If you are hurt in a motor vehicle collision, chances are you will be making a claim against an insurance company. As part of that claim, you will ask for compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and for your general pain, inconvenience, and distress caused by the accident. Insurance is a multibillion-dollar industry, and they got that way by pinching pennies wherever they can. Insurance medical examinations are one of the best ways they have found to limit their financial exposure.
With neck and back pain, you will often find yourself at a chiropractor or physical therapist office after an auto accident. As soon as you submit your claim to your Personal Injury Protection carrier, they will start looking for ways to cut off your insurance. Insurance policies typically only require companies to pay for medical treatment that is reasonable, necessary, and related to the car accident. By finding that the treatment is no longer reasonable, necessary, or related, the insurance company will seek to halt payments for your medical bills.
The same thing goes once you are in a lawsuit for a Personal Injury claim. If you are claiming persistent back or neck pain after a vehicle crash, the defense attorney will almost always request that you be examined by their medical expert in a “DME” – defense medical exam. These expert physicians are paid hundreds of thousands of dollars every year by insurance companies to give medical-legal opinions to support denying cases for injured drivers and passengers.
Insurance companies and their attorneys typically refer to these evaluations as “Independent Medical Examinations,” but there is nothing independent about them. Many of these insurance companies exclusively practice forensic medicine and may be hired several or even dozens of times a year by insurance companies. These doctors do their best to seem reasonable, but their opinions will always skew favorably to the insurance company because they do not want to bite the hand that pays them.
Before you take part in any medical-legal examination, you should make sure you are properly represented. These doctors and insurance companies are well educated in how to cut off insurance claims. By performing exams in certain ways or asking certain questions, they can ensure that the insurance company no longer must pay your benefits. Personal Injury attorneys – like those practicing at the law office of Magnuson Lowell PS – are experienced in dealing with these insurance companies. Often, the presence of an attorney may be enough to prevent an exam. Or, if you are cut off, your attorney may be able to take steps to limit the damage of the examiner’s opinions.
Being prepared and working with proper counsel may go a long way to ensuring that your medical benefits through your Personal Injury Protection insurer are maintained. Having an experienced team behind you during your lawsuit may create the best possible scenario despite the need for defense medical examinations. Contact the qualified and professional attorneys at the law offices of Magnuson Lowell PS for a free case evaluation.
Unless an agreement is reached, the end of the divorce rainbow always leads to trial. In King County, a trial date is automatically set the day you file your divorce lawsuit. Most often, the trial is unilaterally set for ten to twelve months out. In some counties, you must petition the court for a trial date specifically. Regardless of the process, trial is an inevitability if your case is not resolved cooperatively.
Before even thinking about trial, most parties should do their best to find common ground with their spouse to resolve lingering issues. First off, trial is risky, so while going to trial might seem like a slam dunk, the judge might see it opposite. Second, trial is expensive, you will likely need to pay your attorney (and maybe your spouse’s attorney!) to go to trial. That might add up to thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars that could instead be spent resolving the case. Finally, trial is always a lot of work for both parties. Having to spend nearly a year fighting culminating in days of sitting in a court room might be too much for you to handle.
Once you are at trial, you will finally have the opportunity to tell your side of the story. Do not forget, though, the judge will also hear all the evidence and argument from your spouse. Each trial court may be a little bit different, but they all often have similarities in procedure. The process often goes like this:
First – Petitioner’s Presentation. The Petitioner has the opportunity to present documentary evidence about property, children, and anything else related to the marriage. This evidence will be a focus of the trial and will need to be complete and well organized.
Second – Respondent’s Presentation. The Respondent will then have the same opportunity to present documents they believe more accurately reflect the financial and marital affairs involved for the parties.
Third – Witness Testimony. Both the Petitioner and Respondent will have the opportunity to call witnesses. In simple cases, this may only be the spouses, but in more complex cases you may have employers, peers, teachers, medical providers, expert witnesses. Each party is entitled to cross-examine the other’s witnesses.
Fourth – Rebuttal or Closing. Depending on the court, the rules are different. Sometimes, the Petitioner has the opportunity to present a short rebuttal. Many times, the judge will skip straight to closing where both parties have a final opportunity to sum up the evidence and provide arguments to the judge in their favor.
Fifth – Final Ruling. The judge concludes the trial session by rendering a verdict. This will include all aspects before the court including the parenting plan, child support, spousal maintenance, and distribution of assets and debts.
In the end, trial may be worth it in cases where parties are too far apart or – more often – where children are involved and there are major disagreements as to parenting options. The experienced litigators at Magnuson Lowell PS provide valuable information and recommendations, so their clients can make informed decisions about their case. Call today for a free case evaluation!