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Scott E. Sanders
Practice Areas
Frequently Asked Questions
How We Handle Cases
Disclaimer
 

Received One of the Highest Personal Injury Verdicts in Kansas/Oklahoma History in 2009

Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why do I need an attorney?
2. How does my attorney get paid?
3. How do I know which attorney to choose?
4. After a car crash, should I call the police?
5. If the police don’t come or take too long, what do I do?
6. Should I call my insurance company when the crash was someone else’s fault?
7. What do I do if the person who is at fault does not have insurance?
8. What do I do if they don’t have enough insurance coverage?
9. Who is going to pay my medical bills?
10. What is subrogation or a right of subrogation?
11. What types of things (damages) can I recover for?
12. The other driver was drunk, does that matter?
13. Why aren’t they being fair with me?

1. Why do I need an attorney?
Everyone would benefit from talking with an attorney to help decide the right answer to this question. We offer free consultations for just this reason. Not everyone needs an attorney to help them. If you were involved in a relatively minor incident in which you suffered minor injuries or other minimal damages because of the negligence of someone else, you may not need an attorney or it may not be economically reasonable for you to have one. However, if you or someone else has more that just minor injuries or damages, it may make a big difference to have the help of someone that knows the law, the claim process, and can watch out for your interests. Insurance companies are in business to make money and watch out for the interests of their shareholders. Sometimes they deny valid claims, push early and unjust settlements on people, and use low ball offers to drag out claims until people become demoralized and simply settle. When someone breaks the rules and causes you harm and losses, they should be responsible for those damages. They should have to help make you whole again. We would be happy to discuss your situation with you to help you decide whether you need an attorney. Contact Us.

2. How does my attorney get paid?
We work on a contingency fee basis on personal injury cases. A contingency fee means that our fee is contingent on whether we are able to make a recovery for you. Some people use the expressions, "there is no fee if there is no recovery," or "we don't get paid unless you get paid." We do not get paid until the end of the case and are paid out of the settlement or damage award. You do not pay anything up front. This system ensures that attorneys take cases they believe in, because they don't get paid unless there is a recovery. It also allows people who cannot afford an attorney access to the court system.
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3. How do I know which attorney to choose?
The attorney client relationship is one built on trust and confidence. We want to meet with you in person. We will come to your home or hospital for an interview. This will allow you to take the time to ask any questions you may have about your situation. We are happy to meet with people for a free consultation with no obligation in personal injury cases. If you would like to sit down and discuss your case in frank and simple terms, please contact us.
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4. After a car crash, should I call the police?
Yes. Local police departments routinely investigate the circumstances and causes of car crashes. It is what they do. They know what information is important and they have crash report forms that capture some of the most critical information. Insurance adjusters, lawyers, judges, and juries rely upon police reports to help determine what happened in a car crash. Also, although someone may seem polite and cooperative at the scene, even admitting fault for the crash, they may later change their story. If there is no police report or other recording of the crash and its causes, it may affect your ability to hold them responsible for their negligence and the harms they caused you.
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5. If the police do not come or take too long, what do I do?
If the police do not come, take too long, or for some other reason a police report is not made by a police officer, you will want to make a report of your own. This is generally called a "station report." Just like it sounds, someone goes to a local substation to fill out a report about an incident or car crash that occurred. Station reports can be important as a way to record an incident that occurred, but also because insurance adjusters and some jurors might think that if you did not report the incident or car crash, that is because it did not occur or you are hiding something.
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6. Should I call my insurance company when the crash was someone else's fault?
Yes. At the very least you will want to confirm the type of coverage you have with your insurance company for various things. Sometimes the other person’s insurance company is difficult to deal with or delays in paying for rental expenses, vehicle repairs, medical bills or other things. Working with your own insurance company can help you recover faster from a car crash. That is why you paid those thousands of dollars in premiums over the years. Although we are not employed by your insurance company, if the crash was not your fault, a claim with your own insurance company should not affect your rates. Also, you do not need to worry about your insurance company spending money on you. If the other driver was at fault, they will get their money back through a subrogation action.
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7. What do I do if the person who is at fault does not have insurance?
It happens all too often that the other driver who caused the accident does not have insurance and usually it is because they cannot afford it. That could also mean that they cannot pay you directly for all the harms and losses they have caused. Under Kansas law, you have insurance to protect you. You pay an additional premium when you are injured by someone without insurance.
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8. What do I do if the at fault driver does not have enough insurance coverage?
This is also the type of situation where you look to your own automobile insurance carrier for what is called UIM or underinsured motorist coverage. Just as with uninsured motorist coverage, underinsurance motorist coverage is designed to help you when the other driver did not have enough insurance coverage. Just like it sounds, it protects you when the at-fault driver was underinsured. Presenting UIM claims can be tricky because involves not only a knowledge of personal injury law, but also insurance law. If you have a UIM claim, please contact us to discuss the nuances of your situation. You also pay an additional premium for UIM coverage.
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9. Who is going to pay my medical bills?
We can help you examine all sources to get payment for your medical bills. There are three basic sources of insurance from which your bills can be paid. First, you may have health insurance coverage that may cover some or all of the bills. This may be the best and fastest way to get some of your bills paid so you do not end up in a battle with a collection agency. Keep in mind that if your health insurance company pays a bill, they may acquire a subrogation right in your claim. However, some health insurance companies will stop paying your medical bills when they find out you were in a car crash or other incident involving the negligence of someone else. This is because your health insurance company will want someone else to pay the bill; like the other person who caused you injury or your own automobile insurance company, depending on the situation. Second, you may have "personal injury protection" coverage under your automobile insurance policy. Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage is like health insurance under your automobile insurance. It pays your crash related bills and the bills of any passengers in your vehicle at the time of a crash. However, most people do not carry very high limits on their PIP and so it is unusual that this type of insurance will cover all of your medical bills. Third, there is of course the other person’s insurance company, assuming they have liability insurance coverage and that the other person was at least partially at fault for the car crash or incident. However, the other persons' insurance company generally does not pay your medical bills until you are done treating, and sometimes you have to fight with them to get bills paid. Also, if your injuries are serious, you may run into an underinsured motorist situation where the amount of money the other persons' insurance company owes you is less that what your bills are.

If the above sources of insurance are not available to you in your situation or you are having trouble getting access to medical treatment, you will want to discuss that with an attorney (contact us). After suffering injuries because of someone else's negligence, everyone deserves and should have reasonable and necessary medical treatment. We can help you access medical treatment and make sure it is paid for.
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10. What is subrogation or a right of subrogation?
Any time your insurance company (health insurance or automobile insurance) has to pay out money because of someone else's negligence, they may have a right to get their money back from the negligent person. Depending on the type of policy or coverage, an insurance company can directly sue the person for the money they paid out. If you, their insured, sue the person and recover money, they may have a right to get the money back from you. You also have the duty not to interfere with your insurance companies' subrogation rights. Thus, if you incorrectly release a responsible party from liability and accept a quick settlement, you could be at risk for being sued by your own insurance company because you did not protect their interests. If you insurance company has paid any of your bills resulting from a car crash or other personal injury, as a result of the negligence of someone else, you will want to discuss with an attorney exactly how that could affect your situation. If you have questions about subrogation claims or rights, please contact us. Consultations are free.
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11. Why types of things (damages) can I recover for?
When someone else does not follow the rules, whether they are the traffic laws or simply the rules of good judgment, they should expect to be responsible for the harms and losses you have suffered. Those harms and losses are generally called compensatory damages. Compensatory damages are damages meant to compensate you for things like medical expenses, out-of-pocket expenses, lost wages, loss of income capacity, loss of household services, and others. The law also requires that a responsible person pay something to make up for what they have put you through, which includes things like pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life. In cases where the harms are long-term, the responsible party may also owe for future expenses, future care and support, and for the things that you will not be able to do again to take care or yourself. It really is a matter of sitting down and looking at what the person did to you and adding up the harms and losses you have suffered as a result.
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12. The other driver was drunk, does that matter?
Yes. When someone chooses to drive while impaired by the use of alcohol or drugs and they injure someone else, they should expect to be held responsible for the harms and losses they have caused and to be punished for their reckless conduct. The civil justice system allows you to punish a drunk driver through punitive damages. Punitive damages are damages meant to punish someone for their reckless, willful, and wanton conduct. You as the person pursuing the wrongdoer for their wrongful conduct are allowed to recover the punitive damages because you are the one who was directly harmed.
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13. Why aren't they being fair with me?
Unfortunately, although we expect others to be fair with us and the law says that insurance companies have to be fair, they have decided to put profits ahead of fairness. Within the last decade there has been a major change in focus in the insurance industry. It used to be that the insurance companies made substantial profits by investing the premiums paid by their insureds. However, a corporate greed mentality began to invade and soon those investment profits were not enough. Some companies began to seek profits in the claims handling process by using low-ball offers and by dragging out claims handling and litigation to demoralize claimants into accepting reduced amounts for their claims. You may be asking for something reasonable for what you have been through and for the economic losses you have sustained. The insurance company will make a low-ball offer and then drag things out. Just think, for every dollar they short you, there are a thousand or million more claimants in the same situation. The insurance company just made a pile more money when you accept one dollar less than what your claim is worth. For every day that they delay in sending you that low-ball offer, there are a thousand or million more claims delayed. The insurance company just had another day of income on an investment. This is what some of the worst insurance companies have figured out and do everyday. They short you on the amount owed to you and delay, in order to demoralize you and keep their investment income up.
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Scott E. Sanders



McDonald Tinker Skaer Quinn & Herrington P.A.