Tips For Personal Injury Cases And Car Accidents On Vsam1040 Chicago Llc

Andy :

Hello lawyer Mark and Taylor. Please say hello to your [Vietnamese 00:00:06], your clients.

Taylor Kosla:

Hello, thank you for having us on the show again this week. We are looking forward to talking to you about personal injury and car accidents today.

Michael Agruss:

Yeah, thanks for having us on, Andy; it's good to see you, as always.

Andy :

Yes. Thanks. We do appreciate your time; we do a lot. No, thank you for your patience because we got a lot of questions about car accident, especially body injury and insurance, as well. And again, one more time, welcome you to our show. And hopefully this is really precious time; a good time for everybody to understand more and learn more about the law and why do we need lawyers. Again, one more time, special time for Agruss Law Firm participate in our program at the Vietnamese Community in Chicago, Illinois.

We receive a few questions about today. We focus more about the car accident. The first question we have here is, we often hear talking about personal insurer from a legal perspective of what is a personal injury?

Taylor Kosla:

So personal injury is really when someone is injured as a result of the wrongdoing of someone else. So really common cases that we handle are car accidents, but that could be as big as plane crashes; it could be slip and falls, nursing home abuse. So someone did something wrong; another person is hurt; injured, and they have damages as a result. In addition to the actual injuries they suffered, they maybe have lost wages because they couldn't work for a period of time because of their injuries. So that's why you call us when you're injured in a situation like this, and we'll help you get compensation for your injuries.

Andy :

Thank you for your answer. [Vietnamese 00:02:30].

So thank you again for your question. That's the reason a lot of people, they question about the legal aspects from the body injury or personal injury.

The second question, a lot of people, they concerned about the legal and the police enforcement; law enforcement. Can I go to the jail if I cause an accident?

Michael Agruss:

Yeah, that's a good question. And the answer I'm going to give is, in general, no, minus some circumstances where, yeah, you can go to jail if you've been in an accident. But I think the most important thing that I want to focus on with answering with you is, it's important not to leave the scene of an accident; it's important to fill out a police report. Oftentimes things will not get people in trouble, can if they don't follow certain steps. So I know people are nervous at the scene of the accident; maybe they're not injured, they don't have a driver's license, they don't have insurance, and they might get worried, and they might leave a scene of an accident without calling the police. That's the worst thing you can do. So, in general, you're not going to go to jail if you've been involved in a car accident.

There are certain circumstances where, if you're driving under the influence and you're drunk and you get into an accident, you may end up in jail. But for just your everyday run-of-the-mill car accident, call the police, fill out a police report, don't leave the scene of the accident, because if you do, you then can get into some legal trouble.

Taylor Kosla:

I just want to add one thing onto that is, in Chicago, especially right now, officers are really busy. I, personally, actually, was in an accident many years ago on a holiday and we called 911 and the officers are like, "It'll be over an hour." Fortunately, in my case, there wasn't damage, so we were able to file a police report later, but make sure you make that call, figure out what the situation is. You can go to the police department and create a report after the fact, if, maybe they'll tell you, "We can't get out there." It is really important that you follow up and make a report of the accident as quickly as possible.

Michael Agruss:

And that is a really good point where, if you're involved in an accident, it's minor property damage and no one's injured, you can just go to the police department. But it's important to make that call to nine 911 so there's a record and then go to the local police department and make that police report; even if you're worried that you don't have a driver's license or you don't have insurance, because those are things that are minor if they're reported, but things can snowball and get worse if they're not reported.

Andy :

Okay. All right. Thank you. That's very important. Those information is very necessary for someone who get into a car accident.

[Vietnamese 00:06:29].

Thanks so much for your information. And I got another question: should I stay at the scene of accident if the accident was minor?

Taylor Kosla:

In short, yes. But I'll give you two main reasons why it's so important to stay at the scene of the accident and call 911: because you want record that the accident actually occurred, because after that accident, one of the first calls you're going to make is probably to your insurance company, unless you hire an attorney, which we would handle for you. But the first thing that they're going to ask for is a copy of the police report to see where the accident was, who was involved, and what happened.

Something that we've discussed quite a bit on this show is translators and speaking to a police officer. If you're not comfortable speaking English with a police officer, we recommend that you put someone on your cell phone and speaker phone, so that your story; your side of what happened can be heard, so that the police report is as accurate as it possibly can be.

This will also come in handy later on down the line with a personal injury claim, as well. Which leads me to the second point is, although there might be minor damage in the accident, you can still suffer injuries if there's minor damage to the cars. And sometimes injuries take a little bit of time to actually show. For example, whiplash is really common. You might not feel symptoms of whiplash for several hours after the accident, so it's really important: stay at the scene of the accident, call 911, speak with the officer, let them know exactly what happened, so that you have documentation, which will help you later on when dealing with insurance and your personal injury claim.

Andy :

Thanks. [Vietnamese 00:11:04].

Thank you so much for your answer. You give a lot of detailed information. Some people, they thought, "It's not important," but actually it's a very important because most of the time we get people where they have very minor, but they say, "Well, just minor; I don't care." But actually, we don't care about, right?

Taylor Kosla:

Well, when you're in an accident, what happens to most people is, you're in shock. This is so unexpected-

Andy :

You can't think right. You can't think straight.

Taylor Kosla:

... And that's another reason why sometimes your injuries, you won't feel until several hours later. So we see it all the time; it's important: call the police, get treatment, go to the ER, as soon as possible.

Andy :

[Vietnamese 00:15:05].

Thanks. I got another question, maybe it's for Mr. Mark here. Why should I have car insurance?

Michael Agruss:

So the simple answer to this is in Illinois, it's required, you have to have car insurance. So that's the main reason-

Andy :

That's mandate, right?

Michael Agruss:

Yeah. You have to. In Illinois, you're required to have a minimum policy of $25,000 for an individual accident; $50,000 for the total accident. And Illinois has favorable insurance policies. So, one, you have to have minimum coverage: it's the law, and then, two, we've talked extensively on this show about why it's important to have insurance and to maximize your coverage. In addition, there's something called uninsured and underinsured coverage. So, in addition to getting insurance to protect other people out on the roads, you're also getting insurance to protect yourself.

You can go after your own insurance company under various situations if the other driver who hits you does not have insurance, or they don't have enough. So the simple answer is, it's required, and then, two, you want to have insurance to also protect yourself in case someone else hits you and they don't have insurance.

Taylor Kosla:

Which is not required. Uninsured and underinsured coverage is not required; that's something you want to get to protect yourself.

Michael Agruss:

Yes. And let me give you an example here, too, where we've helped people out in this situation. Why it's also important to have insurance is if you don't have insurance and you get in an accident and you're at fault and someone's injured, they're going to come after you, whether you have insurance or not. And if you don't have insurance and their damages are 20, 30, $50,000, there's going to be a judgment under it against you, which is not good; that stays, and you're going to end up paying that off for years and years to come.

We don't recommend people get substandard, or not the best car insurance. But, in reality, I think in Chicago, you can get insurance for 30 bucks a month, 40 bucks a month; it's not the best company, but it's much better to have something than nothing.

Andy :

Great. [Vietnamese 00:17:23].

When you're talking about the insurance, I come up with another general question. Remember last time we discussed, we should have, number one, two insurance: the car insurance, and also the health insurance. So the health insurance, is that help in case of a car accident?

Michael Agruss:

Yeah. So we're going to get to health insurance in a little bit, but you bring up a good point. So when you're talking about car insurance, you're talking about property damage; you're talking about liability coverage, bodily injury; you're talking about someone who does not have insurance, doesn't have enough insurance.

There's also another layer of car insurance that you can purchase; it's not required; it's called medical payment coverage, which is great. And that stands for paying someone's medical bills, their treatment, whatever the case may be. And what's really nice about medical payment coverage is you can use it for anything. You can use it for an ambulance bill. You can use it for an emergency room visit. If you go to Walgreens and fill prescriptions and you have co-payments or deductibles at the doctor's office, it's literally like cash. So most people have $5,000 in medical payment coverage, and it's just another layer of insurance to pay for medical expenses.

Andy :

And how about the other motorist insurance? Some people, they asking, they already have liability and full coverage. Why would they pay for a motorist?

Michael Agruss:

You mean uninsured or underinsured?

Andy :

Yeah. Right, uninsured.

Michael Agruss:

So the perfect example is, there's tons of people out driving on the road who don't have insurance. There's also tons of people who are driving on the road who don't have enough insurance. We were talking about the minimum coverage is $25,000. If you get into an accident and the person who hit you only has $25,000 in coverage, and your claim is worth a half million dollars, you're only going to get that 25 grand. But then you can go towards your own insurance company and say, "Hey, that guy didn't have enough coverage. I want to submit a claim for underinsured motorist coverage," which means you're going after your own insurance for the balance, but you need to make sure you have that coverage. If you don't have underinsured motorist coverage on your policy, you can't go after your own insurance if someone else does not have enough.

Andy :

Oh, I see. Wow.

Michael Agruss:

So there's a lot of nuance.

Andy :

It's a bit different.

Michael Agruss:

Yeah. There's a lot of nuances here. And if anyone watching has any questions, they can feel free to call. Qui Ngoc, email him. We'll answer these questions all day long free of charge because it's confusing for people, and people really need to just maximize their insurance coverage; it's the most important thing we talk about in this show every single week, because we just, we see it time and time again where there's no insurance, there's not enough insurance, there's not enough medical payment. And, at the end, if there's not enough insurance, people are going to be left with damages that they're not compensated for.

Andy :

Okay. Thank you.

Michael Agruss:

Sure.

Andy :

[Vietnamese 00:22:46].

Another question is, if I'm injured in an accident, basically what should I do?

Taylor Kosla:

If you're injured in an accident, number one, of course, call 911. You want the police to come out there. And you also want to get an ambulance to go to the nearest hospital, get evaluated for your injuries, see what you're diagnosed with. And most importantly, listen to what the doctor says. If the doctor says, "Follow up with your regular doctor in a few days," do that. And then from there continue to listen to your doctors. Maybe they'll recommend you see a specialist, go to physical therapy. Whatever your medical healthcare providers tell you to do, listen to their instructions.

And this is usually a great time to call an attorney because we can help you make sure that you get the treatment that you need. We can get you in to see doctors, pain management, specialists, physical therapists, orthopedic surgeons. We'll make sure that you get that treatment and in a timely fashion, regardless of whether you have health insurance, which is huge because we can get you into a network of doctors who will basically just get paid at the end of the settlement. So they'll take care of you; they'll treat you. You don't have to pay them during that treatment; they'll just wait until the very end to get paid when you do.

So it's really important that when you're in an accident, call 911 and start getting treatment right away, call an attorney because we'll make sure that you get the treatment that you need. We're really hands on with our clients. We usually know when their appointments are and we follow up with them; we ask how they're doing after surgery, and this is all to make sure that they're doing okay, and to make sure we could get the best results for them possible for their personal injury claim.

Andy :

Oh, thank you. Thank you very much. [Vietnamese 00:27:07].

We will take a short break and we will come back. Thank you.

Speaker 4:

[Vietnamese 00:29:08].

Andy :

[Vietnamese 00:31:12].

Again, thank you lawyer Mike and Taylor. We done so many talk about the law and the car accident. A lot of our people, they really do appreciate and I just hope people will call Agruss Law Firm more and more, because, again, that's a law firm we been trusted, and you do very, very, I will say, excellent job for everybody-

Taylor Kosla:

Thank you.

Andy :

And what they knew then.

Now, I got another question right here. A lot of people, they concerned about the car accident; afraid to call the police and they don't know what to do. And then they can keep listening from the friends, "Oh, my friends say this." "My brother say that." So many things confusing people. But, reality, we thankful for Agruss Law Firm because you know exactly what you're doing; you practicing for years. The question people, they usually ask is what if I'm injured in car accident and I don't have health insurance? How can I have for medical treatment?

Michael Agruss:

Yeah, this is a common occurrence where people will get involved in a car accident, they're injured and they don't have health insurance. And so the good news is, when people contact us, we have a network of doctors who will treat our clients on what's called a lien. And what that means is, rather than running the bill through health insurance, the doctor, or the hospital, whether it's an orthopedic physician, physical therapist, whatever it is, they send us the bill, and then when we go to settle their personal injury case, we use the settlement funds to pay off those bills.

And this is something that is difficult to find with doctors and hospitals, and there's a lot of large groups who will not do this. And so this is one of the benefits that we offer our clients is, putting them in touch with qualified doctors who are experts, and orthopedic physicians, pain management doctors, physical therapists, whatever it may be, who will treat our clients; they care about our clients getting better; they send us the bills, and then at the end we pay off those bills when we settle the case.

So when people contact us, they never have to worry, "I don't have health insurance. I can't go get treatment." Or maybe, "I'm on state-funded Medicaid. No one's going to want to treat me." None of that matters. And, look, even if someone has Blue Cross Blue Shield and they have awesome insurance, we can get those people into our network of doctors, as well.

Andy :

Okay. All right. Thank you very much. [Vietnamese 00:34:33].

We have another question about car accident. After the car accident, should I speak directly to the insurance company if they call me?

Taylor Kosla:

So this is an important question because you really don't want to speak with the insurance company; you want your attorneys to. So if you're injured in a car accident, call Agruss Law Firm and we'll be able to handle the insurance companies on your behalf, because the insurance companies have one goal, and that's to pay the least amount of money possible. If you speak with them, they will try to use anything that you say, they'll twist it to pay less money and put less value on your claim.

We can handle it. You don't run that risk of hurting your claim; devaluing your claim. We'll be able to speak with your own insurance company, the other party's insurance company; you don't have to worry about that at all. If, however, you do retain an attorney, an insurance company calls, which they shouldn't be doing, just tell them, "Hey, I'm represented by Agruss Law Firm, this is their phone number," and end the call. But no, you don't want to talk to an insurance company; it can only hurt your case.

Andy :

Okay. All right. Thank you.

Michael Agruss:

And I want to add something to what Taylor is saying, and I think this is important for the viewers to know is, once someone hires us, we deal with all of this so our clients don't have to worry about any of this. So whether they have health insurance or they don't have health insurance, we deal with the doctors, the medical bills; we make sure that things are getting submitted to the right insurance company, whether it's medical payment coverage, whether it's Blue Cross Blue Shield, whether it's, "Oh, this person's going to receive treatment on a lien," and that doctor will send us the bill. We keep track of all of that.

And we also deal with all the insurance companies. So we deal, like what Taylor was saying, when the other driver's insurance calls you to try to minimize the claim; we deal with the at fault driver's car insurance, we deal with our own client's car insurance, and we take all of that off of our client's lap so they can just focus on getting better. So part of our service is handling all of those companies, insurance companies, medical bills, doctors, and all of that.

Taylor Kosla:

Because there might even be more than one adjuster from a particular insurance company. For example, one adjuster might be handling your injury claim; another adjuster might be handling the property damage claims, so it can get really confusing. But that's why you hire us, because we know who's handling what, and how to get your car fixed; how to get you back to driving; how to get you recovered as quickly and as most efficiently as possible.

Andy :

Okay. Thank you. [Vietnamese 00:40:31].

Thank you very much for your answer. That's very detailed, so people, they're not worry when they get involved into the accident, and before and after the settlement. So a lot of question. They say, "Well, do I have to pay the medical bill, or the property damage or body injury.

I got another question. This is maybe be the last question for today. What does this cost to hire Agruss Law Firm?

Michael Agruss:

So this is the best part. We work on cases on a contingency fee. And what that means is we don't get paid unless we get our clients to settlement. So in the unlikely event, we don't get our clients any money, our clients never pay us a penny.

We have a pretty good track record and success rate, and so we settle cases all the time. But the good news is this takes the risk off of our clients; they don't have to worry about paying us. So what we do is we work on a one-third contingency fee, our fee never changes throughout the process, and this is something that distinguishes us from other personal injury attorneys who oftentimes charge one-third, then 40%; 50% if you go to trial.

We're always one-third. We never get paid unless we get a settlement. And we work on the case; we front all of the costs; our clients don't have to pay a penny ever; we just get paid at the end when we settle the case.

So there's no risk. And this is a very different dynamic than other attorneys that a lot of people are familiar with. So, for example, if you hire a criminal defense attorney, if you hire a family law attorney, if you hire a real estate attorney, all of those attorneys are paid hourly rates, or retainers, and clients have to pay out of pocket. When people hire us, they never pay us a penny.

And that's good to know, too, because, if the viewers are watching this show and they have any questions about, "What was the difference in uninsured or underinsured motorists? Or, "What should I do in this situation?" People can always contact us through Qui Ngoc: his cell phone; his email. If they have any questions about anything, we're here to help; we're here to answer those questions. And short answer is, our clients don't pay us, we work on a contingency fee.

Andy :

Okay. All right. [Vietnamese 00:45:51].

When we mentioned about the conversation. I got another question. This is going to be beyond our subject today. How long does this take to close one case, in general? How long does this take? One month? Three months? Six month or one year? This will depend, too.

Taylor Kosla:

Yeah. Every one of our clients wants to know that, and, unfortunately, the answer is: it depends. Sometimes we can settle cases really quickly, depending on the damages, injuries, insurance policy. But what's really important is that you get the treatment that you need and then we can fully evaluate your claim and figure out how quickly the case will settle, whether we're going to have to file it. If you have to file a case, it usually takes longer to settle, but I'd say most cases are settled in a few months.

Michael Agruss:

Yeah. And I think what's important for people to know here, as well, so we're hyper-organized, we're on top of things, and when the time comes to settle a case, we settle it quickly, assuming the other side wants to pay something reasonable.

But we never want to settle a case prematurely, because the moment you settle a case; that's it; the client can't come back for more. So, for example, if someone is getting physical therapy for three months, we're not going to settle the case during that time. If someone is getting physical therapy and then they need to wait a month or two to see if they possibly need surgery, we're not going to settle that case. What we're good at is, when it comes time to settle, whether that's two months, six months, one year, two years, whatever the case may be, we're super efficient, we're fast, and we're ready to immediately send out a settlement demand, figure out if we are going to settle the case, and if we are, great, and if we're not, we'll litigate the case.

So it's something people need to be patient about because you can't rush. But when the time comes to settle, we'll certainly let our clients know. And we act fast, we're organized, we're efficient, we're on top of things, and that makes it so when it's time to settle, we settle.

Andy :

All right. Thank you very much for your answer here. The question, [Vietnamese 00:49:55].

Thank you so much for you coming today, and your information is very precious and necessary; people really appreciate that. We just wish we will have more time, and then in a few weeks, right after the holiday, we will discuss more about the car accidents. I just hope, people, they will follow. And if some people, they need your help, don't be hesitant to call Agruss Law Firm.

And before we say goodbye, again, one more time, we do appreciate your time; your help. And please say goodbye to your new audience.

Michael Agruss:

Sure. Thanks for having us on. We'll see you after the holidays. It's always a pleasure coming on, answering your questions, and helping people out.

Taylor Kosla:

Absolutely. Thank you so much.

Andy :

Sure. Again, one more time, thank you so much and we wish you a happy holiday and we'll see you again. [Vietnamese 00:53:27].

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