By Michael L. Laufenberg
I have been helping injured people in Wisconsin for over 20 years. For most of the people I have helped, it was the first car accident they had ever been in, and almost all of them have had many of the same questions and concerns.
- Who pays for my car repairs or replacement?
- How do my medical and other bills get paid?
- How long will this take?
- Do I have to give the other insurance company a statement?
- Do I have to sign their forms? Do I have to give them access to all of my medical records?
- How much will this cost me?
Whether you hire an lawyer or not, you should get answers to your questions. Let’s face it, insurance companies are not there to help you if you are hurt in an accident. Their goal is not to be there “like a good neighbor,” “be on your side” or “get you back where you belong.”
They have to answer to board members and shareholders, and are only concerned with their bottom line (money) by paying less in claims than they collect in premiums. Insurance companies want to pay you as little as possible, and as fast as possible, and some will play tricks, take advantage of you and actually try to convince you not to talk to a lawyer or get good advice.
Decisions you make early on after an accident can have significant affects on the outcome of your claim. The insurance industry has created an uneven playing field by scaring the public into believing the courts are clogged with frivolous injury claims, that lawsuits are out of control, and that most injury victims are only looking for “jackpot justice.” You may have even looked at people making injury claims, and their lawyers, suspiciously – until it happened to you or a friend or a family member. Although the insurance industry’s claims are untrue, honest people like you, who have legitimate injury claims, suffer the consequences of the insurance industry’s “tort reform.”
This Guide is for you. Even if you do not hire a lawyer for your claim (and many of you may not), you are still entitled to honest, straightforward information about the process you are about to undertake – before you speak with the insurance company, before you sign any forms, before the insurance company offers you money to settle your claim, and even before you hire a lawyer (if you need one).
THIS GUIDE IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE
The information in this guide is intended for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be, nor should they be interpreted as, legal advice or opinion. You should not consider this information to be an invitation to enter into anattorney/client relationship. Because there is no written contract between us, I am not your lawyer, and you are not a client of mine or of my law firm. I am offering tips and suggestions about accident claims in Wisconsin in general – every case is different. If you are looking for, or believe you are in need of, legal advice, I recommend that you talk with an experienced, board certified, personal injury lawyer in Wisconsin.