FAQs Part 2
If you have auto insurance and you are in an auto accident, your insurance company will pay your medical bills and a portion of your wages up to a certain point if you have Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. The amount it pays depends on the coverage you have under your policy. In Maryland, the typical PIP policy provides for $2,500. Your PIP coverage, however, pays only a portion of your wage loss and medical expenses. If you are not at-fault for the accident, the other driver's auto insurance company will also be responsible for the same medical bills or lost wages. In other words, you can essentially collect twice for the same medical bills and lost wages. (If your employer continues to pay you during the time missed, you are essentially collecting your lost wages three times.) Of course, the at-fault driver's insurance company is also responsible for your pain and suffering damages for your personal injuries, which is usually the largest part of the plaintiff's claim.
You may find that your own insurance company will not pay some of your bills. It may also send you a letter telling you that you must be examined by one of their doctors in what they like to call an independent medical examination (IME) before they will continue to pay any more of your medical bills. If that happens, we can help you fight your own insurance company.
If you have health insurance, it serves as a backup insurer. It will pay your medical bills after you have run out of PIP coverage.
We can. It is typically our preference that clients seek treatment from their existing health care providers (or request a referral from them). But if you do not have an existing health care provider or your provider requires payment before the resolution of your case, we can provide you with a list of quality health care providers that we know who will not require payment until after the resolution of your case.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) is an insurance coverage for medical and other expenses such as lost wages resulting from an auto accident, for people specified in the policy, regardless of who is at fault in the accident. Maryland law does not require PIP coverage on auto policies, but insurance companies are required to offer you the coverage when you buy an auto insurance policy. If you do not want it, you can reject it in writing by executing a waiver. (The Maryland Insurance Code also has exceptions for government-owned vehicles, buses, and taxicabs.)
PIP insurance is very helpful to you if you are injured because it essentially allows you to recover twice for your same medical bills and lost wages (of course, there is a pain and suffering component as well to any personal injury case). For example, assume that you have $2,500 in medical bills and $2,500 in PIP coverage. Your PIP insurance will pay all of your medical bills. Yet you can still collect from the at-fault driver's insurance company for the same medical bills. This is possible in Maryland under the collateral source rule.
Under Maryland's PIP statute (Insurance Code Section 19-505a), there are seven categories of coverage for PIP: the insured, members of the insured's family that reside in his or her household, persons using the vehicle with consent, guests in the insured vehicle, passengers in the vehicle, and injured pedestrians may all be covered by the insured vehicle's PIP coverage.
Maryland law allows insurers to include in their contracts a one-year "statute of limitations" for victims to make a PIP claim. Any claim after the 12-month period, may no qualify for PIP benefits.
PIP covers reasonable and necessary medical expenses for injuries sustained in an auto accident, up to three years from the date of the accident and up to $10,000. PIP also offers income replacement coverage limited to a maximum of $200 per week for one year, after a person has been disabled for 14 days after the accident. Funeral expenses of $2,000 and loss of services (payment to others for work you can't do) of up to $5,000 are also included in the coverage. Payments are made for costs that are actually incurred by the injured person.
This is a medical question in terms of how your injuries should be treated. That is your decision to make in consultation with your health care providers, not your personal injury lawyers. In getting treatment for the injuries from your auto accident, you want to focus on your health, not the legal consequences arising from anything that affected it.
Check the credentials and background of the lawyer. Does the lawyer focus his or her practice on personal injury cases or does the lawyer do a little bit of everything, including personal injury cases? At Miller & Zois, our attorneys focus exclusively on personal injury cases. While we might be able to handle a domestic or criminal matter, lawyers who focus their practice on family or criminal law are going to be a better bet for you in those kinds of cases then we would because we focus our attention and experience on personal injury cases.
If the lawyer does focus his or her practice on personal injury, ask them about their experience in taking cases to trial. Many lawyers who handle exclusively personal injury cases never go to trial, they simply send settlement demands to the insurance companies and try to get the best offer they can and then settle.
You may be asking: I want to settle my personal injury case so what is wrong with an attorney that settles all of his cases? The problem is most insurance companies keep track of lawyers' trial records by doing a computerized search based on the firm's taxpayer ID number. If your lawyer settles all of his personal injury cases, the insurance company is going to know that. This lack of experience will be reflected in the offer you receive for your claim. So if your lawyer does not try personal injury cases, the insurance company knows he will settle. Insurers adjust their settlement offers accordingly.
Simple solution to this problem: ask the lawyer for the names of the last three cases he has taken to trial. Ask specific questions such as, the name of the case, the outcome, what the insurance company offered to settle, and when the case was tried. If they cannot name at least three personal injury cases they have tried in the last few years, we would suggest your contact another lawyer.
The insurance company representing the person(s) at fault for the accident will have a team of adjusters, investigators and personal injury attorneys working against you. The insurance company's goal is to pay you as little as possible to settle your claim. If you have a serious personal injury case, you need the assistance of a qualified Maryland personal injury attorney to ensure that you receive fair compensation for your injuries.
According to studies conducted by insurance companies, individuals recover two-and-a-half times more for their auto accident case if they are represented by a personal injury attorney. No matter how nice insurance adjusters may sound on the phone, they are paid to have one goal in mind: to pay you as little as possible. This is how the insurance company maximizes its profits: by paying as little as possible on personal injury claims. Despite their hackneyed slogans such as "You're in Good Hands with Allstate" or "State Farm is There," an insurance adjuster, even one for your own insurance company, does not act in your best interest. The insurance company's interests are fundamentally at odds with accident victims.
Insurance companies do not work for you (or your lawyers) in the adversarial system. They will rarely help you better understand your legal rights. In many cases, they do not even understand your legal rights. If your injuries are significant, there are several reasons why a good personal injury lawyer can help you. When you hire a lawyer who is willing to take a case to trial, value is added to your case in a number of ways. A good lawyer will seek every category of damages that applies to your case, and find ways to support those damages with evidence that will be admissible in court. The threat of trial itself adds to your bargaining power. Make no mistake: the insurance company knows that it's almost impossible for an individual to take a serious injury case to trial without an attorney. To a lesser degree, you have the same problem when you hire a personal injury attorney who has no history of taking to trial and winning cases against the insurance company.
You may note that we used the adjective "serious" above before personal injury in describing when you need a personal injury lawyer. If you do not have serious injuries and instead have minor whiplash that quickly resolves, the question of whether you need a Maryland personal injury lawyer is more of a judgment call. Typically, you will end up doing better with an injury attorney and it will also require less work on your part. But if you have a case with, for example, $1,000 in medical bills and no permanent injury, our lawyers do not think you will do much better having a lawyer even though it probably makes more sense to get an attorney or at least consult with one before handling your case alone. We frequently get calls or web inquires from personal injury victims who our lawyers advise to proceed without an attorney (after telling them what they need to do to get the best possible result).
With a small personal injury case, it is pretty easy for the lawyers to determine the appropriate settlement value. But what about the more serious personal injury case? In a case where the client has suffered a serious injury, the exact settlement or trial value it is more difficult for anyone - injury lawyers, insurance adjusters, and often ultimately, jurors - to determine. Naturally, given the uncertainty in the settlement value, the insurance company is going to interpret the facts in such a way to pay the least amount possible. In these kinds of cases, you need an experienced Maryland personal injury lawyer fighting for you. We have had many serious injury cases where the case settled for more than 20 times the initial offer given to the referring lawyer. To see the difference in the initial offer and the final result in some of the personal injury cases our lawyers have handled, select here.
You should retain a Maryland personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after your accident or the medical malpractice. Unfortunately, after being seriously injured in an accident, you are immediately placed at a distinct legal disadvantage. While you are preoccupied dealing with your injuries and resulting financial concerns, the party at fault in your accident has notified their insurance company, who begins to work against you. Accordingly, if you are an accident victim in Maryland, you should protect your legal rights by contacting an experienced personal injury lawyer who has experience handling auto or truck accident cases. Our accident lawyers often get auto accident cases where some time has elapsed between the auto accident and the client's call to our attorneys. More frequently than not, the client has made mistakes in positioning their case that would not have been made if they spoke first to a competent Maryland lawyer who understands the nuances of auto accident, truck accident and medical malpractice cases. Your accident attorney will often arrange for an investigator to take pictures of the accident scene, take statements from witnesses and preserve any physical evidence. You want to make sure that all relevant evidence is preserved and not inadvertently destroyed or lost. Your Maryland lawyer will also ensure that you comply with statutes of limitations and other legal requirements that would bar your lawsuit.
Absolutely. Different lawyers will see a potential case differently. Some attorneys may not be familiar with the type of case or many not be willing to spend the time and money required - which can be substantial - to get your personal injury case ready for trial. If your case is rejected by one lawyer, it is always a good idea to seek a second opinion. We have obtained quality settlements and verdicts from clients whose personal injury cases were rejected by numerous other Maryland attorneys.
The simple answer is that we have a history of producing results for our clients not only in verdicts but also in terms of settlements because of the reputation we have built with the insurance companies. We also place the highest premium on service. Our attorneys return client calls and emails. We keep them informed and spend the time with them to make sure they understand what our team has done for them and why we have done it.
Take a look at the rest of our web site, from past case results to our attorneys' personal resumes to get an idea of what we can do for you. There are many attorneys in Maryland just as their are many awful lawyers. Do some research and find the lawyer that is best for you.
No. In fact, you never pay our lawyers money out of your pocket. Miller & Zois is a 100% contingency fee personal injury law firm. Our law firm is compensated only if we obtain a financial recovery for you. In fact, if you do not recover anything from your accident and we spend money preparing your case, we absorb all of the costs, not you. Our lawyers never ask our injured clients to front expenses and costs.
Miller & Zois primarily handles personal injury cases in Maryland. In exceptional cases, we will go to other jurisdictions.
Miller & Zois focuses exclusively on personal injury accident cases, specifically car and truck collisions, nursing home, medical malpractice, and product liability cases. If you need assistance in these areas you can contact us on the Internet or call 800-553-8082. For other areas of practice, such as workers' compensation, divorce, social security disability and immigration, we regularly refer such cases to a number of quality Maryland counsel who handle these types of cases. If you need such a referral, we would will be glad to give you a list of Maryland attorneys we think would be suited to handle the legal issues presented in your case.