Frequently Asked Questions

General

Veterans’ Disability Attorney

Insurance

Construction

Personal Injury

General

Q: How much is an initial consultation?

A: Free.

Q: Why should I hire The Law Office of Ben W. Wright, LLC?

A: Here are just a few of the reasons

  1. Ben has experience trying cases.
  2. Ben has experience arguing appeals.
  3. Ben and his team will protect your rights.
  4. Ben and his team will gather the necessary evidence.
  5. Ben and his team are professionals who are committed to your case.
  6. Ben and his team have the experience and resources to investigate your claim.
  7. Ben and his team will prevent you from giving statements against your interest.
  8. Ben and his team will come to you if you cannot come to us.
  9. If Ben does not think he can get you more money than you could without a lawyer, then he will not take your case.
  10. Ben and his team will put you on equal footing with the insurance company and their well-trained and experienced adjustors.
  11. Ben is a former insurance lawyer. Since he used to represent the insurance company, he understands how a insurance company may try to minimize your claim.

Q: Do you accept credit cards?

A: Yes.

Q: How much time do I have to file a lawsuit?

A: It depends on the claim you want to assert. Generally, you should consult with a lawyer as soon as possible. Once the statute of limitations runs, you may be forever barred from recovering for your damages. Below is a list of common statutes of limitations – but do not rely on this list. Laws changes and there are several to the following general rules,

  1. 1 year: Libel, Slander, Malicious Prosecution, False Imprisonment, Unlawful Abortion, Assault, Battery, Medical Malpractice (plus 180 days, with notice),
  2. 2 Years: Bodily Injury, Injury to Personal Property, Products Liability (several exceptions), Minimum Wage/Overtime, Revocable Trusts, Action against State, Wrongful Death
  3. 3 Years: Actions against carriers
  4. 4 Years: Trespass, Trespass to Chattels, Fraud, Physical or regulatory taking of Real Property, Surveyor Negligence, Loss of Consortium 4 (unless med-mal, then 1)
  5. 5 Years: Identity Theft
  6. 6 Years: Oral Contract
  7. 8 Years: Written Contract
  8. 10 Years: Official Bond, Unlisted Actions
  9. 12 Years: Childhood Sexual Abuse (after age of majority)
  10. 21 Years: Recovery of Real Estate

Veterans’ Disability Attorney

Should I appeal the VA’s decision?

In most cases, the answer is yes. Errors are frequent. The Center for Investigative Reporting determined that the VA has an estimated error rate of 38 percent in some types of disability claims cases. Moreover, VA employees have a poor record for competence. On an open-book job skill certification test, only 25-29 percent of the "best and brightest adjudicators" passed.

Why should an attorney represent me?

Appealing a decision by the VA without experienced legal counsel dramatically reduces your prospects of success. The law governing veterans’ benefits has grown increasingly complex. Attorneys are best suited to navigate and understand the bureaucratic rules and regulations and to draft claims that are written within the framework of the law and with the support of the law. Moreover, retaining an attorney to help in the process will help prevent claims from being dismissed due to failing to follow procedural rules that attorneys are trained to follow.

How long do I have to file a VA appeal?

One year from the date the VA made the decision on your VA benefits. But do not wait to contact a lawyer. Disability claims are complicated asn you should consider hiring a lawyer immediately so you can prepare a good appeal.

What are my chances of winning a VA appeal?

Unfortunately there are no guarantees and we cannot predict your chances of winning. Importantly, however, attorneys achieve a positive outcome for their disabled veteran clients more than any other form of representation. Therefore it is often to the veteran’s benefit to retain an attorney to increase one’s likelihood of success.

How long does a VA appeal take?

There is no set amount of time that your VA appeal will take. Different VA Regional Offices will have varied response times. It is important to remember, however, that there is a heavy backlog and the average wait time for an appeal decision is about three years.

What is the VA disability compensation determination process in general?

First, a veteran must file a claim with the VA Regional Office (VARO) requesting disability benefits. This should be filed as soon as possible because the filing date determines when benefits begin. Once the VARO makes a determination, if the veteran disagrees with the outcome, he or she must file a Notice of Disagreement within one year of the VARO decision. Once the Notice of Disagreement is filed, either the Board of Veterans Appeals or a review officer at the VA Regional Office will begin the review process of the appeal and a decision will be issued.

If the veteran does not agree with this second decision, he or she has the opportunity to appeal this decision before the Veteran Law Judge at the Board of Veterans Appeals. This can often be the best opportunity to win the case. The Law Office of Benjamin W. Wright can help you effectively prepare and present your case to improve the likelihood of success.

Insurance

Q: What is the insurance company’s goal?

A: The insurance Company’s role with your claim is to pay you the least amount possible so they make the most profit. An insurance company is a business. Like any business, insurance companies want to make a profit. The insurance company makes profit by taking collecting more in premium payments than it pays out on claims. The insurance company can also make money by delaying paying your claim so it can collect interest on the money paid in premiums. The insurance company will not help you to protect and preserve your rights

Q: What is an insurance adjuster’s job?

A: In short, the insurance adjuster’s job is to save the insurance company money. Keep the following in mind when speaking with the adjuster.

  1. Insurance adjusters are not your friend.
  2. Insurance adjusters are not on your side.
  3. The adjuster has no legal obligation to you whatsoever.
  4. It is not the insurance adjuster’s job to help protect your rights.
  5. Insurance adjusters want to take what you say and use it against you.
  6. Insurance adjusters are trying to minimize and undermine your rights.
  7. The insurance adjuster has no interest in seeing that you are treated for your injuries.
  8. Insurance adjusters are well-trained professionals whose job is to minimize your claim.
  9. Insurance adjusters want to save their company money, so they can look good on their performance review.
  10. Insurance adjusters are trained to be nice to you so you will not hire a lawyer. Do not the friendly demeanor fool you.
  11. Insurance adjusters are not bad people – they are doing their job. Their job is to pay the least amount possible on your claim.
  12. Often times, the insurance company represents the person who hurt you. In other words, insurance adjusters are not trying to help you – they are trying to help the person who hurt you.
  13. Insurance adjusters may discourage you from getting a lawyer. Insurance companies do not want you to get a lawyer because people who get lawyers make the insurance company pay more money.
  14. The insurance adjusters want to keep you in the dark about your rights. The insurance adjuster will not help you find all the coverage you are entitled to under the insurance policy – like medical payments coverage and car rental coverage.
  15. An insurance adjuster may say "don’t get a lawyer, a lawyer will take your money." Setting aside the fact that the adjuster may be practicing law without a license, in most cases, the adjuster is wrong. A lawyer will typically get you more money.

Q: What does my insurance cover?

A: It depends on the language of the your insurance policy and the insurance policies of the people you live with. A good lawyer will request the insurance policies and find all the available insurance coverage.

Construction

Q: Do I have to use a licensed contractor on my construction project?

A: Licensing rules vary from place-to-place, but generally it is wise to only work with a licensed contractor. Construction done by a person not licensed as a contractor may not pass inspection.

Q: What is a mechanic's lien?

A: A mechanic's lien is a claim against a building or property to secure payment. The lien makes the property owner ultimately responsible for paying the contractor, subcontractor or materialman – regardless of whether the owner has already paid the prime contractor or direct contractor in full. A lien can result when the prime contractor has not paid subcontractors, laborers or suppliers. Legally, the property owner is ultimately responsible for payment — even if the owner has already paid the direct contractor.

Q: There is a lien on my property. Do I have to pay the lien?

A: It depends. There are several technical requirements for a lien to be valid. If there is a lien on your property, you should consult a lawyer to see if it is valid before paying.

Q: What happens if I do not pay a lien?

A: If the lien is valid, the lienholder may go to court to get an order enforcing the lien. A lien can lead to a foreclosure, forcing the sale of the property in lieu of compensation. Liens can also be problematic if you try to sell or refinance your home.

Q: Can a contractor bill me for more than the written estimate?

A: Generally, yes. An estimate is just a contractor's guess as to the price. But there are limits. If a contractor is charging you more than you think is fair, you should speak with a lawyer to evaluate whether you have a claim for fraud against the contractor.

Q: Is an oral construction contract legally valid?

A: Yes, if the technical requirements for a contract are met. Regardless of its validity, an oral contract is generally a bad idea. There are too many opportunities for misunderstandings. Both parties are better off with a clearly written document that sets out each party's rights and responsibilities.

Q: How can I find a good contractor?

A: Fifteen ways to find a good contractor:

  1. Hire a lawyer to negotiate and draft a binding contract.
  2. A good contractor will not try to rush a homeowner to start work immediately.
  3. Some bad contractors will inspect the property and claim work must start immediately.
  4. If a consumer is in need of a loan, a predatory contractor may insist a certain lender. Shop around for your own loan.
  5. Be aware of a contractor who seeks you out.
  6. Get several estimates and review them carefully to see if the same or different work will be done, and what quality of materials are to be used.
  7. Ask for references and call the references.
  8. Check with the Better Business Bureau for any complaints or comments.
  9. Do not pay anything more than a reasonable deposit upfront, and get a receipt.
  10. Do not agree to make final payment before being satisfied that the job has been done.
  11. Keep ten percent of the project price as retainage to be paid one to six months following completion of the project to ensure that there are no problems with the work.
  12. Be sure your contract states who is responsible for getting necessary work permits and who pays for them-and make sure they have been obtained.
  13. Inspect the job as it proceeds. If you are not comfortable inspecting the job, hire an architect to do so for you.
  14. If problems develop with the job get the help from a person with repair experience or with home or code inspection experience, such as an architect.
  15. Don't sign a contract containing blanks. If there are blanks, insert "N/A" (not applicable) or cross through any blanks.

Q: What questions should I ask before hiring a contractor?

A: Six questions you should ask before hiring a contractor:

  1. Under what circumstances can the price for the work be changed from the estimate?
  2. How soon will the work start?
  3. When will the work be completed?
  4. Is the contractor licensed, and by whom? Call and verify what you are told.
  5. Is the contractor insured?
  6. Are the workers covered by workers' compensation insurance?

Q: What documents should I get before I hire a contractor?

A: Five documents you should get before hiring a contractor:

  1. A written estimate
  2. A written contract
  3. A copy of the contractor’s license
  4. A copy of the contractor’s bond
  5. A copy of the contractor’s insurance declarations page

Personal Injury

Q: What is the insurance company’s goal?

A: The insurance Company’s role with your claim is to pay you the least amount possible so they make the most profit. An insurance company is a business. Like any business, insurance companies want to make a profit. The insurance company makes profit by taking collecting more in premium payments than it pays out on claims. The insurance company can also make money by delaying paying your claim so it can collect interest on the money paid in premiums. The insurance company will not help you to protect and preserve your rights

Q: What is an insurance adjuster’s job?

A: In short, the insurance adjuster’s job is to save the insurance company money. Keep the following in mind when speaking with the adjuster.

  1. Insurance adjusters are not your friend.
  2. Insurance adjusters are not on your side.
  3. The adjuster has no legal obligation to you whatsoever.
  4. It is not the insurance adjuster’s job to help protect your rights.
  5. Insurance adjusters want to take what you say and use it against you.
  6. Insurance adjusters are trying to minimize and undermine your rights.
  7. The insurance adjuster has no interest in seeing that you are treated for your injuries.
  8. Insurance adjusters are well-trained professionals whose job is to minimize your claim.
  9. Insurance adjusters want to save their company money, so they can look good on their performance review.
  10. Insurance adjusters are trained to be nice to you so you will not hire a lawyer. Do not the friendly demeanor fool you.
  11. Insurance adjusters are not bad people – they are doing their job. Their job is to pay the least amount possible on your claim.
  12. Often times, the insurance company represents the person who hurt you. In other words, insurance adjusters are not trying to help you – they are trying to help the person who hurt you.
  13. Insurance adjusters may discourage you from getting a lawyer. Insurance companies do not want you to get a lawyer because people who get lawyers make the insurance company pay more money.
  14. The insurance adjusters want to keep you in the dark about your rights. The insurance adjuster will not help you find all the coverage you are entitled to under the insurance policy – like medical payments coverage and car rental coverage.
  15. An insurance adjuster may say "don’t get a lawyer, a lawyer will take your money." Setting aside the fact that the adjuster may be practicing law without a license, in most cases, the adjuster is wrong. A lawyer will typically get you more money.

Q: What is the role of my medical providers regarding my personal injury claim.

A: The medical providers role is to treat your injuries. You need to do your part and follow the doctors’ orders. That said, medical providers are also businesses. They must make a profit and they expect their bills to be paid. You are ultimately responsible for your medical bills – regardless of what anybody else says. If your doctor is not paid, they can sue you and/or send you to collections. This may hurt your credit. A good lawyer can help to make sure the medical providers get paid by the person who hurt you.

Q: Will Medicare, Medicaid, or health insurance pay my medical bills? Will they get my settlement if they do?

A: If health insurance, Medicare or Medicaid pay any of your medical bills, you will usually have to re-pay them. If they are not repaid, they can sue you or drop your insurance. A lawyer can help you repay these insurers, negotiate paying a reduced amount and (in some cases) avoid re-paying them at all. All of this puts more money in your pocket.

Q: Should I go to a chiropractor?

A: Ask your medical doctor. Chiropractors are not medical doctors. A medical doctor is a doctor with M.D. or D.O. after his or her name. Most chiropractors only have expertise manipulating vertebral bodies to maximize the alignment of the spine. This manipulation has limited health benefits. Chiropractors cannot prescribe medication. For that matter, chiropractors cannot give a flu shot. Generally, chiropractors are not as qualified as medical doctors in treating the whole body. A medical doctor can help you decide what role, if any, a chiropractor may play in your treatment.

Q: Do I have a personal injury case?

A: It depends. If the answer to the following questions is "yes," you probably have a case: (1) Was somebody else at fault? (2) Is there insurance to pay the claim? (3) Is there an injury?

Q: Do I need a lawyer for my personal injury case?

A: If you are not injured and you do not have medical bills, you are probably better off without a lawyer. On the other hand, in a case involving an injury, a lawyer can develop your case so you receive your case’s true value.

Q: Can I settle my personal injury claim myself?

A: Yes. But if you have been injured, it is very risky. If you are still hurt, how do you settle your case if you do not know what is wrong with you? How do you settle your case if you do not know if you will need future treatment? How do you settle your case when you do not know what you future treatment is going to cost? How do you settle your case when you could lose you health insurance if you settle the case incorrectly? If you settle without the health insurance company’s permission they may drop you and may refuse to pay for any future treatment.

Q: Why do I need an attorney?

A: A lawyer can negotiate your case, provide the records to the insurance company, protect your rights, work with your health insurance company, work with Medicare or Medicaid, work to prevent you from losing your health insurance, and find all the applicable insurance coverage.

Q: Would I be better off without an attorney?

A: If you have been injured, probably not. A lawyer will protect you from the insurance company, keep you from making statements against your interest, document and protect evidence, work with your medical providers to prove your case, and help keep you out of collections, makes sure health insurance pays, and makes sure you do not jeopardize your health insurance.

Q: What should I do when the insurance company calls?

A: Be careful! Never give a recorded statement. The insurance company’s goal is to get a good "sound bite," make out-of-context assertions, argue that you have made admissions against your interest and pit your version of events against other witnesses, and pay you the least amount possible. Tell them you have hired a lawyer and tell them to contact your lawyer. If you are still considering who to hire, tell them you need time to hire a lawyer before you talk to them. The insurance company is recording what you say and is trying to figure out how to blame you for the accident. The insurance company does not need a recorded statement to start a claim.

Q: How much will my lawyer cost for my personal injury case?

A: The typical contingency fee in central Ohio is one-third, or 33.33%. Some lawyers advertise that they will charge less – but as in life, you get what you pay for. If you were choosing a surgeon to perform an operation, would you pick the cheapest doctor, or the most capable doctor? The same goes for lawyers. You need a lawyer with trial experience, experience dealing with insurance companies and the right team to investigate you case and advocate for your rights!

Q: If I caused the accident, can I file a claim?

A: No. You may have over coverages though, such as medical payments and rental car coverage.

Q: I was hurt in a car accident, but the person who hit me does not have insurance. What can I do?

A: You have several options. You can may a claim against the person who hurt you, the owner of the car if they were negligent by giving the car to the driver, the employer if the person who hit you was on the job, the State if it failed to maintain the roads, and possibly your own insurance if you have uninsured or underinsured motorist insurance coverage.

Q: If my own uninsured or underinsured motorist insurance coverage pays, will my premiums increase?

A: No. As long as the accident was not your fault, your premiums should not increase.

Q: What is my claim worth? Is the offer fair? How much is my case worth?

A: You should be compensated the same amount a jury would award you. This may include your medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, loss of consortium. A lawyer with trial experience can help you evaluate your case and tell you about jury verdicts in cases like yours.

Q: Do I have to go to court? Will there be a lawsuit?

A: Most claims settle before a lawsuit is filed. A lawyer can help you present your claim so that you get a fair offer and can avoid litigation.

Q: I missed work as a result of the accident, how can I get my lost wages?

A: Generally, the person who caused the accident must compensate you for your time off work. But, in order to get paid for lost wages, you need a doctor’s excuse. If you do not have a doctors excuse, then any disability or BWC payments you received will be re-paid from your portion of the settlement and will reduce your recovery.

Q: I do not have money to pay for a doctor, what can I do?

A: A good lawyer can help get your bills paid by the person who hurt you or by your insurance company if you have medical payments coverage.

Q: Can I lose my health insurance?

A: Yes. Health insurance companies have certain rights. You cannot settle your case without protecting the health insurance company’s rights. If you fail to protect your health insurance company’s rights, then you can lose your health insurance. One of the things I will do is work with the health insurance company so they will give permission to settle and will pay for future treatment.

Q: What is wrongful death?

A: Wrongful death is a cause of action for the death of somebody, caused by somebody else. While it is not intuitively named, the "wrongful death" claim is the claim of the surviving family. The "survivor" claim is the claim of the person who ultimately died. Wrongful death claims are complicated and include medical bills, costs of the funeral, the future income of the person, lost inheritance, loss of companionship.

FAQ