Crocker Law Firm FAQs
1. Is there a charge to talk to you before I hire you?
There is no charge to talk to us on the phone or to meet with us in person to discuss your case. You have not hired us, and will not owe us any fees, until you sign a representation agreement (contract) making us your lawyers. That agreement will spell out that our fees and expenses are paid from the money you get in settlement or judgment when that money is received.
2. What Will I be Charged if I Hire Crocker Law Firm to Represent Me?
At Crocker Law Firm our fees are contingency fees, meaning they come out of the money we recover for you and are paid when that money is received. We do not bill by the hour or keep track of the time we spend on your case. We want you to feel like you can spend all the time you need with us to understand and feel comfortable about your case.
Along the way we do not ask you to pay the case expenses like court filing fees or charges for medical records. Those also come out of the money you recover when your case is resolved.
If for some reason you do not get a settlement or judgment you will not owe us any money.
Don’t let financial concerns keep you from getting the help you need.
3. What happens when I call Crocker Law Firm the first time?
When you call Crocker Law Firm for the first time a friendly receptionist will ask for a little information about your situation so that she can figure out whether your case is the kind we can help with. If it is not, for example if you have a divorce or criminal matter, she may suggest some other lawyers you can call and will give you their contact information.
If you are calling about a car accident, wrongful death claim, or workers compensation case, your call will quickly be transferred to someone who can answer your initial questions and who can set an appointment for a lawyer to meet with you. We can meet at our office in Bowling Green, Kentucky, or we can come to you, whichever is more convenient for you.
If you are just calling to review your options and are not ready to schedule an appointment, that is perfectly fine. We are happy to talk with you and there is no charge for that consultation.
4. What happens at the first appointment?
The first appointment might be at our office in Bowling Green, Kentucky, at your home or at the hospital, depending on what is convenient for you.
One of the things that sets our firm apart is that your initial meeting, even before you have agreed to hire us, is with an attorney. We typically have the attorney and case manager who will be helping you meet with you. While a lot of firms use an investigator or other sign up person to do the initial consultation and sign your case, we feel like it is important and respectful to introduce you to the people who will be working for you. This relationship is going to be very important. You should know who you are hiring. And you will have questions that we feel should be answered by a lawyer.
We will learn a lot about you and your case in this meeting. The lawyer will go over, step by step, how we will go about resolving your claim. You will have the chance to ask questions about the value of your case, the timeline, the fees, and anything else you are wondering about.
If you have decided to hire us we will have you sign a representation agreement and other forms authorizing us to gather medical records and other evidence. You will leave the meeting with contact information for the lawyer and case manager and encouragement to call any time you have a question or concern.
And then we get to work on your case.
5. What is Kentucky Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UM) is insurance that applies to your injury claim if you are in an accident caused by a driver with no insurance.
Insurance laws differ from state to state, and the rules about UM coverage are different in Kentucky than in many other states. In Kentucky, uninsured motorist coverage is optional; you can waive the right purchase it as part of your car insurance policy.
In Kentucky, Uninsured Motorist coverage can come from the policy on the car you are in when a wreck happens, even if you are in someone else’s car. UM can also come from your own policy, even if your car is not involved the wreck. Kentucky UM coverage can stack, meaning that in some circumstances more than one policy might apply to your loss.
It is really important to have an attorney review all of the possible insurance coverage before you agree to any settlements. It is easy to overlook coverage, and you should not rely on an insurance adjuster or agent to advise you as to whether coverage applies
6. What is Kentucky Underinsured Motorist Coverage?
Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UIM) is coverage that applies to your injury claim if you are in an accident caused by a driver who has liability insurance, but not enough to pay what your claim is worth.
Liability insurance is the insurance that pays on behalf of the at-fault driver. It is important to understand that the amount of liability insurance can be limited. In Kentucky, liability insurance is mandatory, but not more than $25,000. Some people carry more than that, but many carry just the $25,000 minimum limits car insurance.
We buy underinsured motorist coverage to make sure we have more money available than the liability insurance might provide. In Kentucky, UIM is optional. The insurance company is not required to offer you this coverage or bring it to your attention when you buy a policy. If you want underinsured motorist coverage, be sure to ask for it.
In Kentucky, UIM coverage can come from the policy on the car you are in when an accident occurs, and/or from your own car insurance, and/or from insurance on cars owned by other relatives in your household. A car does not have to be involved in the accident for the insurance on that car to apply.
Kentucky underinsured motorist coverage can stack, meaning that in some circumstances more than one policy might apply to your loss.
If you settle the liability claim without taking very specific steps to preserve your right to UIM coverage, you can lose your claim to any of that money. It is very important to review insurance coverage with an experienced personal injury lawyer before you settle any of your claims or sign a release of any kind.
7. What is No-Fault Insurance?
Kentucky is one of 12 no-fault states. This does not mean that we don’t hold at-fault drivers responsible for accidents in Kentucky. It means that we have an insurance system where you recover some benefits from your own automobile insurance policy without regard to fault.
Insurance companies usually refer to no-fault benefits as personal injury protection (PIP). The Kentucky statute governing automobile insurance calls these same benefits basic reparation benefits (BRB).
PIP, BRB, and no-fault benefits are the same thing.
An automobile insurance policy issued in Kentucky is required to include no-fault benefits of $10,000. This $10,000 can be applied to medical bills, 85% of wage loss up to $200 a week, and other similar out of pocket losses.
Of course many people have more than $10,000 in medical bills and wage loss. Bills and wage loss not covered by no-fault, pain and suffering, and other losses make up your claim against the at-fault driver.
Insurance that pays on behalf of the at-fault driver is called liability insurance. Your liability insurance claim is a separate claim from your no-fault insurance claim. At Crocker Law Firm we help with both claims and with claims for uninsured motorist coverage and underinsured motorist coverage.
Tennessee is not a no-fault state. Insurance policies issued in Tennessee typically do not include no-fault benefits, but sometimes include Med Pay.
8. Where do I get Kentucky no-fault insurance benefits?
Kentucky no-fault benefits, also known as Personal Injury Protection (PIP), and Basic Reparation Benefits (BRB), are typically provided by insurance on the car you are in when an accident happens.
If you are hit as a pedestrian you can turn to insurance on the car that strikes you for no-fault benefits.
What if there is no insurance coverage on the cars involved? If the uninsured car is not yours, you may still have coverage. If the car is yours, you will not be covered.
If you are a passenger in an uninsured car or you are a pedestrian hit by an uninsured driver, you may be covered by no-fault insurance on your own cars or other cars in your household. A car does not have to be involved in the wreck to provide no-fault coverage. If you are in this situation and don’t have a car, the state may assign a company to provide you with this coverage through the Kentucky Assigned Claims process.
If you do not insure your car and you have a wreck while driving the uninsured car, you will not get no-fault benefits. It may seem odd, but you will not be able to claim the first $10,000 of medical bills from the at-fault driver either. No-fault coverage is the only coverage responsible for those losses. You can still claim bills and wages over $10,000, pain and suffering, and other losses, but you do not get the benefits that would have been covered by your own insurance.
9. How and when are no-fault benefits paid?
One of the advantages of no-fault coverage is that it will pay for losses before your case is settled. At-fault insurance typically will not pay you anything until the case is settled or a trial verdict is reached.
In Kentucky, no-fault adjusters typically pay medical bills and wage loss claims 30 days after proof of those bills or losses is submitted. Medical bills are usually paid directly to the medical providers. Wage loss is usually paid directly to the insured, as are out of pocket expenses like prescriptions and mileage to out of town doctors.
You have the right to reserve no-fault benefits and to direct whether they are used for bills, wages, or other covered losses. This must be done in writing.
If you set up a claim for no-fault benefits without asking in writing to reserve or direct the benefits, the insurance company will pay bills as they choose. You may find that you have no money left to help you while you are still treating and off work. If you contact Crocker Law firm before you talk to the insurance company we will help you manage these benefits to your best advantage.