Third Parties That Can Claim a Share in a Auto Crash Settlement – St. Louis Attorneys

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A person who is injured in a car accident may succeed in getting a settlement after a lot of negotiation. But they may be surprised to learn that a major part of it has been paid to third parties and not much has come to him directly. This is due to the numerous liens on a settlement. All the liens should be taken into account when the settlement is being negotiated so that the settlement amount exceeds the person’s debts. Our St. Louis auto accident attorney will discuss this in detail.

Liens on a Car Accident Claim

A lien is the right of a person to possess the property of another person until he repays a debt. A lien holder can claim a share in the person’s car accident settlement. However, he has to get the approval of the court to do so.

Some of the parties which generally file claims for a car accident settlement are doctors’ offices, hospitals, health insurance and auto insurance companies.

Healthcare Providers

Doctors, hospitals and other healthcare providers are often some of the lien holders in a car accident settlement. Some of them may place a lien on the settlement while others may agree to a partial payment.

Hospitals and doctors bills may have to be paid from the settlement. Often, a doctors’ office or a hospital refuses to submit their billing through the person’s health insurance carrier. They prefer to issue a ‘claimed lien’ against the car accident settlement and wait for the full payment from the settlement when it is received. However, there are certain limits for the amounts that healthcare providers can claim from such settlements.

Health Insurance

The health insurance company takes up the responsibility for taking care of the person’s medical treatment and pays the medical bills for him. So it can request that the repayment is made from the car accident settlement. This depends on the kind of coverage. For instance, if the health insurance is via employment the person may have an ERISA protected plan. In such a situation, an ERISA lien could be placed on the car accident settlement.

Auto Insurance

If the person has medical pay in his auto insurance plan, some of his medical bills are paid by his auto insurance carrier. Therefore an auto insurance company can ask for a share in the settlement proceeds. But in many places, auto insurance carriers are not allowed to claim a share in a car accident settlement.

The plaintiff files a claim for a settlement in order to compensate for his losses. But, the lien holders have to be paid before he gets the settlement proceeds. If a major part of the settlement is used for paying the lien holders the claimant may not get enough reimbursement for his damages. In order to get a favorable outcome for him, it is essential to ensure that the claims made by the third parties are legitimate and have been taken into account during the negotiations for the settlement. An experienced St. Louis car crash lawyer can help get the compensation that you deserve.

 

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What to Do After a Car Crash – St. Louis Lawyer

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Car accidents can happen to anyone, at any time. Those who have been in an automobile accident – minor or major – know that everything, right from dealing with injuries to insurance companies and the law is neither pleasant, nor easy.

While notifying the authorities is the first thing that most accident victims should do, it is not necessarily the first thing that comes to their minds. At that very moment, not everyone might have the ability or the presence of mind to always do the right things first. However, it is definitely important for everyone – accident victim or not – to understand what they should do in the event of an accident.

 

Get medical attention

Often, accident victims who do not have significant injuries do not seek immediate medical attention. Certain injuries, especially internal injuries can at times take more than 24 to 48 hours to show their effects. Injuries such as internal bleeding, internal damage to organs, closed head injuries like whiplash, etc. can cause severe damage and even cause permanent disabilities if left unchecked.

Not seeking medical attention immediately after an accident can also have repercussions on a civil suit. Most car accident lawyers recommend an examination to their clients, inquire if medical treatment was sought after the accident, and ask for a report even if the medical examination shows nothing.

Contact the police

However minor the accident may be, it is imperative to notify the police. Once contacted the police officer on duty will survey the scene of accident, interview those involved in the accident, issue a ticket if necessary and write an accident report.

The police report is an important document that is required in cases that result in a suit. Moreover, any experienced lawyer will ask to see the police report filed.

Contact an accident attorney

It is essential to make sure that accident victims contact a professional, experienced and qualified St. Louis car accident lawyer, before contacting their insurance company.

One can never ascertain how an accident case can unravel. Notifying a lawyer, right from the beginning can help in easing out the entire process, right from dealing with legal authorities and insurance agents to generating correct reports that help in identifying fault.

Call the insurance company

Many accident victims fear the negative if they call their vehicle insurance companies, and often prefer to sort out the issue with a handshake. One can never know the extent of damage that has taken place, and neither can they be sure that a verbal promise of payment for damages will be kept. In such cases, not reporting the accident to the insurance company might wipe out any chances of claim recovery later on.

It is thus wiser to follow protocol and file a claim for damages with the car insurance company.

Consult with your attorney before accepting any settlements

Insurance companies will obviously try to settle for as little as they can. A qualified St. Louis auto accident attorney should always be consulted before entering into any agreements, to ensure that a fair settlement is made.

Once in a car accident, there are a number of laws and legal procedures that need to be followed and that are often time bound. A car accident lawyer can assist with these and ensure that victims get what they are entitled for.

Call (314) 361-4242 for a FREE and private case evaluation.

https://www.hoffmannpersonalinjury.com/

Lost Wages After a Auto Accident – St. Louis Attorney

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There are times when injuries are so severe in a car accident that a person is unable to perform in the same capacity as they did prior to being hit. If you are unable to return to your former position at work for an extended period of time due to your injuries related to the car accident and the need for medical treatment, and your employer lets you go, you might have recourse for your lost wages. If an employer can’t go the extended time without your services and needs to hire someone to take your place, then it might be possible for you to get compensation.

If you lose your job because of the injuries you sustained from an accident, then you may be able to pursue a claim against the other driver. If you should lose your position at work, you can claim special damages. Special damages typically include things like loss of wages, income, benefits, business opportunities and profits. You will probably be awarded the amount that you would have received if you didn’t have to take time from work. A loss in special case claims is calculated from the date your medical condition is stable, and you can return to gainful employment, to the date of your injury.

See: Reimbursement for Lost Income: Unable to Work Due to Car Accident

It is also possible for you to claim general damages. They are things like future loss of earnings and whatever capacity to earn money you had prior to the accident. To recover for these types of future losses, you have to show that you would have had the potential to make the earnings you are claiming. A more subjective amount, the court will decide how much earning potential you had before you were injured in the accident. They will likely compare how much you will earn after your disability versus your capacity if you weren’t injured.

If you want to sue for your lost job, you will need to provide proof that your medical condition was the result of your not being able to return to work and the subsequent loss of your job. That will entail a physician’s note, a disability slip, and any other medical proof that you have related to your condition and injuries. The letter should generally state specifically that your loss of job was directly related to your injuries.

There is something called a damages cap, however. It is the maximum amount that you can collect on any lawsuit that you initiate. In Missouri, there is a cap related to non-economic damages which is what job loss would typically fall under. So, before you sue, make sure that you weigh what it will cost to go through a potentially long court case versus the maximum you can be awarded due to your non-economic damages if you win.

If you lose your job due to an St. Louis auto accident injury, you might be able to recoup for your loss earnings and wages both during your recovery time, and if you are disabled, into the future. To ensure that you are compensated fairly, it is imperative to have the help of a St. Louis car accident attorney to help you through the complexities of a court case. Call (314) 361-4242 for a free consultation.

35% Increase in Miles Driven by 2050? – St. Louis Auto Accident Lawyers

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A recent report from an international auditing corporation KPMG shows that in the next 35 years, drivers on American roads will be driving about a trillion more miles compared to what they are driving today. These figures are far more significant if we consider the fact that vehicle ownership in the country is predicted to decline sharply over the next three to four decades. The reasons are said to be:

  • The rise of ride sharing services such as Uber and Lyft
  • The introduction of self-driving cars, which could enter markets in next 5-10 years
  • The younger, urban millennials do not give as much importance to vehicle ownership as the previous generations did

This is what Gary Silberg, the automotive leader for KPMG had to say about the findings

“The automotive landscape will significantly change as a result of autonomous vehicles, and consumer behavior will dictate the rate of adoption. Like the smartphone, let’s not underestimate the power of these changes and the vast potential for new business models to satisfy them.”

Those increases would have a profound but unknown impact on vehicle sales, car ownership models, energy demand, and infrastructure…To be quite frank, I’m not sure people understand the enormity of the change, nor are we ready for it.

Key findings of the KPMG report

The study has found that although miles driven would increase significantly by 2050, not all drivers would be driving more in the next 3-4 decades. The researchers have predicted that:

  • Younger and middle age individuals will be responsible for the sharp increase in miles driven
  • Vehicles will need to have a flexible architecture to meet the demands and expectations of consumers
  • For these age groups, the surge in miles driven will be due to the increasing reliance on ride sharing services or self-driving vehicles, and not due to the fact these individuals will actually drive more often
  • Start-up companies and tech companies will become key players in the automotive industry, as these companies are usually better able to sense consumer changes

These findings are particularly significant for auto manufacturers, who would now want to focus on innovative solutions with a view to adapt to these predicted chances, and also to create a whole new driving experience for consumers.

This huge increase in the number of miles driven is also likely to bring about an increase in St. Louis car accidents. This makes it vital that traffic authorities gear up to create infrastructure and systems that can help cater to more number of vehicles particularly ride sharing vehicles and self-driving vehicles on the U.S. roads.

If you have been injured in a car accident, you should contact a competent and experienced St. Louis auto accident attorney. Give our experienced attorneys a call anytime, nights or weekends, at (314) 361-4242 for a free case evaluation.

St. Louis Car Wreck Lawyer Discusses Backseat Safety

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Passengers depend on the driver to avoid car accidents. They are at serious risk of suffering injuries if a crash happens, especially if they are not buckled up properly at the time the collision occurs. Recently, the Governors’ Highway Safety Association published a report that highlighted the risks that backseat passengers face when they are not wearing a seat belt. The report shows that many people suffer severe injuries because they are not wearing a seat belt. In this post, our St. Louis car accident lawyer will discuss this issue in detail.

Unbuckled passengers face high risk of car accident injuries

According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, each year, hundreds of unbuckled adults in the rear seats of cars are killed and hundreds suffer serious injuries. In 2013, 883 passengers in the age group of 8 and above were killed in a car accident when they were in the back seat without wearing a seat belt. The GHSA estimates more than 400 passengers who were killed in car accidents would have been alive if they were buckled up at the time of the crash. The fatality risk is three times higher for a person in the back seat who is not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash. So, your chances of getting killed in an accident are significantly higher if you choose not to wear a seat belt while riding as a passenger in the backseat of a car.

Quite surprisingly, despite the importance of wearing a seatbelt in the backseat, as many as 32 states do not have strong requiring backseat passengers to wear seat belts. This contributes to myths that backseats are safer than the front seats and it is not really important to buckle up when you riding in the backseat. Due to such misconceptions, only 78 percent of the adults admit that they wear a seatbelt in the back seat while 87 percent wear it when they are riding in the front seat.

The GHSA also indicates that the risk to backseat passengers is even higher during the holiday season, because many people take road trips and are unconcerned with whether or not the adults and children in the backseat are buckled up or not. They also believe that the risk of injury has also increased with more people using ride sharing services.

St. Louis Car Accident Lawyers

If you have been injured in a St. Louis car accident as passenger or driver, you may have a claim for compensation from the party at fault. Give us a call 24/7 at (314) 361-4242 to learn more about your legal rights and schedule a free consultation with an experienced car accident attorney in St. Louis.

Driving Safely Despite the Weather

Driving at night in bad weather can pose a big challenge for any driver. Use the following tips to learn how to stay safe under these conditions.

safe driving ST. Louis

The biggest challenge for any driver, whether young or old, is to drive in the rain after dark. Many motor vehicle accidents occur when it rains during the night. However, some precautions can help avoid night time accidents caused by poor visibility and adverse weather conditions. In this post, our St. Louis car accident lawyer offers some tips to drive safely in the rain during the night.

Rain Repellents, Windshield Wipers, and Headlights

1. There are rain repellents available in the market that can be applied to the windshield to improve visibility in the rain at night. The rain repellent creates a protective layer on the windshield and causes the rain water to bead up and does not let it slide off the windshield.

2. The quality of your windshield wipers directly affects your visibility in the rain.

  • Experts recommend that windshield wipers should be replaced at least once every year so that visibility is not affected. It is especially important to replace the wipers if you park your vehicle in the open.
  • Some wiper blades are designed to exert uniform pressure along the blade. This ensures a smoother wipe and better performance.
  • Rain repellent wiper blades offer better performance and higher durability. These wipes blades are a great choice for your car if you have to drive in the rain frequently.
  • Invest in flexible wiper blades or silicone wiper blades. Flexible ones work well in cold weather and offer a quiet and smooth wipe. If you driver a high performance vehicle, then silicone wiper blades are a good choice as they are extremely effective in adverse weather conditions such as rain, fog, and snow.

3. With prolonged use, your headlights can become dim and as a result diminish your visibility. Regularly check the headlights for brightness.

4. If you have to frequently drive at night in the rainy season, then it is a good idea to change to high quality bulbs.

5. If your headlight lenses are dirty and cloudy, clean them properly before taking your vehicle out for a drive at night.

Keep Your Speed In Check

6. Use low beam head lights when it’s raining. It improves visibility and ensures that others can spot your car easily.

7. Adjust the rear view and side mirrors properly. Set the day and night switch located on the rear view mirror appropriately to improve visibility when it is raining.

8. No matter what steps you take to improve your visibility at night in the rain, driving will still be difficult and risky, so it important to keep your speed under check on wet roads.

If you have been injured in an accident caused by another driver’s negligence, immediately seek help of an experienced St. Louis car accident attorney. Call The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. at (314) 361-4242 for a free consultation.