We sat down with Chase Rasmussen of Rasmussen Injury Law and asked him the question “If you’ve been in a car accident, when should you call an attorney?”
Below is a copy of our discussion:
I’m here with chase Rasmussen, a personal injury attorney. He’s a good friend and he’s a good attorney. So my first question to you, chase –
When somebody has an accident, when should they call an attorney? Should they wait? Should they see how things roll out before they call it? Should they call immediately?
So I’m going to come off as biased because I’m an attorney, right? And so I’m going to say call immediately, but here’s why – the insurance company will try and use your words against you from the get-go.
They will try and stop you from getting what coverage you have available. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had clients, where they have waited and it has either affected what kind of coverage they can get, or it delays things so much more to where we have to file a lawsuit or go through all these other steps that wouldn’t have been necessary had they called us from the outset so that we can lay things out properly.
So you really want to get ahead of it as soon as possible. It’s just like anything in life. If you can take the bull by the horns from the get-go, you’re going to be better off and have things covered better.
I know this gets a lot of hesitation from people. They say “well, what if the payout isn’t that great, and now I have attorney fees”
Attorney’s fees, almost all personal injury attorneys are going to charge a percentage of what they recover for you. And I can speak for us. The way that we operate is we don’t charge a fee for stuff that has to do with the car.
Like if your car is a total loss, we’ll help facilitate that, but we’re not going to charge a fee on that. But then also on the injury claim, we don’t charge a fee greater than what the client is going to receive in their pocket. So our objective is always to get the medical bills covered and to get compensation.
It’s not at the expense of your case, we’re going to get paid for our work, but we want to make sure that the victim of the accident gets what they deserve. So no one has to worry about losing by money calling an attorney.
That’s the whole point, and it’s the reason personal injury is set up like that is so that anybody can hire an attorney, whether you’re poor or whether you’re the richest person in the world.
So I want to talk about a couple examples though, of people who wished they would’ve called me from the outset, because it would have resolved cases so much easier.
One example is of a family member who shall remain nameless, but wanted to try and handle it themselves. Because they figured it was a case that wasn’t that bad as a rear end accident on the freeway. They were making a claim against their own insurance, because it was uninsured. The person who had hit them was an uninsured vehicle.
They went through the treatment and when they presented a demand to the insurance company, the insurance company of their own said, “hey, what are your total medical bills or what’s what did you pay out of pocket?” This family member said $1,200. And so they made an offer of $2,500. Just to be safe, he called me up and he said, “Hey, is this a decent offer?”
I asked him, I said, “well, what are your medical bills?” He said, “oh, it’s $1200”. I said, “no, that’s what you paid out of pocket, right?” he said, “yeah”. Your medical bills are what you get to submit for your demand for. It’s not what you paid out of your pocket in Arizona. It’s what the total charges are.
So we collected his medical insurance or his medical records and bills and looked at it and he actually had $7,000. And so the offer that the insurance company was getting wasn’t even for the total medical bills. And so, because of that, and because there was a uninsured claim, we were able to go after the insurance company for bad faith, because those are things that your insurance company owes you.
It’s a higher duty of care. And this insurance company decided they were going to just pull a fast one, not realizing that this person had a family member, who’s a personal injury attorney. So I could talk to them. And we were able to get involved and show the insurance company that they had screwed up, that they were being dishonest with with my family member and ended up getting 10 times more than what it was worth.
If he would’ve just went it alone and never called anybody, he would have had no idea there was much more money that was available. And that’s the thing, it’s not about gaming the system or anything like that what’s happening is that the insurance company is taking advantage of somebody who doesn’t know what their rights are.
Okay. In Arizona. It’s what your total medical charges are. If you have health insurance that is paying for some of it, Arizona law, doesn’t punish people for taking care of themselves, of having health insurance. So the way Arizona law is set up is you get to claim your total medical charges, not what you paid out of pocket, not what health insurance paid. It’s what your total medical charges are, but the insurance company will try and avoid that because then that’s that much less money that they have to pay out.
So it’s not about being greedy. It’s about enforcing what the law says and these insurance companies, even your own insurance company will try and avoid paying that.
Here’s another example of trying to get it resolved from the outset. Had a person call me that he was involved in the accident and nearly, I think it’s about a year ago now, all he did was go to the hospital.
It was a bad accident, but he went to the hospital, got checked out and thankfully he didn’t need any other treatment. But the hospital bill was like $60,000. The insurance company now for the at fault vehicle is delaying and saying that they need to get health insurance information or they need to have him sign releases to get his medical records and things like that.
The case is now over a year old, he still doesn’t know what’s going on. He’s getting the run around. So he finally called us and within a week, we’re able to get all of his records, medical records and bills submitted, demand, contact his insurance to see if he has medical payments, coverage, or anything like that.
And now the other insurance company for the at fault vehicle has stopped calling him and stopped bugging him. Cause they call us directly. And I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to get this case resolved by the end of the month.
Whereas he’s been dealing with this for a year and is getting nowhere. It has been frustrating for him. Part of our services is not only getting a settlement for you, but is taking away the communication or the phone calls and stuff with the insurance company, you’ve got so many other things to do.
You’ve got kids and work and your treatment that you’re getting, that you got to worry about. That’s one of the services that I always like to tell clients about. When you get into an accident, call an attorney and let them handle all that part. Move on with your life. Worry about getting the medical care you need and let the insurance company, or let the attorney call the insurance company, you know, give the statements that are necessary, provide the records that are necessary.
So you don’t have to deal with that because it trying to do it alone. You don’t understand what things are necessary and what things aren’t. We know what is right. And we’ll take care of it.
I call you for my insurance because I know that, you know, what kind of coverage I need or what’s a good deal. And what’s not, that’s the same thing with the attorneys is we know how to enforce them. What kind of coverage you should be getting and what kind of compensation you should be getting instead of you having to figure it out all by yourself.
And so I feel so confident that we’ll be able to get you more. You’ll be able to just leave behind all of the worry of talking to insurance companies and how complicated that can be. Okay. Yeah. Awesome. That’s great information. So long story short, when should you call an attorney after a car accident? RIGHT AWAY!