What Will Occur after You Retain an Attorney for a Personal Injury Case?
Interviewer: So someone gets into an accident. What’s the timeline of events that will happen if they speak to an attorney and they retain them? What happens next in the case?
The Attorney Will Put All Involved Parties on Notice That They Have Been Retained
Bill: The first thing that we do is we put everyone on notice that we represent the injured party. That means even our client’s own insurance company. That means their health insurance carrier. That means the at‑fault carrier, and anybody else that can potentially be involved in the case.
That’s for two reasons. Number one, so that they will leave our client alone, and our client will not hurt their case. Number two, we want the client to be at ease and concentrate on only one thing, and that’s getting better. We want to alleviate all the aggravation associated with the case.
Interviewer: What will happen next after you give notice to everybody?
The Attorney Will Assist the Client in Obtaining Compensation for all Damage Incurred as a Result of the Accident, Not Only Medically but Also for Any Personal Property
Bill: We oversee the client’s treatment regardless of what is required. The next thing we do, without fee, is we help the client get the proper and fair compensation for whatever is damaged in the collision, not only the vehicle, but a lot of times glasses are broken, and any other kind of personal things can be broken.
We assist the client, without fee, to be compensated on that and we arrange rental cars if our client’s vehicle is totaled, and generally do things that will assist them.
The Attorney Will Help the Client Obtain Medical Treatment If They Do Not Have Healthcare Insurance
We will help them obtain treatment if they don’t have their own insurance or healthcare insurance. That’s extremely important, and we generally can do it with doctors I have relationships with throughout all of my cities, Kent, Federal Way, Renton, Covington, Burien, Auburn.
The client won’t have to pay up front if they don’t have insurance. The chiropractors or doctors we have relationships with will hold their bills.
Interviewer: Are there other events that will transpire when someone retains you to help them?
Bill: We will oversee their treatment. We’ll help them gather whatever information they haven’t provided us immediately, photographs, witness statements. Witnesses are generally listed in the police report. We contact the witnesses.
The Injured Party’s Healthcare Insurance Company Is Obligated to Pay for Bills if the Party Does Not Carry PIP on Their Auto insurance Policy
Mainly, our job is to oversee the case, make sure that they’re not harassed by any of the insurance companies. A really important thing is, if they don’t have personal injury protection on their automobile policy, but they do have health insurance at work, we make the health insurance carrier pay the bills, because the health insurance carrier will always say that the automobile insurance is primary. They have to pay first. They only have to pay first if it exists. Otherwise, the health insurance becomes primary, and they have to pay the bills.
Interviewer: Does your client have to make statements? What goes on now in a case once you start soliciting the different parties to get compensation for the injuries?
The Injured Party Does Cooperate with His or Her Own Insurance Company
Bill: My client will make statements to their own insurance company, because it’s their obligation to cooperate. If they are the at‑fault party, I will allow written statements, because I can control those. We always talk to the police.
It is Important to Be Fully Cooperative with the Police
Interviewer: Oh, are people obligated to tell the police what happened?
Interviewer: Have you seen people have any problems in talking to the police, or the police make a judgment that they think is not right?
Bill: The vast majority of police officers are competent. They’re traffic officers, and they have experience in writing reports. Occasionally, we’ll get somebody that just doesn’t know what they’re doing, and the police report comes out inaccurate. Sometimes we can change it, but sometimes the facts and the witnesses obviously contradict the police officer, and we deal with that.
Interviewer: So what else will happen now in the case? What other steps are there until you get to a settlement?
On Occasion, the Client’s Insurance Carrier Wants to Stop Paying for the Medical Bills so the Attorney Will Intercede on Behalf of the Client
Bill: We take care of any conflicts that arise between our client’s insurance company and our client. A very frequent tactic that the personal injury protection carrier, that’s our client’s carrier, will do is if they want to stop paying the bills, they will do what’s called an independent medical examination.
The Client May Be Required to Undergo an Independent Medical Examination (IME)
It’s my client’s obligation to attend them. In 42 years, I could count on my left hand the number of insurance companies that say, “Okay. Keep treating.” Most of them, the IME it’s called, the independent medical examinations are a ruse to cut off coverage.
Sometimes there are class actions that go after carriers. It’s happened at State Farm. Generally speaking, our doctors will continue treating the people whether their PIP carrier pays or not.
Interviewer: So people will be asked to have a medical evaluation by the insurance company’s doctor?
Bill: It’s their own insurance company, and they have an obligation to cooperate. Virtually every policy has a provision in it that says that that insurance company can have my client and/or their insured, examined.
It Is Not Uncommon for an Insurance Carrier to Devise Ways to Stop Paying for the Insured’s Medical Bills
Interviewer: So even a person’s own insurance company wants to try to find a way to stop paying for their medical bills.
Bill: Virtually almost every case. It is becoming more and more frequent. It’s a bad practice. It’s an unfair practice, but there’s usually it’s not ultimately harmful, because we can keep our clients treating with our doctors.
Interviewer: Then you’ll try to have your own doctor find that they do need to continue with treatment.
Attorney Levinson Will Send Clients to Doctors That Work with His Firm so They Can Continue to Be Treated
Bill: Yes. If they do and, generally, like I said, they do. We don’t try. We get it done. Our clients do get care.