If someone is injured through no fault of his or her own, whether it is in a car accident, construction accident or any other incident, common sense says the at-fault party’s insurance company should cover the injured party’s medical costs, property loss and other damages. Unfortunately, common sense does not always win out when injury accidents occur – at least, not without the assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney.
No Upfront Fee
In most cases, Wright & Associates accepts personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis. We only collect a fee if we recover compensation for you, either through a negotiated settlement or a court judgment.
Ben Wright founded the Firm to provide clients with the kind of personal, results-oriented service that he would want if the roles were reversed. Before founding Wright & Associates, Ben worked at a respected firm that defended those who were accused of causing an accident. The insights gained from working the defense side of the aisle help him combat the same strategies now that he represents injured parties.
A Proactive Approach To Maximizing Your Recovery
Once we review the facts of a personal injury case, it’s a good bet that we can summarize the approach the insurance company’s lawyers will use in an attempt to minimize the amount that is paid out. Wright & Associates uses a proactive approach to avoid disputes: We develop a comprehensive report that presents all of the information necessary – medical and otherwise – for the insurance company to approve the full amount you deserve. If the insurance provider still offers less, Wright & Associates is prepared to advocate aggressively in court on your behalf.
Our intent is to put more money in your pocket than you would recover on your own, even after attorney fees are covered. We welcome the opportunity to review the facts of your case and provide a candid assessment of what to expect. There is no consultation fee for personal injury cases.
To avoid drawn-out disputes, contact our office as soon as possible after your accident. We work with clients throughout central Ohio and will travel to meet with you if your injuries limit your mobility.
Do’s and Don’ts After an Accident
- Do stop your car.
- Do warn traffic.
- Do call an ambulance.
- Do call the police.
- Do exchange information.
- Do identify all witnesses.
- Do take pictures.
- Do take notes.
- Do keep records.
- Do see your doctor.
- Do call a lawyer.
- Do take pictures of your injuries
- Do follow your doctor’s instructions.
- Do get a doctor’s excuse if you cannot work.
- Do call your insurance company.
- Don’t give a recorded statement.
- Don’t admit fault.
- Don’t sign anything.
- Don’t wait to get a lawyer.
- Don’t get sent to collections.
- Don’t delay seeing your doctor.
- Don’t lose your health insurance.
- Don’t miss any medical appointments.
- Don’t see a chiropractor – unless a medical doctor refers you.
- Don’t settle your case unless you know the full extent of your injuries.
- Don’t try to deal with the insurance company on your own. Let us help.
- Don’t settle your case unless you know whether you will need future medical treatment.
Fourteen steps to take after an accident:
- Stop your car. Never leave the scene of an accident no matter how slight the collision. If you fail to stop you may be subject to criminal prosecution.
- Warn oncoming traffic.
- Call an ambulance. If anybody has been hurt, seek immediate medical attention.
- Call the police. The police report is a useful summary of the accident and the people involved. Also, it is required when there is a certain amount of property damage.
- Call your insurance company. Do not admit fault. Do not give a recorded statement. Do no sign anything your insurance company gives you without letting a lawyer review it. Remember to keep copies of all correspondence and reports for your records. If you fail to notify your insurance company of the accident in writing within a reasonable time, it could deny coverage. If you were at fault, your insurer may hire a lawyer to defend you.
- Exchange Information. Get the name, address, phone number, driver’s license number, license plate number, insurance company and policy number of the other people involved. If you collide with a vehicle that is unattended, locate the owner of the vehicle and tell him your name and address. If you cannot locate the owner, leave a written message stating your name and address and the circumstances of the collision in a conspicuous place. Do not give any more information than the law requires. Do not comment on the cause of the accident or admit fault even if you think you were in the wrong. You may discover later that the other driver was equally or more to blame. No one has the right to force you to give an opinion as to the cause of the accident at police headquarters or elsewhere. You have the right to consult a lawyer before making a statement.
- Get the names and addresses of all witnesses to the accident. Witnesses may be important later if legal action becomes necessary.
- Take pictures. Photograph the scene of the accident, the damage to the other vehicles, and the other people involved.
- Take Notes. Make a note of the details of the accident, including the date and time, road conditions, weather conditions and the speed of all other cars.
- See your doctor immediately. If you have any doubt at all about your own medical condition or that of your passengers, see your family doctor immediately for an examination, and ask your passengers to do the same. Tell your doctor all of your injuries in detail so you can receive the best care. The Insurance company will argue were not hurt if there was a delay.
- Keep all of your appointments. If you cancel your appointments that creates a gap in treatment and the insurance company will argue you were not hurt that bad.
- Keep Records. Keep a log or diary of you medical treatment, medical bills and injuries.
- Consult an attorney. This is particularly important if you are arrested or issued a ticket. An arrest or ticket does not necessarily indicate liability for the accident. However, a statement of guilt or a plea of guilty to a traffic ticket may be used as an admission. A lawyer can help you assess your situation.
- Recover your damages. If you lose work, sustain injuries or have other losses, you may be entitled to reimbursement under your own policy. You may also be entitled to damages from the other party to the accident.
Important. You Can Lose Your Health Insurance If You Do Not Settle The Claim Correctly.
- Q: What is the insurance company’s goal?
- Q: What is an insurance adjuster’s job?
- Q: What is the role of my medical providers regarding my personal injury claim.
- Q: Will Medicare, Medicaid, or health insurance pay my medical bills? Will they get my settlement if they do?
- Q: Should I go to a chiropractor?
- Q: Do I have a personal injury case?
- Q: Do I need a lawyer for my personal injury case?
- Q: Can I settle my personal injury claim myself?
- Q: Why do I need an attorney?
- Q: Would I be better off without an attorney?
- Q: What should I do when the insurance company calls?
- Q: How much will my lawyer cost for my personal injury case?
- Q: If I caused the accident, can I file a claim?
- Q: I was hurt in a car accident, but the person who hit me does not have insurance. What can I do?
- Q: If my own uninsured or underinsured motorist insurance coverage pays, will my premiums increase?
- Q: What is my claim worth? Is the offer fair? How much is my case worth?
- Q: Do I have to go to court? Will there be a lawsuit?
- Q: I missed work as a result of the accident, how can I get my lost wages?
- Q: I do not have money to pay for a doctor, what can I do?
- Q: Can I lose my health insurance?
- Q: What is wrongful death?
- Q: Why should I hire Wright & Associates?
- Q: How much time do I have to file a lawsuit?
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 a 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.
- Insurance adjusters are not your friend.
- Insurance adjusters are not on your side.
- The adjuster has no legal obligation to you whatsoever.
- It is not the insurance adjuster’s job to help protect your rights.
- Insurance adjusters want to take what you say and use it against you.
- Insurance adjusters are trying to minimize and undermine your rights.
- The insurance adjuster has no interest in seeing that you are treated for your injuries.
- Insurance adjusters are well-trained professionals whose job is to minimize your claim.
- Insurance adjusters want to save their company money, so they can look good on their performance review.
- Insurance adjusters are trained to be nice to you so you will not hire a lawyer. Do not the friendly demeanor fool you.
- Insurance adjusters are not bad people – they are doing their job. Their job is to pay the least amount possible on your claim.
- Oftentimes, 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 provider’s 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 to pay 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 your 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 your 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 file 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 doctor’s 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 payment 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.
Q: Why should I hire Wright & Associates?
A: Wright & Associates:
- Has experience trying cases.
- Has experience arguing appeals.
- Will protect your rights.
- Will gather the necessary evidence.
- Are professionals who are committed to your case.
- Have the experience and resources to investigate your claim.
- Will prevent you from giving statements against your interest.
- Will come to you if you cannot come to us.
- Will not take your case if Ben does not think he can get you more money than you could without a lawyer.
- Will put you on equal footing with the insurance company and their well-trained and experienced adjustors.
- Ben is a former insurance lawyer. Since he used to represent the insurance company, he understands how an insurance company may try to minimize your claim.
Q: How much time do I have to file a lawsuit?
A: It depends on the claim you want to assert. While some statutes of limitations are set by law, other limitations are set by the terms of a contract. The bottom line: 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.