Automobile Accident Legal Representation
Legal representation, or the hiring of an attorney to handle your case, is sometimes necessary. This is something that most people wish to avoid, and we certainly understand your hesitation. Often people close their eyes and just wish the whole thing would go away.
The fact remains that some insurance companies take very aggressive stances in dealing with car accident victims and generally assume that the majority of injuries are either exaggerated or completely false. This means that they will try to pay as little as possible to cover the expenses of your vehicle, your injuries, lost time from work, rental expenses, and whatever direct or indirect costs you may assume.
An Attorney is a professional that you hire to represent your side of the story. At this point, you no longer have to deal with either insurance companies (your own or the opposing insurance company) as he/she will do this for you. The vast majority of cases are settled out of court through negotiations between the attorney and insurance company. For their services, the attorney will typically charge between 30-40% of the total offered settlement as is standard and customary.
Factors To Consider
In deciding whether or not to obtain an attorney, you must ask yourself what costs you have accumulated:
Physical Costs - What is your level of injury from this accident? Just how injured are you? This is where your physician (Chiropractor, Medical Doctor, etc) can help, as they are accustomed to dealing with injured patients and at grading levels of injury.
Direct Costs - Things you have to directly pay for, such as an ambulance ride, doctor visits, and car rental while your vehicle is being repaired.
Indirect Costs - Things you have lost from the accident. Lost income from missing work. Lost time from having to travel to the doctor’s office. Lost enjoyment and quality of life.
Med Pay: Do not allow your attorney to collect MedPay
Some unscrupulous attorneys will decide to collect MedPay (What is Medpay? link in blue) payments rather then allowing them to come to our office. This is never a good situation as it virtually guarantees that you will be left with unpaid medical bills that we will then have to collect from you.
As attorneys work on a percentage of the collected settlement, they sometimes will send a letter to your insurance company instructing them to send payments to the attorney. By doing this, they are increasing the total “pot” of the settlement, from which they will take their 30-40% cut. Unfortunately, when they do this, they are actually taking money directly out of our compensation. This forces us to bill you directly for the remaining balance, which neither of us want.
If your attorney decides to do this, we require that you immediately obtain new legal representation to an attorney who will turn over all MedPay payments immediately. If you decide to remain with the same attorney, we require immediate payment for the full balance of your account as well as cash payments for any and all future treatments at the time of service.
Our office has the option of taking your case on a lien. This means that our office will forgo receiving payment at the time of service and will take payment out of the settlement at the end of your case. Our decision of whether or not to accept your case on lien is entirely up to our discretion. Factors we take into consideration include but are not limited to your level and types of injuries, damage to the car, attorney involved, insurance company involved, and your compliance to treatment care and recommendations.
If we decide we will not accept a lien on your case, you still have options. If you have private health insurance and it is a plan we accept, we will directly bill your insurance. Also, you have the option to make payments via cash or credit card at the time of treatment. We have had several patients in the past make full payment via a credit card and use the settlement at the end to pay off their credit card balance.
Office Policy Concerning Liens
- Our decision of whether or not to accept your case on lien is entirely up to our discretion.
- We may require you to make partial payment during each treatment session representing 10-25% of the cost of each treatment. This is done for our protection, as it ensures that only patients who have legitimate injuries and are serious about improving will present for treatment. At the time of settlement, the remaining balance will be collected.
- You must sign all documentation regarding the lien without any alteration.
- We only accept liens provided you have an attorney.
- If we feel your attorney is not a reliable or trustworthy individual, we may refuse to accept a lien.
- If your attorney is not local within the Bay Area (e.g. Los Angeles) we will very likely refuse to accept a lien.
- Your attorney must be willing to sign our lien without any alteration
- Your attorney will agree to leave any and all Med Pay collection untouched and will allow them to be sent directly to our office unhindered.
- If reductions in our billing are necessary, you attorney must be willing to match our reduction on a percentage basis and not a monetary basis.
- You must accept the fact that you may receive little or no compensation when the case is settled.