Should I talk to the Insurance Company before I talk to an attorney? Beware! Everything you say to the Insurance company is admissible. For example, things like, “well I feel okay”, “it doesn’t really hurt”, can have a major effect on the amount you will recover for your injuries. Many times, it may take days if not weeks, to determine the extent of your injury. Although you may feel okay shortly after the incident and you may not feel any pain while you are taking medication or resting, you may feel different after you return to your normal daily activities. Therefore, it is best not to say anything directly to the insurance company, and to have an experienced personal injury attorney representing your interests.
The insurance company offered $10,000.00 to settle my claim and I signed a release. I still don’t feel well and need to go back to the doctor. Can I recover money for the new doctor’s bill and additional pain and suffering?
The insurance company does not represent your interests, but its own interests. They are not legally obligated to explain to you the legal significance of you signing a release, which is a full and final settlement of your claim. If you have any additional bills or receive any future treatment, even surgery, they are no longer obligated to pay. In addition, even though the amount of the release may sound like a lot, you may still be responsible for payment of your medical bills, reimbursement of any payments made by your health insurance company, and for any liens on your claim. For example, if your doctor or hospital had a lien on your claim, when you receive your settlement check, it will probably have the name of the hospital or doctor on the check and you will not be able to cash the check without the approval of the doctor or hospital. In addition, if you are on Medicare, you will be responsible for any amount of Medicare paid.
An experienced personal injury attorney will not only work to obtain the highest settlement for you, but will negotiate your medical bills and liens so that when your case is settled, you really know the amount you end up with before you sign a Release.
How do I find an experienced personal injury attorney?
- Is your attorney willing to go to court if your case does not settle?
- Is your attorney willing to negotiate your bills and liens so that you obtain the highest recovery?
- Did your attorney fully explain the settlement, or simply tell you how much the case settled for?
- Did he take his/her one-third fee without negotiating your medical bills?
- Did your attorney explain to you that under Illinois Law, if your medical bills (liens) exceed forty percent of your settlement or recovery, the medical providers cannot receive more than forty percent and you receive at least 30%. Did the attorney explain to you that you may be responsible for any medical bills that are not paid in full?
It is nearly impossible to drive down the street or watch television without seeing an attorney advertising. Just because an attorney is on a billboard or on television does not mean he or she is an experienced personal injury attorney that is right for you. The advertising may say that the attorney recovered incredible amounts of money for their clients, and he may have a satisfied client telling you how happy they were to hire this attorney. Obviously, most attorneys will have some happy clients so it is not difficult to find a few to speak on their behalf. Use common sense in hiring an attorney. Value the opinion of someone you trust. Most personal injury attorneys will give a free consultation. You can contact them and ask them about their experience and qualifications. You may be surprised that you never get the chance to speak with the attorney on the advertisement or you may find out the attorney may not even be in Illinois. When you call attorney Jerry Kugler, you will speak to attorney Jerry Kugler.