The Client Attorney Relationship in Personal Injury Cases
An accident can leave you in bad shape in a variety of ways. In the immediate aftermath of your accident, you may be diagnosed with numerous injuries that vary in terms of severity. A broken bone in your hand may be a lesser concern if the accident also gave you a concussion. Do not forget about the property losses and medical bills that may start piling up after your accident.
Those are only some of the most common losses people suffer after an accident, and there are more things to worry about. During what can only be described as an extraordinarily challenging time in your life, you must be able to lean on someone who can help you climb out of that hole. That is the role of a personal injury attorney.
A Baltimore personal injury attorney can help you recoup compensation for your losses and hold negligent parties responsible. You can also trust your attorney completely because they have a fiduciary duty to act in your best interests.
The client-attorney relationship is critical to helping accident victims and other claimants secure the compensation they deserve. Take this opportunity to learn more about that dynamic and understand how it benefits you.
Keeping You Updated on the Progress of Your Claim
In many personal injury cases, accident victims can only receive compensation after filing a claim. More specifically, the victim files a claim with the negligent party’s insurer. This process often plays out in car, bicycle, and pedestrian accidents.
It is important to remember that filing an insurance claim is not as easy as filling out a form and sending it to the other party’s insurer. You must complete certain steps to ensure your claim is treated seriously.
First, you need to substantiate your claim. In the context of an auto accident, substantiating your claim involves providing medical and repair documents that show the extent of your losses. You must offer proof to the insurer that you are seeking a fair sum.
When it comes to accident cases, you must also offer proof that what happened was not your fault. The services of a Baltimore car accident lawyer are critical during this juncture. Although police officers may investigate your accident, they may not obtain all the available evidence. Your lawyer can help obtain all the evidence you need.
After documenting your losses and gathering evidence, you and your lawyer can file a claim with the relevant insurer. This puts the ball in the other party’s court, and it may start negotiations. There is a chance you may receive compensation after the negotiations, but your lawyer may also be forced to file a lawsuit if the other side is not discussing your claim in good faith.
Throughout the stages of filing a claim, your lawyer will take a hands-on approach and keep you plugged into the proceedings. They can give you detailed breakdowns of how things are going and set your expectations for what comes next.
Negotiating With Medical Lien Adjusters
As noted in the introduction, accidents can leave people saddled with serious injuries. Many injuries people sustain from bad falls and auto accidents require surgical treatment. Even if you do not need surgery, you may still be forced to stay in the hospital for a while to undergo observation and rehabilitation.
The point we are making here is simple. If you are an accident victim, recovering from what happened will likely cost a lot of money. Of course, you should not be the one who pays if the accident wasn’t your fault. The party responsible for your accident should be footing your medical bills.
Unfortunately, insurers do not cover medical bills until a claim has been evaluated, negotiated, and even litigated. Since that process often takes a long time, you cannot reasonably expect your healthcare providers to wait until the money is ready. That is where medical liens come in.
What Is a Medical Lien?
A medical lien is a claim a healthcare provider places on a patient’s personal injury settlement. Think of it like an IOU.
Once you have agreed to a medical lien, a healthcare provider will treat your injuries without receiving or expecting immediate payment. Instead, they will wait until your claim has been paid out. After receiving word that your claim has been paid out, your healthcare provider will exercise the rights afforded by the medical lien and recoup compensation for their services.
Although a healthcare provider will wait until your personal injury lawsuit is settled to file their claim, their actions will not necessarily hinge on its outcome. According to Study.com, a medical professional can still demand payment for their services regardless of how your case plays out.
Furthermore, the healthcare provider gets the initial cut of your payout from the other party’s insurer. They will not wait to see what money you have left over and be content with what you can provide. You will pay them before using the money for other expenses.
How Can an Attorney Help With a Medical Lien?
A medical lien is supposed to help alleviate the financial stress an accident victim may experience, but it can be a contributing factor. After seeing your final payout, you may find that the medical lien takes up a huge chunk of it. Since you cannot escape that commitment, does that mean you will need to live with receiving virtually no compensation?
This is another situation where hiring an attorney can prove immensely beneficial. Even if your attorney cannot make the medical lien go away, they can still reduce your financial obligations.
Your attorney can speak to a medical lien adjuster and negotiate more favorable terms. They can point out that your payout must still cover your ongoing treatment. They can also mention that the compensation has to tide you over while you search for a new job. A medical lien adjuster may hear those points and agree that you deserve a larger share of the payout.
Lien adjusters are reasonable and empathetic individuals. They can assess a victim’s situation and determine if they deserve more compensation.
Many healthcare providers want nothing to do with drawn-out delays involving medical liens. They may agree to a reduction if they can put this matter behind them. Through their subrogation departments or outsourced subrogation companies, they tend to favor swift resolutions. As such, they might agree to a reduction in the lien amount if it means settling the matter promptly and efficiently.
Establish a Relationship With Insurance Adjusters
Medical lien adjusters are not the only professionals whose opinions can affect the payouts provided to plaintiffs in personal injury cases. In fact, there is another type of adjuster with that same level of power. The individual in question is an insurance adjuster.
Insurance adjusters perform a wide range of tasks. Most of their time is devoted to investigating claims. They will investigate the circumstances of the accident which led to the claim. They will use evidence to piece together the timeline of events. Adjusters will collect physical evidence, record statements provided by witnesses, and speak to police officers, all to figure out what truly happened.
Upon finishing their investigation, an insurance adjuster will make a recommendation regarding what a fair payout looks like. This is the point you need to remember because their conclusion will directly impact how much you may receive.
You should also know that insurance adjusters are not always independent parties. While some adjusters are self-employed, Indeed.com notes that many of them are also employed by insurers. Because of that, you cannot be surprised if the adjuster puts forth a judgment that clearly favors the insurance company.
Working with a lawyer prevents the insurance adjuster from abusing their authority. Your lawyer can challenge the assertions made by the insurance adjuster and note any inconsistencies in their assessment.
You do not need to worry about the adjuster giving you a bad deal because your lawyer has your back.
Ensure That Your Lawsuit Moves Quickly and Your Rights Are Represented
Filing a claim or a personal injury lawsuit does not guarantee that you receive the compensation you deserve. That is an unfortunate reality that many accident victims know all too well.
Many insurers in the United States are multi-million dollar companies. They do not reach that level of profitability by accident. Insurers can deploy different tactics to avoid payouts and protect their profits.
Among the tactics that insurers like to use involve simply delaying your payouts. How does delaying a payout affect an accident victim? Let’s go over the adverse effects those delays can have.
Delaying a Claim Allows the Insurer to Profit More from Your Payments
The investigation into your car accident may return inconclusive results. The police officers may need more time to sort things out and determine the actual chain of events. Because of that, you may not have the option of requesting compensation from the other party’s insurer. They may outright refuse your request if you try to file a claim.
In that scenario, you can turn to your personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. According to the Maryland Insurance Administration, a claimant can seek a payout from their PIP policy whether or not they caused the accident. Having that policy in your insurance plan is a great relief because it allows you to cover some of your expenses no matter how long your case takes.
Delaying a Claim Puts Pressure on You to Accept an Unfair Payout
Insurers may also drag out claims to put you in an uncomfortable position. They know you have plenty of bills and are likely struggling with them. They are betting that leaving you in that position for an extended period will make you more amenable to accepting a bad deal.
Sadly, this particular tactic can be effective. Many accident victims do indeed accept unfair payouts because they desperately need the money.
Delaying a Claim Risks Having the Statute of Limitations Come Into Play
Lastly, an insurer may delay your claim to get the statute of limitations into play. If you do not file a claim with the courts in time, the statute of limitations will prevent you from receiving any compensation.
In Maryland, the statute of limitations is set at three years from the date of the accident. You need to beat that deadline to ensure an insurer and the law will recognize your claim.
Hiring an Attorney Ensures Your Rights Are Recognized
Insurers can utilize all kinds of dirty tactics to avoid handing down fair payouts. Prevent that from happening in your case by hiring an attorney.
Your attorney can file your claim on time and demand immediate action. They can also get the court involved and compel the insurer to act sooner rather than later.
Your Case Gets the Attention It Deserves
Big law firms like plastering their name on billboards and television to gain as much attention as possible. They pour plenty of resources into their advertising because they believe it is the key to their success.
However, many of those large law firms miss something important. They fail to give their clients the attention they deserve and focus only on getting whatever settlements they can. They do not understand the importance of a healthy client-attorney relationship.
Seek the counsel of an attorney who places real value in that relationship if you wish to receive high-quality legal assistance.
John Leppler, Baltimore Accident and Injury Attorney
Attorney John Leppler has been helping Baltimore City and Baltimore County residents secure fair compensation for a long time. Whether you were involved in a car, motorcycle, bicycle, bus, truck, or pedestrian accident, you can count on John to lend his legal expertise. John is never too busy to respond to clients in need. Contact us at Leppler Injury Law today and secure his services in your case!