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Frequently Asked Questions

When you are involved in a motor vehicle accident it is important to know several things. I will be able to help you through this process to make things simpler for you. Below are some questions that are most frequently asked in automobile cases. Click on the question below to view the response.

How will my medical bills be paid?
First, most automobile policies have something called Personal Injury Protection. In the industry we call Personal Injury Protection PIP. Some auto insurance providers allow their policy holders to waive PIP, but it is usually uncommon. I can find this out for you if you are not sure whether you have PIP coverage. PIP will pay the first $2,000.00 in medical bills for any driver or passenger in the auto that you are occupying. It is important to note that it does not matter who is at fault. The insurance carrier of the automobile that is being occupied will automatically make these payments.

Your health insurance carrier will most likely pick up the remainder of your medical bills if you have a private health insurance carrier. For example, if you have Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) then BCBS will pay your medical bills while you are receiving medical treatment. However, if you have a deductible or co-pay, PIP will continue to make payments for those out-of-pocket medical expenses up to $8,000.00. This means that if you must pay for medical expenses out-of-pocket and the treatment is related to your motor vehicle accident then PIP will either pay you that amount or pay the provider directly until the $8,000.00 in PIP benefits has been exhausted. Also note that every person that is occupying the automobile that your injured in has the same benefit.

If you have a government medical plan, including, but not limited to, MassHealth or Medicare, then PIP will automatically pay the first $8,000.00 in medical bills. Your MassHealth or Medicare plan will cover the rest of your medical bills after that.

The contractual language of most health insurance plans and all MassHealth and Medicare plans require subrogation if there is a settlement. That means if MassHealth, Medicare, or your health insurer made payments in relation to your motor vehicle accident and you receive a settlement or award then you must reimburse them the amount that they paid out of your settlement. I can help you with this and sometimes the reimbursement amount can be negotiable.

What about my lost wages?
PIP can also help pay lost wages if your doctor writes a note to your employer that you remain out of work. Under the automobile policy, PIP will pay 75% percent of lost wages until the $8,000.00 in benefits has been exhausted. For example, if you work 40 hours a week and your wage is $20.00 your average weekly wage equals $800.00. If your average weekly wage is $800.00, PIP will pay $600.00 every week that you remain out of work due to motor vehicle accident if your doctor has required that you remain out of work.
When will I receive a settlement?
It is impossible to tell when your case will settle because it depends on a variety of factors. First, you need to finish your medical treatment before I can begin the process of attempting to resolve your claim. At some point your symptoms will be either completely resolved or your medical providers will tell you that you have reached maximum medical improvement. Once your symptoms have either completely resolved or you have reached maximum medical improvement, I can work on a resolution.
How much will I receive for a settlement?
This is also impossible to tell. All claims are valued on a case-by-case basis. Settlement depends on liability, lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering.
What is pain and suffering?

Pain and suffering is measured by the amount of time that you are receiving treatment and the type of treatment that you are receiving. There is no concrete formula for measuring pain and suffering, but my experience in front of jurors, arbitrators, mediators, and insurance adjusters has made me understand to what is considered reasonable under the circumstances.

How much do you charge?
I always offer a free initial consultation so do not hesitate to call me. If I agree to accept your case, I will charge a 1/3 contingency fee for personal injury claims. This contingency fee will be the same whether we settle out of court or whether we need take your case all the way to a jury. A contingency fee means that I will only get paid if there is a settlement or an award. If you do not receive a settlement or award, then you do not need to pay me. I also receive reimbursement for any expenses. Throughout your claim, I will spend money on various claim costs or litigations costs. For example, medical record retrieval fees, court costs, and expert witness fees. I would be reimbursed for those expenses at settlement.
Will I have to go to court?
The chances of settling out of court is highly likely. Most of my cases settle prior to any type of litigation or court action. The ball is always in your court. If you want to settle, then you will have final say. However, if an insurance company has made an unreasonable offer then I would recommend filing a lawsuit.
What is a lawsuit?

A lawsuit is when court action is initiated. This means you have sued the person responsible for your injuries in a district court, superior court, or federal court. I will help you throughout these proceedings and make everything as clear as possible for you.

After suit is filed, the Defendant’s lawyer will request something called interrogatories. These are questions about yourself, the accident, and your injuries. We will work on these together. Next, would be your deposition. A deposition is in person questioning. This deposition will be conducted by the Defendant’s lawyer and will be either in-person or conducted via Zoom. I will be present during this deposition and will make this process as comfortable as possible.

Finally, the Defendant has a right to a jury trial. After the interrogatories and depositions have been completed the court will give us a date for a jury trial. This means we will present your case to a jury of either 6 or 12 of your peers and they will decide on the amount you receive.

It is especially important to note that there is still opportunity to settle your claim during a lawsuit and it is highly likely that your case will settle during these stages of your lawsuit. A lot of cases settle before trial through negotiations or mediations.


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the law office of russell d luiz personal injury attorney new bedford ma
the law office of russell d luiz personal injury attorney new bedford ma

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