SERIOUS ACCIDENT ATTORNEYS – WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT
Whether you’ve been involved in a car wreck with another automobile, tractor-trailer truck, or motorcycle, serious motor vehicle accidents are our primary practice area. Our accident attorneys have over 75 years combined trial experienced and have assisted countless injured individuals and their families since 1989. As a former ICU Registered Nurse (RN), attorney Robert J. Reeves has personally treated seriously injured persons and understands the long-term, and oftentimes permanent, consequences of catastrophic accidents. Please carefully review and compare our credentials and qualifications to any other firm. Our trial lawyers are serious injury attorneys, and we appreciate the fears you and your family are experiencing during this crisis in your lives. We will try to calm those fears by assuring you that we know what we are doing, and will work tirelessly to secure the best outcome for your case. You can reach us by mobile phone after hours in the evenings, on weekends, even holidays. We are here to help so you don’t have to worry anymore.
In an effort to give you some early answers, below are some of the questions our clients usually ask:
Should I talk to the insurance adjuster or give a recorded statement?
Absolutely not, at least not without a lawyer present. You have to remember that the insurance adjuster for the at-fault driver is not looking out for your best interests. Rather, their goal is to attempt to get a statement, usually recorded, that they will later try to use against you if you say something different in the future. For example, you may not hurt the day of the wreck, and if you tell the insurance adjuster that you are “fine,” he or she will document that comment and use it later. You have now potentially locked yourself into that position. If you subsequently start to have problems, after the excitement of the wreck is over, the insurance company will try to depict you as someone who either does not tell the truth or who is exaggerating your injury. Always hire a lawyer before giving any statement to an insurance company.
When should I consult a lawyer after an accident?
As soon as possible. You would expect that answer. But here’s why… In every serious accident case, critical evidence that can make the difference needs to be preserved. Pictures of the scene need to be taken. Witnesses need to be interviewed and statements recorded. Errors in initial police reports need to be corrected. Vital records and information may not be available to prove your case later.
What if the driver isn’t the owner of the car? Who is responsible?
It will depend. Generally, the at-fault driver of the car will be liable. After all, he is the one who was negligent and caused the wreck. However, you may sometimes need to hold both the driver of the car and the owner of the car accountable if the owner knew that the driver was habitually bad or dangerous. In this case, it is possible that the owner of the car might also be responsible under a “negligent entrustment” theory for allowing his car to be driven by a negligent or reckless driver.
Who is going to pay for my medical treatment? Should I use my own health insurance?
Absolutely. Go ahead and use your private health insurance if you are fortunate enough to have it. First, you will get treatment more quickly if the hospital or doctor is assured of payment. Secondly, your group health insurance gets the benefit of lower, negotiated rates, and you will not be required to set up a payment plan while you are recovering. Of course, the carrier will have a lien on your case for any benefits paid. But that is something we will negotiate down later after we reach a settlement agreement or jury verdict.
What if I don’t have health insurance? What is Medical Payment (“Med Pay”) coverage?
This is coverage under your own insurance policy that provides reimbursement for medical bills for a certain amount after an accident. Med Pay is also available to the passengers of the vehicle whose owner has a Med Pay policy. Note that this coverage is separate from the at-fault driver’s “bodily injury” insurance coverage. Med Pay is very important, as it is available regardless of whether you cause the accident or not. Accordingly, we encourage our clients to purchase as much of this type coverage as possible. If you compare rates, you will be amazed at how just a few more dollars a year gets you and your family real protection.
What if the at-fault driver doesn’t have any insurance? What is Uninsured Motorist (UM) Coverage?
UM coverage protects you and your family against a negligent or reckless driver who does not have any liability insurance. We all know liability insurance is required by law, but there are many uninsured drivers on the road. Many times, a person will “purchase” insurance but immediately stop making any payments once they receive their “proof of insurance card.”
What if the at-fault driver doesn’t have enough insurance? What is Underinsured Motorist (UIM) Coverage?
UIM coverage protects against at-fault drivers who do not have enough coverage to fully compensate you for injuries suffered in the wreck. Your own insurance carrier would be responsible to pay that amount necessary (by settlement or jury verdict) to make you whole, up to the limits of the policy that you purchased. As with UM coverage, we recommend you purchase as much as possible. And again, you will be pleasantly surprised how significantly better coverage can be purchased for just a little more money.
Are my medical bills paid separately? Will I have to pay back any liens?
Yes. At the end of your medical treatment, your case will eventually be resolved either by settlement or jury verdict. At that point, your lawyer will have to negotiate any outstanding medical bills and/or liens. The mission here is to get those pending expenses as low as possible so that you get the best financial outcome possible. After all, you were the one who was seriously injured and will have to live the consequences for years or even the rest of your life.
As you can see, there are many issues in every accident case that can get complicated quickly. We do this every day. Put our experience and training to work for your family. We welcome the opportunity to meet with you for a private consultation. Call us today. Our law firm proudly serves residents in Rock Hill, SC, Fort Mill, SC, Columbia, SC, Charlotte, NC, and the surrounding areas.