Important Things To Know About Auto Accidents And Insurance Claims
The first thing you should do after being in a car accident is seek medical attention. Your health must come first. However, there are many other factors in play related to insurance and potential injury claims, and it can be hard to keep your mind clear enough to handle them all with confidence.
Matt Weber of Weber Law Firm, L.C., works with auto accident clients one on one to determine their needs, to represent them when working with insurers, and to help develop a claim to cover all the expenses they may have after a wreck. He has provided some answers to the most frequently heard questions in our office.
How will I pay my medical bills after an accident?
You have several options. You can pay for your medical expenses after an accident and before you receive any type of settlement through the following methods:
- Ask your group health plan insurer to provide services at a negotiated-fee rate, paying the balance of the covered amount due upon reaching a settlement.
- Request the at-fault driver’s insurance company pay the bills.
- Agree to have medical providers put a lien on your personal injury claim settlement, and bill only after the case is settled.
Should I give a statement to the insurance company?
No. You are not legally obligated to speak personally with the at-fault driver’s insurer. Insurance adjusters are employed to minimize the losses of their company. A skilled Missouri car accident attorney can discuss your case with the insurance company on your behalf and ensure your claim is safeguarded.
How long do I have to bring a claim?
In Missouri, you legally have up to five years to bring a personal injury claim after a motor vehicle crash, but your case has a much better chance if you file your claim as soon as possible.
What is an ‘at-fault’ insurance state and how does that impact my claim?
Missouri is an “at-fault” insurance state, meaning the state requires drivers to purchase liability insurance to cover claims made against them in an accident, up to the limits of their policy. One advantage of living in a “at-fault” insurance state is that if you are the victim of a car crash, you can sue the other driver for damages above the limits of their liability insurance.
What can I expect from my auto accident claim?
If you’re filing an injury accident claim in Missouri, your attorney can help you calculate the real costs of damages, which can include severity of your injuries, their impact on your ability to work and support your family, medical bills and the long-term suffering the collision has caused. Injury claim amounts can vary tremendously – from under $20,000 to well over a million dollars.
What if the driver who hit me doesn’t have insurance?
In Missouri, all drivers must purchase uninsured motorist coverage. The minimums for these policies are low, however – $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. And your insurance company is also looking to limit payouts, even to its own customers, so it is best to have an experienced personal injury attorney negotiate your claim.
Should I accept an offer from the insurance company?
The at-fault party’s insurer may provide you with a settlement figure that sounds generous. It will, however, in most cases not fully account for factors such as lost wages, reduced earning capacity or long-term medical care needs. Hiring an attorney to discuss claim amounts with the insurer signals to them that you understand your rights and have an advocate who will fight for maximum compensation for you.