Frequently Asked Questions

Health Insurance and Personal Injury Claims

So after you’ve been injured in a car accident should you use your health insurance to pay for your medical bills? Surprisingly we actually get asked that question all the time. I’ve had lots of clients over the years who believe that their health insurance shouldn’t have to pay for their medical care because the accident was somebody else’s fault, so their insurance should have to pay for your care. That’s not the right approach. You have health insurance for a reason, you pay your health insurance premium every month for a reason. And the reason is to cover your medical expenses regardless of the cause that lead to those expenses. So we want all our clients to use their health insurance to pay for their medical care. That’s why you have it. Sometimes your health insurance will have a right to be reimbursed for that care. And that’s okay, we’ll deal with them at the end and we’ll take care of that for you. But we want you to use your health insurance to pay for your medical bills. Because if you don’t, what does sometimes happen is not every case works out.

If it turns out we find out a month later that there wasn’t auto insurance coverage, that the at-fault party didn’t have coverage even though we thought they did and you’ve incurred five thousand dollars worth of medical bills that haven’t been paid for, you personally are on the hook to pay those. We don’t want that to happen. So the advice we give every client is you use your health insurance to pay for your medical care. But if you’ve been hurt in an accident give us a call and we’ll talk to you about all the ins and outs of health insurance, health insurance subrogation, medical care on liens, it’s complicated and there’s a lot to it so give me a call and we’ll sit down and we’ll talk about it and tell you what we can do for you.

Important Information to Have When Seeking a Personal Injury Claim

So what information is the most important information after you’ve been involved in an accident? What we ask clients to do is get us all their auto insurance information as quickly as they can. Meaning information regarding their auto insurance policies. And what we want to look at is whether or not clients have uninsured underinsured motorist coverage, medical payments coverage, rental coverage. We want to know what coverages our clients have that we can actually use to help them in a case. We also want all your information about your health insurance. Copies of your health insurance cards, all of those things. If you’re unable to work for a period of time we want copies of your pay stubs, copies of your tax returns if you have them. We’ll tell you exactly what we need and all we ask our clients to do is get it to us as quickly as they can and as completely as they can.

So if you’ve been injured in an accident, quite honestly, and you call us, we’re going to ask you to bring as much of that information to your initial appointment as possible. If you have a copy of the police report that you were given by the police officer we want you to bring that. If you were given some sort of ticket for the accident, let’s say for not having insurance or not having a valid driver’s license, we want you to bring that with you. That doesn’t mean that you don’t have a claim it just means we want you to bring that information with you. The more information we have the better, and that’s what we ask for our clients to provide. So if you’ve been injured in an accident, give us a call. But understand we’re going to ask you for all that information and that will help us find the best resolution.

How a Second Accident Impacts Your Personal Injury Claim

So what happens if you’ve been involved in an accident, you’re treating for that accident, and then you’re involved in a second accident and you get hurt even more? The clients who we represent who find themselves in that situation, there are a couple things we ask them to do immediately. One, we ask them to call and let us know about the second accident immediately. Because we need to know about it because quite honestly it can really impact your first accident case in a negative way. Because what’s going to happen is the insurance company that’s responsible for accident number one will say that once accident number two happens they’re no longer responsible for any of your injuries or your medical care after any of those things. The insurance company responsible for accident number two will say your injuries came from accident number one so they’re not responsible for anything.

So we need to know about accident number two. Your doctors also need to know about accident number two. One of the things your doctors will really want you to clarify for them is, how are your injuries different after accident number two? How is your pain different? Has it increased after accident number two? Because if your injuries are the same, if they’re not any different then they were before accident number two, then you really weren’t injured in that accident. And that’s okay. But that needs to be clarified so we know your injuries were all caused by accident number one. Or we need to be able to distinguish between the two sets of injuries. So those conversations are very important. But as you can also see by listening to this, it’s very complicated. So give us a call. Let’s sit down and let’s talk about both accidents and your injuries in detail because we can help you on these cases because encountered this situation over and over again with clients we’ve represented over the years. So give us a call.

Double Medical Treatment in a Personal Injury Claim

Double treatment. What does that mean and how does that impact your case? Actually what double medical treatment means is it’s when somebody receives lets say chiropractic care and physical therapy both for their low back at the exact same time. That’s always a problem in an injury case. If you’ve been in an accident and you’re receiving medical care, let’s say treatment for a low back injury, we want you to treat with one provider at a time. If you’re doing physical therapy and it works and you get better, great. If it’s not working then you’ll go back to see your primary care physician and talk to them about how it’s not working and see what can you recommend next. And then you’ll go and do that. And it works the same with starting with chiropractic care. Because what the insurance company won’t do and it’s going to be very difficult to make them do is pay for treatment of the same body part with two different providers at the exact same time because it’s generally not going to be medically justified.

But just from that answer you can see how complicated it is. And so if you’ve been hurt in an accident, call us and we’ll sit down, we’ll explain it all to you and we’ll figure out what needs to be done to help you get a good resolution on your case because it is so complicated.

Doctors Negotiating Medical Bills at the End of a Personal Injury Claim

So some doctors don’t negotiate their medical bills until the end of your case. So what’s that mean for you? The most important point I guess in this answer is this: If you have health insurance you need to use your health insurance for your medical care. If you’ve been in an accident and you need substantial medical care, use your health insurance. A lot of times in normal every day accidents we have clients who do physical therapy on a lien with their medical provider, they do chiropractic care on a lien with a medical provider which means that doctor will get paid out of the case at the end of the case. And that’s okay because those bills are generally pretty small. But certainly significant care, MRIs, seeing specialists, having surgery, we want all that to be done through your health insurance so it’s actually covered by your health insurance and paid for by your health insurance. A lot of times we’ll actually have to deal with your health insurance at the end and pay them something back if they have a right to be reimbursed.

But we’ll deal with that for you at the end. Because it really is important you understand, if you receive medical care from a medical provider that you choose who is going to wait to get paid out of the case, we have no control over whether or not that medical provider will accept a reduced payment on their bills. And that can really create a problem for you because your case is about getting you compensated, not paying a bunch of doctors a whole bunch of money. And every bill that has to be paid is less money that you walk away with. So if you’ve been injured in an accident, call us and we’ll sit down and we’ll explain all this to you and explain your options to you so you get the best possible resolution.

Why It’s Important to Attend Your Medical Appointments

So why is your medical care so important and why do you need to regularly make all your medical appointments and not miss them? Well, there are a couple reasons. One is, if you’ve been hurt in an accident, that medical care is actually what’s needed for you to get better. That’s our number one priority with any client is to actually help you find the medical care that you need and receive the treatment that you need so that you get better. As far as the legal case goes, if you have gaps in treatment, meaning if you miss medical appointments it actually has a negative impact on your case. It makes your case worth less money because the insurance company is going to argue that you really couldn’t have been that hurt because if you were you wouldn’t have missed those appointments.

For example, if you get into an accident and it takes you a month to see a doctor for the first time, the actual insurance company will argue that you really weren’t hurt in the accident. Because had you been hurt you would have seen a doctor immediately or within a day or so. So when you wait a month it creates problems in a case and we don’t want you to have those problems. We want you to get your medical care immediately if you’ve been hurt in an accident. We want you to make all of your appointments and consistently see the doctors that you need to see so that you can get better because that helps you get better but it also helps you get a good case. So if you’ve been injured in an accident, call us and we’ll sit down, our consultations are free, and we’ll at least explain the process to you in detail so that you don’t make those mistakes. But we’d love to help you so give us a call.

Can Your Lawyer Talk To Someone Other Than You About Your Case?

So can my lawyer or paralegal talk to somebody other than me about my case? For example, can they talk to my spouse? Can they talk to my kids or my boyfriend or girlfriend about my case instead of you as the client? Generally, as a firm, our answer is no. That’s actually our firm policy. Technically, can you give that permission? Maybe. But we don’t like to do that and here’s why. You’re our client. You’re the person that we want to communicate with. We want to make sure that there’s no confusion about your case or what’s going on with your case between you and your lawyer or paralegal. And inevitably, when we’re having those conversations with somebody other than you, something gets missed. Something gets miscommunicated, questions that you have don’t get asked and quite honestly we run into lots of other issues.

Whether it’s a spouse who is insisting that they be part of the conversation when our client truthfully really doesn’t want that to be the case but they don’t want to be the bad guy in the relationship. They don’t want to say no. And so our policy has always been we communicate directly with our client and no one else. And we ask our clients, quite honestly, to honor that because in my experience as somebody who’s represented thousands of clients over the years, that tends to work out very very well. And once we start to bring other people into the mix who we don’t represent, who don’t have a case, it negatively impacts things. That’s how we do it at Zanes Law so if you’ve been injured in an accident please call us and we’ll take care of you, because you’re our client.

Why You Should Return Your Attorney’s Phone Calls

So why should you return your attorney’s phone call? Good question. Our clients, quite honestly, get a lot of phone calls from us. They’ll hear from the paralegal on their case and their attorney will call them a week later and sometimes it can be, for some clients it can be too much communication. Phone calls, emails, all of those things. And certainly that’s not our goal. If you feel like you’re getting too much communication certainly let your paralegal and attorney know and we’ll modify that. But the reason you should always return your paralegal’s phone call or your attorney’s phone call, quite honestly, is because we’re calling to get information. We’re calling to connect with you. We’re calling to make sure we know what’s going on with your case, we know what’s going on with your medical care. And a lot of times we’re actually calling to get specific information from you that we need in order to move your case forward.

Whether it’s health insurance numbers, copies of health insurance cards, we on a regular basis like to make sure we update the medical providers that you’ve seen so we’re on top of getting your medical records and bills and we get them as quickly as we can so they don’t hold up your case. So bottom line is, you should always return our phone calls because there’s a reason that we are calling. That’s actually very important to your case. We really do value that communication. So if you’ve been hurt in an accident and are looking for somebody to help you we would love for you to call us at Zanes Law if for no other reason because you value that communication as well and we’re gonna make sure it happens.

Reimbursement For Lost Wages

So after being injured in an accident, how does getting reimbursed for your lost wages work? That’s a really important question because it seems like it should be easy but it’s complicated. An insurance company is actually looking for a couple of things. If you’re not able to work, they are looking for medical records from a doctor that actually say you’re not able to work for a certain period of time. In addition to the proof from your employer that you actually did not work the days that you missed. And so those are really the two pieces and the biggest problem I see clients have is actually having the medical pieces, actually having a doctor document the fact that the client isn’t able to work.

The point of that is this, if you’ve been hurt in an accident and you’re not able to work you need to have that conversation with your doctor. You need to talk to them about your injuries and what your work is and why you’re not able to work so he actually documents it in your medical records. We as a law firm or as attorneys will also need your help, a lot of the time, in obtaining the records from your employer that make it clear which days you weren’t able to work. But those are the basic ins and outs. But again, it’s like anything else in these cases. In can be complicated so if you’ve been injured in an accident and you’re not able to work you’re definitely entitled to be reimbursed for those wages so call us and we’ll help take care of that for you.

What Does a Paralegal Do During a Personal Injury Claim?

So what does my paralegal do with his day? I think that’s an important question because as a client you’re wondering why you haven’t been called back yet or what your paralegal is doing each day. And, generally, the paralegals at Zanes Law and I think, quite honestly, at any other law firm are extremely busy. Paralegals have a number of clients that they’re working with at any given time so they have lots of phone calls to return to clients. But they’re also talking to your medical providers regularly. They’re ordering your medical records and getting them in and when those records come in the paralegal actually has to read through all those medical records, which can be hundreds and hundreds of pages to make sure that, so they know what information is in it. They’re working hand in hand with your attorney to make sure that your case is being handled correctly and worked correctly. Your paralegal is talking to insurance companies on a daily basis.

hey’re also putting together what we call demand packages, which is when a client is done treating and we’ve got all the medical bills and records in and we package it up in a format that’s really friendly for the insurance company as we try to resolve your case. So paralegals, and our paralegals at Zanes Law, are extremely busy. Having said that, they’re not too busy to talk to you. So what happens is, when you call and leave a message, it just takes a little bit of time. A day or so sometimes for that paralegal to get back to you. Lot’s of clients will actually call, leave a message and then two hours later call again and leave a message, then call again and leave a message. That generally isn’t very productive. But that’s the basics, so if you need help from an attorney on an accident case, call us and we can talk about more. Find out what works best for you from a communications standpoint.

What Should You Expect From Your Paralegal?

So what should you expect from your paralegal? That’s a lot like the question about what should you expect from your attorney. I can tell you that at Zanes Law you should expect your paralegal to communicate with you every two weeks at the very least. And you should expect, quite honestly, your paralegal to ask you what form of communication is best with you. Whether it’s email, whether it’s text message, a phone call, we want to communicate with you and the way that works best with you and everybody these days with technology communicates differently. You should expect your paralegal to actually take the time to listen to you, quite honestly, and have a conversation with you about your case and explain your case to you and answer your questions for you, and if they’re not able to do it then it’s a conversation you need to have with your attorney. You should expect your paralegal to get that set up and make it happen whether it’s a phone conference or an in-person meeting. You should certainly expect your paralegal to keep you informed. That’s first and foremost when it comes to your case.

That’s what we require our paralegals to do at Zanes Law. So if you’ve been injured in an accident give us a call, because I can guarantee you our number one priority is to make sure you’re taken care of and that our paralegals do a great job for you.

What Should You Expect From Your Attorney?

So what should you expect from your attorney? Quite honestly, a lot. That’s the short answer. You should certainly expect your attorney to communicate with you and keep you informed about what’s going on in your case. You should certainly expect your attorney to return your phone calls within a reasonable amount of time. But more importantly you should expect that your attorney actually knows all the ins and outs of how an injury case works. Because injury cases can be extremely complicated and you need an attorney who’s experienced, who’s worked on lots of these cases. We typically handle thousands of these cases a year.

You need an experienced attorney and that’s what you should expect. But most importantly you should expect to have an attorney that you honestly feel has your best interest at heart and who you honestly have faith in because they’re representing you. They’re the ones who are going to help you get through this time when you’ve been injured and actually get a good resolution to your case. That’s not too much to expect. If you’ve been injured, give us a call and you’ll have an opportunity to really sit down and take a look at our firm and whether or not we’re the right firm for you.

Sharing Details of Your Personal Injury Case on Social Media

So how can your case be impacted by how you use social media? The real answer is, quite frankly, your case can be significantly impacted by how you use social media. In my experience, really if you’ve been injured in any kind of accident you don’t want to use your social media at all. When I say that I really mean at all. If you are putting posts on your Instagram or on your Facebook that show you hiking, that show you out at a bar with your friends, eventually if your case ends up in litigation that will certainly become part of the case and the at-fault party will use that to try to argue that you really weren’t all that hurt because you were, you know, out at a bar with your friends having a good time. Or you were out on a hike in the mountains.

That’s the problem. It’s not just about not talking about the accident or the accident facts or your injuries on social media, which you certainly don’t want to do, but all those other things that you post can be used against you and I’ve seen used against clients who were hurt in accidents. So the best advice I can give you is, if you’ve been injured in an accident, do not use social media at all for anything. And, if you use your social media, if you post things and then you realize at a later date that they could be used against you and you delete them, suddenly that becomes a huge problem in your case because, really, that is used to argue that you’re trying to fraudulently do things. Trying to destroy evidence, quite honestly. So just don’t use your social media until your case is done. But it’s complicated, so if you’ve been injured do me a favor, give us a call and we’ll help walk you through it. We’ll give you the advice that you need and we’ll take care of you.

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