What Does A Car Accident Lawyer Do?
Posted on Wednesday, November 18th, 2015 at 1:45 pm
So what does or should a car accident lawyer do and do I need a lawyer? A perfectly legitimate question and one we are often asked by potential clients who have been involved in car accidents, sometimes before they even physically come to our office for their free consultation.
After you have been injured in a car accident there is much that has to be done. So let’s look step-by-step at what exactly our car accident lawyers do:
Insurance, Insurance, Insurance!
The first step is to review your insurance policy and determine what kind and how much coverage you have. We will obtain your car insurance information from you because Pennsylvania is a no-fault state, which means that even if the other driver is at fault in causing your car accident your own motor vehicle insurance will pay for your medical treatment up to your policy limits. We will determine whether you have selected the limited tort or full tort option under your policy and how much your carrier will pay towards your medical treatment. We will also determine whether you have coverage available to pay for damage done to your car.
After we have identified your car insurance company, we will contact the company and ask that a first party claim be set up. We will request that an application for first party benefits be sent to our office. Without a completed application for first party benefits, which we will of course help you complete, your motor vehicle insurance carrier won’t pay for the treatment you receive. We will instruct your insurance company to contact our office in the future rather than contacting you directly, so that you don’t have to deal with overreaching claims handlers who work for the insurance companies.
We will also obtain your health insurance information from you. We do this because your health insurance is responsible to pay for any treatment you receive after you use up your motor vehicle insurance medical benefits, which are typically $5,000. We will also determine whether you might be entitled to wage loss benefits under your policy and obtain all documentation necessary to support such a claim if you are. Lastly, if you have selected the limited tort option, we will determine whether there might be any exceptions to the limited tort rules that would apply in your case.
Ensuring That You Receive Proper Treatment
Ideally, all of the above is done during the initial consultation, if not within a day or so after. During the initial consultation we will also discuss your injuries with you. After determining whether you have been injured as a result of the car accident and what kind of treatment you might need, our car accident lawyers will discuss treatment options with you and make recommendations for you regarding doctors, chiropractors, therapists and other healthcare professionals in your area who are willing to treat car accident cases and who will take proper care of you. We have been handling car accident cases for many years and have an extensive network of healthcare professionals whom we know are dedicated to ensuring that our clients get the treatment they require in order to accomplish a full and speedy recovery from their injuries.
Track Down Insurance Information For The Negligent Driver
The next step we will take is to contact the insurance company for the negligent driver, i.e. the driver who was at fault in causing the car accident. Sometimes this is easy, such as when our clients obtain insurance information from the other driver and bring the information to our office. In those circumstance we merely have to contact the insurance company and ask that a claim be set up and a claims adjuster assigned, and then we take it from there. In other instances, our clients do not have insurance information but have obtained the name and address of the other driver. This makes it a bit more difficult for us to obtain insurance information, but not unmanageable. In these situations our car accident lawyers can write to the state to obtain insurance information and then contact the insurance company identified by the state.
Sometimes our client only has a D.C. number provided by the police. In these instances we pay for and obtain a copy of the police report, which will typically contain insurance information for both drivers involved in the car accident.
Gathering Your Medical Records And Submitting A Demand Package
Once we have taken care of notifying the appropriate insurance companies and making sure that you are set up to get the treatment you require, we will obtain your emergency room records, if there are any, and any records of follow-up treatment you receive. Our car accident lawyers like to forward these records periodically to the other insurance company so that they are familiar with the treatment you are receiving and can properly evaluate your claim rather than being surprised at the end of your treatment by the nature or extent of your injuries. This helps facilitate the settlement process as well.
During the course of your treatment you may encounter difficulties getting the treatment you need or diagnostics studies such as x-rays and MRI studies. Once we are notified that you are having a hard time getting set up for a test, procedure or appointment, our staff takes it from there and we make sure that things are done quickly, and equally as important, properly.
We have two years within which to file a lawsuit on your behalf following a car accident in Pennsylvania. However, there is never any reason to wait that long if your treatment has concluded prior to that time. Once you have completed your treatment our car accident lawyers make sure that we have all relevant medical records and billing statements from your providers in the even that there are any outstanding balances. We then prepare what is known as a demand package, and send this to the other insurance company. A demand package typically consists of your medical records and billing statements, photographs, the police report, and any other relevant documentation, along with a detailed letter prepared by your car accident lawyer explaining to the insurance company why their driver is at fault, the injuries you have sustained and treatment you received, and providing a settlement demand, which is a dollar amount that we are asking the insurance carrier to pay to settle your case.
Settle, Or File A Lawsuit
When we send our settlement demand we inform the insurance company that we will wait thirty days to receive its response, and that if we haven’t heard back from them within that time period we will be filing a lawsuit on your behalf. We do this because there is no sense in letting the insurance company do nothing while time goes by and you have not been compensated for your pain and suffering and personal injuries. If we have not heard back from the insurance company within 30 days we will draft a complaint to be filed in state court and will ask you to come to our office to review and verify the complaint. Once that is done our car accident lawyers will file the complaint and the litigation process will begin. The entire process will be explained to you so that you have an understanding of what is involved, what is expected of you and how long the process will take.
Now that you have an idea of some (not all) of the things our car accident lawyers do, hopefully you realize that the answer to whether you need a lawyer following a car accident is yes!
The legal process can be a complicated one. You have other things to worry about. Let us help you by doing what we have been trained to do and what we have been doing for years. You don’t have to even pay us-we only get paid when we get compensation for you. If you or a loved one have been involved in a car accident, contact our Philadelphia car accident lawyers today for a free consultation or call (215) 875-7030.