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Old January 14 2014, 06:11 AM   #8
Rear Admiral
Location: fresno, ca, us
Re: Car Insurance & Coverage Limits Issues When There’s a Wreck

I helped with relatively minor personal injury cases in CA.

Yes, they should get a lawyer. Be aware that this is usually not resolved quickly. These things can take a year or more sometimes. That's because everything takes time to be received, filed, notified, etc. tedious. However, beyond that (at least in CA), nothing will really progress until all immediate treatment and therapy is complete. Not necessarily continuing, longterm therapy, though.

They should make sure they keep ALL paperwork from their doctors and all receipts, although when the time comes, they will likely have to order full records. That's a cost incurred in the case, usually by the attorney if this is a contingency case, to be deducted off the top from any settlement.

If they are getting medical care due to the collision through their own insurance right now, they should be aware that the insurance company will likely seek reimbursement. They didn't used to, they do now.

I didn't read the other thread, so I don't know if a minor is involved, but in CA, there's another process (a Minor's Compromise) for the child to receive their portion of any settlemtn, which must be approved by the court. It adds a few months to the final resolution.

Also, most medical bills can be reduced by a phone call to the billing department. Heck, even without a lawsuit. I had a $1000 copay on a medical test (yeah, and I have coverage). I called up and asked for a reduction. Provided I paid by credit card right then, I got a 15% discount. $150 for 10 minutes effort? No brainer!

Finally, do NOT go to a chiropractor for this! Insurance companies will stonewall when chiropractors are involved. There are too many shady ones and their treatments are not looked on favorably. Those bills will rack up and the insurance company won't pay or will delay, forcing the filing of a complaint instead of just negotiations.

Oh! Get a copy of the police report. Get any/all witness information. Get photos of damage, estimates of repair. It's a big pain in the ass for the plaintiff. If your damages are "only" a few thousand (which it might be if you have medical coverage), you'd have to decide if its worth it to do all this. Especially after the lawyer takes his/her 25-30%.
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