The Truth About Car Accident Injury Claims
Getting injured in a car or motorcycle accident can be a traumatic event in your life. Not only is the collision jarring in and of itself, but you might also face an uphill battle of recovery if you suffer from injuries.
Besides being physically painful, auto accident injuries can also take their toll mentally through the added stress that comes with not being able to work, take care of the house or even pay monthly bills.
All of this, of course, is further compounded by having to navigate the tricky world of insurance claims, which can be a frustrating, convoluted and confusing process.
See, if you’ve been hurt in a car accident, you’ll likely have to take on a myriad of expenses related to your recovery and quite possibly not be able to pay them.
Of course, your insurance company will seem to work supportively with you to help you settle your claim quickly so you can move forward and put the incident behind you. The unfortunate reality is, though, that the sympathetic insurance company is only one of many myths about the claim process that all too often leaves people paying for a substantial amount of expensive recovery care all on their own.
Here are a few more misconceptions, myths and things you simply have to know about so you can protect your best interests when filing a car accident injury insurance claim. At the end of the day, most likely, there are benefits that you’re entitled to that you probably don’t even know existed.
If you were involved in a car accident in the city of Bloomington, MN, contact Weston Law Office. We will provide excellent and professional services.
Insurance Companies Prioritize Their Own Best Interests
In advertisements everywhere, insurance companies market themselves by promising to be there in your time of need — whether you’re in a car accident, your home has been damaged or you’re facing a medical crisis.
But while it’s nice to think that there are options when times get tough, the reality is that the entire insurance industry’s business model is built to do the exact opposite.
When it comes to the basic economics of the industry, insurance company revenue typically comes from three sources: approximately 93% comes from premiums (what you pay monthly), 6% from them investing your monthly payment and 1% from other general sources.
Now, insurance companies have two main sets of expenses: operating costs, which total around 15% and include marketing and administrative expenditures; and benefit payouts — the stuff you’re supposed to get out of giving them your monthly payments.
If you do the math, the 15% in operating costs, which doesn’t and can’t really fluctuate that much due to competition, means that 85% is left over for payouts.
Of course, if they spent all 85% on payouts, they wouldn’t be profitable — they would break even.
Here’s the thing, insurance companies represent almost 10% of the entire Fortune 500 and 15% of the 100 most profitable businesses on that list. Essentially, insurance companies are among the most profitable organizations in the world based on a simple principle: pay as little as possible on every claim in order to keep a maximal amount of the 85% left for payouts after operating costs.
Insurance Companies Intentionally Make the Process Difficult
As a byproduct of the concept of paying out as little as possible on each claim, insurance companies make their processes complicated and difficult to navigate by design.
Think about it, if it was easy for you to identify what your full benefits are and then actually receive them, then insurance companies would have to pay out a lot more than they actually do.
In many ways, as consumers of the insurance industry, we’ve been programmed to overlook how complicated insurance actually is. In fact, most people never read the fine print of the policy because it’s all fine print filled with legalese, terms and conditions.
And, realistically, the fact that people are required to carry car insurance in the first place complicates things even more because people tend to buy cheaper insurance to meet the minimum standards, which leads to even more uncertainty when the hospital bill comes in after an injury stemming from a car accident.
The end result, is that systemically, insurance companies don’t want you to know what exactly you’re entitled to because when it comes down to it, that could possibly eat into their profits.
Getting Legal Help Doesn’t Mean You’re Suing the Other Driver
People often think that by getting a lawyer involved to help with an auto accident injury claim, that they’re also suing the other driver involved in the collision. And, especially in the Minneapolis and St. Paul area — the heart of Minnesota nice territory — this misconception tends to leave people weary of using legal aide, specifically in cases where the other driver simply made a mistake.
Now, although in Minnesota, you technically do sue the at-fault driver directly, it’s only nominal — their car insurance company is party that actually hires and pays for their attorney. They also pay all of any settlement or award that you obtain. Essentially, it’s for this exact service that every driver pays a monthly insurance premium.
You’re Actually Entitled to Benefits Whether or Not You Were at Fault
The state of Minnesota has a no-fault insurance law. This law basically says that in Minnesota, if you get into a car accident and get injured, you are entitled to certain benefits whether or not the accident was your fault.
No matter what kind or how cheap your car insurance is, it includes no-fault insurance benefits by default, and information about them can be found disclosed in the Personal Injury Protection portion of your policy.
At its core, the no-fault insurance law is meant to give each Minnesota resident greater access to healthcare following an injury that stems from a car accident and can help pay for medical expenses that come from exams, treatments and surgery. It also includes coverage for other related expenses such as chiropractic treatment, massage therapy and travel expenses incurred by going to and from care facilities.
The no-fault insurance law even goes further than covering medical expenses. It also has provisions for covering lost wages if you are unable to work due to your injuries.
Plus, if you are unable to perform physical tasks like housekeeping or yard work, it can cover hiring someone to help you do those things as well. In fact, with no-fault insurance benefits, you can receive up to $200 each week (almost $900 per month) just to pay for help around the house. This benefit in particular is one that often goes overlooked by people who have car accident injury claims.
You’ll Leave Money on the Table if You Fight an Insurance Company Yourself
No-fault insurance benefits are a boon for Minnesota residents because the fact is when you’re injured, things like raking the leaves and shoveling snow don’t stop needing to be done, and the no-fault insurance law helps ensure that you have the help you need to get them done while you recover.
Think about it, if you broke your leg in a car accident in May and can’t mow the lawn for 16 weeks, your only option might be to pay someone to do it. Well, research shows that the average yard care service costs around $35 per visit and during the summer, grass grows fast, so it really has to be done each week. That means you have to find an extra $560 dollars total and about $160 a month just to mow the lawn while you’re injured.
Now, insurance companies usually fight no-fault insurance benefits tooth and nail — of course they don’t want to pay for someone to mow your lawn or clean your kitchen.
But the reality is, the law says that you’re entitled to them, so while you might have to fight for them, if you do it right, you’ll get them.
Of course, you can try to go through the insurance process on your own. But navigating the complex paperwork yourself risks leaving unclaimed or underpaid benefits on the table. Since settlements directly impact their profit margins, insurance companies fight hard on every detail, most individuals simply don’t have the experience to go toe to toe with companies that enter into this battle every single day.
Not to mention, they know all of the ins and outs of the policy and how it affects the settlement not only in the short term but also the long term. So, it’s quite common for individuals to think they are getting a good deal when the reality is that they got stuck with the short end of the stick.
Instead of trying to go head to head with your insurance company yourself, hands down the much simpler and safer course of action is to partner with a lawyer that specializes in car accident injuries.
Experienced personal injury attorneys typically handle hundreds, if not thousands of cases, like yours, putting them on a level playing field when it comes to hammering out settlement deals.
From the auto accident lawyers, can make solid general estimates as to the strength and value of your claim. Even more, they can help you understand what benefits are available to you based on your unique situation.
Lawyers Cost Nothing Upfront or Out-of-Pocket
One of the prime reasons people shy away from using an attorney after they get injured in a car accident is because they think it’s too expensive. And sure, when you look at it in a vacuum, navigating the legal system with a lawyer is an expensive undertaking.
But the fact is, for a car accident injury, the way it all shakes out, retaining a lawyer to handle your insurance claim costs you nothing upfront and nothing out-of-pocket.
See, nearly all lawyers who handle auto accident injuries work insurance claims on contingency. This means that attorneys only get paid out of what the insurance company pays out to the client in the settlement. Basically, if the lawyer loses and you get nothing, then the law firm — and lawyer– also gets nothing.
Plus, most of the time, the cost of the lawyer is never even felt by the person they’re representing because usually, their costs and fees are worked into any kind of award that goes to the client.
You Can’t Wait Long to Take Action
From the moment your accident happens, the clock starts ticking on your benefits, and you can’t afford to miss out on a penny by waiting too long. See, no-fault insurance claims have to be made within six months of the accident date. So, the best chance you have to receive the maximal amount of insurance benefits under the law is to consult with a lawyer as soon as possible after a car accident.
Here’s the thing — from the moment your insurance company receives notice of your accident, it starts gathering evidence that can later be used against you to deny or devalue any claim.
Anything you say, write or do after a collision is fair game for the insurance company to use against you — no matter how nice the insurance adjuster may seem. For the most part, you want to be ahead of the game as much as you can, and a good lawyer will fill out all confusing and complicated paperwork, help you preserve any evidence and counsel you about how best to handle any requests made by the insurance company.
Were You Injured in a Car Accident?
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you don’t have to face your insurance company alone. Using a good lawyer who specializes in car accident injury claims, gives you your best chance at getting the maximal amount of benefits you’re entitled to by law.
Weston Law Office helps people in Minneapolis, St. Paul and the greater Twin Cities suburbs navigate the legal system and specializes in auto accident claims. Consultations are 100% free, and we work insurance claims on contingency, which costs you nothing upfront or out of pocket.