C&H founder lands a coveted spot on a global list of legal leaders.
Console & Hollawell is honored to announce that our own Richard P. Console, Jr., founder and managing partner, has been recognized in Wealth & Finance International’s 2016 Legal 100 Awards.
Wealth & Finance International Magazine
Wealth & Finance International is an England- and Wales-based online and print magazine with a global readership of more than 130,000 people. The magazine’s monthly issues are dedicated to the industry needs of private and institutional investors and fund managers. However, Wealth & Finance INTL is also known for the prestigious awards lists the magazine publishes annually.
In addition to the Legal 100 Awards, Wealth & Finance INTL presents deserving recipients with the publication’s acknowledgements, including:
Wealth & Money Management Awards
Alternative Investment Awards
Women in Wealth Awards.
What Are the Legal 100 Awards?
The Wealth & Finance International’s 2016 Legal 100 Awards honor recipients across the legal industry, from small single-attorney firms to massive global firms, as well as bar associations. The magazine’s merit-based awards aim to “consider every success” and takes into account candidates’ “innovation, exceptional client service, expertise, and professional acumen” throughout the decision-making process.
What the Award Means to Us
Naturally, the whole Console & Hollawell team is always thrilled when our attorneys receive an award. In this case, we’re particularly pleased that our work has attracted global attention.
Though C&H is a small business, we always strive to combine the personal attention of a small firm with the resources and experience you would expect from a large national or international firm. We’re grateful to have the opportunity to make a difference in the legal industry as a whole – and, more importantly, in the lives of the individual clients we serve.
Find out everything you need to know about dealing with a work injury, from when to report it to when you need a workers’ comp attorney.
If you’ve just been in a work accident for the first time, you might feel disoriented – not only by the injuries yousuffered, but by the confusing workers’ compensation process. You’re not sure what you’re supposed to do next.
Motor vehicle collisions that happen while performing work duties
Being struck by a falling object
Developing injuries from repetitive stress motions
How the accident actually happened matters less than where and when the accident occurred. Workers’ compensation insurance in New Jersey covers employees as long as the injury “is arising out of and in the course of the employment,” reported the New Jersey Division of Risk Management. If you were on the clock or working for your employer at the time of the accident, then state law requires that your injury be covered by workers’ compensation insurance.
When to Report the Accident
You should always report a work accident immediately.
Don’t be afraid that you will get in trouble. Don’t think that you need to wait to see how serious the injury is or take the time to look for evidence that your employer is the one in the wrong.
Just report it.
If it turns out that you’re not seriously hurt, you’ve lost nothing by reporting an accident right away. If anything, your report could encourage your employer to take additional safety precautions – so that there won’t be a more serious injury in the future.
But if you are badly hurt, you’ll be glad that you made the report. You can start accessing workers’ compensation benefits sooner rather than later. You’re not giving the insurance carrier an easy way to deny you benefits, because you documented the accident when it happened.
So, if you got hurt at work and you haven’t reported the injury yet, don’t wait any longer. Make the report now.
When to See a Doctor
The sooner you see a doctor after a work injury, the better. Sure, your life is busy, and there are plenty of other ways you would rather spend your time. But trying to press on when you have a serious injury isn’t tough or noble – it’s dangerous. You could be making the damage worse by waiting.
Plus, the longer you wait, the more difficult it may become to get the medical benefits you’re entitled to. If you don’t see a doctor for a week after the accident, the workers’ comp insurance carrier might try to argue that you weren’t really injured in the work accident, but instead, in an event that occurred outside of work.
There really is no reason to wait. Workers’ comp insurance covers medical treatments for your injuries. Tests, physical therapy, and even surgeries are all covered.
When to Hire a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Have your injuries turned out to be something serious? Did they cause additional problems with any pre-existing injuries you might have? Has the workers’ comp insurance company denied your claim or given you a hard time? Then it’s time to call a workers’ comp lawyer.
Work accident victims contact attorneys for all kinds of reasons. Sometimes they realize they just aren’t being offered the money they deserve. Other times, it takes missing a good deal of time at work to realize how serious the situation is.
Maybe their employer makes them fear for their job. Or they realize that they might have a case against someone else who contributed to the accident besides their employer – but they will need help to sort out the workers’ comp claim from what we call a third-party case.
Basically, if you’re starting to wonder if you need a workers’ comp lawyer, that’s a sign that you should – at the very least – call an attorney for a free consultation.
Don’t Fall for Workers’ Comp Myths
Do you believe that your employer must be completely at fault for the accident for you to have benefits? What about the idea that your employer can fire you for using workers’ comp benefits? Or the misconception that you have all the time in the world to pursue a claim?
When you don’t know the facts, it’s easy to make a mistake that could hurt your future. The myths are just that – myths. But here’s the truth:
You Can Have a Workers’ Comp Claim Even If You’re at Fault for the Accident
You don’t need to be able to prove that your employer is at fault for your injury. In fact, your employer’s workers’ comp coverage applies even if you’re the one at fault.
So don’t let an employer or a coworker talk you out of getting benefits because you’re afraid the employer will try to blame you. That tactic won’t stop you from getting the help you deserve after a work injury.
You Can’t Get Fired for Pursuing a Workers’ Comp Case
At least, not legally. NJ prohibits employers from retaliating against employees for using their workers’ compensation benefits.
Your employer probably doesn’t want to get in legal trouble. But if you’re still worried about losing your job because you pursue a case, keep in mind that having a workers’ compensation attorney on your side can help you make sure your case goes smoothly – and help you understand your legal options if it doesn’t.
There Are Time Limits on Your Claim
Our attorneys always recommend reporting work accidents right away – for more reasons than one. There are deadlines on workers’ comp cases.
First of all, if you make the mistake of not reporting the accident within the first 14 days, “no compensation shall be due until such notice is given or knowledge obtained,” the New Jersey Division of Risk Management reported.
And if you have to pursue a workers’ comp lawsuit or a third-party personal injury case against someone other than your employer, your rights here are limited, too. The statute of limitations for claims like these is typically just two years in NJ – and in some cases, even shorter.
The workers’ compensation claims process can be long and, at times, frustrating. If you need help figuring out what to do after a work accident, we’re here to answer your questions.
Find out everything you need to know about the benefits you’re entitled to after an accident.
If you had your way, this accident wouldn’t have happened in the first place. But now that it has, you need to know what benefits are available to help you get better and get your life back on track.
When you’re hurt in an accident, having medical benefits can make all the difference. You need this care to get better – and you need money to afford the care.
When a car accident occurs, you’re eligible for medical benefits through an auto insurance company.
What Medical Benefits Are Available?
Medical benefits through an auto insurance policy cover the cost of medical care, including:
Emergency room visits
You can use your medical benefits for inpatient care at hospitals and rehab facilities. Or for outpatient physical therapy and doctors’ appointments.
Unlike a health insurance company, your auto insurer can’t limit what doctors you can see or hospitals you can visit. But there are limits to how much care you can receive.
Your medical benefits come from your personal injury protection (PIP) coverage.
New Jersey auto insurance policies may have up to $250,000 of PIP coverage (or more), but some policies may have just $15,000 in coverage.
In Pennsylvania, PIP coverage can be as low as $5,000.
Medical Benefits in No-Fault States
When you’re in a car crash in New Jersey or Pennsylvania, it’s your own auto insurance policy that pays your medical benefits.
Why? Because NJ and PA are both no-fault states.
This doesn’t literally mean that no one is at fault for the accident. Of course someone was.
But no-fault laws mean that your own insurance company has to pay your auto accident-related medical bills regardless of who is at fault.
That’s true even if you weren’t driving – if you were a passenger or even a pedestrian struck by a car.
The Pros and Cons of No-Fault Insurance
The good thing about no-fault laws is that you don’t have to wait for the insurance companies to figure out who is at fault to get medical benefits. But there are definitely drawbacks.
For one thing, it’s frustrating that the bills fall on you when the other driver is at fault.
For another, your medical benefits aren’t free – you bear some of the financial responsibilities, too. (More about this later.)
And, of course, no-fault laws leave passengers and pedestrians who aren’t covered by their own auto insurance policy in a confusing position. Figuring out who pays for the medical bills in these cases can be complex.
The Health as Primary Option
There’s an exception to this law. If you make a certain choice setting up your auto insurance policy, you might have to go through your health insurance company instead of your auto insurance policy. This means your insurer will be able to restrict which doctors you can see – and you may end up paying more money out of pocket.
Wage Loss Payments
Did you know that your auto insurance policy might also include wage loss payments?
Many policyholders don’t. They often never know when they buy the insurance that they can upgrade their policies to provide a higher wage loss payment for very little added cost.
But even if you didn’t purchase extra wage loss coverage, you’re probably still entitled to at least some benefits – like $100 per week.
It may not sound like much when you’ve got bills to pay, but an extra $400 per month when you’re out of work can make a big difference.
The problem is that many policyholders don’t get these payments, because don’t know about the benefit. Even our injury attorneys have many run-ins over the years with insurance adjusters who tried to wriggle out of paying wage loss benefits.
Because we handle car accident cases every day, we know when the insurers are misrepresenting the facts. We know when they are unreasonably delaying payments. We know exactly what paperwork is required to process wage loss payments.
And, if adjusters continue to be uncooperative, we know to go over their heads. More than once, we have spoken toan adjuster’s supervisor to demand that they pay the benefits our clients deserve.
But accident victims who are trying to handle their own claims don’t know these things. And many of them, unfortunately, get taken advantage of by their own insurance company.
Getting your car fixed after an accident can be more complicated than you would expect. The process depends on whether you go through your own auto insurance or the policy of the other driver – assuming he or she is at fault.
Property Damage Benefits Through Your Own Insurer
Choosing to have your own insurer pay for the vehicle repairs often means you can get your car fixed sooner –a big deal if the damage is so bad that the care isn’t drivable in the meantime.
But there are disadvantages. You’ll have to pay a deductible of hundreds or even thousands of dollars out of pocket. You might get this money back, but there’s no guarantee – and even if you do, it could take some time.
And, depending on the insurance coverage you purchases, this might not even be an option for you. If you weren’t carrying collision coverage, going through the at-fault driver’s insurer or paying for the damage yourself could be your only options.
Getting Your Car Fixed Through the Other Driver’s Insurance Company
If you have the at-fault driver’s insurance company pay to fix your car, you won’t have a deductible to pay. But you should be prepared for a long wait.
The other insurance company won’t pay to fix your car unless it decides that its own policyholder is at fault – which isn’t something the insurer wants to admit.
Even if liability for the crash seems clear to you, your insurance company, and the police, the other driver’s insurance company will want to investigate. And that means you could be stuck with a damaged car, or without a drivable car at all, for some time.
What’s the Cost of Accident Benefits?
Isn’t there always a catch? Unfortunately, yes – these accident benefits aren’t just given to you.
Even though you already paid for the privilege of having coverage through your premiums, you’ll have to pay again in the form of deductibles and copays. When your own insurer pays for something – like medical care or vehicle repair – you have obligations, too.
Often, deductibles range from $250 to $2,500. Choosing higher deductibles can lower your premiums, but if you need to use the coverage, this choice could cost you. You may have different deductibles for property damage and medical benefits, so make sure you find out what you actually have to pay.
When it comes to medical care, you also have to make copays of 20 percent of the cost of treatment up to the first $5,000.
There are limits on how much you can be forced to pay. If you chose a $250 deductible, you could have to shell out up to $1,200 between the deductible and the copays. But if you went with a high deductible like $2,500, you could be looking at $3,000 that you – not your insurance company – must pay.
Compensation You Can Only Get by Pursuing a Personal Injury Claim
What about other damages, like the pain and suffering you endured because of the accident?
As significant as your pain is, this isn’t a benefit an insurer will give you. To get compensation for pain and suffering, you’ll need to pursue a personal injury claim.
Of course it’s helpful to have medical benefits, wage loss payments, and property damage coverage available to you from the start. But filing a personal injury claim is necessary for accident victims with serious injuries to be made whole again.
What About Benefits for Accidents that Don’t Involve a Car?
Not all serious injuries involve a motor vehicle. For accidents that instead occur on dangerous properties, you don’t have the accident benefits available from an auto insurance policy.
You may need to pursue a personal injury claim to have any hope of recovering some of the same damages that, for a car accident victim, would be covered automatically.
But you may still be entitled to some accident benefits. For example, some commercial property and homeowners’ insurance policies include a medical payments, or “med pay,” coverage that provides benefits no matter who is at fault for the injury.
Finding out what coverage is available and whether you’re eligible for med pay can be a challenge. It may take some investigation, not to mention some back-and-forth with the insurance company. That’s why it’s often a good idea to have a lawyer handling your case and helping you sort out questions about accident benefits.
When it comes to getting the accident benefits you deserve, knowing what you’re entitled to is everything. If you have questions about insurance benefits after an accident, give us a call at (856) 778-5500 for help understanding what’s covered.
Here’s everything you need to know about when you have to notify the police, the insurance company, and an attorney about an accident.
An accident can throw you into a confusing new world full of rules you know nothing about, obligations you didn’t know you had, and legal and insurance terms you don’t understand.
What can you do to make things simpler? Look for dependable information from someone who spends every day navigating this world – and helping people in situations like yours make sense of it.
Read on for a personal injury attorney’s breakdown of when to report an accident to the police, when you need to notify your insurance company, and when to hire a lawyer.
Reporting an Accident to the Police
It’s always a good idea to report any motor vehicle accident to the police – yes, even a minor one.
After all, you don’t always know that a crash is minor right away. The vehicle damage may seem slight, but there could be some more serious harm beneath the hood of the car – or within your body. Some injuries, like herniated discs, can seem mild at first but worsen over the hours, days, and weeks that follow the crash.
Calling 911 isn’t just the smart choice – it’s the law. In both NJ and PA, a car accident must be reported any time it involves a death, an injury of any kind, or vehicle damage. Drivers involved in Pennsylvania car accidents aren’t strictly required to report the crash as long as no one is hurt and the vehicle doesn’t have to be towed. But in a New Jersey car accident, you’re supposed to notify the police if there’s just $500 worth of vehicle damage.
It’s not just my opinion as an attorney that you should always report a car accident to the police. Even U.S. News Money notes that a police report is important for preventing the situation from becoming your word against the other driver’s.
If you didn’t call the police at the time of the accident, take immediate action to fix this mistake. File a police report now, based on whatever information you collected from the other driver. You may be able to do this over the phone, or you might have to go to the police station in person.
What about accidents that don’t involve a motor vehicle? You might be surprised to learn that you should also report injuries like slip and falls to the police.
Imagine this scenario: You’re walking in a residential area when a safety hazard causes you to fall.
Unlike a fall at a retail store or restaurant, you’re not surrounded by employees you can approach to report the event. You might ring the doorbell of the nearest property, only to find out that no one is at home. If no one was around to see you fall, there’s no evidence that the accident even happened.
In a case like this, you need to document that the fall occurred right away by reporting it to the police. Otherwise, the only proof you have that you fell at all are the injuries you suffered – injuries that the property owner’s insurance company might try to say you already had.
If in doubt, always err on the side of caution and report an accident or injury to the police. Having an accurate police report that backs up your claim can only help you.
Reporting an Accident to an Insurance Company
What about notifying the insurance companies involved in the accident? This can be trickier than you might think.
Your Insurance Company
Whenever you’re involved in a car accident, you need to notify your own auto insurance company promptly. That’s true even if you weren’t driving and your car wasn’t even involved. As a policyholder, you have a contract with this company. That means you have an obligation to report the accident to the insurer.
If you’re hurt, your auto insurer is also the one that pays your medical bills in no-fault states like NJ and PA. You need to get a claim number from your insurance company so you can get medical care.
What do you say when you notify your insurer? Only the basics: that there was a crash and that you need a claim number to get medical care.
Unfortunately, even your own insurance company isn’t on your side. It’s in your auto insurer’s best interests to pay as little as possible. If you make the mistake of saying that you think your injuries are minor or that you’ve had similar problems in the past, your insurance company might try to deny you medical benefits.
So keep the conversation brief, stick to the basic facts, and decline to give any kind of recorded statement.
The Other Party’s Insurer
When it comes to the other side’s insurance company – whether the at-fault driver’s auto insurer or a commercial property owner’s business insurer – you have no contract. That means you have no obligations to fulfill.
It’s best to avoid talking to this insurer until you have an attorney to guide you.
If you do speak with this insurance company, be even more careful about discussing only the basic facts of the accident. And be prepared for the frustrating possibility that the insurance adjuster won’t cooperate with you. Often, our clients only realize they need a lawyer when the insurance adjuster begins giving them the runaround or tries to unfairly deny their claim.
Discussing an Accident with a Lawyer
As an attorney, I know that having a lawyer on your side from the start puts your case in a better position than if you wait to get representation. It means you won’t risk damaging your claim through your interactions with the other party’s insurance adjuster. When you have a lawyer from day one, you’ll never be in danger of missing important deadlines.
Getting an early start allows an attorney to investigate your case sooner. This helps me collect the kind of evidence that could vanish – like photographs, video surveillance footage, and maintenance logs.
But I also know that many accident victims don’t think they need a lawyer right away. Many of them start looking for legal representation when they run into a problem – when the insurance adjuster stops cooperating, when they see the medical bills starting to pile up, when they realize that they are really hurt.
As soon as you begin wondering whether you need a personal injury lawyer, it’s a good idea to talk to a law firm. Most accident attorneys offer free consultations, so if it turns out you don’t need a lawyer, you haven’t lost anything.
Report an accident to policeright away.
Report an accident to your insurance companypromptly– but onlythe basic facts!
Report an accident to the opposing insurance companyafter you speak with an attorney – and be careful what you say.
Contact a lawyer to discuss your accident as soon as you realize you might need help.
What seems like a random but unfortunate situation might actually be the grounds for a legal claim – and an attorney can help you find out for sure.
Think personal injury attorneys only handle car accidents and slip and falls? Then you’d be surprised at the kind of cases we can help you with.
Prescription Drug Addiction and Overdose
You might not associate a drug addiction or overdose with negligence. To most people, it may not seem like the kind of case you hire a lawyer for. But when that addiction or overdose began in a doctor’s office, it falls under the realm of medical malpractice law.
The problem is that many families who are coping with an opiate overdose death don’t realize that a doctor was the problem. They’re never able to get justice for their loved one or the answers that could give their family closure. That’s why, after handling a number of over-prescribing claims, we urge families who have lost a loved one to prescription drug overdose to at least talk to an attorney and get the facts about their legal rights.
Did you know that a cosmetic you used decades ago – like talc-based baby powder – could put you at risk of developing cancer?
Unfortunately, we consumers often know too little about the products we use in our daily lives – and the companies that produce those products sometimes keep it that way for their own financial gain. By the time we learn a cosmetic or other consumer product was hazardous, it’s often too late. The damage is done.
Cancer exposure due to a dangerous cosmetic is a form of personal injury known as products liability – and an attorney can help.
Dangerous Houseware Products
A crockpot that cracks suddenly in your hands, slicing your skin. A malfunctioning power tool that mangles fingers. When seemingly harmless household items fail in disastrous ways, these, too, can be the basis of products liability claims.
If your injuries are serious, don’t just throw the item away and resign yourself to covering the cost of the damage. Check with a lawyer to see if you have legal recourse against the company that manufactured the dangerous item.
An airborne recycling can struck a woman in the neck, knocking her to the ground. A stick thrown by a child, only to hit another kid right in the eye.
These might sound like freak accidents, the kind of shocking event that’s unpredictable and inexplicable. The odds against them happening – to anyone – are astronomical.
Yet they did happen. And they caused lifelong consequences for the people who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
These might not seem like the kind of situations you can sue for, especially at first glance. After all, who would you sue – a recycling can? A stick?
But in these very real cases, our personal injury lawyers were able to find out precisely how these accidents happened. As it turned out, there were people – individuals and companies – behind these events. People whose careless actions caused the injuries.
The recycling can was only airborne in the first place because a recycling truck had propelled it into the air while lifting another can with its mechanical arm. What at first might seem like a random accident was really caused by the company that owned and operated the truck. We fought for this client in court and got her a jury award of $859,000.
As far as the stick that caused the eye injury goes, the individual who threw the stick appeared to be at fault. But we investigated further and learned that this stick, and a pile of other yard debris, had been left at the edge of the property for more than a month, violating town ordinances. Two people had allowed this to happen, setting the stage for the accident – the property owner and her landscaping company.
We knew this child’s life would never be the same after losing his eye, so we pursued claims against all three defendants to get him all of the compensation available. His case concluded with a $600,000 settlement.
If your or your family member’s injury involved an unusual circumstance like a prescription drug overdose, cancer exposure, a defective kitchen appliance or power tool, or a freak accident, don’t make the mistake of thinking you have to face it alone. You might be surprised what cases we can help with or how much help we can be throughout your rehabilitation.
At the very least, it’s always worth talking your situation over with an attorney during a free consultation. After all, you have nothing to lose and possibly a lot to gain.
Today I am pleased to announce that Global Law Experts has selected Console & Hollawell for the organization’s Personal Injury Law Firm of the Year award.
The Global Law Experts Annual Awards
Every year, Global Law Experts recognizes the top law firms across the world.
The selection process takes months to complete. Through its own independent research and recommendations from more than 120,000 sources, Global Law Experts narrows down a shortlist of nominees. For the final awards decisions, the organization looks at factors like law firm reputation, client testimonials, and other legal rankings.
Personal Injury Law Firm of the Year is part of Global Law Experts’ Peer Choice category, which means other respected attorneys and law firms were kind enough to take the time to support us.
Our firm is thrilled to receive this honor from one of the most influential online legal resources across the world. Year after year, Global Law Experts strives to offer free and accessible legal assistance to the public and put those in need of an attorney in touch with lawyers they can count on. Having spent more than two decades working with victims of personal injuries, that’s a mission our firm can stand behind.
In an accident? Wondering what to do next? These 6 tips from experienced accident lawyers can help you navigate the complex process and get the medical care and compensation you deserve.
An accident can be stressful, but knowing what to do next can make things easier. These six simple tips are the same recommendations the award-winning attorneys at Console & Hollawell give our own family and friends after a car accident. Following these steps can help you start getting your life back on track sooner.
1. Keep calm.
Even a minor accident can send you into shock and get your adrenaline pumping. No matter how serious the injury is, try not to panic.
Take a deep breath. Assess the situation. Are you hurt? Is someone else?
Now it’s time to take the first step…
2. Call 911.
Whenever an accident happens, you should always call 911.
I know that many car accident victims are tempted not to call the police. When the property damage seems minimal and no one is so badly hurt that they need to rush to the emergency room, you might think that calling 911 is making the crash a bigger deal than it really needs to be. But that’s not true.
Just because the extent of the damage isn’t obvious right now doesn’t mean that there was no damage. In my two decades of handling accident cases, I’ve talked to countless victims who regret not calling the police.
Sometimes they are able to fix their mistake by reporting the accident after the fact. Other times, though, they also failed to gather important information from the person who caused the injury.
Without knowing the true identity of the driver, his or her contact information, or his or her insurance information, an accident victim might not have enough facts to file a police report. There’s no proof that the other driver caused the collision – or that another driver was even involved. If it turns out that the victim had suffered injuries more severe than few aches and pains, or that the damage under the hood or bumper was more serious than it appeared, the victim is out of luck.
So whatever you do, don’t let the other driver stop you from contacting the authorities. Calling 911 isn’t about getting the other driver in trouble, and it’s not a waste of time. It serves a number of purposes that could be important later, if it turns out that you need to make a claim. These include:
Documenting that the accident occurred
Possibly resulting in a police report that supports a theory of liability, or who is at fault for the crash
Bringing a police presence to the scene, which may be necessary for the safety of others in the vicinity
Bringing emergency medical services to the site so providers can assess the injuries
3. Gather Information.
While you’re waiting for the police to arrive, gather the information you will need as you deal with this accident.
Start with the other driver. You will need their name, address, vehicle, and insurance information. You can get these facts from an auto insurance card and a driver’s license. Note down the details on a piece of paper, or take a photo with your phone. You need to make sure you have information like the driver’s insurance company and policy number.
If there were any witnesses, collect their information, too. You want to get not only names and contact information, but their accounts of what they witnessed. After all, the collision doesn’t affect them personally. Their memories of what happened could fade long before you’re done dealing with the consequences of the crash.
If you have a smartphone or access to a camera, take some photos of the accident scene, the positions of the vehicles, and the damage they sustained.
4. Get medical care.
If your injuries are serious enough to require immediate attention, don’t be afraid to go to the emergency room. You’re not being neurotic or overanxious by doing so. You were involved in the kind of accident that can cause real and severe injuries. Getting checked out right away isn’t overcautious – it’s smart.
If it turns out you’re not badly hurt, you have peace of mind. And if your injuries are serious, just think how much worse they might become if you had waited days before you finally sought help.
Even if you don’t need emergency care, you should still get checked out. Call your primary physician for an appointment, but don’t be surprised if he or she won’t treat you. Many family doctors’ offices don’t have the necessary staff or procedures in place to handle the complexities of billing auto insurance companies.
If your doctor can’t help you, ask if he or she can refer you to a physician who does see accident victims – preferably one who accepts any health insurance policy you may have as well as billing auto insurers.
Because New Jersey and Pennsylvania are no-fault states, your own auto insurance company will be the one paying your medical bills – with your help, of course. So you need to let your insurer know that the accident happened and that you intend to seek medical treatment. This way, the insurer can open a claim for you and provide you with a claim number to give to your doctors.
Don’t go into too much detail about the crash at this time. For that matter, you don’t even have to say where you are injured, and you certainly shouldn’t try to guess what is wrong. Leave the medical diagnosis to your doctors, and focus on just getting a medical claim opened. There will be plenty of time later for your attorney – not you personally – to discuss the details of the accident with your insurance company.
6. Call an accident lawyer.
Think you don’t need a lawyer? So did many of the thousands of clients my firm has helped – at first, anyway.
Soon enough, they realized that they were really hurt, or that the medical bills they had to pay were really cutting into their families’ finances. For some, missing work and losing income was a wakeup call, while others got tired of the frustrating process of dealing with insurers and filling out endless piles of paperwork.
Ultimately, if your injuries were serious enough to affect your life, it’s worth making a call to an accident lawyer. It will never cost you anything to learn what rights you have, get your questions answered, and find out all of the ways an attorney can help you.
What information do you need to get? And what happens if you don’t get all of the right information while you’re at the scene?
First thing’s first – you need the other driver’s name.
Don’t just go by the name on the insurance card – remember, the person driving the car might not be the same person listed on the insurance card. It could be a covered family member or a friend who the owner gave permission to drive the car. When you begin the process of pursuing a car accident claim, you’ll need to know who was actually behind the wheel.
Names aren’t enough – and in the case of popular or common names, they might not be sufficient to help you identify the driver. You want to get the other driver’s address, as well. If you can, copy down the information from the other motorist’s driver’s license – or at least, snap a picture of the license with your cell phone.
A number of drivers worry more about getting the other motorist’s phone number than their address and insurance information, but this can be a mistake.
To pursue a claim and really get the compensation you deserve, you’ll have to go through the driver’s insurance company. You won’t be talking to the driver directly during this process.
If you make the mistake of trying to work things out with the other driver without getting the insurance companies involved, there’s always the chance that the at-fault driver might just stop responding when it becomes time for them to pay up.
Unfortunately, a lot of trusting drivers get burned this way. And if they have no information but the driver’s phone number, they may have a hard time ever getting any money at all for their injuries or even their car repairs.
Driving without insurance is illegal in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The driver who hit you should have written proof of insurance. Ask to see it.
You want to make a note of:
The insurance policy number
The name of theinsurance company
The numerical code representing the insurance company
The name of thepolicyholder
The policy effective date
The policy expiration date
You should also copy down the year, make, and model of the other driver’s vehicle as well as the vehicle identification number (VIN). If that driver has multiple vehicles on the auto insurance policy, you will need to identify which one was involved in the crash.
It may also help to note down the license plate number and even the color of the vehicle that hit you – because in the hectic aftermath of an accident, you might not be able to remember even the details you would usually notice.
You should be able to get information like the year, make, model, and VIN from the auto insurance card.
It’s also important for future reference to have your own vehicle information, especially if you’re not the owner of the car. Your own auto insurance card will provide information about the year, make, model, and VIN, if you’re unsure about that data.
It will also tell you the policy number of the auto insurance policy that covers the vehicle. You will need this information when you report the crash to your insurer – or, if you’re not a named insured on the policy covering that car, if you have to pursue a claim against the owner or driver of the car you were in.
Do you know what road you were on when the crash happened? What city? How about the time of the crash? The nearest intersection?
What damage did your vehicle sustain? The other driver’s vehicle?
You might be surprised how many accident victims don’t know this basic information – and how surprised they are to realize that they don’t have an answer to some of the first questions an insurer (or personal injury lawyer) will ask.
But after all, they’re in shock at the time of the collision. It can be difficult notice these facts, or to remember them later.
To make things easier for yourself, take a moment after the crash to jot down:
The city where the collision occurred
The road(s) where the accident happened
The nearest cross street and any other landmarks
The time of the collision
How the crash happened
Anything you think might be important to describing the collision later on
The damage to all vehicles involved – not just yours
If possible, take it a step farther – take pictures of the placement of the cars after the crash and of the accident scene. Also, if anyone witnessed the crash, make sure you write down the names, phone numbers, and statements of witnesses.
When police arrive at the car accident scene, they will take down your and the other driver’s information and use that to create a report of the collision. That report will be crucial when you begin pursuing a claim.
Note down what police department responded to your accident, the name of the officer, and any report number he or she may give you. Some police departments now issue cards containing this information. What’s important is that you know where and how to retrieve a copy of the police report once the document is complete.
Gathering Information on Accidents Other than Car Crashes
Of course, not every accident involves a motor vehicle. If you got hurt in a different kind of accident, like a slip and fall, a work injury, or a dog bite, it’s still essential that you gather the information necessary to pursue a claim. Otherwise, you’ll never get the compensation you deserve.
Get information about the property owner, including the individual’s or company’s name, address, insurance carrier, insurance policy number. Make a note of any individuals (such as employees at a business property) who assisted you after the accident or witnessed the event. If an accident or incident report is drafted, request a copy.
What If You Miss Something?
I know – this seems like a lot to remember. When an accident happens, there’s a chance you will forget to gather some of the information you need.
Fortunately, you can often get additional information after-the-fact. The police report will often include information about the time and location of the crash, the parties involved, and their vehicle and insurance information.
It’s always better to gather as much information as possible right off the bat – especially since a police report can take days, or even weeks, to prepare. You don’t want to wait that long to get your car fixed or your injuries treated.
But if you are missing some information, don’t give up hope. A car accident lawyer can still help you figure out your next steps and where to look for the information you need.
Find out how your car crash will affect you – and what you can do to minimize the impact of this accident on your life.
If you have just been in a car accident, it might be too soon yet to know exactly how this collision will affect your life. As you’re beginning to see how frustrating – even devastating – a car crash can be, you might wonder what other consequences to expect.
Life after a car accident can be tough. But you’re not powerless. By making the right choices and getting the right help at the right time, you can minimize the ways and the extent to which this car accident will impact your life.
One of the first concerns car accident victims have – often, even above their concerns about their own health – is getting their car fixed. After all, you need that car – your family needs that car – to get around. Without it, how can you get to work, take the kids to school, or even make it to your doctors’ appointments?
It’s understandable that you’re worried about the property damage. Who wouldn’t be?
Our car accident lawyers may be able to help you find out what options you have to get your car fixed, set up your property damage claim, and even arrange transportation services to get you to your medical appointments in the meantime. When we handle the personal injury portion of your car accident case, we’ll assist as necessary with the property damage claim as a courtesy to you.
Pain and Limitations
Sometimes, it’s immediately clear how serious your injuries from a car crash are. You may have visible damage, like severe cuts. You might feel pain right away. It might not take long to realize your limitations, like your inability to walk, stand, or stretch without pain.
But other times, that pain might be minor at first. When you’re still in shock, you might not notice it at all. Only once the pain gets worse and begins to interfere with your daily life will you realize how significantly this injury could affect you.
When you get hurt in a car accident, it’s always important that you get medical care. If your doctor won’t see you, or if you’re confused about who is supposed to pay your medical bills, we can help.
When an injury keeps you out of work, it can put your financial wellbeing at risk. Your family depends on your income, and this accident certainly wasn’t something you could have predicted and budgeted for. The longer you’re out of work, the more your injury threatens your financial stability. When you require months of rehabilitation to learn to walk again or you need a difficult surgery followed by a long recovery, you could be out of work for months or even a year – like some of our past clients have been.
We know that you can’t afford to miss a year of work. That’s why we pursue maximum compensation for all of our clients, including compensation for the wages they lose because of the accident and any future loss of earning potential. We have even helped clients get money damages that cover their missed overtime pay and gain sharing or profit-sharing benefits.
Healthcare Questions and Medical Bills
After an accident, it’s difficult to figure out how the process of getting the medical care you need will work.
Who pays for the bills?
What claim numbers and other information do you need to provide to your doctors’ offices?
What kind of specialists do you need to see, and how will you find doctors that treat accident victims when so many physicians don’t want to deal with the hassle of billing auto insurance companies?
What tests or procedures will you need to get pre-approval for? What doctors will your insurance company allow you to see? And what happens if your insurer denies you medical treatment?
What payments are you personally responsible for – and how will you afford them?
Then there are the medical bills themselves – piles of them, often with language that makes it unclear who owes, how much is owed, and why. Even with auto and health insurance, your portion of those bills can quickly climb to unaffordable amounts of money.
When you haven’t been hurt in an accident before, the whole process is confusing. But when you deal with car accident claims every single day, like our attorneys have for decades, you become familiar with the ins and outs of the claims process.
We’ll help you understand the basic process, any exceptions that could apply to your claim, and what your responsibilities are. We will make sure you’re able to get treatment and help you overcome obstacles like claim denials or unaffordable copays. We will keep track of your medical bills and ensure that they’re getting paid by the right parties – a task that’s harder than it sounds, but one that our in-house Personal Injury Protection (PIP) department is perfectly capable of handling for you.
The Hassle of Dealing with an Accident
One thing is for sure – even if you’re not seriously injured, dealing with a car accident is frustrating. There are insurance companies to contact, paperwork to keep track of, and requests for official statements. All you want right now is to be left alone to focus on getting better and getting your life back on track. The phone calls and paperwork become distractions – stressful and often time-consuming ones, at that.
The thing is, you don’t have to handle this hassle on your own. When you put your claim in the hands of a car accident attorney, dealing with the insurance company isn’t your problem anymore. It becomes your lawyer’s job.
Don’t worry – with insider experience working for the insurance industry, we know how to deal with your insurer, including what the insurance company is (and is not) allowed to do.
How a Car Accident Lawyer Can Help
If you’re like many car accident victims, you might have the misconception that an attorney is only helpful later on in the process, when they get you a settlement or take your case to court. And while we do fight for results like high-value settlements, that’s not all we do.
Walk you through your insurance coverage so you understand who is responsible for paying what costs
Assist with a property damage claim – getting your car fixed or getting compensation for a totaled vehicle
Help find doctors with the experience and billing capabilities to treat you
Make sure that nothing – like a lack of transportation, language barrier, out-of-pocket cost or claim denial – stands in the way of you getting medical treatment
See that your medical bills are getting paid correctly
Handle all interactions with the insurance companies
Calculate all of your lost earnings and fighting for compensation
A car accident can impact your life in so many ways – but so can hiring the right lawyer. We may not be able to undo the effects the crash has had on your life, but we’ll do everything we can to make life after the accident as easy – and as close to “normal” – as possible.
If you would like to see how we can help you, call (856) 778-5500 today. The consultation is always free.
Find out whether a car accident will increase your insurance rates – and why the notion that pursuing a personal injury claim will raise your rates is a myth.
No question about it – you pay a lot of money for auto insurance as it is
New Jersey, in particular, is among the most expensive states in the nation to insure a car in. And the premiums in Pennsylvania aren’t exactly small change, either.
So it’s no surprise that, on top of everything else they have to worry about, many car accident victims worry about an insurance rate hike.
A car accident can increase insurance rates – often, by as much as 41 percent.
But that doesn’t mean your crash will raise your auto insurance rates.
Who Is at Fault?
If you weren’t at fault for the collision, it’s unfair for you to be the one paying for the consequences – and that includes higher insurance rates.
An insurance company can only raise your rates if the crash was what’s called a “chargeable accident.” In other words, the crash must be your fault. You don’t have to take my word for it, either. Objective research has shown that when you’re not at fault for the collision, “your payments shouldn’t be affected,” CBS News reported.
Some auto insurers even offer benefits like “accident forgiveness” when policyholders cause their first collision. But other insurance companies aren’t so lenient.
Your Driving History Under a Microscope
Even if you didn’t cause the crash, an accident can prompt your insurer to scrutinize your driving record more closely.
If you’ve already gotten tickets for speeding or breaking some other traffic safety law but you haven’t yet seen your insurance rates go up, you might now. Yes, even if those tickets have nothing to do with the crash.
Insurers price premiums based on the likelihood of having to pay claims. The more tickets and citations you have, the bigger the risk you pose, and the more you’ll have to pay for coverage.
Don’t Be Deterred From Pursuing a Claim
Fear of an auto insurance rate increase is a major reason why many accident victims never pursue a claim. But this fear is based on a misconception.
If the accident itself doesn’t cause your auto insurance rates to increase, pursuing a claim won’traise your rates, either. And if you did cause the crash, you won’t be able to pursue a personal injury claim, anyway.
But most policyholders don’t know this – and the insurance industry prefers it that way.
Car accident victims who choose not to pursue legitimate claims may think they’re avoiding an insurance rate hike. But all they’re really doing is preventing themselves from getting the compensation they deserve.
Please don’t do this. Even if your rates did increase, making the best possible physical recovery would be worth the cost. After all, your health is priceless.
But when making a claim has no effect on your rates, you’re losing out on the compensation you need to get better for no reason.
The insurance industry benefits from myths and misconceptions like these. That’s one reason it’s often so difficult to get a straight answer when you ask questions like, “Will my insurance rates go up?”
Your lawyer, on the other hand, wants you to understand your rights and the legal process. If you have questions about insurance after a car accident, we can help. Our attorneys have extensive experience working inside the insurance industry as well as in personal injury law, so we’re familiar with how insurers act – and what they don’t want policyholders to know.