Year: 2016

FAQs from Clients Injured in Car Accidents

If you have been injured in a car accident, you likely have many questions. At Austin Bradley Law Office, we provide answers and solutions to car accident victims every day. Below is a list of questions we repeatedly receive from our clients who have been injured in car accidents:

1. Who is responsible for my medical bills?

The car insurance company for the at-fault driver is legally responsible for paying your medical bills. Keep in mind, however, that they will not simply pay your medical bills as they become due. Instead, the settlement or judgment you receive in your case should include an amount necessary to pay your medical bills. While your case is pending, your health insurer might refuse to pay medical bills it believes resulted from the car accident. Even if your health insurance company pays the bills while your case is pending, they may seek reimbursement from the settlement proceeds. An experienced car accident attorney can help simplify and solve the process of getting your medical bills paid, and may even be able to negotiate a discount on your behalf.

2. Do I get paid for time I missed from work?

If you lost money because your injury physically prevented you from performing your job, you are entitled to be compensated for your lost wages. Most insurance company require strict proof of your lost hours and wages. A good car accident attorney will know what documentation is needed and how to get it.

3. Who pays to fix my car after an accident?

The insurance company for the driver that caused the collision is required to pay for your car. If you have full coverage, you can also elect to have your insurance company pay to fix or replace your car. Your insurance will then seek reimbursement from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Once your insurance company has been paid back, you should get reimbursed for any deductible you paid.

4. Do I have to give a statement?

You are not required to (nor should you) give a statement to the other driver’s insurance company. You are required to notify your insurance company of a car accident, however, you should hire a lawyer before you give a statement to your insurance company. Insurance companies are in the business of denying claims, not paying them. Everything you say before you hire a lawyer can and will be held against you if the insurance company attempts to deny or devalue your claim.

5. How Much Does a Car Accident Attorney Cost?

Car accident attorneys take on clients on a “contingency fee” basis. This means that you do not pay them anything unless they recover money on your behalf. In the even of a recovery, the car accident attorney’s fee will be a percentage of the total amount recovered.

If you have any additional unanswered questions, or would simply like to take advantage of our free consultation, please call our office at (417) 385-1338. We look forward to hearing from you.


Consult a Car Accident Attorney before Giving a Statement

After a Car Accident, Should I Give a Statement to the Insurance Co.?

After a car accident, talking to the insurance company without your lawyer present is a bad idea. The insurance company for the driver who injured you will always want to take your recorded statement as soon as possible after a car accident. The insurance adjuster will tell you they are “investigating the claim,” but that is only a half-truth. They are also trying to get you to say something they can use against you to deny and defend the insurance claim.

In some instances, the law may actually require you to give the insurance company a statement. For example, if you are making a claim against your own insurance company for benefits after a car accident, you are legally required to cooperate with their investigation. Still, there is a time and place to communicate with the insurance company. Without exception, that time is after you have hired your lawyer. An experienced car accident lawyer will be able to help you prepare and get organized for your statement. A good car accident lawyer will also help you understand how to handle an insurance adjuster who is trying to get you to say something that can be used to deny or defend your claim. (So go hire a lawyer today!).

Many insurance adjusters will also tell you that there is no need for you to hire a lawyer because they are willing to settle your claim out of court. What they do not tell you is that they are going to try to settle with you for a low-ball amount. Most settlement offers made to unrepresented folks are not going fully compensate them for their medical bills, future medical treatment, lost wages, and pain and suffering. The insurance company knows it is very unlikely you will beat them in court if you do not have a lawyer. Their low settlement offer to you will reflect their confidence in their ability to win if your car accident claim goes to court.

So go hire a lawyer. It will be the smartest decision you make after your car accident.

Austin Bradley Law Office is a personal injury law practice located in Joplin, Missouri. Feel free to give us a call at (417) 385-1338. You can also send us a message through our website by clicking here.

car accident attorney

How Much is My Car Accident Case Worth?

As a car accident attorney, I get asked this question by many clients. The answer? There is no set value for a car accident case. What each particular case is “worth” depends on many factors.

Below is a list of three major factors used to value your case by both insurance companies and juries:

1. Severity of Your Injuries. The seriousness of your injuries is usually the single biggest factor in determining a fair amount of compensation for your car accident case. A car accident involving serious, lifelong injuries is going have a higher value than a case where the client had less serious injuries that fully resolved (both cases should still be pursued).

2. Amount of Your Medical Bills. The law allows car accident victims to recover compensation to cover their medical bills. Additionally, many juries and insurance companies will use a “multiple” of your medical bills to determine a fair amount for your pain and suffering. Two to four times medical bills is usually viewed as a fair settlement amount for injury victims who are represented by a competent car accident injury attorney. Unrepresented individuals are frequently offered far less. (See Should You Hire an Attorney After an Injury?)

3. Defendant’s Conduct. There is a saying in the legal community that “liability drives damages.” What lawyers are trying to say is that when a jury gets mad at the defendant (the person who injured you) for his conduct, they are more willing to allow a fair amount to compensate you for your injuries. If the defendant’s conduct was particularly dangerous, such as driving while drunk or texting and driving, a jury may want to punish him or send a message. The only way to do this is through a high verdict. Car insurance companies and their lawyers know this, and are often more willing to pay a fair amount outside of court when the defendant’s conduct was particularly dangerous.

If you have been injured in a car accident, please call Austin Bradley Law Office today at (417) 385-1338 to speak with an attorney. All our car accident cases are handled on a contingency fee basis, which means you do not have to pay us a penny unless there is a financial recovery in your claim.

Also, feel free to send us a question about your car accident through this website by clicking here.

Car Accident Lawyer

Tips for Car Accident and Auto Accident Victims

Being in a car accident can be a shocking experience. Everything happens so fast. It is easy to lose your cool and end up making a mistake that compromises your legal rights.

Below are a few basic tips you should follow after an auto accident:

1. Always call the police. The police will investigate the accident and determine who was at-fault. They will usually issue a ticket to the at-fault driver and will always create a police report. These documents will be crucial in proving the facts of your auto accident.

2. Get the other driver’s info. Make sure you copy down the other driver’s information directly from their driver’s license and insurance card. Do not rely on the other driver to write this information down for you. People who want to avoid responsibility for a car accident may attempt to give you false information. All the information from the other driver should be contained in the police report, but it is still a good idea to write the information down yourself.

3. Take an ambulance if you need one. Injury victims who need an ambulance often refuse transport because they fear a large ambulance bill. Do not make this mistake. The at-fault driver’s insurance company will have to pay the ambulance bill, not you. Do not risk your own health and well-being to save the insurance company money. Furthermore, when it comes time to pay for your injuries, that same insurance company will attempt to argue that you were not seriously hurt because you did not take an ambulance. If you end up needing surgery or other serious medical treatment, they may even attempt to deny paying for that portion of your claim because you refused an ambulance.

4. Go to the hospital if you think you sustained a serious injury. Auto accident injury victims often delay seeking medical treatment for cost reasons. As stated above, the at-fault driver’s insurance will have to pay for your medical bills, up to a certain amount. In Missouri, all driver’s are required to carry at least $25,000.00 in coverage. Therefore, there is no reason to not go to the hospital if you think you sustained a serious injury.

5. Always follow-up with your regular doctor after the accident. Hospital emergency departments only treat those who need immediate treatment. These include car accident injury victims who have suffered life-threatening or very serious injuries. Many victims, however, suffer “soft-tissue” injuries such as muscle tears, tendons tears, and herniated discs that the emergency department will not treat (and sometimes will not even attempt to diagnose). For this reason, you need to follow-up with your regular doctor as soon as possible after the accident. Report to your doctor any pain or problems you are having after the accident. He or she will be able to make sure any soft-tissue injuries are properly diagnosed and treated.

6. Do not talk to the insurance company or give a statement. We have all heard the saying that “anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.” This is true in car accident injury claims as well as the criminal trials we see on television. There is a time and place to communicate with the insurance company. That time is after you have talked with an attorney, not before.

7. Do not sign anything. If the insurance company sends you anything to sign, run it by your attorney first. Many time insurance companies will try to get you to sign an authorization that allows them to access all of your medical records – past, present, and future. The insurance company does not need to know your entire medical history in order to evaluate your claim.

8. Hire a personal injury attorney from the outset. Do not wait to hire an attorney. As discussed above, insurance companies will attempt to get you to make statements or sign documents that may hurt your injury case. If you hire an attorney from the outset, you will not have to worry about unintentionally compromising your legal rights. Also, make sure the attorney you hire to handle you car accident claim specializes in injury cases. A good personal injury attorney will be able to discover all sources of available insurance, maximize your recovery, and negotiate your medical bills.

9. Attend all your medical appointments and physical therapy sessions. Make sure you do your part by complying with your medical treatment. Attending your medical appointments will ensure you achieve the best possible outcome from your injuries. Additionally, if you do not complete your medical treatment, the insurance company will blame you for any lasting effects of your injury and will attempt to reduce your auto injury claim accordingly.

10. Do not discuss the accident or your injuries on social media. Anything you post to social media could be used as legal fodder against you. It is best to avoid posting pictures or anything related to the accident to your social media accounts. Also keep in mind that if you engage in any activities that violate the medical restrictions given by your doctor, and those activities show up on your Facebook page, the insurance company may find them and use them against you. Bottom line: If you do not want to be cross-examined with it in court, then don’t post it. Better yet, don’t even do it!

If you have been injured in a car accident, please call Austin Bradley Law Office today at (417) 385-1338 to speak with an attorney. All our car accident cases are handled on a contingency fee basis, which means you do not have to pay us a penny unless there is a financial recovery in your claim.

Also, feel free to send us a question about your car accident through this website by clicking here.

SNow and Ice Car Accident

Snow and Ice Car Accidents

Winter weather contributes to many car accidents this time of year. Because snow and ice make driving more dangerous, there are special rules of the road for driving in snow and ice.

In addition to obeying the speed limit and all traffic signals, drivers are required to travel at a safe speed for the road conditions. This rule often requires drivers to travel well below the stated speed limit. A good rule of thumb is that the driver must go slow enough to be able to stop suddenly if the car in front of them comes to a halt or if the traffic light turns red. In heavy snow or icy conditions, this rule requires drivers to drive very slowly, even on major roads. If a driver is traveling too fast and slides into the back of stopped vehicle or skids through an icy intersection causing a collision, that driver is responsible.

If you have been injured in a car accident, please call Austin Bradley Law Office today at (417) 385-1338 to speak with an attorney. All our car accident cases are handled on a contingency fee basis, which means you do not have to pay us a penny unless there is a financial recovery in your claim.

Also, feel free to send us a question about your car accident through this website by clicking here.