You’ve just been in an accident, and things have quickly become chaotic. It is getting hard to keep track of doctor appointments, insurance phone calls, and your everyday life. Suddenly, you are thrust into a legal situation that you did not expect and most likely are not familiar with. Insurance adjusters may be calling weekly (or daily!) to get an update and get you to settle your claim, and you have no idea what a fair settlement is or if this insurance company really has your best interest at heart. You turn to the internet for help, but even then, some of your questions are left unanswered. The Law Firm of McEwen & Kestner is here to help. We have devised a list of the top ten most frequent questions that people, like you, bring to our MN law office seeking answers. Not only is this a list of questions, but also of answers!
1. What are my next steps with the insurance companies?
• First thing’s first: open a claim with your car insurance company and the other driver’s insurance. Why would you open a claim with your insurance? Minnesota is a “No-Fault” state, meaning a driver carries their own Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage to cover medical bills, replacement services, and wage loss. It can be confusing, but regardless of who caused the accident, your auto insurance is designated to be the primary payer. This will not affect your rates because you were not negligent in operating your vehicle.
2. Who is going to pay my bills?
• This PIP coverage allows for your medical bills to be covered immediately following the accident to ensure you receive the treatment you need. Minnesota requires all drivers to carry a minimum $20,000 of medical care coverage and $20,000 of replacement services and wage loss coverage.
3. What happens to my car?
• After filing a claim with the at-fault insurance company, that insurance company will pay any storage fees and rental fees until they offer you a property damage settlement. After they are contacted about the accident, they will coordinate with you and offer a settlement for either the cost of repairs or a fair value for your vehicle.
4. What if I miss work?
• Another benefit of carrying PIP insurance is the coverage of lost wages. Depending on the insurance, 75-85% of your wages will be covered for up to $500 a week.
5. How do I know what my insurance covers?
• Your policy has all that information. A policy is a contract between you and the insurance company stating you will pay a premium in exchange for a certain amount of benefits in the event of an accident. Our firm will review your policy to make sure you are making the most of your benefits.
6. What if my doctor recommends further treatment?
• Follow your doctor’s orders. We advise our clients to never take a settlement until they are done treating to ensure they are fully compensated.
7. What if my insurance company cuts off my benefits?
• Your auto insurance has a right to have you assessed by a doctor of their choosing. If that doctor concludes that you have returned to pre-accident health, your benefits will likely be denied. In most cases, benefits are denied prematurely and you will need to continue treating—following your doctor’s orders. At this point, you can file an arbitration. Arbitration is a multi-step, legal process that can be carried out to have any unpaid bills covered through your auto insurance.
8. How do I get the at-fault insurance company to leave me alone?
• Asking them to stop calling is usually a temporary fix. Insurance adjusters are motivated to close out your claim as quickly and for as little as possible. Hiring representation redirects all correspondence and calls through your attorney’s office, so you can focus on your treatment and getting back into your routine.
9. How much is a lawyer going to cost me?
• Our office doesn’t charge you anything until you receive a settlement. This means no upfront costs, no hourly rates, and no added financial stress on top of your already stressful situation. Our firm works on a Contingency Fee Agreement, meaning we pay for your case expenses and do the leg work until your case settles. Should you not receive a settlement, you will not owe us a dime.
10. How do I know a lawyer has my best interest at heart?
• Lawyers are people, too. We understand unexpected accidents are draining physically and emotionally. We work diligently to minimize the stress put on by insurance adjusters, keeping track of medical bill payments, and gathering the necessary evidence for your pain and suffering claim. Not to mention, we don’t get paid, until you get paid. This motivates us even further to not only minimize stress, but also maximize your personal injury settlement.
11. How much is my case worth?
• A question we hear often. Each case has a unique set of circumstances and coverage involved. Settlement is the very end of your case, and there is a lot that goes into getting there. Investigations, treatment, insurance coverage, and a number of other factors affect the final settlement. That being said, your case value will be unknown until we have the opportunity to properly review your treatment and your case. Once we have obtained the required information, your attorney will discuss your unique case value.
Legal matters are intimidating and stressful, but you can always find comfort in knowing that you do not have to face these challenges alone. Every case is different, as every person is different, so you may have unanswered questions or concerns about your unique case. The experienced person injury staff and attorneys at McEwen & Kestner are always willing to lend an ear and work through any issues you may be facing with your case. Our firm is small in order to provide the best team dynamics and individual attention to every case, so you can rest assured that your case is handled by a familiar face who is not afraid to fight for you.
Give us a call today and get the settlement you deserve! 651-224-3833 or toll-free at 1-800-732-3070