INJURED? WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW!
QUESTION: I was injured in a car accident. Do I have a claim?
If you have been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, the law allows you to recover monetary damages. What is negligence? The law states that negligence is a failure to do something that a reasonably careful person would do; or the doing of something that a reasonably careful person would not do. For example, if you are driving and you enter an intersection on a green light and another vehicle enters on a red light and strikes you, that is negligence and the other driver would be responsible for your injuries. The other person’s insurance will be responsible for compensating you for your damages.
What are damages? Damages includes the pain and suffering you experienced from the incident and which are reasonably certain to be experienced in the future; emotional distress you experience and reasonably certain to be experienced in the future; the reasonable expense of necessary medical care, treatment and services received, and the present cash value of the reasonable expenses of future medical care and treatment; the value of earnings, profits, salaries, or benefits and the present cash value of any future loss of earnings, profits, salaries, or benefits reasonably certain to be lost in the future; disfigurement resulting from the injury; disability experienced and reasonably certain to be experienced in the future; loss of a normal life past, present and reasonably certain to be experienced in the future. This includes a person’s inability to pursue the pleasurable aspects of his or her life.
The accident wasn’t my fault so they have to pay, right? The law only requires the responsible person or his/her insurance to pay for medical care, treatment or services, which are reasonable and necessary. If your treating doctor submits bills that are not reasonable and necessary, the bills will not be paid in full and the doctor could legally go after you for any balance. Attorney Jerry Kugler will not settle your claim unless your medical provider accepts the payment in full.
If the insurance called and told me they would pay all of my bills, why should I hire a lawyer? Insurance adjusters are trained to quickly contact injured claimants and lead you to believe you do not need an attorney. The Insurance company for the other person has no legal obligation to you and its only interest is to settle the claim as quickly as possible for the fewest dollars. The adjuster may promise to pay all of your bills and will give you the impression he or she will take care of everything. However, until a specific amount of money is stated and you sign a Release they are not legally obligated to pay. The longer you delay in receiving proper legal representation, the harder it may be for your attorney to properly advise you.
How do I know how much my case is worth? Unfortunately, you won’t know and since every injury is different, no attorney can tell how much your case is worth until he or she has reviewed all of your medical records, bills and has taken a detailed account of how your injury affected your life. An experienced personal injury attorney can advise you from the beginning so you will obtain the amount you deserve.
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 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? 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.
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 the 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? At the Law Office of Jerry A. Kugler & Associates, we will not settle or conclude your case unless all of these questions are fully explained to you, and you fully understand the net amount you really will receive. Many of the lawyers you see on television will not even speak to you when you call for an appointment. At the Law Office of Jerry Kugler, you will speak with Jerry Kugler who is personally responsible for your case. If you are injured, please call the Law Offices of Jerry Kugler.