These days, there is nothing usual about business as usual. Nobody knows when things will return to normal. Businesses and individuals are doing what they can to move forward during these uncertain times. Uncertainty quickly escalates to fear and panic if you’re in the middle of a personal injury case and depending on your recovery to take care of you and your family. You may be asking yourself, with everything shut down and everyone working from home, what’s happening to my case?
As frustrating as this may be… it depends.
There is good news and bad news for people waiting on payments from insurance companies. The good news is that most claim departments are still up and running, which means if your case is being negotiated or settled, then there shouldn’t be a delay in issuing payment. This is particularly true for larger insurance companies that were already set up for employees to work from home. If you’re dealing with a smaller company, there may be some delay simply because they don’t have the systems in place for employees to work from home or they don’t have a healthy workforce to keep up with the open claims.
The bad news is that if your case is waiting on the courts – either to approve the settlement or to conduct a jury trial – then there will certainly be a delay. Courts across Texas have limited the types of matters they are hearing until we have a better idea of how to minimize the risks of Covid-19.
If you were injured in an accident and need financial help, you have a few options while you wait for the insurance payment. If you have Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage with your auto insurance policy, then you may be able to make a claim and recover money for medical bills and lost wages that you suffered as a result of the accident. PIP is no-fault coverage, which means that you can make a PIP claim when you’re injured in an auto accident whether or not it was your fault. The coverage is offered by default with every auto policy. In order to waive the coverage, you must sign a rejection form that the insurance company is required to keep on file.
Tips of the Trade à If the insurance company cannot provide a copy of the PIP rejection form to you, then they have to provide coverage.
Filing a PIP claim is a simple process.
If you missed work due to being injured in an accident, you can claim recover for the amount of lost wages you missed. To support your claim for economic damages, the insurance company may want copies of pay stubs and verification from your employer that you missed the amount of time you are claiming.
In order to recover for the amount of medical bills incurred as a result of the crash, the insurance company will want copies of the bills and records. As the patient, you are entitled to a free copy of both. Simply call your doctor’s office and you should be able to pick up the documents or have them sent directly to you.
Sometimes the insurance companies will send payment to the doctor’s office directly. If that happens, it will be very difficult to stop payment on that check and get the insurance carrier to issue a new one. It’s even more difficult – almost impossible – if the doctor has already cashed it.
As a last resort, you can apply for a loan through a funding company. If you are approved, they will loan you money and get paid back from the money you get from your case. There are a few things to keep in mind about these companies.
First, the fees and interest rates are very high and the longer you take to pay it back, the more fees and interest you will accrue. They usually don’t discuss fees and interest rates while you’re on the phone with them because they’re trying to make a sale. Tips of the Trade à It will be worth your time to call a few different companies and shop around for the lowest fees and interest rates. You’ll save yourself the trouble of going through the application process only to change your mind based on the interest rates. Due to the high cost of these loans, it’s best to try all over options first.
Secondly, not every company handles applications the same way. Some companies will let you complete an application over the phone and have a decision within 24 hours and payment within the following 48 hours. Other companies want to thoroughly investigate your case before lending any money. They want copies of the police report, medical records, offer letter from the insurance company, the formal lawsuit, etc. Companies that require more documentation will take longer to process your application but will often charge you a lower interest rate.
You’re not alone! Now more than ever, it’s important that we lean on each other to get through this tough time. If you have questions about your options or want to discuss the details of your case, don’t hesitate to call our office or send us a message.
Our Austin-based attorneys serve clients statewide and have resolved over 1,000 cases for Texas accident victims and their families. We started our firm to set a higher standard for helping injured people; let us take on the challenges of claims and insurance so that you and your family can focus on healing.