TEN MOST FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

1. Does the insurance company have my best interests in mind? Will the insurance company treat me fairly?

ANSWER: No. Whether it is your insurance company or the insurance company of the person at fault. Insurance companies and their adjusters are only interested in closing your claim as soon as possible. Insurance companies are interested in keeping costs, as well as settlements, low. Insurance companies are interested only in profit and shareholders. It is best to contact an attorney.

2. Should I talk to the insurance company or adjuster? Or, should I sign an authorization to release medical or wage loss information?

ANSWER: Be very careful. As for your insurance company, you have a duty to cooperate, to talk with them, and to provide information. Never sign an authorization which is given to the insurance company who is at fault, and do not allow your insurance company to give your information to the at fault insurance company.

Giving an authorization for release of information allows the insurance company to obtain your medical records, past and present. It allows the insurance company to contact your doctors and health care providers. Insurance adjusters can influence your doctors by providing them with false or deceptive information or influence their willingness to get involved in your case. Contact an attorney.

3. How long will it take to settle my case?

ANSWER: It depends on the nature and severity of your injuries. For example, your injuries may require surgery and rehabilitation, which could take months. Occupational issues and retraining may take longer. In less serious cases, settlement can be achieved in six months to a year.

Do not try to negotiate or settle your case too soon. The insurance company/adjusters will see this as a sign of desperation, weakness, or greed. Wait until your doctors or health care providers tell you it is okay to settle. Do not ask for too much or too little. It is best to contact an attorney before settlement.

4. How much is my case worth?

ANSWER: Again, this depends on the severity of your injury and how the injury affects your life and occupation. The length of treatment, and the diagnosis and prognosis may also affect the value of your claim. There is no set amount for any injury. Each case is different. There is no magical calculation; for example, three times medical expenses. Negotiating with an insurance adjuster requires experience. Contact an attorney.

5. Can I get future medical expenses and wage loss?

ANSWER: This depends on what your doctor or health care provider says. That is why you do not want the insurance company talking to your doctors. As we all know, injuries can last for years. The insurance company can influence or suggest to your doctor that the injury is not that serious. The insurance company can mislead your doctor by suggesting or distorting facts about your life, your injuries, or your limitations. Let an attorney who is interested in your health and future discuss future medical and wage loss issues.

6. How long do I have to file a lawsuit? What is the statute of limitations?

ANSWER: The statute of limitations can vary from state to state. Generally in Washington, you have three years from the date of injury. However, there are numerous exceptions, which include intentional acts, medical malpractice, Labor and Industries, and if you were under 18 years of age at the time of the injury. Never wait until the last minute. Contact an attorney who can advise you as to the best plan.

7. How often should I contact my attorney?

ANSWER: As often as you like. Telephone calls and correspondence should be returned immediately. Open communication is necessary and is the sign of professionalism.

8. Do I pay taxes on my recovery/settlement?

ANSWER: Generally, no. Damages for pain, suffering, and medical expenses are not taxable. Damages for wage loss may be taxable if paid by the negligent party.

9. What about attorney fees and costs?

ANSWER: Generally, attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. Meaning, if there is no recovery, you pay no attorney fees. Attorney fees can vary depending on the type of case, whether a lawsuit is necessary, and the difficulty of proving the case. Costs include obtaining medical records, police report, photographs, and in serious cases, expert witnesses. As a client, you should always feel free to discuss with an attorney his/her fees and costs.

10. What are my (Bruce A. Kaiser)’s qualifications?

ANSWER: Please refer to the remainder of my web site or contact me by email or telephone, and I would be glad to discuss my qualifications or your claim in more detail.

 

Bruce Kaiser
509.326.8008
1201 N. Ash Street, Suite 200
Spokane, WA 99201

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