How to be a Good Client
There are many things you need to do after a car accident. It helps to have an injury attorney to help keep you going the right direction but there are many things you should still be aware of.
One of the first hurdles that you will have to get past before you can make a successful claim is to deal with the property damage. You will want to get repairs completed and paid for or get your totaled car paid for as soon as possible. The attorney can help get the ball rolling but this part of the claim is usually handled primarily between the vehicle owner and the at-fault insurance company. I normally give my clients the advice that it is good to talk about the car and making arrangements to have it appraised or paid for as well as to make arrangements for a rental car. However, my clients are always instructed to leave all discussion of the accident as well as their health and medical treatment to me.
There are several things to be concerned about when dealing with the car. Be sure to know what is approved by the insurance company for work on the car. The body shop and the insurance adjuster need to be in communication and on the same page so that you are not left holding the bill for work that was not approved before it was completed. Similarly, you need to be sure you know how long a rental car has been approved and what is going to be paid for.
Normally if you have full coverage insurance of your own, you will be able to transfer the collision coverage from your own car to the rental and you will avoid having to spend about $25 per day on the collision coverage for the rental. Often people get a shock when they turn the rental car in and have a bill for insurance of several hundred dollars. It is especially important to have an agreement about insurance on a rental car if you do not have full coverage of your own.
The Nebraska Department of Insurance has some rules about rental cars that cause problems for accident victims unless they are careful. The at-fault insurance company is not required to pay for collision coverage on the rental. Also, payment for a rental car can be cut off as soon as an offer has been made to pay for it, even before you have received any payment.
Even if you have already dealt with your car without any problems, there are many things you can do to work with your attorney to make the injury claim go as smoothly as possible.
Your doctors and your attorney can work together to help you through the process of an injury claim. However, your attorney has a little different perspective on your recovery. Attorneys are not only concerned about your need to make a good recovery from your injuries, but we also want you to get the compensation you deserve. Proving your claim is a little different than just getting the treatment you need to get better. We are also interested in documentation and getting the opinions from doctors that will support you when it is time to prove the cause and extent of your injuries during settlement negotiations or in court.
Keep in frequent contact with your attorney. You are the person who is going to the doctor or getting bills in the mail. It is best to let the lawyer know what is happening with treatment every couple of weeks. I appreciate being informed whenever there are significant developments with treatment. When you go to a specialist or get results of an MRI, give the lawyer a call. Whenever you have significant decisions to make it would also be a good time to talk to your lawyer. We have a lot of experience with injury claims and have probably dealt with similar situations before. Also, it is important to let the lawyer know when you can see some light at the end of the tunnel. When you complete treatment we do most of our records requests.
Let us know if you move in town or far away. If you have any change of address or if you change your telephone number your attorney needs to know right away. It is not hard to talk to clients even if they are far away but I always need a good address and telephone number to correspond. In the past, I have had clients who fell out of contact so completely that I had to hire a private investigator to find them. That is a lot of unnecessary trouble and expense.
Be organized. It helps if you keep all correspondence and all bills and receipts related to the accident. By providing all of these materials when you receive them by sending copies or scanning and emailing them you help us keep up with the status of your case and help us be sure that we know about all of the medical providers and their bills.
Tell your doctors about your own car insurance, the other person’s car insurance, and your own health insurance. It is also good to tell your doctors who your lawyer is. Doctors will be more willing to give you the treatment you need if they know how they are going to get paid. In Nebraska, it is normal to use your own car insurance or health insurance to pay bills. Your own companies then get reimbursed from a settlement or court judgment at the end of your claim. The at-fault driver’s insurance does not pay your bills until there is a settlement of the claim or until it goes to court and there is a judgment.
The final thing you need to be a good client is a lot of patience. By telling your lawyer as soon as you complete your treatment you can help things move as quickly as possible. However, it still takes time to collect records and insurance companies always take a while to evaluate claims.
Call Steven Montag at the Montag Law Office for a free consultation today, our toll-free number is (800) 533-0067. We have offices in Lincoln Nebraska and Omaha Nebraska to serve you. We take calls in the evening and on weekends.