Legal Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Get Your Injury, Accident, And Insurance Questions Answered By Attorneys Who Know The Law
You are not alone: rest assured that hundreds of others in Missouri and Illinois have also struggled with your injury, accident, disability, or insurance claim. In fact, most of those people have had the same questions that you are asking now. Read the FAQs below to find the answers to your most pressing legal questions – and if you don't see your question below, call us today and talk to a St. Louis attorney face to face at a free, confidential meeting.
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I was injured in an auto accident and I am on Medicare. Who should be paying my hospital bills?
When you are injured in an accident in Missouri, it can be difficult to figure out where to have your medical bills sent. If you are on Medicare, it can be even more difficult, because Medicare is not supposed to pay for anything that is the responsibility of another carrier. However, an automobile liability insurance carrier for the at-fault driver is not going to pay your hospital bill for you, and they won't give you any money at all to pay that bill until you are ready to settle your case. That could take months--even years. Most hospitals are not willing to wait long periods of time to get paid, and you should not have your credit ruined as a result of an unpaid hospital bill. In this circumstance, Medicare will make a "conditional payment" on that hospital bill if the auto insurer will not pay promptly. A conditional payment is just that--it is a payment conditioned on the fact that Medicare be repaid for the payment at the time your case is resolved . For instance, if Medicare paid $5000 on your hospital bill, they will have a right to be repaid that $5000 when your case resolves. So if you are hospitalized after an accident, you should still give the hospital your Medicare card so that they can bill Medicare if your case doesn't settle quickly.
If I have an accident that is not my fault and I have to go to the emergency room, what do I tell the billing representative when they ask about insurance information?
If you need emergency care, you don't have to time to worry about how your bills are going to be paid. Frankly, automobile liability insurance carriers that represent the other driver in an accident do not pay your medical bills as they are incurred. They only pay you to reimburse you for all your bills at the time of settling your case or, if you cannot settle your case, after you win your case at trial. Most medical providers don't want to wait months or even years to get paid and may pursue collection from you while your auto accident case is pending.
Therefore, you have two options when it comes to giving the hospital your insurance information. If you have "medical payments coverage" on your own auto insurance policy, you can give the hospital your own auto insurance information and they will bill your auto insurance under that coverage first. If you are not sure whether you have medical payments coverage on your auto insurance, or if you know you don't have such coverage, then give the hospital your own health insurance card. These two types of coverage---medical payments coverage and health insurance coverage---will pay your bills immediately so that you don't have to worry about dealing with bill collectors while you are getting treatment for your injuries. Hopefully, you will get enough in your settlement or jury verdict to reimburse you for all of your medical expenses. You may have an obligation to reimburse your health insurer if you do get a settlement from the other driver's auto liability insurer, so make sure you examine your health policy thoroughly to see if this is the case. If you do see an obligation in your health insurance policy to reimburse the health insurer when your accident case is resolved, it is a good idea to contact an attorney to help you understand the actual rights to reimbursement held by your health insurer.
I was rear-ended by a truck in a Missouri automobile accident and the insurance adjuster for the truck driver called me and wants to take a recorded statement from me. Should I say "yes" to that request?
Giving a recorded statement is usually not a good idea, without legal representation present. There are some exceptions, such as when the request comes from your own insurance company. If you are asked to give a recorded statement and aren't sure whether you should give that statement, feel free to give us a call and to speak to a St. Louis MO motor vehicle accident attorney at 314-315-8111. We will help you to answer that question.
My health insurance company claims that when I settle my Missouri auto accident case, I have to pay them back for the medical bills they paid on my behalf. Is this true?
It may be true, and it may not be true. Missouri is what is known as an "anti-subrogation" state. This means that, in general, a health insurance company cannot seek reimbursement out of your Missouri personal injury case. However, there is an exception to that rule, and that exception applies to many, many health plans. If your health benefits are provided by your employer through a self-funded ERISA plan, then a federal law known as ERISA applies and basically trumps the state's anti-subrogation law. If you get your health coverage through an employer, then you need the services of a Missouri personal injury attorney to help you determine whether the health plan is truly a self-funded ERISA plan entitled to reimbursement.
What do I do if I have an accident, and the other driver who was responsible for the accident does not have insurance?
In Missouri, contact your own insurance carrier and tell them that you were involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist, and they will open a claim under your own insurance for uninsured motorist coverage. If you have Missouri automobile insurance, then you have uninsured motorist coverage. This type of coverage compensates you for your injuries when the other party is uninsured. Please keep in mind that uninsured motorist coverage typically only covers bodily injury damages, and not property or vehicle damage. If you have collision coverage, then that coverage will pay for your auto damage. If you do not have collision coverage but rather, have liabilty only coverage, you may not be fully compensated for your property damage. If you need help with a missouri automobile accident and the other driver is an uninsured motorist, call us at Bollwerk & Tatlow. 314-315-8111.
Will the vehicle that turned left always be found liable in a car accident in Missouri?
In many instances, liability for a rear-end or left-turning car accident in Missouri is sometimes automatically determined, but not in all cases. Speak with a Kirkwood personal injury lawyer to discuss the specific circumstances of your case.
The left-turning driver is typically found at fault because that driver is responsible for giving the right of way to oncoming traffic and to ensure there is enough space to make the full turn without interfering with the flow of traffic.
There are a few exceptions to this general rule, and it should be remembered that they are rather difficult to prove.
If the driver who was going straight through the intersection was speeding significantly, then he or she may be determined to be at fault for the accident. Similarly, if the driver who was going straight ran a red light or blew through a stop sign, then fault for the accident may be re-assessed on him or her.
If the left-turning driver began to turn at the intersection when it was safe to do so but was unexpectedly forced to stop or slow down mid-turn, negligence may not be immediately assessed. This is difficult to prove because the burden of ensuring a safe left turn is on the left-turning driver.
As in rear-end accident cases, the damage on the vehicles from the accident may provide more information or indication of fault.
If you have been involved in a left turn car accident in Missouri, you may be in a position to require a Kirkwood personal injury lawyer to prove that you are not at fault. An attorney can answer your questions about the liability of your accident.
Contact a Kirkwood Personal Injury Lawyer
When a car accident in Missouri has a profound impact on your life, you may choose to seek compensation through a Missouri personal injury claim. With a Kirkwood personal injury lawyer on your side, you can feel confident knowing your case is in good hands, while you focus on your recovery and getting your life back on track. To get started with determining if you have a viable case, contact the Missouri personal injury team at Bollwerk & Tatlow, LLC - 314-315-8111.
Can I be found liable if my car is rear-ended in a St. Louis car crash?
In most cases of a rear-end St. Louis car crash, the driver of the rear car is following too closely or driving too quickly to stop safely when the driver in front slows or stops. Even if a car in front stops quickly, the car behind should be at a reasonable distance so as to be able to stop without causing a collision. A Missouri personal injury lawyer can answer your questions about determining liability.
The state of Missouri has adopted a "rear-end doctrine," which stipulates that the driver who rear-ends another car is automatically assumed liable for the accident and resultant damages, except in instances where evidence of negligence on the part of the front car driver exists, or when the front driver behaves in such a way that the driver in the rear cannot reasonably be expected to avoid a collision.
There are also some other instances in which the driver of the car in the rear is not liable for the accident. In cases where a third vehicle forces the rear car into the front car, for instance, the third vehicle would be liable, not the rear car, who might have otherwise been driving safely and at a reasonable distance. This chain of events is a common cause of multiple-car accidents.
If you have been rear-ended or have rear-ended another motor vehicle in a St. Louis car crash, speak with a Missouri personal injury lawyer about your options and how liability will be determined for your case.
Contact a Missouri Personal Injury Lawyer
When a St. Louis car crash has a profound impact on your life, you may choose to seek compensation through a personal injury claim. With a Missouri personal injury lawyer on your side, you can feel confident knowing your case is in good hands, while you focus on your recovery and getting your life back on track. To get started with determining isf you have a viable case, contact the Missouri personal injury team at Bollwerk & Tatlow, LLC - 1-314-315-8111.
When is it necessary to hire a Missouri personal injury attorney after a car accident in Kirkwood?
If you've been in a car accident in Kirkwood, you're likely bombarded by a range of concerns and questions, and you're probably wondering if you should get a Missouri personal injury attorney involved.
There are some instances in which you may not need the services of a Missouri personal injury attorney to address and settle your car accident claim, but it's advisable to consult with a lawyer about whether or not your particular case can be handled without one.
A car accident in Kirkwood that can be settled without an attorney typically has the following qualities:
- no serious injuries result from the accident;
- all parties generally agree or accept who was at fault;
- the damages being claimed equal a relatively small amount (less than $10,000); and
- the at-fault party has sufficient insurance coverage.
On the other hand, if your claim for a car accident in Kirkwood involves serious injuries and hefty damages, contact a Missouri personal injury attorney for an evaluation of your case.
Your Missouri personal injury attorney knows what the burden of proving fault is, which documents you'll need, how to negotiate with the insurance adjuster and what types of compensation you may be entitled to after your car accident in Kirkwood.
Remember, even if you choose not to secure legal representation, you can always schedule a consultation with a Missouri personal injury attorney after the insurance company has offered you a settlement. If you're unsure about the amount offered, speak with a car accident lawyer who can advise you about the appropriateness of your settlement offer.
Contacting a Missouri Personal Injury Attorney
When a car accident in Kirkwood has a profound impact on your life, you may choose to seek compensation through a Missouri personal injury claim. With a Missouri personal injury attorney on your side, you can feel confident knowing your case is in good hands, while you focus on your recovery and getting your life back on track. To get started with determining if you have a viable case, contact the Missouri personal injury attorney team at Bollwerk & Tatlow, LLC. - 314-315-8111.
What Should I Do If I Am Caught Driving In An Ice Storm?
If you are caught in an ice storm while driving, the absolute best action to take is to get off of the roads immediately – even the best and most experienced drivers have difficulty controlling vehicles in icy conditions, and the rate of car accidents skyrockets in winter weather. However, if you must be on the roads during an ice storm or when there is ice on the roads, remember to go slowly, avoid making sudden movements (such as sudden braking or steering) and give the vehicles in front of you lots of room. Avoid smaller, less-maintained roads and be even more careful when approaching particularly icy areas such as bridges, overpasses, or segments of road that are shaded by trees.
What should I do immediately after an accident where I am injured?
If the police are involved in making a report, make sure that you get the name of the officer, the police department for whom the officer works, and the accident report number if possible. If there are witnesses to the accident, make sure you write down the names and addresses of any witnesses present at the scene, as the police officers don't always list witnesses on their reports. Even if the police officer tells you that he has all of the information about the other driver, make sure you do not leave the scene unless you have the name and address of the other driver and his insurance information.
If you are injured enough that you have to be hospitalized, make sure a loved one takes photographs of the damage to your vehicle. If you have injuries that are visible, such as severe lacerations,bruises, or open wounds, make sure that photographs are taken of your injuries as well. You also want to note the date on which the photographs of the vehicle and your injuries were taken.
Finally, make sure you report the accident to your own insurance company, even if the accident wasn't your fault. You do not need to use your own insurance benefits, but it is always a good idea to put your insurance company on notice of an accident, just in case the other driver doesn't have insurance and you need to use your uninsured motorist coverage in the future.