from misinterpreting or misunderstanding something you told them.
- The third benefit to having our personal injury lawyer represent you is you don’t sign one of the insurance company’s medical authorizations. I know it doesn’t sound like a big deal, but there are authorizations many times that are so broad that you allow the adjuster, when you sign one, to go out and gather up all of your prior medical history.
What Makes Slater & Zurz Different than Other Personal Injury Law Firms
Our firm is better than most of the other 50,000 personal injury attorneys in the state because of our fee agreement. It’s one page long, and three things are important.
- First of all, it is contingent. And just like you see on television, contingent means if I don’t get you a recovery, there is no legal fee, no charge, and no cost for us.
- Second, the legal fee is one-third or 33 and third percent of whatever we get by way of settlement or judgment, which is just if an injury lawsuit must be filed. Don’t pay too much attention to the one-third right now. But what is important is our fee doesn’t change if we settle your claim compared to if we have to litigate your claim. You hire our personal injury lawyers to get the best results possible; you shouldn’t have to pay more if it takes a lawsuit.
- Now, the most important part of the fee agreement is one sentence right in the middle that’s underlined. That is the written guarantee that the legal fee will never be more than what you receive as compensation for pain and suffering. I told you not to worry too much about the one-third because of this guarantee. If the legal fee is one-third and you, after everything else is paid, would receive less than the legal fee, we will reduce the legal fee to whatever it needs to be so that your pain and suffering compensation is more than the legal fee.