With the arrival of spring in Berks County, we may be out-and-about more — walking, running, biking, driving, etc. — and this can increase our risk of personal injury. A personal injury suit can be a complicated and confusing experience, especially if you were not responsible for your injury or illness. To help you understand what to expect and what to do, we have listed some of the things that you should keep in mind.
Obtain all medical records and bills. As soon as you can after an accident, you should ask for copies of all medical records and bills related to your injury. This is critical and vital evidence for your case. The insurance company will likely refuse to release these records until you sign a waiver that admits liability. However, in some states, if an insurance company does not release these records, they may still release your medical records after you have paid off your medical bills and are otherwise relieved of all responsibility for your accident.
Do not discuss liability with the insurance company. Many strongly recommend that you do not discuss liability with your insurance company. The only time you can discuss it is when you have consulted with a personal injury attorney. You should not give a written or recorded statement about your accident to the insurance company. You should only provide your statement to your attorney.
Obtain a copy of your insurance policy. You should also obtain a copy of your insurance policy. This will include your auto policy if your vehicle was hit by another vehicle, as well as your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy. Insurance policies provide much of your protection against accidents, especially car accidents. You should be sure to get a copy of your policy because often your policy provides liability insurance to protect you in an accident. Your vehicle insurance will provide “no-fault insurance” to protect you if you are hit by another vehicle as well. The problem is that many policies do not provide “permissive insurance” — that is, insurance coverage to protect you from your own auto insurance policy.
Do not settle your case early without first consulting a personal injury attorney. You should also avoid settling your case before you have consulted with a personal injury attorney to discuss your case. Often, insurance companies will suggest a settlement even before the “no-fault” law allows. The insurance company will be acting on the insurance policy of the other driver, and may not recognize your personal injury claim.
The law office of elder law attorney Scott C. Painter, P.C., is located in Wyomissing (outside of Reading, PA, in Berks County,) and offers trusted legal services in the areas of elder law, including nursing home planning, trust and estate services, and veterans benefits. Scott C. Painter is a Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA®), and he is also a member of the National Association of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA).
If you have an issue or question, we encourage you to call us. With legal matters, time is of the essence. Your first consultation with us is free! 610-378-5140.