Many factors affect what and how much you can recover at the end of the case.
Even if it’s obvious that the other person was at fault in the accident, and even if there is a police report to support that fact, the insurance company for the at-fault party does NOT pay any claims until the case is settled. And your case cannot be settled until you finish treatment for any injuries. That means settlement can take weeks or even months, depending on the injuries you sustained and the treatment involved.
There are generally two insurance companies involved – your own insurance company and the insurance company for the at-fault party. The rules and obligations of each insurance company change depending on which party is at-fault in the accident.
In a case where there is a dispute over who is at fault, it may take a judgment from the court to make a determination.
If you have Personal Injury Protection coverage through your own insurance company, you can get paid for a portion of your lost wages and medical expenses immediately. How much you are paid depends on whether the insurance policy was issued in the State of Washington or the State of Oregon (or any other state). See other articles in this blog for more details about PIP coverage.
The amount of your recovery depends on several factors, such as number of days you missed work due to the injuries, any benefits you used or missed out on, and any short- or long-term work restrictions or disability. Again, all of this must be documented by a qualified medical provider and your employer.
If you can’t go back to work or do the same work as you did before, then other factors apply. Job retraining or long-term care might be required. In these complex cases, it’s in your best interests to have assistance from a legal professional to guide you through the process.
Remember that our office works primarily on a contingency basis, which means that we do not get paid until you settle your case. We can help you move through this process as quickly as possible.
If you do not have any coverage such as PIP insurance, sick time, vacation time, or disability, then you cannot be compensated for wage loss until you settle your case.
Unfortunately, this lack of benefits creates a very difficult situation. In many cases, people return to work or settle a case before their injuries have completely healed, simply because they need income to pay their bills.
The options in your policy define how you are reimbursed for lost income and other expenses, and lawyers cannot invent any other way.
Within those options, however, are nuances that affect how much and when you get paid. Our office can help you understand options available to you and guide you through the process to document your claim. Call today for a free consultation.