Insurance

What do I tell the insurance company after a car accident?

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After our clients have been injured in a Seattle car accident, two of the first questions they ask us are: “What should I say to the insurance company both mine and the defendant’s? What should I not say to the insurance company?”

The most important thing to keep in mind when speaking with an insurance company is to be very cautious and guarded, even if it is your own insurance company, because their mission is to find out whatever information benefits them.

You may think that they have your best interests at heart, but they are a business and thus they want to save money by paying as little as possible to you for your car accident injuries. This means that they will either try to minimize your claim or deny it altogether, depending on the information they obtain from you. This is why it is best if you say as little as possible. Anything you say can be twisted to be used against you and in favor of the other party.

ONLY GIVE OBJECTIVE INFORMATION WHEN REQUESTED

 

When dealing with the other driver’s insurance company, it is best if you only give objective information that is requested, such as the date of the Seattle car accident, your insurance policy information, and your contact information, and that you would like to talk to your personal injury lawyer if more information is requested. You only want to give them information when they request it and nothing more.

Most people will down play their injuries initially because they don’t want to be looked at as weak or meager. Additionally, people don’t want to say they are injured and how bad because they are uncomfortable talking about their pain and vulnerability after a car accident. For this reason, many men do not file a personal injury case against the insurance company and will rather tough out injuries and not seek treatment unless they need surgery.

In terms of your own insurance company, you have an obligation under your insurance contract to speak with them, but you still want to be very cautious about anything you sign or about giving a recorded statement. In your recorded statement it is ok to consult with your attorney before talking. Additionally, you can say that you do not know the extent of your injuries and you are currently seeking medical treatment for the injuries you suffered in the car accident.

If you have been injured in a Seattle car accident, you should think about talking to a Seattle personal injury lawyer first to determine your rights and what you are entitled to. You could be entitled to $10,000 or more for your car accident injury case. Best of all, consultations are free and Seattle personal injury lawyers are only paid out of the settlement and do not charge anything if we cannot recover anything for you. Anyone can afford a personal injury lawyer but you can’t afford not to have one against the insurance company.

 

 

Andrew CherinWhat do I tell the insurance company after a car accident?
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Geico Car Accident Injury Cases

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Many people have asked me what do I think of certain insurance companies compared to others in car accident injury cases in Seattle. I have experience with most insurance companies both from a 1st party (your own insurance company) and 3rd party (the defendant’s insurance company) view points. I want to break down my thoughts on each insurance company and how they handle these cases from both sides view points.

Every insurance company is in the business of making money first and foremost. While the insurance adjuster on the other line may sound very nice and genuine, they do not have your best interests in their forethought. They are first and foremost trying to have you settle your case for as little money as possible as soon as possible. This is why they want to have you give them statements, give them authorization to all your medical records ever, and tell you they have the money and this is how much your case is worth with a deadline to take it or the money goes away.

Geico is no different from these other insurance companies. They spend billions of dollars (it seems) on car insurance commercials every year. From the Geico Gecko, to the Caveman, to the many other crazy commercials, they spend a ton of money on advertising. They spend a ton of money on advertising to sign up as many people as possible. To offset these costs, they want to pay out as little as possible on your car accident injury case and their insurance adjusters reflect this mindset.

Geico as a 1st party insurance company in regards to PIP (personal injury protection) and paying you for your medical records are ok. They will for the most part pay most if not all of your medical bills without making reductions. They will not often threaten IME (independent medical examinations) to see if their doctor believes you need further treatment regardless of what your doctors are saying. An IME is a way for them to stop paying for your medical bills, or at least that is what they want to make you think.

However, if you have Geico insurance and the person that caused your car accident does not have insurance and you have UIM (uninsured motorist insurance), Geico is very tough to settle cases with. They will basically treat you as if they represent the defendant and will make all excuses or arguments that the defendant had. They will not be fair to you. They will diminish your injuries and force you to settle for how much they want to pay you, not much. They will not treat you as if you are their insured and give you everything you want. They are a business and want to make money and not give money away.

Geico as a 3rd party insurance company is notoriously stingy with their offers to settle cases. There is no real surprise here as most insurance companies will do this as well. However, Geico often will fight tooth and nails to make sure they diminish your story and your injuries. They are trained assassins when it comes to negotiating your settlement and will push most attorneys to file a lawsuit against them in order to get more money. If you try to settle your case with them without a Seattle personal injury lawyer representing you, good luck getting much money in your pocket and your medical bills paid.

If you have been injured in a car accident, you should contact a Seattle personal injury lawyer today for a free consultation. We are paid out of the settlement and are only paid if you recover a settlement. No settlement, no fee.

Andrew CherinGeico Car Accident Injury Cases
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Did you know insurance adjusters go to claims school?

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If you are injured in a car accident in Seattle and believe that the person representing the insurance company on the other line has your best interest and is just another person just like you, you are wrong. Insurance adjusters are professional negotiators and know how to get you to settle for as little as possible. Insurance adjusters often go to claims schools in order to become an insurance adjuster. At this school they are taught how to answer calls, how to evaluate claims, and most importantly how to make you settle for as little money as possible.

If you have been injured in a car accident, they will want to take your statement at the outset of your case and put words into your mouth on a recorded line. This is one of the tricks they play to show that either you caused the car accident in some way or another or you were not has hurt as you are claiming later.

What should you do then? You should tell them you are not comfortable making a statement at this time and you should ask a Seattle personal injury lawyer about your case. Rarely will a Seattle personal injury lawyer tell you it is a good idea to give a statement to the insurance company.

Insurance adjusters will try to offer you money soon after the car accident to compensate you for your injuries. They will try to make you realize that they have a check book and can write you a check right now to compensate you for your case. They will belittle your injuries and tell them your injuries are not worth much so you should take this offer now or it will go away.

When should you ever try to settle your case following a car accident? If you are trying to settle your case without a Seattle personal injury lawyer, you should wait until your injuries have healed and you are back to 100%. That probably means you need to go to a physical therapist, chiropractor, massage therapist, etc., in order to get better.

How do you pay for your treatment that you need if you are waiting for your settlement to pay for treatment? If you do not have your own car insurance policy called personal injury protection or PIP and you don’t have medical insurance, most physical therapists, chiropractors, massage therapists, etc., will wait to be compensated out of the settlement. However, most of the time they will require you to have an attorney representing you in order for them to give you treatment up front for free because they want to make sure they are paid out of the settlement.

How much is your case worth? This is a tough question that is dependent and unique to each individual case. However, you are entitled to compensation for medical bills whether you paid for them out of pocket or your insurance company paid for them, lost wages even if you used vacation or sick leave and were still paid, and pain and suffering. Pain and suffering is dependent on how long you sought medical treatment, how severe your injuries from the car accident were, and if you have permanent injuries, among other things.

If you have been in a car accident, don’t get schooled by these trained professional negotiators. Even the field and hire your own professional negotiator/ Seattle personal injury lawyer today. Consultations are free and we are paid out of the settlement so no up front costs. Personal injury lawyers are very affordable because we are paid out of the settlement and there are no out of pocket costs. Everyone can afford a personal injury lawyer but you can’t afford to not have one.

 

Andrew CherinDid you know insurance adjusters go to claims school?
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Signup is easy and hassle free

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Hiring a Seattle personal injury lawyer for your car accident injury case could not be any easier. You only need to meet me once and then focus on healing while I work on negotiating with the insurance company. The only other time you usually will need to come in is to pick up your settlement check.

What to expect when you meet a personal injury lawyer and questions that you have should be answered in my videos but you can always ask for more information regarding your Seattle car accident injury case.

Questions you may have include how much does a personal injury lawyer for your car accident injury case cost? We do not charge hourly fees only contingency fees meaning we are not paid unless we receive monetary compensation for you in your settlement. Most personal injury lawyers charge between 33.333% of the case and 40% but we only charge 33.3333%.

Will your case have to go to trial? Most cases settle without filing a lawsuit and usually settle within 2-3 months of you completing your medical treatment and being released from care. This is much different from the horror stories that most people hear about personal injury cases taking years to settle and receive anything.

Additionally, if you do not have a way to pay for medical treatment right now, we can find you a chiropractor or physical therapist to treat you without up front payments – a huge benefit. If you have insurance to pay for the treatment you need, we will find it.

Consultations are free and I am paid out of the settlement so what are you waiting for!? Contact us today for your Seattle car accident injury case at 206-850-6716

Andrew CherinSignup is easy and hassle free
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Seattle Personal Injury Lawyer Car Accident Injury Handbook – FREE!

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Here is a great book for anyone that has been injured in a car accident in Seattle or Washington State. It is regularly $16.99 on Amazon but you can get yours free when you sign up for my newsletter here http://cherinlawfirm.com/e-book/.

This book will show you:

  • how to navigate the insurance company
  • what you are entitled to
  • how to pay for your medical bills now and who will pay
  • figure out if you have a good case
  • how much your case is worth
  • determine if you need a lawyer
  • and more

I also offer free consultations and am paid out of the settlement so what are you waiting for! Download my book or contact me today. 206-850-6716

Andrew CherinSeattle Personal Injury Lawyer Car Accident Injury Handbook – FREE!
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Uber and Lyft Required to Have PIP

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What if you are in an Uber or Lyft car that is hit by another car? Many people have wondered who is going to pay for their car accident injuries immediately following the car accident. Can you go to the emergency room and not have to pay out of pocket? Can you go see a chiropractor and not pay out of pocket?

Who is going to pay for your medical bills right now? The defendant’s insurance, if you are hit by another car while riding in a Lyft or Uber, will not pay for your medical bills immediately. This is because they will only make one settlement payment to you that will encompass compensation in full for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering, among others. In order to maximize your recovery, you should wait until you no longer require any further medical treatment to settle your case with the defendant’s car insurance. They will not pay your right away for medical bills so don’t expect them to, even though they will in the end (there is an exception if you are a passenger of an at fault vehicle, a pedestrian, or a bicyclist hit by a car).

What to do to pay for your medical bills after a Lyft or Uber accident? Contact Uber or Lyft and get your claim number and PIP application from them. Washington State now requires Uber and Lyft to carry PIP insurance for their passengers.

Senate Bill 5550 in 2015 was passed and now amends the law on required automobile insurance to apply to ride sharing services like Uber and Lyft. Now Uber and Lyft must provide at a minimum $10,000 in PIP benefits to their passengers if there is a car accident involving their drivers no matter if it was their driver’s fault or not.

If you have been injured in a car accident while riding in an Uber or a Lyft car, you are entitled to PIP from Uber or Lyft today! Don’t let them fool you into thinking they are not required to cover your medical bills and the other driver at fault is required to pay for your medical bills. If you have been injured in a Seattle Uber or Lyft car accident, contact me today for a free consultation. 

Andrew CherinUber and Lyft Required to Have PIP
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Does your insurance cover a driver not named on the policy?

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Here is a common question that many people have asked me: Does your insurance cover a driver not named on the policy? For example, if you let your brother drive your car because you are tired or he needs to run to the store for you, will your insurance cover him if he causes a car accident?

Generally, yes. Your insurance will cover a car accident caused by someone who drove your car by your permission. This means that if your sister drives your car to the store to get you bread, your brother drives your car because you loan it to him for the night to go to a concert, or your teenage son drives your car, your insurance will cover all of these situations in the case of a car accident.

What if your teenage son doesn’t have his license yet and wasn’t supposed to be driving your car? Your insurance most likely will step in and cover the car accident that your son caused even though they were not named on the insurance policy nor had a license to drive. The reason is that most insurance policies follow the car and to direct family members under the owner that are minors. Permission is assumed in these cases.

What if someone steals your car? If someone takes your car without your permission, even if they are related to you, your insurance will not cover them. Generally, insurance policies are written to cover anyone who drives your car with permission. It is somewhat unclear if your insurance will cover a relative if they take your car without your knowledge unless you would generally allow them to take your car but people that steal your car are not covered. This means that if a thief steals your car and hits someone else, you and your insurance are not responsible for the car accident that they caused.

Who covers the damage to your car if your car is stolen by a thief? If your car is stolen and they get in a wreck, they are responsible for the damages. If they have no insurance, you will have to hope that you have collision coverage or comprehensive coverage to cover you if your car is stolen to cover the repairs in a car accident.

If you know of anyone who has been injured in a car accident in Seattle, contact a Seattle personal injury lawyer like Andrew Cherin today. Consultations are free and clients pay out of the settlement. Therefore, everyone can afford a lawyer but you can’t afford not to hire one.

 

Andrew CherinDoes your insurance cover a driver not named on the policy?
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Does your car insurance apply to your rental car?

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Have you ever wondered if you really need to get the insurance coverage the rental car sales person is pushing on you for your vacation? Of course you have. The rental person says it only costs this amount per day as well and is really convincing that this will save you the hassle just in case you are in a car accident. However, you have heard that your car insurance might cover your rental car.

Does your car insurance cover your rental car?

Generally, yes, your car insurance policy will step in and cover the rental car you are driving. Your collision coverage will cover you if you run into something, your liability coverage will cover you if you damage someone else’s car, and your comprehensive coverage will cover any other damage caused by a rock, thievery, etc. In addition, your personal injury protection coverage will step in to pay for your medical costs and your uninsured or under insured motorist coverage will protect you in case the person that hit you doesn’t have insurance or only has a minimum policy limits coverage.

Reasons to buy the rental car coverage? Therefore, why would you want to buy the rental car coverage that this rental car salesman is trying to sell you? You really wouldn’t want to buy this coverage because it is duplicate coverage. If you don’t have insurance, your insurance has specific language preventing short term usage cars like a rental, or you want extra coverage because you don’t have comprehensive coverage or collision coverage on your insurance. These are some of the reasons you may want to buy the rental car insurance, which is generally for people that don’t have their own insurance to cover everything.

Next time you are on vacation, you may be able to saver $100’s because of not purchasing duplicate coverage if you choose not to buy the rental car insurance. Make sure you check your policy to see if your insurance coverage covers short term usage vehicles and doesn’t preclude your insurance following you to this car.

If you are injured by someone in a car accident and they were driving a rental car, their own insurance coverage will stand in and cover the car accident in most cases. If they said they didn’t buy the extra insurance, you can tell them their own insurance will cover their car accident. Call today for a free consultation if you need a Seattle personal injury lawyer.

Andrew CherinDoes your car insurance apply to your rental car?
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LimeBikes Littering Streets and No Helmets?

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You have seen them every where in Seattle, lately. They are littering the streets, literally. Lime Bikes is a company that has been granted a permit by the city of Seattle to offer up bikes for temporary usage around the city with purchase by your smart phone. This is another effort by the city of Seattle to create a more green and pedestrian friendly downtown free of cars.

Lime Bikes are different from other bike sharing companies as these bikes are free standing and do not require a docking station to lock up the bikes. The bikes merely can be left on the sidewalk, which is unappealing to many and an eye sore. Lime Bikes have a locking mechanism and a kick stand to keep the bike up right. But the bikes are literally littering the city. LimeBike requests customers to find a spot to park the bike that doesn’t interfere with pedestrians and cars but leaving them on grass cutouts near parked cars makes the appearance of junk sitting out.

Legality of LimeBikes not coming with helmets is another concern. LimeBikes do not come with helmets, which is a law in King County. LimeBike has a disclaimer and informs users that it is against the law to ride a bike without a helmet but who carries a helmet around with them? Most riders I have seen have been taking the bikes for spins without helmets, which the bikes do not prevent you from riding if you don’t have a helmet.

What could LimeBike do to combat the helmet issue? Have helmets attached to the bikes! How is this so hard in today’s world. Yes, there are many different size heads but there are adjustable helmets. People will steal the helmets? Why would they want to steal a helmet and there are methods to prevent the helmet from leaving the bike. What about sanitary helmets? Helmets can include sanitary hair nets to make sure lice and other hair bacteria isn’t transmitted.

To not have a helmet attached to the bike or a nearby helmet dispensary is negligence on the part of LimeBike and could expose them to lawsuits by people who are injured in bike on car accidents or any other accident where the rider hits their head. Studies have shown that people who do not wear a helmet on a bike are much more likely to suffer a traumatic brain injury or death as a result.

LimeBike seems like a cool idea but there are some big kinks to be worked out like biker safety and zones to leave bikes. Yes, it is nice to have a bike readily available but at what cost? It doesn’t have to litter the streets like junk at the expense of the community and being an eye sore. Docking stations are much cleaner and preferred. We don’t need bikes lining the streets and sidewalks like abandoned property, we already have a large homeless problem that liters the streets, sadly.

If you have been injured on a LimeBike, you may have some recourse. Give me a call for a free consultation. Why should this company profit off of just throwing bikes out into the street with little or no responsibility hiding behind a waiver that will not stand up in court? It won’t and can’t.

 

Andrew CherinLimeBikes Littering Streets and No Helmets?
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Why you should not use the defendant’s claim number?

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This is one of the areas where a lot of people get confused. Many people mistakenly believe that the defendant’s insurance will cover their medical bills as they go so they should give the defendant’s claim number to their medical providers. This could not be further from the truth in a typical car accident and can lead to collection actions, not getting the treatment necessary, and early settlements. By giving a hospital, doctor, chiropractor, massage therapist, physical therapist, etc. the defendant’s claim number, the defendant insurance company only will pay these medical providers once you settle, which could be months or a year or two from the date of the car accident.

If you give the defendant’s claim number to the hospital, ER, ambulance, doctor, chiropractor, massage therapist, or physical therapist, these medical providers will be notified that they will not be paid immediately, which these providers will most likely open up a collections action against you because they have not been paid within 30 days. This is because the defendant’s insurance company will not pay anyone until you settle with them and will not pay bills that you haven’t accrued yet. This means if you need more treatment but want the defendant’s insurance to pay right now, you will not be able to get your future medical treatment covered by the defendant’s insurance.

The defendant’s insurance company will use this to their advantage in some situations and try to force you to settle early before you get the full medical treatment that you need. With mounting bills and the insurance company holding all the money saying you don’t need more treatment with a take it or leave it approach, it is very tempting to settle early without getting all the medical treatment that you need following a car accident injury case.

The exception to the rule: If you are a passenger, bicyclist, or pedestrian hit by a another car, you can use their PIP insurance to cover your medical costs and they will be paid shortly thereafter. In a typical car accident where you are in a car hit by another driver, the other driver’s insurance will not give you PIP coverage, rather you must use your own or the driver of the car you were in and their PIP coverage.

How do I pay for my medical bills then? What you should do is use your own personal injury protection plan under your car insurance policy or use your medical insurance to cover the medical bills. These will be primary over the defendant’s insurance which will then pay back your car insurance PIP plan or medical insurance.

 

What if you don’t have medical insurance or a PIP policy under your car insurance? The good news is that your personal injury lawyer can work out with your medical providers an agreement to get paid out of the settlement and delay collection actions. Not all medical providers will agree to wait to be paid out of the settlement and may demand payment immediately, however, most are willing to work with you and your attorney on either a payment plan or complete deferment until the case is settled. If these facilities are not willing to do this, there are many medical providers that are willing to upon a signed lien with your attorney.

Does the defendant’s insurance get off for free then? No, the defendant’s insurance company will compensate you for all medical bills that have been paid by your medical insurance and your attorney will then pay your insurance back in a process called subrogation. In most situations, your attorney will even be able to negotiate down how much is owed back to your insurance company for covering your medical bills giving you more money in your pocket.

If you have any questions about your car accident injury case and this process, please contact us today for a free consultation. We are paid out of the settlement and do not charge hourly so anyone can afford to hire a Seattle personal injury lawyer but no one can afford not to hire one.

 

Andrew CherinWhy you should not use the defendant’s claim number?
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