The Nichols Zauzig Litigation Group accepts personal injury claims of all ranges, both serious and small, provided they meet our criteria. First, there must be a liability claim which makes sense; in other words, the circumstances of the conduct of the person or company that is to be held responsible must be the type that most people would agree that there should be accountability. Second, the injury must be serious enough that it merits a lawsuit. Third, it has to be a case in which we believe we can help a person or a family make up for their losses.
However, you don’t always need a lawyer to fairly settle a personal injury claim. With smaller injury cases, claimants can successfully and often fairly settle their own claim at less cost, provided they document each element of their case well. Often times, an early obstacle is that the injured party simply doesn’t know what sources of insurance coverage are available to help them pay the bills until a settlement can be reached with the liability carrier. Should you wish to handle your own claim, the following are helpful pointers:
DO take your own digital photographs of the damage to your vehicle as soon as possible to preserve the evidence of the impact. Even if the insurance company took photos for purposes of a property claim, those photos are not always preserved to be made available to you later, and may not be taken from an angle which best shows the damage.
DO follow up on your doctor’s advice regarding treatment and if your symptoms persist, make sure you return to have them documented with your doctor—large gaps in time without any treatment can make the claim much harder to settle.
DO get your own copies of your bills and medical records. Make sure you provide itemized bills, as well as a treatment record related to each bill, to the liability adjuster who is handling your claim and to the medical payments adjuster (see below).
DO look at your own auto policy to see whether you have medical payments coverage (“medpay”) available to you (or if you are an injured passenger, on the car in which you were injured). This is coverage payable regardless of fault, and is available to help you pay your bills in the meantime until a liability claim is settled.
DO have the health care providers bill your health insurance even if you have med pay. While many times health insurance companies (especially medicare) will require you to coordinate and exhaust medical payments coverage first before they will pay any portion, you do not want any delay in filing a claim. Also, you cannot expect the at-fault driver to pay piecemeal each bill as you get it. Even though the at-fault driver is ultimately responsible to reimburse you for your bills, they are not required to pay upfront. You are responsible for your medical bills in the meantime, so you should identify all sources of coverage.
DO inquire with your personnel department to see if your health insurance has any reimbursement language. You may receive a questionnaire as to whether a third party is at fault which would indicate your policy likely has such a provision. If you settle your claim without addressing the lien, you could jeopardize future health coverage. Be careful because this is a highly complicated area that involves an interplay between federal and state laws.
DO document all time lost from work on a personal calendar. Your employer can confirm the dates missed, but cannot confirm the reason it was missed. Also keep a paystub from the relevant time period which reflects your rate of pay, in the event it later changes.
The foregoing helpful reminders do not constitute legal advice on any particular case. No responsibility is accepted by Nichols Zauzig Sandler P.C. for any loss or damage arising in any way from its use.
Case Results for Personal Injury:
- Woman becomes paraplegic after being rear-ended by van
- Gymnast suffers leg injuries as a result of head-on collision
- UIM Coverage at issue in Drunken Driving Crash
Awarded: $2,955,760 Settlement
Awarded: $875,000 Settlement
Awarded: 1,025,000 Settlement