Saturday, October 26, 2013

Tip #8--Paying for Accident Treatment though med pay, health insurance, liens, advances or settlement loans

If you are injured an accident that was not your fault, you expect the insurance carrier for the at-fault driver (the liability carrier) to pay your medical bills as they are incurred.  The usual bills are for the Emergency Room, the ambulance, X-rays, visits with your primary doctor, your medications, physical therapy, chiropractic care, massage therapy and/or acupuncture.  You might have bills for a specialist, a surgeon or injections.  The bills keep coming, but the liability carrier generally does not pay as these bills are incurred.  Even if the liability adjuster says they will "take care of it," they actually pay only when you are ready to settle your case. This could be months or years after the accident!  You need to find a way to finance your care until you are ready to settle.  Assuming you do not have money in savings to pay for your care, the resources which can be used are:

  • Medical pay coverage under your own auto insurance;
  • Your own health insurance;
  • Treatment secured with a lien;
  • Advance on liability settlement;
  • Settlement loan.
If you use your auto med pay or your health insurance, these carriers generally have a lien and must be reimbursed out of the settlement money.  If you sign a lien agreement with your chiropractor, he or she will treat you and wait to be paid until you get your settlement.

Rarely, a liability carrier will make a partial payment in advance of settling the whole case.  This is usually done in cases of extreme hardship and is usually limited in amount.  

Settlement loan companies are easy to find on the Internet.  These companies are in the business of making loans to people who have been injured in accidents.  If you take out one of these loans, you will also be financing hefty fees and interest.  The loan balance, fees and interest must be paid by your lawyer out of the settlement funds.  Depending on how long it takes to settle your case, you may have to pay back double or triple the amount you borrowed.  It is important to carefully read the settlement loan agreement and completely understand the fees and interest before signing any documents.

Please call Hestad Law for a free consult if you would like to discuss how to pay for your treatment after a Wisconsin accident.  608-273-1600.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Tip #7--Bi-lingual attorneys and certified court interpreters in WI personal injury cases

Many people injured in car accidents do not speak English as their first language.  These accident victims may speak limited English or no English at all.   If the lawyer speaks only English, the injured parties can be left with many unanswered questions or misunderstandings about the claims process.

It is somewhat helpful if the injured party brings a relative or a friend to interpret, but the relative may not have the language skill, experience and maturity needed in a legal matter, leading to problems in communication between the injured party and the lawyer.

The injured party can avoid all this by choosing to hire a good law firm with a bi-lingual attorney on staff.  In this way, communication will be greatly enhanced.  Make sure that the bi-lingual attorney has experience in personal injury cases before hiring him or her.

A certified court interpreter must be used to interpret at a deposition or in court.  "Certified" means that the interpreter has passed tests of language skills and has sworn to abide by the Wisconsin Code of Ethics for Court Interpreters.  A certified court interpreter is qualified to properly assist in legal proceedings and does not take sides.

Please contact Attorney Sally A. Hestad and bi-lingual Associate Attorney Nadia Noboa-Chehade with any questions regarding representation of Spanish speaking car accident victims.  Hestad Law also offers bi-lingual representation in French, and we have a Hmong assistant as well. We offer a free consultation on Wisconsin accidents.  Please call us at 608-273-1600.