Perhaps the most important things to know of is your deadline. Nebraska’s four year statute of limitation (or Iowa’s two year) against the adverse driver is crucial to remember. There are exceptions to automobile statutes of limitations. These can make the time limit longer or shorter. If against the government, such as a political subdivision, county, city, agency or the State of Nebraska, it is shorter. In addition, a mandatory claims process is involved as a prerequisite to even filing to go to court. In a wrongful death case or death of the adverse motorist, the deadlines are again different. If the injured victim is a minor child or person suffering from certain inabilities to timely file suit, then it the period can be longer. Every case is different and Steve Howard Law can explain the law as it applies to your case.
The takeaway here is that the correct lawsuit must be filed in the correct court against the correct defendant(s) or all claims against the bad driver and that person’s insurers or employer (and even claims under your uninsured motorist and underinsured motorist insurers) are forever lost.
You should talk to a competent lawyer on these important matters. As with most lawyers, Steve Howard does not charge a fee to meet and talk. It is always the client’s decision. Unlike most lawyer, I encourage clients to speak with more than one law firm prior to retaining a lawyer Hiring counsel does not automatically mean the case goes to court. Most cases do not. Most cases settle but if you hire a lawyer who never goes to court and never litigates cases, the insurer will likely offer you less to settle.
Health insurance companies will most often resist Nebraska’s “made whole” doctrine which provides that you must be made whole before its subrogation/reimbursement interest is enforceable. Unless the adverse driver has very high liability insurance limits, group health insurers should in the end compromise their claimed interest to either zero or well below its sums paid. The exception is with ERISA cases. These are details Steve Howard can explain.
As against the adverse driver and the underinsured motorist coverage, your measure of damages for health care expenses is the original charged amount and not the sum paid by some other payer or accepted by the providers. What a third party payer paid is irrelevant to the fact finder. The
Sound Nebraska public policy makes clear that negligent drivers (as with negligent corporations or anyone) ought not receive a windfall due to a responsible victim having personal health coverage. You are entitled to not just what out of pocket you have. The trial court should receive as evidence the total sum of bills incurred, not what was paid by someone else.
Generally the client is best served by first utilizing health insurance to pay health care bills, with automobile insurance medical payments coverage to pick up balances for co-pays and deductibles. When Medicaid or Medicare or workers’ compensation have paid health care expenses, it is necessary to account for their interests on any settlement. Again, with good lawyering, these sums can possibly be reduced but when it comes to the government, do not expect to let them go unpaid. You risk losing the coverage and other negative consequences from not repaying Medicare or Medicaid what they are due. It also does not help the tax payers so check with your lawyer on these important matters.
The goal is in almost every case is to maximize the amount coming in and minimize the sums paid out. Steve Howard Law has lengthy experience and expertise in this complicated process of protecting the rights of injury victims.