You’ve just been in a crash. What’s first?
Get answers to your questions and help eliminate the stress of the situation by downloading our free pdf, “Been in a Crash? Your Guide for the First 30 Days”.
After a car accident most people are unsure of what to do first and have a long list of questions on how to proceed next. They wonder if they should file a claim with their insurance or with the at-fault insurance company. They wonder can they get a rental car, who will pay to repair the vehicle, who will pay their medical bills, who will pay their lost wages. All of these questions can be answered by the lawyers at Elsner Law Firm, PLLC. We have been helping people navigate their car accident claim in King and Snohomish Counties and throughout the state of Washington since 2007.
In the first few days following an automobile accident:
- Get pictures of your vehicle and the accident scene since the appearance of this evidence will change quickly.
- Set up an appointment with your doctor or go to an urgent care clinic for an evaluation. If you are not seriously injured, the doctor will usually have you follow-up a few days later.
- Contact your insurance company to verify your coverage. If you have Personal Injury Protection insurance that will be the first source of funds to pay for your treatment. Personal Injury Protection insurance will also help to pay for your loss of wages and essential services (such as housekeeping and yard maintenance) if your doctor tells you not to perform physically demanding tasks.
- If you decide to file your claim with the at-fault party you will need to open up a claim with them. Be aware, though, that the at-fault party is not your friend. Anything you tell them about the case can be used against you.
What happens with my car?
One of the first decisions you have to make when dealing with a car accident is deciding which insurance company to file your claim with. To help you decide which is best call us now for a free consultation or check out our article Where Should I File My Accident Claim.
After determining which insurance company to go with you need to decide on where to take your car to get fixed. The insurance company may recommend some places that they call “preferred” shops. This can be good and bad. With the preferred shops there is a relationship between the insurance company and the body shop so the claims process can go more smoothly. You should beware, however, because this often also means that the shop will protect its relationship with the insurance company and may be tempted to cut corners because they may agree to charge less in return for this relationship. State law allows you to take your vehicle to any licensed body shop of your choice.
If you feel that you are being pressured to take your vehicle to a particular shop you should contact Elsner Law Firm to help protect your rights.
For tips on how to maximize the return you get on your fixed or totaled vehicle call us now for a free consultation or see our article How to Get the Most Value Out of Your Car Repair or Replacement.
If your car is deemed totaled, but you think that the damage is minor you can choose to purchase your car from the insurance company. There are many pitfalls to keeping a totaled car. Call us now to find out why or see our article So You Want to Keep Your Totaled Car – BEWARE!
How do I get medical bills paid?
Getting your medical bills paid depends on the type of insurance you have.
Personal Injury Protection Insurance. The first in line insurance will be personal injury protection “PIP” insurance. Click here to learn more about PIP insurance.
Health Insurance. Second in-line is health insurance. We often have clients who have health insurance, but the benefits are denied because you have been in an accident. Elsner Law Firm makes sure your bills get paid and that your health insurance company pays what they are supposed to pay.
Treatment on a lien. Third in line is what is commonly referred to as 3rd party billing or treating on a lien. Some medical providers will agree to treat accident victims with the expectation that they will get paid once the case settles. Most providers will only treat on a lien if the person has an attorney because they want to be confident that they will get paid. Elsner Law Firm can help you find a provider to get paid on a lien or work with your existing providers to help you get the treatment you need even if you don’t have medical insurance. Let us take the stress away from worrying about unpaid medical bills and not getting the treatment you need to get better. Call today so we can start helping you immediately.
Is the insurance company treating me fairly?
Do you think the sponsors of these stadiums can afford the cost by treating you fairly? We don’t think so either.
From day 1 of the crash the insurance company is building a case against you. The easiest way to determine if you are being treated fairly is to talk to a lawyer at Elsner Law Firm. We know the laws and can evaluate your situation if you call us now to discuss your concerns.
If you want to test how friendly the at-fault party’s insurance adjuster is click here to see the questions you should ask the adjuster. Their responses may make you re-think whether they are your friends.
The most common situations that people start to question the friendly adjuster and decide it is time to hire an attorney. Don’t wait until you’re dealing with these hassles. Call us now to discuss your case and save yourself some stress.
- Why is it taking so long to get my car repaired?
If you are dealing with the at-fault insurance company they have no obligation to treat you fairly and process your claim quickly. They have to consider the interests of their insured first. Because of this requirement, they will also often blame you for the accident even when it is clear that you didn’t cause it. It’s important to have a lawyer on your side to fight back when this happens. You can also consider filing a claim with your insurance. See Where Should I File My Accident Claim to get more information on choosing where to file your claim.
- The at-fault party’s insurance is not paying my medical bills.
The at-fault will only pay bills that an insurance adjuster (not a medical doctor) decides is reasonable and related to the accident. This is often the biggest dispute with insurance companies. The at-fault party won’t pay for your medical bills until you are done treating. If you are stuck in a situation where your medical bills aren’t getting paid you should call us so we can make sure the proper party is paying the bills or help keep bills from going to collections while you are treating.
- The insurance company has offered me a settlement that seems low.
The at-fault party will try to get you to settle early and for very little money. Once you settle the case you can’t get more money from the insurance company so you have to be cautious about settling. Determining the value of your case is not a simple calculation. Check out our FAQ’s here about what is involved in valuing a case and our video on how to determine the value of your case. If you don’t think you are getting a fair offer then you should call us and have us take over your negotiations. You only get one chance so don’t settle with regrets.
How can I save time and stress?
Insurance companies look for reasons to deny claims. Check out our list of 66 common reasons claims are denied.
We will fight back against these denials. If you hear an adjuster say any of those 66 things call us and we can help.
We can help save you time and stress by taking over your case at any stage in the process. Here’s some of the items we take care of to help you:
- Set up claims with all insurance companies
- Get you set up with a body shop
- get you a rental car approved
- take care of the conversations with all insurance companies including both your insurance and the at-fault as well as your health insurance company
- review all forms to ensure there aren’t any gotcha clauses
- make sure the insurance company follows state laws and doesn’t violate the Insurance Fair Conduct Act – click here for more information on that law.
- determine who is liable
- hire experts to prove your case
- advocate for your rights
- make sure your medical bills are paid
- make sure you get your other damages such as wage loss paid for
- file lawsuits on your behalf
When every other company and the government is looking for reasons not to compensate you we’ll be on your side to protect your rights so you don’t have to worry and can save yourself countless hours of hassle and stress. If you call now we can start saving you time and reducing your stress.
Do I qualify for an attorney that doesn’t require money up front?
The simplest answer to this question is to call and find out. We offer a free consultation so we can evaluate your case and determine how we can help you.
We like to build lifelong relationships with our clients and approach accepting cases with that mindset. Check out our section Are We the Right Firm for You to see our philosophy on having a successful relationship with our clients.
In addition to our philosophy there are certain things to ask yourself to see if you qualify for an attorney with no up-front costs or fees.
- Was the cause of the injury due to someone else’s actions? If you think so then give us a call to discuss. Check out our posts All About Liability and More About Liability for more information on determining who is liable. Remember that just because the insurance company says you are at-fault doesn’t mean you are. If you were clearly at fault, then your insurance company will provide an attorney to you at no-cost to you.
- Are you injured? To prove a case you have to prove injuries/damages. If you were injured enough to require treatment then you would be a good candidate for legal representation because the insurance companies will fight with you on the amount and length of time you get treatment.
- Is there insurance coverage? Unfortunately, many people do not have insurance. Usually when people don’t have insurance they don’t have any assets to pay your damages either. If you have uninsured motorist coverage then that will hopefully cover your losses. If neither the at-fault party nor do you have uninsured motorist insurance it is usually difficult to get your losses paid for and so there is not much an attorney can do to help. If you are in this situation it is still good to consult with us because there might be a way to force the insurance company to give you uninsured motorist insurance benefits or possibly find another party liable such as the government.
- Is it too late to hire an attorney? About the only time it is too late to hire an attorney is if the statute of limitations has run. This is the time limit you have to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party. In most injury cases that time limit is three years. The other situation that often comes up is when people have signed a settlement agreement with the insurance company. Depending on what the insurance company told you or what forms you signed it may be too late. Don’t immediately lose faith, though, if you are in this situation give us a call and we can discuss your situation in detail. There won’t be any charge for talking with us, but it’s best to resolve these issues sooner than later so call now to get a free consultation.
At any point in this process you can hire an attorney to help assist you. Elsner Law Firm has significant experience getting into a case at any stage to help people ensure their rights are protected and that they get fair treatment from the insurance companies.
There are many laws that protect people who have been injured in a car accident and an experience car accident lawyer knows how to best protect their client. Contact us now to get help dealing with the car accident claim process so that you can focus on getting healthy and back to your normal life.