When you are injured in a motorcycle accident it’s imperative to hire a personal injury firm that realizes motorcycle accidents are not your typical rear-ended motor vehicle collisions. These are serious collisions with serious injuries, where the insurance company is hoping to portray you in a negative way, and to make the jury believe that since you ride a motorcycle, you must have been reckless and that was the cause of the accident, not their insured.Continue reading
The time to figure it out is now – not when you need it.
It is a tough conversation when someone is badly injured or killed and there is very little insurance to cover the mountain of medical bills, the lost earnings, the shattered dreams and the other life altering events that are coming down the road. In the State of Ohio, $25,000 per person in liability coverage is all that is required by law to be legal to drive. Is that enough coverage for you if you are seriously hurt by another driver?
Concealed carry firearms and permits are a hot topic. I have heard people state that the reason they carry a firearm is not because they expect trouble but that they don’t expect help if there is trouble. So, they are protecting themselves. I ask though, what is more likely, getting into a serious collision or getting into a situation where you would actually pull a gun to defend yourself? I believe the odds are more likely that you are in a collision and need good insurance coverage as opposed to getting into a situation that compels you to pull a gun.
The bottom line is, if you are not insuring yourself for an amount that you believe you are worth, why are you expecting others to do that for you? If you don’t expect help in a gun fight, why do you expect help in a collision? Why are you not protecting yourself in this situation?
As an example, we will discuss a recent conversation I had with a client who was hit head on by a lady who went left of center. He was badly hurt. He spent 2 months in a hospital, was finally released home but needs a lot of physical therapy still. He can barely walk with a walker and can’t lift one arm. He is not going back to work and will be applying for social security disability. His medical bills to date are over $500,000. The lady who caused the collision has $300,000 in liability coverage. That puts her in a very high category. You could watch the next hundred cars go by and would be hard pressed to find someone with more liability coverage. Still, it is not enough in this situation.
Her insurer is willing to pay the entire $300,000 limits BUT in exchange they want a full release of the lady who caused the collision. My client exclaimed that $300,000 was not enough. I asked how much coverage he had to see if there would be any additional coverage available through his insurer. He only had $50,000 in coverage. In Ohio, his insurer gets a credit of the at fault driver coverage, (in this case $300,000) toward their coverage so since $300,000 is more than $50,000 my client’s insurer is not obligated to pay anything.
So, my client is not too happy about the situation. We could file a lawsuit and in a few years get a trial and win a verdict that is turned into a judgment and then try to collect from the lady who caused the collision who by this point would have filed bankruptcy. So, there is very little point in spending more money and time to pursue a judgment that will take years and garner no real results.
If my client had underinsured motorist coverage for say $1,000,000.00 then he would have up to $700,000 available from his insurer. A one million dollar umbrella that provides uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is not as expensive as you might think. It is worth asking your insurance agent about this coverage.
But make sure it includes uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage.
Article by Mark Willis, Attorney
Car Accident Attorneys – Do I Need To Hire One?
If you have been injured in a car accident, you need a personal injury attorney, and you should not delay in researching attorneys and deciding on hiring one. The longer you wait, the more time the insurance companies have to make behind-the-scenes decisions that often hurt your personal injury claim. As just one example they will start paying your insurance coverage (that you paid for) out to medical providers, even though you have health insurance, and those dollars could have instead gone to you to pay your medical deductible, copays, etc.
Someone who knows what they’re doing needs to take control of the claims process, and you don’t want that to be the insurance company, who will start manipulating the process in their favor and against your interests. You need an experienced personal injury attorney to take control of this process to prevent the insurance company from playing the system to reduce what it rightfully owes you.
You also need an attorney for a whole different reason: There is never a good time for a car accident. It severely disrupts your life. The days and weeks following a car accident are chaos; filled with people calling you from several different insurance companies, medical providers poking around for more insurance information, oftentimes ambulance-chasing law firms and chiropractors blowing up your phone to try and grab your business. You are often missing work, lacking transportation, and not knowing who to trust. These other issues can start to snowball on top of the initial car accident and begin to create even greater financial stress and hardship. And you’re dealing with all of this while in pain and trying to get medical care.
The insurance companies are hoping that you handle this initial chaos incorrectly. They hope that you get bogged down in phone calls and online claim forms, fail to get the medical treatment you and your doctors feel is necessary, and fail to hire an attorney. That allows the insurance company to kneecap your case. Basically, when you are finally ready to discuss getting your car accident case resolved, the medical side of the case hasn’t been handled the way it should’ve been – dramatically lowering the amount they have to worry about paying you.
If you don’t hire a personal injury attorney, this initial chaos will fall on you, or perhaps your family, and you will probably make several missteps, because after all, you have a life; you don’t normally battle insurance companies.
Bottom line: only if you are uninjured, and just have damage to your car, can you get through this fairly easily without an attorney. If you’re injured, do not delay, begin looking for a personal injury attorney right away.
What if I can’t afford a car accident attorney?
All attorneys in a personal injury case work on what’s called a contingent fee; meaning we only get paid at the end of the case, and only if there is a recovery. If for whatever reason it turns out there is no recovery, then you will not be paying any fee to the attorney. In the initial stages of a personal injury case, we will be exploring if there is any insurance in the case to collect in order to obtain a full recovery for you. At Willis, Willis & Rizzi of Akron, Ohio we will be exploring the insurance situation at no cost to you.
When you come in and sit down with our personal injury attorneys, you are going to have a long interview process with us. You will be sitting down with one of our attorneys, unlike some of our competitors who have shuffled this off to staff. After many years of practicing personal injury law, our interview process continues to evolve because there is always a lot of information that we need to collect and understand, to hit the ground running with your case and be able to handle any issues that could potentially come up in your case. Every case is different and every client is unique, so our attorneys want to meet you, to know who they’re fighting for and to make sure we understand the issues specific to your case.
After that free initial interview, if both parties decide it makes sense to work together, then you will sign an attorney-client agreement and that agreement provides that we get paid only if you get paid, and that happens at the end of the personal injury case.
There is one thing you can’t afford: Going it alone. The insurance companies have spent the last several decades manipulating the process wherever possible to reduce the value of your case. You need an experienced and motivated personal injury attorney fighting through that with you, shoulder-to-shoulder.
What if the other driver doesn’t have auto insurance?
It is a very common situation in car accidents for one of the drivers to not have car insurance, we see this all the time in our personal injury cases. In those situations, the most important thing is if you have what is called “uninsured, underinsured motorist coverage”. It is readily available as most insurance providers offer it to you. It is worth reviewing your auto insurance policy to make sure you have it, and if you don’t then take the steps to add it to your auto insurance policy, because that is what protects you and your family.
There is a lot of work that goes into determining if the other driver involved in your car accident doesn’t have insurance. For example, we may have a car accident case come in where the police report indicates that the other driver has insurance, but it turns out that they don’t. In this situation, our team has to dig deeper to discover if that car was garaged at a family members house or the driver was listed on someone else’s insurance policy. Additionally, if the vehicle did not belong to the driver, did they have permission to drive it? Does the person who owns the vehicle have insurance? Were they on the job or driving an errand at the direction of another? Were they driving for Lyft or Uber, which could mean that there are 2 separate policies covering the same driver and car.
In many car accident cases, it’s clear if the other driver has insurance. But when it’s not – the team at Willis, Willis & Rizzi will dig deeper.
Why should I hire Willis, Willis & Rizzi as my car accident attorney?
There are a lot of attorneys out there who have a much more business-oriented approach to the practice of law than the personal injury attorneys at Willis, Willis & Rizzi, located in Akron, Ohio. When you visit our office, you will meet one-on-one with a personal injury attorney. That’s not true with the majority of our competitors in the personal injury attorney area. Our approach to personal injury cases is that meeting with our clients directly is not only the right thing to do, but it’s also just a better way to represent you if we can hear your story and understand first-hand what your injury has done to you and your family. It makes everything we do more effective.
Additionally, we take pride in the lengths that we go to obtain the proper evidence you will need to maximize your recovery. In more serious personal injury cases you are going to need a medical doctor to be an advocate for how badly you have been injured, and what that means for you now and for the rest of your life. Securing that doctor and their testimonials can be a real challenge in the practice of personal injury law, and it’s something that the team here at Willis, Willis & Rizzi works tirelessly at on your behalf.
We often hear some of our competitors looking for ways to resolve cases without this testimony. To us, this makes no sense in most cases. If we will need that testimony in court (which we would), then we’d rather have it as soon as possible, as the case will likely resolve better/faster and potentially even without going to court.
The number one way of getting your case resolved without lengthy litigation is to acquire the doctor’s report as soon as possible. There is a great deal of work that goes into securing this report, but once we have it, that communicates to the insurance company in no uncertain terms that we are ready for trial. This is a key part of what we do in our personal injury cases.
Overall, we have a much more client-oriented approach than you will find in many other personal injury law firms. When you call our law office in Akron, Ohio you will speak to a real person who will put you in contact with one of our personal injury attorneys. We are proud of our staff and have highly trained paralegals who provide critical support in every case, but when you visit our office, you will meet with an attorney, and most of your contact throughout the case will be with a personal injury attorney.
At Willis, Willis & Rizzi we have handled enough claims as wrongful death attorneys over the years that the courts are comfortable with us doing the work and accepting what we present to them. This only comes from years of experience and trust between the probate court and the wrongful death law firm.Continue reading
I’ve been in an accident; do I need to hire a personal injury attorney?
When you have been in an accident, it can be difficult to know if you should hire a personal injury attorney to represent you. If you have sustained injuries and will have medical bills, you will also have legal issues associated with your personal injury claim.
If you’re not injured and there is not much damage to your vehicle, you can generally handle these types of situations without too much bureaucracy or insurance claim investigation. But once you start incurring medical bills due to personal injuries, then these claims can get very complicated, and you will have legal issues for which you will need an experienced personal injury attorney. Whomever is issuing those medical bills for your injury treatment will be looking for payment, and if your health insurance provider is paying them, your health insurance will be looking to you to get reimbursement.
We have had many situations with clients where they have handled their claims on their own and thought everything was resolved and settled until they hear from their health insurance provider that they need their money back, often for more money than the client received in the initial settlement. There are many legal issues involved in personal injury cases like the one described above.
The reality is personal injury cases have rules that have been defined by the insurance companies, and unless you have a qualified and experienced personal injury attorney like the team at Willis, Willis & Rizzi handling the case, it would be very difficult to handle the claim on your own and have a favorable outcome.
Call us today at 330.535.2000 and speak directly with one of our attorneys and see how we can help you.
The insurance company is telling me my personal injury claim is under investigation. What does that mean?
After you have been in an accident or have incurred some other personal injury that requires an insurance claim, and you have reached out to the insurance company, or they have contacted you, the first conversation does not go like this:
“We’re sorry our insured hit you. What can we do for you? Let us stop by and pick up your medical bills. Let us drop off some money to cover your lost wages. Let us know when you have picked out a new car, and we’ll go down and pay for it.”
What you will typically hear in that first conversation is “the claim is under investigation”.
What does that mean?
And you are left wondering “What is there to investigate? The police already investigated and cited the other party.” The insurance company will also tell you “We need to take your recorded statement.” This recorded statement is usually not to investigate and determine who was at fault, it’s about the insurance company trying to contain and control your claim and to delay paying the claim as long as possible. The insurance company knows that you need the claim settled so you can get a rental car or have your car repaired or replaced, or get your medical bills paid. It’s simply a tactic to delay paying the claim or get you to accept less on the claim so that you can get the issue resolved.
What insurance claim investigation really means in personal injury cases.
When an insurance company insists they execute a recorded statement with you as part of the personal injury claim investigation, they will ask for a lot of background information about you, as well as inquire about your injuries. During this investigation process, the insurance company is gathering information about you and making an evaluation regarding if they feel you are someone that a jury would sympathize with, or that a jury would not like. They are listening to you speak and gauging your level of vocabulary and education, they are getting information so they can do a background check on you.
When an insurance company says “investigation” and you may be thinking it’s an investigation to process the claim, it’s really a tactic by insurance companies to evaluate you and decide how they are going to handle the claim, and how much they feel they can get away with not paying on the claim.
How do I prepare for an insurance claim investigation in my personal injury case?
When you are faced with an insurance claim investigation whether for property damage or personal injury, what can you do to prepare for the investigation? The process is all about the documentation generated as part of the claim, and one of the key pieces of documentation is the police report. The police report usually lists out what the contributing factors are in the accident, who caused the collision, and who was cited. These are all important items to know regarding your claim and case.
How can Willis, Willis & Rizzi help me with my personal injury insurance claim investigation?
At Willis, Willis & Rizzi we help our clients understand that most times, insurance claim investigation is really a keyword for “delay”. It is said in our industry that insurance companies live by the “3 D’s”: delay, deny, defend. When you have the sense that an insurance company is simply trying to delay processing the claim instead of trying to help you, that’s a strong indicator that you need to hire a team of personal injury attorneys.
It’s our belief that clients need to be focusing on recovery and getting back to their pre-injury state of health in both mind and body. Let the team at Willis, Willis and Rizzi deal with the bureaucracy and administrative “junk” associated with insurance company claims investigations. We have the experience and expertise to handle insurance companies and position our customers for the best possible outcome in your personal injury or accident claim investigation.
Call today 330.535.2000 or fill out the contact form on this page.
Be sure to read our other articles related to insurance companies and personal injury litigation:
- I’ve been injured and can’t work what am I supposed to do? | Willis Legal
- I’ve been in an Accident, Do I need a Personal Injury Attorney? | Akron, Ohio (willislegal.com)
- Wrongful Death Attorneys Akron, Ohio | Willis, Willis & Rizzi (willislegal.com)
- Attorneys for Car Accidents | Willis Legal, Akron, Ohio
- Motorcycle Accident Lawyers | Willis Legal, Akron, Ohio
- Product Liability Lawyers | Willis, Willis & Rizzi | Attorneys Akron, Ohio (willislegal.com)
- Truck Accident Attorneys (willislegal.com)
When you have a small firm like Willis, Willis, & Rizzi who is dedicated to the practice of law and takes each personal injury case personally and very seriously, it can be a real benefit to clients who need a strong advocate fighting for their best interests.Continue reading
When you have been injured and unable to work, it can be a very stressful and frightening time. At Willis, Willis, & Rizzi we help clients every day to navigate the uncertainties of personal injury situations and to position themselves for the best possible outcome. In situations like these, it’s important to understand that you are facing two issues: you have medical issues as well as legal issues. In our experience, nothing can really happen on the legal front in terms of resolving your personal injury case until you resolve the medical front. You have to get better! Priority number one is you have to get back to your pre-injury state of health.
It’s also very important to have a team in place representing your interests. There are multiple other sides in your personal injury case including hospitals, healthcare providers, and insurance companies who already have a team in place working towards a result that is in their best interest. While you are working to regain your health, these other teams are on the ground running toward their goals. You need to have someone working on your behalf for a result that is in your best interest. While you are working on getting back to health, there are legal issues that need to be resolved. Willis, Willis, & Rizzi is here to help you.
How am I going to pay these bills?
When you are out of work due to a personal injury you will be facing both medical bills as well as non-medical bills. On the medical bill front, the team at Willis, Willis, & Rizzi can help to ensure that hospitals and medical providers are directing their billing to the appropriate parties.
For non-medical bills like rent, utilities, and other living expenses sometimes there are things we can do based on how a clients’ coverage is written to help clients get some money to help cover these items. In other situations, we can write letters to landlords for our clients asking for an agreement that they be paid out of the personal injury case. There are avenues we can explore but it is important to remember that there is nothing in the law that states these parties have to cooperate with you.
What if I was injured at work?
In the State of Ohio, we have workers compensation. If you suffer a personal injury at work, workers compensation is there to help with a percentage of lost wages and to cover medical bills. If you have on-going long term injuries, workers compensation can provide some disability to help you.
Many workplace injuries happen due to the negligence of someone other than your employer. For example, you are driving a company vehicle and you are hit by someone who runs a red light or stop sign. You are still eligible for workers compensation and can avail yourself of the entire workers comp system, but you also now have a claim against the driver of the other vehicle. It’s important to have a team like Willis, Willis, & Rizzi on your side to help you navigate these complex situations.
Why Should I hire Willis, Willis, & Rizzi?
Willis, Willis, & Rizzi is uniquely positioned to help clients in their personal injury cases. You will see many personal injury attorneys and law firms advertising on TV and other media. These attorneys and law firms do mass volumes of personal injury cases. While these entities know how to do personal injury work, due to the volume of work they are doing it’s like being on an assembly line and you are put at the end of the line. In many situations these entities are taking in a thousand personal injury cases a week, which means they are settling a thousand cases a week. You become a number not a name and do not get personal attention.
At Willis, Willis, & Rizzi we concentrate on personal injury work and we push on our client’s behalf for an outcome that is in their best interest. We have had victories in the Ohio Supreme Court, Federal Courts, Federal Courts of Appeals, State Courts of Appeals, and trial courts. We work tirelessly to expose coverages where claims were made that no coverage existed and challenging health plans when they say they are entitled to take their money back from you.
When you have a small firm like Willis, Willis, & Rizzi who is dedicated to the practice of law and takes each personal injury case personally and very seriously, it can be a real benefit to clients who need a strong advocate fighting for their best interests. Our fee is no different than any of the big advertisers. Using the big advertising firms is akin to eating fast food but paying prices of the best steak house in town. If you are going to pay for the best steak house in town, you ought to get the steak that goes with it.
The big advertising firms claim to have collected millions for their clients – they have – by handling a large volume of clients. We have collected millions for our clients as well – only we do it with large recoveries for a smaller set of clients. Would you rather your attorney be thinking about how best to maximize your recovery or thinking about their next advertising campaign?
This is the ultimate ‘frequently asked question’ in our practice.Continue reading
Remember these important steps.Continue reading