First of all, in personal injury claims we charge no fee unless you collect. This is called a "contingency fee." Our fee is 25% of the total settlement when the case is settled prior to the filing of a lawsuit. After that, it will depend upon the type of case you have and the difficulty involved. However, that will be determined at the initial conference. Any out-of-pocket expenses will be deducted from the client’s share. However, I do not charge my clients for postage, telephone or copying expenses. "Out of pocket expenses" means any expenses paid to third parties for things such as filing fees, service of process, depositions, cost of mediation, and medical records.
No matter how serious the accident, you should always call the police. It is common for the responsible party to be apologetic at the scene and admit fault. However, with no accident report to verify this, I have seen many instances when the person will change his or her mind later and decide that it wasn’t their fault after all. An accident report will help to prevent this. If you have a camera on your cell phone, go ahead and take pictures of the vehicles before they are moved. You should also attempt to obtain the names and addresses of any witnesses to the accident. Don’t ever assume that the police officer will do this for you. Most of the time, they won’t. Seek immediate medical attention for your injuries, whether at the hospital emergency room or with your personal physician. Lastly, notify your insurance company immediately.
You are entitled to recover for the repairs to your vehicle and any personal belongings which were destroyed or damaged in the accident. If your vehicle is totaled, then you are entitled to recover for the fair market value of your vehicle. A vehicle is totaled if it will cost more to repair than what it is worth. This is referred to as your "property damage" claim which is handled separately from your "bodily injury" claim. Your claim for bodily injury will include any reasonable and necessary medical expenses, lost earnings, disfigurement, and physical pain and mental anguish.
Hiring an attorney to assist you in the making of your claim doesn’t mean that a lawsuit will be filed. Once a lawsuit is filed it can take years to resolve. We believe that it is in the client’s best interest avoid the filing of a lawsuit if at all possible and will do everything within our control to resolve your case through settlement before doing so. There are situations, however, in which the filing of suit cannot be avoided.
Absolutely. Whether you are covered by BCBS, Medicare, Medicaid, or any other form of insurance coverage, it is extremely important that you give that information to the medical providers. This does not affect your ability to recover for the amount of those expenses from the responsible party’s insurance. The other party’s insurance company most likely will NOT agree to pay for medical expenses as you go. They are only interested in making a one-time settlement when your medical treatment is complete and you are ready to settle. Sometimes this can take several months, or even a year. Your medical providers will not be happy with this and will, in some instances, turn your bill over to a collection agency. This can be avoided by having your medical expenses paid for by your insurance. You will probably be required to reimburse your insurance company for any expenses they pay, which is referred to as "subrogation," but it will still benefit you in the end.
PIP stands for Personal Injury Protection. If you have this under your personal auto policy, it will pay your medical expenses and 80% of your lost wages up to the amount of coverage, which is usually $2500 or $5,000 in Texas. This is excellent coverage and a claim should ALWAYS be made for this. UIM is Underinsured/Uninsured Motorists coverage. This will benefit you if you are hit by someone who is not covered by insurance, or who does not have enough insurance coverage to pay for all of your damages. Medical payments coverage under your policy will pay for your medical expenses up to the amount of your coverage. In Texas, any amounts your insurance company pays under medical payments coverage will have to be paid back when the case settles, whereas PIP does not. However, in Arkansas, medical payments coverage under your policy may or may not have to be paid back, depending upon whether or not you are "made whole" from the settlement.
The statute of limitations will vary from state to state. However, in Texas the limitations period is 2 years from the date of the accident. This means that a lawsuit must be filed within that time period or your claims will be forever barred. In Arkansas, the limitations period is 3 years from the date of the accident. If your claim cannot be settled within limitations, a lawsuit will have to be filed. Once suit is filed, the limitations period is no longer a factor and the case can proceed for as long as is necessary.


If you have any further questions, please email me at firm@murrylaw.com and I will be more than happy to answer them.


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