Green Bay car accident attorney

If You’re Injured as a Passenger, Can You Sue the Driver?

by wpengine | July 26th, 2021

Most people think of auto accident claims as cases where two vehicles collide and the injured driver sues the at-fault driver. But in many cases, vehicles contain multiple occupants, and sometimes, passengers suffer serious injuries because the people driving them were negligent behind the wheel.

If you were recently injured while riding as a passenger in someone else’s vehicle, it’s important to note that you can file a compensation claim against the at-fault driver—even if that driver was sitting right next to you at the time of the crash. At Brian Hodgkiss Injury Lawyers, we know that some auto accident victims are hesitant to do this, as the driver may be a coworker, friend, or family member.

However, unless you file a compensation claim against the at-fault driver, you’ll be stuck paying for your bills and lost wages out of pocket. It’s also important to remember that at-fault drivers typically don’t pay for settlements out of pocket. Instead, their auto insurance policies pay the bills of the people they injure.

That means you should never be reluctant to file a claim because you’re afraid of the financial ramifications that it will have on the driver. It’s better to make the insurance company responsible for the costs of your accident rather than taking the brunt of your medical bills and lost paychecks on your own.

Need help pursuing compensation after a crash that wasn’t your fault? Our Appleton auto accident lawyers are here to help. Contact us today for a free consultation.

How to Stay Safe if Your Vehicle Breaks Down

by wpengine | May 6th, 2021

Today’s vehicles are more reliable than ever. But that doesn’t mean they’re impervious to untimely breakdowns. Tire-related issues are always a risk factor that drivers face, as are things like running out of gas, overheating engines, or problems with their vehicles’ exhaust systems.

Experiencing a breakdown isn’t just inconvenient—it can also be dangerous. Here are a few tips to keep in mind to reduce your risks if your vehicle encounters problems:

  • Turn on your flashers and pull over to a safe spot—Whether a tire blew, you lost all power, or you see smoke coming out of your hood, your first step should be signaling to other drivers that you’re in distress by turning on your flashers. Then, start looking for a safe place to pull over right away, whether it’s a nearby side road, parking lot, or shoulder.
  • Assess the situation—If smoke is coming from your vehicle, or you notice flames, move away from it as quickly as possible. If the issue is less pressing, such as a flat or blown tire, don’t replace it if you’re parked on the shoulder. Instead, call a tow truck. People die every year while changing tires on the side of highways and interstates.
  • Stay in your vehicle if there’s nowhere to stand—Sometimes breakdowns happen on stretches of road without roomy shoulders or pull-off points. If that’s where your breakdown occurs, stay inside your vehicle and call for help, whether it’s roadside assistance or even 911.

Too many people are injured or even killed every year by drivers who fail to move over or accommodate them when they’re in distress. If you or someone you love is injured by a negligent driver, we want to help. Contact the Appleton auto accident attorneys at Brian Hodgkiss Injury Lawyers today for a free consultation.

3 Most Common Causes of Winter Auto Accidents

by cjadmin | January 7th, 2021

Winter is the most dangerous season to drive, especially in Wisconsin. Because of the long winters, low temperatures, heavy snowfall throughout the Badger State, winter driving is something you would expect all drivers to be used to. And while Wisconsinites handle snow better than many other Americans, they still find themselves in winter crashes, often due to the following reasons:

  1. Slick roads—Even the most winter-ready vehicle can still be difficult to control when driven over big patches of ice. Modern tires, brakes, and traction control systems are designed to keep vehicles on the road and drivers in control, but sometimes, black ice is simply too much to overcome, causing a crash.
  2. Reduced visibility—Snow can be beautiful when it’s falling and on the ground, but actual snowstorms are another matter entirely. Snowstorms can result in whiteout conditions due to intense snowfall, fog, and swirling snowflakes. Lack of visibility combined with slick roads can lead to extremely dangerous driving conditions and interstate traffic jams that go on for miles.
  3. Poor vehicle conditions—While even winter-ready vehicles are susceptible to crashes, drivers who get behind the wheels of poorly maintained vehicles are tempting fate every time they drive during the winter. Bald tires, worn-out brakes, and poor-quality heaters and defrosters can make even a quick trip to the grocery store a potentially dangerous or even deadly affair.

Were you or someone you love involved in a winter crash that was caused by any of these factors AND a negligent driver? If so, we want to help.

Not all winter crashes are unavoidable, and often times, distraction, speeding, and failing to come to a complete stop are all factors. Contact the Green Bay auto accident lawyers at Brian Hodgkiss Injury Lawyers today for a free consultation.

What is Medical Payments Coverage?

by rakins | December 21st, 2019

If you look at the coverage on your auto policy, you may see a curious entry called Medical Payments Coverage.  You probably didn’t discuss this overage with your agent, and you likely have no idea what it is for.  It just seems to be thrown in.

So what is Medical Payments Coverage?

Medical Payments Coverage is no-fault coverage that applies to all occupants of your vehicle.  It covers all medical expenses and applies regardless of who caused the accident.  In other words, if you were in an accident, and you or your passengers suffered injuries, the policy will cover the medical expenses.  The amount of coverage available is determined by the amount of coverage you purchased when the policy was issued.  Most commonly, the coverage comes in amounts of $1,000, $5,000, or even $10,000 per person.  Some companies offer more, while some omit it from their policy entirely. It is always good to know what you have before you need it!

Some people may think they will not need Medical Payments Coverage because they can simply collect the loss from the party who caused the accident.  That’s true—however, an at-fault insurer will never make a payment on medical bills unless it is a full and final settlement.  In other words, the at-fault insurer will never pay you for your medical bills unless you agree to release your claim forever, walking away from compensation for all future medical expenses and pain and suffering.  Medical payments coverage on your policy will help you meet those needs while you focus on your own health, leaving your claim open and valid.

Other folks may look at Medical Payments Coverage as unnecessary because medical insurance will cover all claims.  True, a traditional medical insurer will cover your medical care regardless of how it occurred.  That coverage, however, commonly comes with a large deductible or co-pays which put the injured person in a financial bind.  It is always best to utilize your medical insurance coverage when available, but supplementing that coverage with your auto policy’s Medical Payments Coverage is a smart option.  If used correctly, this coverage can protect you from the gap in coverage left by most medical insurers.

Like most types of medical insurance, using Medical Payments Coverage will create a subrogated claim for the auto insurer.  If you use this coverage because you were injured because of someone else’s fault, your auto insurer will expect repayment from your settlement proceeds.  Bearing that in mind, there is certainly a strategy when to submit a bill to Medical Payments Coverage as opposed to a traditional medical insurer.  You need a skilled lawyer to evaluate your circumstances and ensure the best insurer receives your bills.

Contact Us For Help

Many clients are concerned that using Medical Payments Coverage will cause their premiums to increase.  Although it is impossible to understand the complexities insurer’s use in their underwriting process, it is good to keep in mind that you paid for this insurance for a specific reason.  It makes little sense to hesitate when it comes time to use it.

At Brian Hodgkiss Injury Lawyers, our Fox Cities car accident lawyers can help you manage payment of all medical bills as well as represent you against the at-fault insurer.  We have the knowledge and experience to ensure your bills are handled in a manner that will maximize your financial recovery.  Let us help you.