Interviewer: What if I call you and say I was in a minor fender bender six months ago. We worked it out. No big damage but now I am experiencing a great deal of pain in my neck. Does the individual have a case even though six months has passed?
Daniel Hoarfrost: That also happens quite frequently. And what I typically advise is for people to go see a doctor and have them determine what the medical situation is. One thing that some people tend to forget is that their car insurance is paying for the medical bills.
The Auto Insurer Will Still Pay Medical Bills If It Can Be Shown That the Injury Is a Result of an Auto Accident
And if you’re less than a year from the date of the collision and a doctor believes that the injury they’re treating is related to the collision, the car insurance is going to pay for it.
They typically pay for a diagnostic proceeding even just to make sure if it is an injury occurring from the car accident.
How Are Long Term Damages Evaluated?
Interviewer: What about any long term damages? How is that handled?
Long Term Damages Are Assessed by Your Impaired Earning Capacity, Pain and Disability and the Projected Cost of Future Medical Needs
Daniel Hoarfrost: That affects the overall evaluation because there are several aspects to it. First of all you may have impaired your ability to earn a living. We call that impaired earning capacity and you can translate that into an element of economic damage. You put basically a dollar figure estimate on the impact on your earning ability. Also, you may also have future medical needs which are going to cost money.
Those are also recoverable and you have to establish these claims by proof. You have to project what kinds of expenses are going to be involved and come up with a dollar value for the total expenses.
And then of course permanent or lasting pain and disability is a recoverable element of damage. It’s just a question of reaching a dollar figure that is either acceptable between the parties or determined by a jury in a jury trial.
What Are Qualities to look for When You Are Considering Retaining an Attorney?
Interviewer: When someone is looking for an attorney, what are some qualities that they should be looking for? What are some red flags? And what are some things that make your firm a good choice for someone?
Experience Is Important as Well as the Amount of Individualized Attention an Attorney Can Devote to Each Case
Daniel Hoarfrost: What qualities I have to offer are one, I’m a sole practitioner so when they hire me they’re going to be dealing with me. All their conversations and evaluations are going to be with me. I can offer personalized and individualized service.
The other quality I offer is that I’ve got a fair amount of experience because I’ve been doing this for a number of years. I was admitted to the bar in 1975 so I have been practicing about 39 years.
Interviewer: Experience does matter in this field.