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Attorney Jeff Zarzynski

Jeffrey P. Zarzynski

Personal Injury Division Everything You Need To Know After Being Injured
  • Thirty Plus Years of Experience
  • Wisconsin Super Lawyer
  • Earned Millions For Wisconsin Accident Victims
  • "Your full recovery is the only thing you need to worry about, we'll take care of everything else."

Everything you need to know after being injured

No one plans on getting injured in an accident, yet it happens every day. Accidents can turn your life upside down, causing emotional and financial stress that is only exacerbated by your physical pain.

We believe that when you've been injured in an accident, full and complete recovery should be your only responsibility. Unfortunately, insurance companies don't always make this recovery process easy on accident victims. That's why you need a "Go To" Lawyer to help guide you through the process.

There are a few things you can do after being involved in an accident that will help preserve your right to complete physical, emotional, and financial recovery:

The very first step to recovering from an accident – regardless of fault – is making sure you have dependable, competent medical care. If you don't have health insurance, let us know and we may be able to help you find a doctor. Seek medical attention as soon as possible and pay close attention to your symptoms – no matter how small or insignificant – for two very important reasons:

First and foremost, many people who believe that they will feel better in a day or two actually end up experiencing pain for weeks, months, or even years. The longer you wait to see a doctor, the longer it will take for your injuries to heal.

Second, the value of your personal injury claim depends very much on or ability to prove – through medical documentation – the breadth, type, and severity of your injuries or other complaints. The longer it takes for a medical provider to document your injuries, the more difficult it will be for you to recover the full value of your claim.

Read Below for answers to common questions

Tips to Keep in Mind when Seeking Medical Attention after being involved in an Accident

  • Be honest with your doctor when discussing your injuries.
  • Do not minimize your pain or injuries just because you think you can "handle it", hope it will go away quickly, or don't like to complain.
  • Make sure your doctor understands how you are feeling and takes notes about your injuries and other complaints.
  • Obtain a written work excuse or outline of your physical restrictions if your injuries affect your ability to work.
  • Avoid prolonged gaps in treatment and try not to miss any doctor's appointments.
  • Keep a written journal of how you are feeling and how your injuries are healing.

What if I don't have health insurance?

When you are injured in an accident but do not have health insurance, seeking advice from an experienced attorney is essential. Not getting treatment could destroy your changes of physical, emotional, and financial recovery. Usually you will be able to receive medical treatment without paying upfront costs. If you are having trouble obtaining medical care because you do not have health insurance, contact us and we will make sure you are seen by an experienced and dependable medical practitioner.

Should I use my own health insurance or my auto insurance's medical payments coverage?

Always utilize health insurance first if possible. Oftentimes, a significant reduction for benefits provided is negotiated by the health insurance. If your automobile insurance policy includes medical payments coverage, use that for co-pays, prescription costs, and other out-of-pocket expenses. If another party is responsible for your injuries, they will be responsible for reimbursing your insurance provider.

How long should I receive medical care?

Once you report to your doctor after being injured in an accident, it is important that you fill you prescriptions, attend follow up appointments, and comply with all treatment plans – including physical therapy, chiropractic care, and even psychological counseling – until your doctor determines that you are 100% healed or that further treatment would be ineffective. NOTE: Unexplained gaps in medical treatment can often create complications with your claim because insurance companies evaluate claims based largely on written documentation.

What if my doctor doesn't seem to understand the extent of my pain?

Injuries are often complex. You may need to see a specialist for an accurate diagnosis, especially when you sustain injuries that are not visible to the naked eye - like back or neck injuries. We can help you find specialists who will evaluate your injury in greater depth and recommend the most effective treatment.

Who should I submit my medical expenses to?

Generally, if you have health insurance, it is best to submit your medical expenses to your health insurer. If you do not have health insurance, you should submit your medical expenses to your own automobile insurer. Typically the at-fault party's insurance carrier will not pay for your medical expenses until it is ready to settle your case in full.

What if Bill Collectors start contacting me because the Insurance Company hasn't paid?

The last thing you should do is ignore their calls. Your injury has caused you and your family enough stress. There is no need for your credit rating to be adversely affected. Many medical providers will accept letters of protection from attorneys that promise payment after the case has settled. If not, your attorney can help you negotiate a small payment plan until the case can be settled.

I have been stressed and fearful ever since the accident, what should I do?

Sometimes accidents can cause stress, fright, grief, worry, shock, humiliation, embarrassment, and other emotional trauma associated with an injury. Your emotional well-being is just as important as your physical and financial well-being. If you begin experiencing any emotional trauma following your injury, it is important to consult a professional counselor or therapist as soon as possible so you can begin the road to recovery.

The next step towards your overall recovery is contacting an experienced, dedicated attorney to discuss your rights. At Schiro & Zarzynski, we will not charge you anything for an initial consultation. The personal injury claims process can be like a complicated game: insurance companies know the rules and will try to get you to play before you even have access to the rulebook. We know all of their tricks and not only place you on a level playing field, but also give you an advantage.

It is important to remember that insurance companies maximize their own profits by minimizing and delaying payments, even if you are their own insured. The insurance industry recently conducted a study revealing that settlements paid to accident victims represented by an attorney were approximately three times higher than those paid to accident victims who remain unrepresented. (Insurance Research Council).

Based on this research, insurance companies will usually offer to settle your case quickly, before you even have the opportunity to consult an attorney, and before the true extent of your injuries are known. If you don't accept the insurance company's first, or even "final" settlement offer, they may use the information they gather to challenge the validity of your entire claim. The team at Schiro & Zarzynski are well aware of these tactics and have a proven track record of obtaining settlements higher than the insurance company's "final offer" to their clients.

What kind of techniques do Insurance Companies use to minimize the value of your claim?

    Along with low-ball settlement offers, insurance companies employ a variety of techniques designated to minimize the value of your claim and maximize their overall profits. These include:

  • Offering to fix or replace your vehicle promptly if you sign a simple piece of paper called a "Release".
  • Pressuring you to discuss the accident so they can record your conversation and later use your own words against you.
  • Obtaining witness statements and accident photographs to support their theory of liability.
  • Failing to inform you about the types of monetary damages which are compensable.
  • Delaying payments and ignoring your calls so you are forced to accept a small settlement in order to protect your credit rating.
  • Hiring investigators to conduct surveillance on accident victims.

What am I supposed to do when my automobile is damaged in an accident?

If possible, contact an attorney before you take your car in for repair. For no charge, we will make sure you get the best service on a damaged vehicle or the maximum value for a totaled vehicle. We will also make sure you have access to a rental car if you need it. Our goal is to get you up and running with transportation that suits your needs as soon as possible.

You are under no obligation to have your vehicle serviced at the insurance company's "pre-approved" garage, but doing so may be a good idea when the repairs exceed the estimate. Otherwise, "pre-approved" garages may charge you less for your repairs as a courtesy to the insurance company, which can later be used as evidence that the damage was not "that bad".

Regardless of where you end up taking your vehicle for repairs, you do not have to sign ANY type of release to get your vehicle back before consulting with your attorney. Doing so could be highly detrimental to the overall value of your claim.

What can I expect my attorney to do for me in order to maximize the value of my claim?

While we cannot speak for any other lawyers, the aggressive and experienced team at Schiro & Zarzynski employs a variety of tactics to protect your rights and obtain the maximum amount of compensation for any pain, suffering, or inconvenience you experience. Best of all, we take care of every aspect of your claim so that the only thing you have to worry about is getting better. Examples of what we do for you include:

  • Promptly and honestly informing you of all your options, and advising you on the best approach for pursuing your claim.
  • Keeping track of your condition and informing you for any developments.
  • Exploring all components of your accident and assigning top private investigators to your case.
  • Identifying all potential sources of recovery to obtain the largest rewards possible.
  • Consulting with your health care providers before they write reports regarding your condition.
  • Gathering all materials and documentation necessary to prove your claim including lost wage information, medical reports, medical bills, expert analyses, witness statements, police reports, and anything else that will help support your claim.
  • Taking a firm, aggressive stance in all settlement negotiations.
  • Filing a lawsuit and proceeding to trial when the case cannot be settled to your satisfaction.
  • Employing skilled and creative trial strategies to force a substantial settlement offer or even higher jury verdict.

Can I even afford Legal Representation?

Absolutely. While we can't speak for any other law firm, the team at Schiro & Zarzynski charges absolutely nothing for your initial consultation, and we even settle your automobile property damage free of charge as a courtesy, representing our commitment to help you after a loss. All injury claims are handled on a contingency fee basis with no advance costs to you. We get paid when, and only when, you get paid.

What can I do to protect myself from unscrupulous insurance companies?

No matter which attorney you ultimately hire, there are certain things you must do when you are injured in an accident to protect your own interests and maximize the value of your claim. These include:

  • Documenting and photographing any visible injuries and property damage.
  • Photographing the scene of the accident – especially when your injury is caused by a dangerous condition located on public or private property (such as icy or dilapidated sidewalks, broken staircases or handrails, unsecured holes, etc.).
  • Taking down the names and contact information of any witnesses to your accident.
  • Documenting all losses that stem from your accident. These include lost wages and income, along with you inability to accomplish daily tasks or engage in your favorite hobbies.
  • NEVER, and we mean NEVER sign anything or cash a check before consulting with your attorney.
  • Try not to talk about your accident and personal injury claim with anyone you don't know and trust. Insurance companies conduct surveillance on accident victims and also try to obtain witness statements. Don't make their investigation any easier.

If I am in an accident that was not my fault, do I have to inform my insurance provider?

When you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, your own auto insurance company does have the right to prompt notification.

Should I speak with insurance companies that represent others in the accident?

In general, no – especially when you have not yet consulted an attorney. Insurance companies for the other side have two responsibilities: keeping down their potential liability and representing their insured's interests. Any information you give them can be used to shift the blame for the accident on to you and underestimate the extent of your damages.

Can passengers of a vehicle receive compensation as a result of an accident?

Yes. Any passenger who is hurt by another driver can make a claim against the at-fault driver's insurance company. If that driver does not have insurance, the injured passenger will still be covered by his or her own insurance company.

Is my pet eligible for compensation if they are injured in an accident with me?

wickett the dog

Yes!

Wickett was a belted passenger in the front seat of a car when the car he was in was struck by a speeding vehicle. His thoracic spine was fractured and he was paralyzed in the hind end. The amazing staff at West Allis Animal Hospital would not allow him to fail, as he was their favorite son. Jeff Zarzynski found insurance coverage for the dog's medical treatment, and had a specially fitted wheelchair cart made at the expense of the insurance company.

How has the Internet and Social Media sites affected the personal injury claims process?

The internet, especially social media websites, has made it much cheaper and easier for insurance companies to conduct surveillance on accident victims. Do not put ANY information about your accident, injuries, or even your activities in e-mails or on social media websites such as Facebook or Twitter. If you already have, take it down immediately!

Furthermore, even tweets, status updates, check-ins, and photographs that are unrelated to your accident relay information about your activities. Insurance companies or defense attorneys can access this information, manipulate it, and turn it against you. Therefore, make sure you SET ALL OF YOUR SOCIAL NETWORKING SETTINGS TO "PRIVATE" – restricting access to only those people you consider trustworthy. Failure to do so may jeopardize your claim.

Finally, the last step you need to take towards a full and complete recovery is actually allowing an attorney to pursue your claim. The amount of compensation you are entitled to goes beyond mere property damage and medical expenses. Jeff Zarzynski is known for his ability to calculate the total value of personal injury claims. However, there is no way of determining the precise value of your claim until we know the full extent of your injuries.

Factors that affect the total value of your claim include, but are not limited to:

  • The length and degree of medical treatment.
  • Your past, current, and future medical expenses.
  • Your total out-of-pocket expenses.
  • Any lost wages and/or income.
  • The extent and/or permanence of your injury.
  • The level of pain and suffering you have already experienced, and are likely to continue experiencing.
  • The extent to which your injuries have affected your ability to carry on with the work and recreational activities you were able to perform prior to the accident (legally termed "Impaired Earning Capacity" and "Loss of Enjoyment of Life").
  • The degree to which the accident has affected your ability to relate to, and spend time with, your loved ones (legally termed "Loss of Companionship).
  • The degree to which your own negligence contributed to the accident (legally termed "Comparative Negligence").

The laws of Wisconsin do limit the amount of time you have to file a claim. For example, most cases must be filed within three years of your accident for you to receive any compensation. In case where a city, county, state or public employee is likely responsible for the condition or event that caused your injury, Notice of Claim must be filed within 120 days of the date of your injury.