Where’s the pain?

The human body is an amazing thing. By default, your mind and body strive for a pain free existence. Pain itself is an indicator that you are injured or sick. But we have all experienced pain well after the actual injury occurred, instead of at the time it happens.

MRI of the Spine showing herniated discs

This is all too common when you are injured in a motor vehicle accident. Let’s face it, no matter how it happens, a car accident is a scary, traumatic experience. Most times you are in a state of shock and your adrenaline is pumping strong. Your first thoughts are “am I ok??” – and then your mind immediately goes to “what happened here?” You get pre-occupied with the happening of the accident itself, the other parties involved, the property damage, and making sure that everything is under control following that overall chaotic event.

You are more worried about your car than your body at this point, and the police officers are asking questions and you are struggling to keep your mind focused. They ask you if you need medical attention, but you’re still shocked by the car crash and the resulting damage to your car, so you instinctively ignore your body and feeling numb, so you quickly say no, I don’t need an ambulance. Problem is, after the dust has settled and the initial accident investigation is over, you feel it. It may be a dull, throbbing pain or a sharp pain. It may progressively get worse as time goes on. The adrenaline has worn off and now you feel it.  Uh oh, you’re injured. 

This is especially true when it comes to neck and back injuries. If you fractured your arm, you would know it and there is no question that you were injured. But neck and back injuries don’t always manifest pain or discomfort instantly. Often there is a gradual onset and worsening. So, if you are involved in a collision, and you are feeling any stiffness, pain, or discomfort in your neck or back, you need to be examined by a doctor who can recommend the proper medical treatment before it gets worse. This is also important because it will allow the doctor to document your injuries close in time to the accident, so that there will be little question that the collision is the cause of your injuries, without any intervening causes.

Medical treatment can be daunting, especially when you are a person who doesn’t go to doctors often. This is an additional reason why it is important to have an attorney represent you if you are injured in a car accident. Your attorney will make sure that you are seeking medical treatment for your injuries and that your medical bills are getting paid. If you are in an accident and need more information or guidance, please contact the Law Offices of William S. Peck to discuss your options and to protect your rights.

The Dog Bite Days of Summer

That dog bite could hurt more if you don’t recover any compensation.

Aww, that dog over there is cute. Wait, where’s his leash? And why is he running towards me? Where’s his owner??

We all know that dogs will bite, and depending on the dog or the victim, that bite can result in real physical injury and scarring. Often a plastic surgeon is needed for a scar revision when the scarring is severe. The issue is, who is responsible for these injuries and the resulting medical bills?

If you are bitten and injured by your own dog, there isn’t much you can do about that. However, if you are bitten by someone else’s dog, then that person likely will be held responsible. In New Jersey, you don’t have to prove that the dog’s owner was negligent to prove your personal injury case. The standard is strict liability against the dog owner for the injury, whether or not that dog owner was negligent.

However, you still need to have a source of payment, and usually collecting a judgment against a dog owner who is uninsured is difficult. If that dog owner owns a home and has property insurance, then that insurance policy would be the source of any funding you would go after. Unfortunately, this becomes way more complicated if the dog owner is a renter or tenant, and not a homeowner. In order to prove a case against the homeowner (that is the landlord), you will need to prove that the homeowner had notice and knowledge that the renter owned a dog and that the dog had a prior vicious propensity.

Often this is proven by circumstantial evidence, such as showing that the landlord periodically inspected the property and that there were obvious indications of the dog living at that location. But you will also need to prove that the dog had a vicious propensity. This can be shown by evidence that the dog was aggressive in the past. This propensity can also be demonstrated if you can prove that this dog had previously bitten someone else.  But this kind of evidence is sometimes difficult to find, especially if the prior bites were not documented by the police or other authority.

Remember, dog bite cases can be hard to prove without an attorney representing you for your injury.  Your attorney will make sure that you are obtaining the required proof to bring your claim for injuries as a result of the dog bite. If you are injured from a dog bite and need more information or guidance, please contact the Law Offices of William S. Peck to discuss your options and to protect your rights.

Who pays your medical bills when you are hurt in a car accident?

Let’s face it, people will get injured when they are sitting in a big metal container that collides with another big metal container. Especially when those big metal containers (i.e. vehicles) are moving at any rate of speed.

Nobody wants to get into an automobile accident. Aside from having to deal with getting your car fixed, the other headache you might experience is the real one … medical bills. The cost for medical treatment is never cheap, and when you are dealing with injuries from a car collision, most times the those injuries are severe.

It is very important for you to treat for your injuries. Without medical treatment, you won’t likely heal from your injuries, and the injuries might even get worse without proper medical treatment. But since everyone who has gone to a doctor’s office knows that treatment isn’t free, one of the biggest concerns that injured parties face is medical bills. Who will pay these? The answer to this question is “it depends”.

If you are a New Jersey insured driver, your automobile insurance policy has coverage for “Personal Injury Protection”. This is also known as “PIP” for short. If you have elected to have your PIP as primary, this means that you have elected to have your PIP be your medical insurance coverage for any injuries you sustain related to the use of your vehicle. So if you have chosen PIP primary, all of your medical bills should be submitted to your own automobile insurance carrier for coverage. This is the case even if the other driver is at fault for the accident. In New Jersey, your own PIP coverage pays your medical bills no matter who is at fault. Of course, your PIP coverage is subject to the PIP limits chosen on your policy, so be sure to get the highest amount of PIP limits that you can afford when choosing your automobile coverage selections. Plus, your coverage is usually subject to a deductible and co-pay depending on your coverage selection.

Things get a bit more complicated when you choose Health Insurance primary under your PIP selection. Although this may lower your overall automobile insurance premium, this may cause other issues depending on what kind of health insurance coverage you have. So when you choose this option on your automobile insurance, you are saying that instead of having your auto insurer pay your medical bills, you will have your health insurance provider pay. However, certain health insurance plans have prohibitions to being primary for PIP purposes, so you will need to check with your health insurance as to any issues.

When it comes to filing an injury claim against the other driver, the difference between choosing PIP primary vs. Health Insurance primary comes into the picture, not only in paying for your medical treatment, but also whether or not you will eventually have to pay the insurance company back for the medical bills incurred. Certain health insurance plans have subrogation rights, which means that if they pay for your medical bills in a car accident case, you will be responsible for reimbursing your health insurance out of your recovery in any claim against the other driver. However, if you choose PIP primary (i.e. having your automobile insurance company pay the bills), you do not have to reimburse your automobile insurance company out of your recovery from the other driver.

Frankly, automobile insurance and PIP coverage can be a bit complicated, which is why it is important to have an attorney represent you if you are injured in a car accident. Your attorney will make sure that your medical bills get paid, and that they are paid by the correct entity. If you are in an accident and need more information or guidance, please contact the Law Offices of William S. Peck to discuss your options and to protect your rights.