– We’re with John Kelly. John is a personal injury
attorney in Phoenix, Arizona. And he’s agreed to answer
some online questions related to car accidents. With that said, John,
I’m gonna go ahead and get in the first question
and we’ll go from there. First question was from Candace. Candace says, I was
in a minor accident with my 11-year-old
son three weeks ago. There was light damage to
the front right fender, but nothing major. It was a bit scary
for both of us, but it really didn’t
seem like a big deal. The insurance company from
the woman that hit us, is paying for the repairs
and the car insurance provided me with the settlement
documentations to sign. Basically, she got a
settlement document to sign. And the issue is my
son is now complaining of his neck hurting. What are my options? – Okay, for Candace having
your child in the vehicle, sounds like the
child’s injured now. Which is something that
insurance companies, what they’ll typically do
in these kinds of cases, is they’re going to
reach out right away and see if they can
settle the case. If she has a child that’s
complaining of an injury, she needs to get that child
in to be evaluated first, to make sure that the
child doesn’t have any long term consequences
from this injury. What can happen is that the
insurance company will send an individual who’s been in a wreck the documentation
and a check, and say, hey sign off on this. You’ll get this nice check. We’ll move on from it. The problem with
that is, later on, if there’s injuries
that were not diagnosed there’s no recovery for that. So, the good news
is for Candace, it sounds like the
adverse insurance company, the person that hit her,
has accepted liability. That’s a first step. So, they’ve taken responsibility
for this accident. It’s up to her now to
show the insurance company what her injuries are, and
her child’s injuries are. And they won’t take
her word for it. She can’t just call
them up and say, hey, my child has some neck pain can you compensate him for that. She’s gonna have to
provide documentation. So when I get a client, I make
sure that we have everything that is complained
of from the client that’s gotta be
evaluated by a doctor, actually diagnosed as that. And we use those bills and
records of those visits, to make a demand later on. Typically we wait at
least a couple of months after the accident to make sure that there’s no
lingering effects that we’re not taking care of. So, she should probably at
least consult with her attorney and definitely needs to
get medical attention for her daughter. – Okay, next question
we have was from Jose. Jose says, I’m a
construction manager and while I was headed to work, I was hit by a guy
exiting the freeway. The police came and
cited the driver for failure to maintain
control of his vehicle. My truck was totaled, and I
had to go to the hospital. The injuries were not major, but I missed three days of
work and I’m having back pains. The insurance company
is wanting me to sign a release document and
offering me a settlement. If I counter offer, will
I have to get an attorney? – For Jose, he does not
need to get an attorney to negotiate with the
insurance company. He can go all the way through all the settlement negotiations. He can go all the
way up to trial. He can even conduct
a trial on his own if he really wanted to. It’s not an advisable
thing for him to do. And honestly, for someone to settle a case
without an attorney in a case where they’ve
gone to the hospital and incurred medical expenses, it can be a little concerning. Because what a lot of
people don’t understand is hospital bills in
Arizona insurance. The hospitals are allowed
to do what we call balance bills. So, although their
health insurance may have paid some of that bill, There still is going to
be an outstanding amount that they didn’t get paid. Hospitals will then come back to the person who
got the settlement, and say, I want the rest of
the money from the settlement. So, that’s a lien
against the case. So, he’s gotta be certain
that he has enough money to pay off all of
those liens, too. Most personal injury
attorneys what they’ll do is they’ll actually
negotiate those liens, make sure they’re valid liens, often get major reductions
in those amounts, to make sure that the
client is getting money in their pocket for
pain and suffering. The other issue is, he
may have other avenues of insurance, or other
avenues of recovery that he’s not aware of. May look like a good
deal, but any time, especially with hospital bills, they tend to have
big numbers as far as how much it costs
for that treatment. Clients don’t usually understand
what their case is worth when there’s serious injuries. The settlements can be multiples when the hospital
bills get high. – Okay, can you turn down
your audio a little bit, I’m getting (loud echoing
feedback blocks speech) whenever I’m talking. – Sure, no problem. – Let’s see if,
okay, there we go. The next question was from Jeff. Jeff asks, how do I
know how much the car, oh this is pretty
simple, I guess. But, how do I know how much
the car insurance company should pay me for
my car accident. Yeah, it sounds simple, but
it isn’t a simple thing. And the insurance companies
spend 1000s, 1000s of dollars on this. They have actually
computer programs that have algorithms
that try to determine what kind of offers they
should make for settlements. A lot of it is dependent on
what the medical expenses are. If there’s a minor injury
with just typically, you know they consider
minor injuries, anything that’s
not a broken bone anything that’s no
major hospital bills, it’s difficult to get
three times your medical expenses in that kinda case. Sometimes you can. More likely two times. But once there’s
serious injuries that require medical attention, that goes a little bit further. It becomes kind of a situation
where it’s hard to determine. One of the other things
that he has to consider is how much of this
is gonna be included for pain and suffering,
for lost wages any other avenues of recovery. What are the limits for
the insurance to provide. Some he’s bumping
up on a limit issue. He may have $10,000
worth of hospital bills But, the adverse party only
had 15,000 worth of coverage. So, does he go to his
own insurance company if they have coverage. So, when trying to find out
what your settlement is worth, there’s sometimes there’s
settlement calculators you can find online. I don’t find those
to be very reliable. What I do is I
look at prior cases that have similar injuries,
and I have a way of ordering those through Arizona to
look at what other cases have settled for, or
have resulted at trial. So those can sometimes be
helpful to look at those. And the thing about injuries
is everyone’s injury is a little bit different. So for me to tell just based on what the accident
sounds like initially, is not something that
anyone should be doing. – Okay, and this is
the final question. This from Tommy. Tommy asks, I was recently
t-boned by a driver, and have significant
medical bills. I’ve been provided
with a large offer by the insurance company, and I think it should
cover everything. I realize I might be
able to get more money, but I really need the
cash now to pay my bills. How can I get more money
without having to wait for a lawsuit, etcetera. – Okay, so getting more money. It’s kind of a
conflicting statement. He said that it seems
like a good offer, but he wants more money. I don’t know if, what
exactly his situation is. I can tell you this, he doesn’t have to wait long. Even if he’s contacted an
attorney to evaluate his case. Look at the offer
that’s on the table. It doesn’t take more
than a couple of days for an attorney to
evaluate a case. Especially if he has all of
his documentation in line. If I have the medical records. If I have the police report. If I can look at the
settlement offer, usually I can see
where they’re at and give them some advice
about moving forward. There are times when an
attorney will be helpful in situations like that. There’s times that they weren’t. If they have a great
offer on the table, paying their medical expenses, paying all of their other bills, and is giving them money for
their pain and suffering, I’m not afraid to tell them, look, that looks like
a reasonable offer. Paying an attorney
fee is not worth it. There are some creative
ways to usually get quite a bit more out of a case, if a lawyer looks
down and really takes the time to
evaluate the case and say, we can do these
things moving forward, and I think we can
get you a good result, a better result and
maybe very quickly. We know that people have
problems with their bills in these kinda accidents, because they just
start piling up. And there’s that
temptation to settle your case right away. But it’s not advisable without
talking to a lawyer first. – Okay, excellent. Well if you have any
other questions for John, all you need to do, he’s
agreed to answer them online, all you have to do
is just post them into the comments
section below the video and he’s agreed to
get back to you. Thanks for your time, John. – Thanks Ryan. I’m always available to
answer any questions, so please feel free
to reach out to me.