This is the next post in our series on handling Rochester, Minnesota pedestrian accident cases. Our last article discussed how important expert witnesses can be in such cases and the importance of hiring an attorney with the financial resources and experience necessary to retain these experts. Failing to do so puts your chances of receiving the highest possible recovery at risk. You should retain an experienced personal injury lawyer to assist you in such matters as no two cases are the same. In this article we will discuss what a victim should expect while receiving treatment for injuries. Contact our office today to speak with a lawyer if you require assistance.
The victim of any accident * should seek immediate medical care after being injured. By seeking immediate care, a victim helps protect himself from claims that he was not injured in the accident but sometime later, that the second incident actually prompted the hospital visit. The victim should meet with an attorney as soon as possible after being discharged from the hospital. Counsel will have the victim sign a HIPPA release allowing the law firm to obtain the victim’s medical records. Counsel will also be able to obtain future medical records as the victim continues to receive treatment.
Pedestrians quite often sustain serious injuries when hit by cars. With serious injuries, it will be some time before a claim can be submitted to the driver’s insurance carrier. Most physicians will defer for one year post-injury, when a victim has reached maximum medical improvement, stating whether the patient’s injuries are permanent and what the patient’s long-term prognosis is. Medical opinions regarding permanency and prognosis must be in hand before the claimant’s lawyer can make a settlement demand since any request for compensation must include money for future medical care and loss of future earnings. In other words, a victim may need to treat longer than she may have expected before a claim can be submitted on her behalf. During this time, the claimant’s lawyer will be in regular contact with the defendant’s insurance adjusters and keeping them up to date as to the status of the victim’s treatment.
Once the victim’s long-term prognosis and associated medical costs and income losses can be accurately calculated, a demand for payment can be generated by her attorney. The demand states how the victim was injured, why the defendant was at fault, the damages suffered by the victim to date, and the amount requested for future lost income and medical expenses, as well as for pain, suffering, impairment and emotional distress. Documentation supporting economic calculation of future losses, as well as proofs supporting evidence of fault, accompany the demand letter. Negotiations between the claimant’s lawyer and the insurance adjuster begin. Assuming a settlement that represents the client’s optimum financial outcome is achieved (60-90 days), the case can conclude shortly thereafter. If a settlement cannot be reached, the case must proceed to litigation.
It can’t be stressed enough that you need to retain a personal injury lawyer to expertly handle your case when treating for extensive injuries. Regretfully, some lawyers have the reputation of being on the lookout for a “quick settlement” and have no interest, or capability, of pursuing a case to its fullest extent in order to achieve the best financial compensation for an injured pedestrian. Insurers know who these lawyers are and quickly seize the advantage. While accepting an early settlement offer from the insurance company can put money in a victim’s pocket today, it may also leave him without needed funds in the future. Our Rochester pedestrian accident lawyers have recovered more than $125 million on behalf of victims and we are ready to assist you.
Besides Rochester, we serve the following major southeast Minnesota cities: Red Wing, Winona, Mankato, Austin, Albert Lea, and Owatonna, and all outlying communities, as well as the cities of Minneapolis, St. Paul, Duluth, and Bloomington. We also serve the Iowa cities of Mason City, Charles City, Osage, Spencer, Garner, Forest City, and Northwood and the Wisconsin cities of La Crosse, Onalaska, Sparta, Viroqua, River Falls, Ellsworth, Whitehall, and Black River Falls.
*A note about language:
Federal agencies involved in traffic safety have banned use of the word “accident” for more than 20 years, and with good reason. However, we use the word “accident” on our website, even though we know it has implications that run contrary to our professional thinking and training, because we recognize that “accident” is the word most commonly used in online searches when people are looking for help after being injured in a crash. If you’d like more information about this topic, please see our blog, “Car Accident or Car Crash?”