How to Get Compensation When Dealing with a Disability or Workplace Injury
When a Disability Takes You Out of Work
If your injuries take you out of work for more than a few days, you stand to lose a lot of wages. If you have short-term or long-term disability coverage (under auto insurance or separately), you should be able to collect payments that help you make ends meet while you are out of work. If you are eligible for this coverage and decide to use it, you may hear from your insurance company about “subrogation,” which is a legal term for transferring the obligation to pay from one party to another. In an at-fault state, subrogation gives your disability insurer the right to be reimbursed if you win any money for lost wages from a third party, such as the insurance company for the other driver. Because this can be complex, your law firm should handle it for you. Be sure to contact us at John Bales Attorneys to handle your insurance claim.
You may be entitled to payment of lost wages from your own PIP insurer in a no-fault state. Because you do not necessarily need to sue, subrogation is limited in no-fault states, and it is handled differently in each state. Again, your law firm should handle this for you.
Dealing With Workers’ Compensation Insurance
If you were at work during your accident, you are probably entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ compensation pays the cost of any injuries you sustain at work and a limited replacement wage while you are unable to work, regardless of who was at fault for the injury. Your employer carries workers’ compensation insurance to cover those payments. In exchange for that right (not the benefits themselves), you agree not to sue your employer, even if you believe it caused the accident. However, if a third party was responsible for the injury, you may still be able to sue that party while collecting workers’ compensation benefits. Subrogation may also come into play with a workers’ compensation case, because multiple insurance companies are often involved in a claim.
Workers’ compensation law is a complicated area that depends largely on the laws of your state, and many lawyers focus their practice on it completely. Many workers have trouble collecting workers’ compensation because replacement wages can be expensive — and as we noted before, insurance companies prefer not to pay expensive claims, even when that is their legal obligation. If you have a workers’ compensation claim as a result of your accident, your lawyer may refer that part of your case to another lawyer who specializes in workers’ compensation law.
Settling Your Claim With the Insurance Adjuster
Sometimes, it is possible to settle an accident claim by just working with the insurance adjuster. This is most likely when you have few injuries that require little medical treatment or no injuries at all. In this situation, you may not even need help from a lawyer. But before you close your claim, you should make sure you have identified all of your injuries and property damage and feel that you will be truly fully compensated by the payments you will receive.
Many people do not realize that they are not required to take the first settlement their insurance companies offer. In fact, you are allowed to negotiate for the fullest compensation you are entitled to, using documentation from police, repair shops and other independent parties to support your claim. But if your insurer refuses to change its offer, a lawyer can drastically change your situation. Hiring a lawyer to handle the negotiations lets the insurer know that you know your rights and are prepared to enforce them, if necessary.
The Adjuster Is Not Your Friend
Because we refer to “our” insurance companies, it can be easy to believe that insurance adjusters are here to help us. Unfortunately, that is just not true. Insurance companies are in business to make money, and premiums — the monthly or yearly payments we make to have insurance — are just part of their revenue. Like any other business, insurers make more money if they keep costs low. In an insurance company’s case, that means paying less to people with expensive claims. The job of an insurance adjuster is to save the company money by settling your claim for as little money as possible.
If you were seriously injured in your accident, you may not be in the best position to fight with your insurance company. Hiring a lawyer may be the best decision you can make to protect yourself, your family and your future.