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The Three Parts of Car Accident Cases

Handling Property Damage

The objective of this part is to recover all your out-of-pocket expenses to fix or replace your car and personal items that may have been damaged or destroyed, along with any other incidental expenses such as a rental car. Again, the object of this part is, at the very least, get you back to where you were before the accident.

Many times after an accident your car is towed from the scene to a body shop or storage facility.  One of the first things you want to do is arrange to get that car out of the shop.  Usually these body shops will try and charge between $25-$75 a day to store your car. If you’re not going to use the body shop to fix your car, get the car towed to an area where it’s safe. If you are involved in a car crash and your vehicle is either damaged or totaled, you are going to want to get it repaired or replaced as soon as possible. One of the first things you’re going to have to consider is whether to make a claim against your own insurance or the other driver’s insurance.

If we accept your car collision case and the other side admits responsibility, The Heslin Law Firm will process your property damage claim free of charge. If it takes $6000 to fix your car and we charge a $2000 fee, you’re not going to have enough to fix your car, which was the point of all of this in the first place. We want you to be able to fix your car and get back on the road as soon as possible.

The Other Driver’s Insurance

In cases where the other driver’s insurance company admits responsibility for the accident, it is usually best to file your property damage claim with that insurance company.  This will prevent you from having to pay a deductible before your repairs are made.  You can usually get them to pay for a rental car during the time your car is being repaired or replaced. If you don’t have collision coverage, this will be your only option.

If your car is determined to be a total loss, keep in mind, the insurance company only has to pay you the fair market value of your car.  Years ago, this was always a problem, and the insurance carriers would try and give you low-ball offers based upon their own evaluation.  Recently, particularly with the rise of the Internet, insurance carriers usually do detailed evaluations of the value of cars like yours based upon sale prices in your area.  Make sure they do that and get a copy of this detailed evaluation.

Using Your Own Insurance

If you have collision coverage you always have the option of filing your property damage claim with your own insurance company.  It’s best to do this if the other driver’s insurance company denies responsibility for the accident or there is going to be some other delay in fixing your car.  You want to get back on the road as soon as possible. Your insurance company can always seek reimbursement from the other driver’s insurance company for the money they paid and your deductible.

Your deductible is the man you are personally responsible for before your insurance company has to pay.  For instance, if you have a $500 deductible and it is going to cost $6000 to fix your car, your insurance carrier will pay you $5500. Rental coverage is separate from collision coverage.  If you have to use your own insurance, check and see if you have rental insurance as part of your policy.

Payment of Medical Bills

This is one the most misunderstood parts of the claim process in an automobile accident case. There are many technical requirements necessary to get your medical bills paid. If these rules are not followed, you will find that you have unpaid medical expenses, which will cause many problems later on. You don’t want to run into a situation where years after the accident when you’re applying for credit in the nature of a mortgage, car loan, and/or credit card, and then find out that your credit is bad because one of your medical bills was not paid. Remember, here at the Heslin Law firm, if we accept your car accident case, we will process your medical claim free of charge.

Your Own Auto Insurance

Pennsylvania is what is known as an “no-fault” state.  Basically this means your first source of payment of your medical bills is your own automobile insurance.  If you have automobile insurance, or live with a relative who has automobile insurance, you must set up a claim with that insurance company in order to have your medical bills paid.  As long as you are not responsible for the car accident, your auto insurance rates cannot go up as a result of making a medical claim.

Your Health Insurance

After your medical benefits through your automobile insurance carrier are exhausted, you must now turn to your health insurance.  Before they will pay, your health insurance will want proof that your automobile insurance carrier benefits are exhausted.  Once they received the proof, they will pay your medical bills per the terms of your health insurance policy.

The Other Driver’s Insurance

Even though you have submitted your medical bills to your auto and health insurance companies, you still have outstanding bills. You will submit payment of these bills to the other driver’s insurance as part of your Third Party Case. They will not pay unless you have abided by all the technical rules in submitting the bills to your own auto and health insurance carrier. They will also not pay the bills until the end of your case, either by way of settlement of the case or verdict after a trial or arbitration

Third Party Case

This is the part where you get paid. After the completion of the first two parts of the case, you’ve been compensated for your property damage and your medical bills have been paid. At this point, you may only break even. We want to help you get compensated for your pain and suffering, loss of earnings, and many other aspects of your car collision claim.

In the third-party case, you are bringing your claim against the person or persons responsible for the accident and their insurance companies.  The end result is for you to be compensated for the pain, suffering, aggravation, and any other damages you are entitled to recover under the law.

How it works

Let me give you a short summary of how the third-party case works.  On our end we will be doing everything necessary to get your case ready for either settlement or trial.  We are reviewing police reports, taking pictures of accident scenes, interviewing witnesses, setting up claims with  insurance companies, speaking with doctors and reviewing medical records, and anything else necessary to move your claim forward.  We want to get everything ready to submit your case for settlement.

While we take care of this, all we ask you to do is get the treatment necessary to make you better.  Will take care of everything else.  If necessary, we  will refer you to healthcare providers who specialize in treating your type of serious injury, whether they be family doctors, chiropractors, orthopedists, neurologist or any other type of specialists that you might need.  We’ve been dealing with these types of cases for over 30 years and we know the best healthcare providers in the area.

At some point, hopefully you will get better and your doctor will discharge you from treatment.  If you don’t get completely better and have ongoing problems, we know how to handle that. We will gather copies of all your medical bills and reports from every healthcare provider or specialist that you treated with.  We will review the medical records and then advise you on the value of your case. We will then begin the negotiation process with the insurance company with the goal of getting you the maximum recovery. The settlement offers will be discussed  and we’ll advise you on whether we think you should accept. We want you to know everything about the settlement, including exactly how much money you’re going to receive. Then, if you give us permission, we will settle your car crash case. Remember, we have a lot of experience in this area, and we know where giving you good advice. However, the final decision on whether or not you wish to settle rests with you.

Moving forward

Of course, if the case doesn’t settle, with your permission, we file a formal lawsuit and move the case toward resolution by either arbitration or trial. I hope this brief summary of what to expect in a third-party case helped you.  However, if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to call the Heslin Law Firm for a free consultation at 215-332-0300.

The Heslin Law Firm provides free consultation for car crash victims

If you or a loved one has been involved in a car crash, it’s important to consult with an experienced Philadelphia car accident attorney at The Heslin Law Firm. We have over thirty years of experience helping injured victims recover financial compensation to help pay for medical bills, lost wages, future lost wages, and pain and suffering. Holding negligent drivers liable for damages is important. Call our office at 215-332-0300 for a free consultation.

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Our main office is located in Northeast Philadelphia and we have three other locations throughout Philadelphia and its surrounding counties! Call 215-332-0300.

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