Episode 41: Calloway County personal injury attorney Jeff Roberts discusses the impact of the decision to hire an attorney for your car wreck. In Kentucky, you can do it on your own, but it may not be the best option.
Free Consultation at the Roberts Law Office
Jeff is happy to discuss your situation during a free consultation. Even if you decide not to hire Jeff or to pursue the claim on your own, you’ll have solid information from an experienced western Kentucky car wreck attorney.
Jeff handles motor vehicle accidents including car wrecks, motorcycle accidents and collisions with tractor trailers. He goes on to explain that there are many pitfalls to these types of injury claims and mistakes can cost you significantly.
Mistake #1 – Health Insurance Reimbursement
If your health insurance paid any of your medical expenses related to the car wreck, the insurance carrier is able to recover those expenses out of your settlement or verdict. The money you receive isn’t actually all yours.
For instance, if you’ve ever been to Murray Calloway County Hospital or Jenny Stewart Medical Center, in Hopkinsville, they probably have you in their system, including your medical insurance provider. Assume you’re in later in a car wreck and seek treatment at the same hospital. It’s likely that some of your medical bills will get automatically sent to your health insurance carrier (i.e. Anthem). Later, assume you reach a settlement and sign the release form from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. This is where the problem occurs.
Now, assume your health insurance company follows up on the medical bills. You will most-likely be responsible for paying back the company from your settlement, even if you’ve already spent the money. Going it alone to try to save attorney’s fees just became extremely expensive.
An experienced car wreck attorney will understand how to effectively negotiate healthcare liens and to ensure the injured victim is protected.
Mistake #2 – Underinsured Motorist Coverage
In Kentucky, the state minimum for automobile insurance is $25,000. It’s very likely that your damages (including your medical expenses) will exceed $25,000. This is when Underinsured Motorist Coverage becomes significantly important. This coverage is part of your own auto insurance policy. It will help to cover some of the remaining expenses, once the at-fault driver’s policy limit is reached.
Filing an underinsured motorist coverage claim will not cause your insurance rates to increase. This is Kentucky law and by definition, you were not the at-fault driver. It’s simply a case of the other driver’s policy not being enough to pay for your expenses. Many drivers don’t understand this and may decide not to file the claim for underinsured motorist coverage.
However, there’s an important sequence that must be followed. In Kentucky before you sign the release form to claim your settlement check from the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier, you have to notify your insurance company of the policy limit settlement. The underinsured motorist insurance carrier (your insurance company) must have the opportunity to substitute the payment.
The release your about to sign would release your insurance carrier from the at-fault driver’s coverage, as well. They wouldn’t be able to protect themselves. This would prevent you from filing an underinsured motorist claim. Again, trying to go it alone to save attorney’s fee just became very expensive.
Contingency Fee Arrangement
Attorney Jeff Roberts handles car wreck claims on a contingency fee basis. It costs you nothing to hire Jeff. His fee (a percentage of the recovery) and expenses will be taken out of the settlement or verdict, at the end of the case. He only gets paid if he wins a financial recovery for you. If he were to lose your case, he absorbs the case fees and expenses, instead of passing them along to you. This is another reason you should hire an attorney for your car wreck claim.
Mistake #3 – Not Handling PIP Insurance Properly
PIP Insurance is Personal Injury Protection coverage. These are the no-fault benefits available in Kentucky. PIP provides to pay your medical bills and lost wages, up to the limits you have. The minimum is $10,000. Insured drivers automatically have this coverage in Kentucky. That’s $10,000 for you and $10,000 for each passenger.
Attorneys generally understand how effectively use the PIP coverage. In Kentucky, you can direct the coverage, so as to maximize the recovery. The funds can be used to pay certain bills or the funds can be reserved. If you or your attorney can effectively negotiate down the medical bills, the PIP coverage could then pay the lower amount, which stretches that $10,000.
An individual may not understand how to direct the coverage payments or how to negotiate with the hospital and doctors to reduce the medical bills. If undirected, the PIP carrier will go ahead and pay the full amount of the bills, causing it to run out more quickly. Once again, this is why you should hire an attorney for your car wreck. Trying to go it alone to save attorney’s fee can end up being very expensive.
Jeff Roberts Represents Injury Clients Throughout Kentucky
With offices located in Calloway County and now Christian County, Jeff actually has a history of representing personal injury clients across the state. He’s represented clients from Paducah, Bowling Green, Louisville, Covington, Whitesville and many other Kentucky locations. He’s not just a Western Kentucky injury attorney.
We hope you found this episode insightful and helpful. Thank you for listening!
Is It Time to Speak with an Attorney about Your Car Wreck Claim?
The office phone number is (270) 753-0053 or toll free at 800-844-5108. For more information, visit www.JeffRobertsLaw.com. This podcast is meant to provide information and is not legal advice. Jeff’s principal office is located at 509 Main Street, Murray, Kentucky. Co-host Jim Ray is a non-attorney spokesperson. This is an advertisement.