Phoenix Attorneys Answer Insurance Claim FAQs
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I have to use my health insurance after an accident? Or can I sue the other person's car insurance?
The insurance company is asked that I give a recorded statement, am I required to? Do I have to talk to them at all?
Q: Do I have to use my health insurance after an accident? Or can I sue the other person's car insurance?
A: Too many people make the mistake of not using the insurance that they have paid to use. Too many people are so focused after an accident on making the other person "pay" that they cost themselves money that they need. This is not done for any reason except for a lack of understanding of how the law works and how Arizona insurance is supposed to operate.
In order to have health insurance in the first place, you have to pay premiums. Now, premiums come in all different shapes and sizes. On the one hand, you may have had private health insurance from which you wrote monthly checks. Or, perhaps you have health insurance that comes through your work. However, the place that you work is paying premiums. Those premiums for that health insurance are paid on your behalf. Or, perhaps you have a pension, Medicare, Medicaid, AHCCCS, or any other type of health insurance. One way or another, that health insurance has been paid for by somebody on your behalf. It is there to protect you. So, at the moment of a serious injury, auto accident, or personal injury claim in Arizona, Phoenix, Tucsan, or anywhere else in the state, the person who has been injured has a level of protection afforded to them. That is very important. Now, let's look at the person who caused the injury.
Let's assume that the person who was negligent and caused the serious injury has automobile insurance. That person paid for that automobile insurance (or again, somebody has paid for that automobile insurance because it certainly wasn't provided for free) in case they ever made a mistake. In case they ever negligently harmed somebody else. Having automobile insurance does not get the person who was at fault for a car accident or any other injury claim off the hook. Instead, it is the job of their insurance company to step in and protect their insured who caused the accident by paying the medical bills, lost wages and so forth. However, in specifically dealing with health insurance, it is the responsibility of the person who caused the accident to step in and pay for your medical bills.
Now, let's combine these two levels of coverage. On the one hand, the injured person already had health insurance. They paid for that insurance. That insurance is required to step up and pay for your medical bills. At the same time, the other person who caused the accident is also required to step up and pay for your medical bills. Now, what many people choose to do is only look to the automobile insurance to get their medical bills. However, what about the fact that you have a health insurance company who has been paid to pay for those same medical bills? The only thing that is being done by ignoring your own health insurance and only making a claim against the other automobile insurance is that your health insurance company just got to make a bigger profit at the end of the year. You paid for protection. You hope you will never need your health insurance protection after a serious injury case. All of us hope we could never be stuck in the terrible situation caused by somebody else's neglect. But if somebody finds themselves there and they have that level of protection, use it! That's what it was there for. At the same time, you are certainly not going to let the other insurance company off the hook.
Now, the law has had to deal with this situation. What do we do when there's two different insurance companies who are both responsible for that exact same medical bill? Well, somebody is going to get a windfall of some kind. Either a health insurance company that's required to pay is not going to pay anything for the medical bills and they're going to create a profit that they don't deserve to create for themselves. Or, the person who is at fault is going to get off the hook and not have to pay what they're required by law to have paid because they were the ones who caused the injury in the first place.
Or, finally, the law says that the injured person-usually with the help of an experienced and knowledgeable Phoenix personal injury lawyer that knows how to best process the claim and maximize its value-is able to make claims against both insurance companies thereby paying off the medical bills with the use of one insurance company (the order and the way the claim is processed does matter but it's too detailed to try to explain here) and then makes a claim against the other insurance company and that money can be used to actually compensate the injured person. Therefore, the compensation for the medical treatment actually is a real benefit to the person who was hurt. That person in effect had double protection and that double protection should be used in almost every case. Even if the health insurance is required to be paid back (once again a complicated analysis depending upon many factors) it is still almost always worthwhile to utilize the insurance that was there in the first place for the protection of the person who was wrongfully injured.
Q: The insurance company is asked that I give a recorded statement, am I required to? Do I have to talk to them at all?
A: Far too often, people talk to the other insurance company of the person who caused their injury before they contact a lawyer. We completely understand why people make this mistake. Most people believe that as long as they tell the truth, they can count on the other side being fair with them. Most people who delay in hiring a lawyer are not doing it for any bad reason. In fact, in almost every case people who delay hiring a lawyer are doing so because they have never been through a personal injury claim before and they believe that if they simply are fair and honest upfront that the insurance company will provide a fair and honest settlement at the end. The reality is that most people only make this mistake once. Unfortunately, that one time can be life changing under the wrong circumstances.
By providing a recorded statement to the adverse insurance company you are opening yourself up to an insurance adjuster or an insurance company that may not be as honest as you. In fact, since their job is to help create a profit (yes, we know that's not exactly the job of the insurance adjuster, but they certainly are not going to get promoted as quickly by paying out full value on a claim where they could have saved money) you are risking your entire claim.
Of course, what people normally say when we first tell them this is "well I just told them the truth." Well, you better tell them the truth. We will never work with a client that we believe is not telling the truth. However, to believe that simply "telling the truth" will stop the other side from trying to take words out of context, twist the words, or somehow find a way to use the truth against the person who told it is probably a little bit naíve. Insurance companies do this on a regular basis. It's not a surprise that they do this. In fact, ask yourself this question: Why do they want to record the statement? One of the reasons they want to record it is because they don't want to just know what happened in the accident and they don't just want to know what the injuries are. When I want to know answers to those questions I ask people those questions every day. I don't need to record the conversation to communicate with that person. One of the reasons it's being recorded is so it could later be provided to the insurance attorney hired by that insurance company to try to use the claim against the person who was hurt.
Before you ever speak to the insurance company and certainly before you ever allow them to record your statement make sure you talk to the best Arizona car insurance coverage lawyer that you can find to make sure your questions are answered. We normally will not even allow our clients to give these statements and on the rare cases we do, we are at their side to make sure that they are not being taken advantage of.
Q: Does the insurance company have to replace my car?
Who pays for my car to be replaced?
Can I get a rental car?
A: Handling car repairs and car replacement after an auto accident probably seems like it would be a small deal. From the outside looking in, people would not expect how important this is for many of our clients. Of course, our clients have almost always suffered very serious injuries. In the worst cases, our clients have lost a family member or may never be able to drive a car again. However, for anyone that ever does return to being able to use their vehicle, that vehicle is their freedom. It is their way to get around the State of Arizona. Therefore, making sure the car is taken care of and taken care of as quickly as possible can be a vital issue for our clients.
Now, we are aware that some law firms do not help their clients get their car repaired. While we do not criticize other law firms for the way they handle their cases, we do not do this. We are also aware that many law firms will hire an outside agency to handle the car repair (property damage claims) and then pass that on as a cost to their client. We do not do that either.
At Breyer Law Offices, P.C., our Phoenix insurance claim attorneys believe there is a difference between us and many other firms. We believe it is an understanding that we have what our clients need in terms of the best possible legal representation. We do everything we can to get the property damage resolved quickly. Under the law the negligent party is required to provide a replacement (rental) vehicle while the property damage issues are being taken care of. While a car is in the shop they are required to pay for a car rental. Sometimes they will not do this easily and it requires a fight. That is what we are here for. Sometimes, there is a disagreement as to whether the car is a total loss and should be replaced or whether it can be repaired. Other times, there are disagreements over what parts can be used to repair the vehicle. At every step of the process-even when it comes to fixing a damaged car, we try to provide the best possible service to our clients so they know that their attorneys that they trusted to handle their case have their back.
Q: How do I know which Phoenix personal injury attorney to hire?
A: We strongly believe there is a really Breyer Law Offices, P.C. difference. We have built this firm largely on referrals of current and former clients throughout the years. Many of our clients have stayed in touch with us for years and continue to provide our name to others when they are in need.
We are very selective in the cases we take and we certainly do not promise that anyone who calls us can be represented by our firm. However, what we can assure everybody is that we will provide honest and clear answers to the questions they ask. We are not a law firm that tells people what they want to hear. Also, we do not avoid telling people the hard truth and the problems that their case may have. Our clients know that they can trust us and they can expect to be treated the way people should be treated when they have suffered through these terrible tragedies or personal injury claims in Arizona.
If you or anybody you know has questions about a case, do not hesitate to contact The Husband & Wife Law Team. You can speak directly to an experienced lawyer. You can speak directly to someone who has honest answers to your questions and when they don't, they will go find out what they are. You can know that, good, bad or indifferent, the analysis of your claim was a straightforward intelligent analysis that allows you to make the best decision for you and your family.
In all automobile accident cases it is essential that measures be taken promptly to preserve evidence, investigate the accident in question, and to enable physicians or other expert witnesses to thoroughly evaluate any injuries. If you or a loved one is a victim of an automobile accident, call Breyer Law Offices, P.C. at (602) 267-1280 now or CLICK HERE to submit a Simple Case Form. The initial consultation is free of charge, and if we agree to accept your case, we will work on a contingent fee basis, which means we get paid for our services only if there is a monetary award or recovery of funds. Don't delay! You may have a valid claim and be entitled to compensation for your injuries, but a lawsuit must be filed before the statute of limitations expires.
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Confidentially reviewed by Attorney Mark Breyer