Wolfley Law Office, P.S.713 E 1st Street
Port Angeles, WA 98362
- Directions -
Telephone: (360) 457-2794
Fax : (360) 457-2045
Office HoursMon - Friday
9 am - 12 pm
Closed for Lunch
1 pm - 5 pm
Frequently Asked Questions
Our most Frequently Asked Questions are listed below. Tap on a question to reveal the answer, tap again to close it!
Can I speak to you for a minute?
We get asked this a lot! And the answer is "of course, you can!"
We are happy to provide you with a free, initial consultation. Just call our office at 360-457-2794 or complete our contact form here.
You are always welcome to walk in as well.
Do I have a case?
Every case is fact specific. The answer is most likely "yes."
But then we have to ask, "should we bring it?"
We are happy to provide a complimentary consult for your case.
Just call our office at 360-457-2794 or complete our contact form here.
You are always welcome to walk in as well.
Should I talk to the insurance adjuster?
Wait! Yes, you should talk to your insurance adjuster, but please do yourself a favor and talk to us first! We represent YOU, your insurance adjuster represents his company.
We need to guide your relationship so that the company is better off providing just compensation for your injuries.
Read the next followup question below!
Should I give a recorded statement to the insurance adjuster?
Not without preparation and guidance.
Once upon a time, Guy was walking in a supermarket. He walked down the pop aisle, where he said "Hi" to the supermarket employee standing guard over a spill of clear liquid.
The guard did not warn Guy of the spill. Guy took a spill that changed his life. The adjuster wanted to ask questions that suggested that Guy "ought to look where he's going."
We helped Guy tell his story in such a way that helped the adjuster understand that the supermarket was negligent; not the other way around!
Who is working on my case, and what do they do?
We are a team!
The attorneys and staff working on your case are a team. We regularly discuss your case together and brainstorm techniques to its success. You are involved in these discussions. If your attorney is out of the office (whether conferring with doctors, arguing in court, or negotiating outside the office) then our office staff is here to address questions, take your information, and ensure that good communication continues.
Our office staff includes Kate and Julie. They are skilled legal secretaries, and effective communicators. Rest assured, if Julie or Kate is calling and asking you for information, you are in good hands and your case will move forward more smoothly.
Who will pay my medical bills?
This question might actually be two questions. You are probably asking 1) Do I have to pay my bills right now? And 2) Will I be reimbursed for paying my bills?
If you have Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage (or Med-Pay coverage in some other policies) in your own insurance policy, then your bills will be paid from that fund up to the amount of your coverage (e.g. $10,000). Check the Declaration Page of your policy to be sure how much coverage you have. These coverages will pay medical bills, but also a small amount of wages and daily living needs that were affected by your injury.
If you don’t have PIP or if you use it all up, then your health insurance provider takes over.
The at-fault party will have to pay these companies back though. So the answer to the second question is, yes, you will be reimbursed for your losses, but so will your providers.
See What is “Reimbursement” or “Subrogation?” below.
What is "Reimbursement" or "Subrogation?"
Your insurance providers have a right to be reimbursed for their losses. The idea is that they were injured too because they had to pay for your injuries. We call these 3rd party insurance providers that “liability insurer.” They will pay back the collected sums that are deemed “reasonable.” They will not be paying “along the way” however. It is usually done in one big payment at the end of your case.
Your insurance provider has a clause somewhere in your policy that says that it is entitled to “subrogation.” It’s a term that means that you can’t have your cake and eat it too; meaning, you don’t get paid twice for the same injury.
Your insurance provider has a duty to pay your attorney’s fees and costs in the amount it is being reimbursed however. So, this puts money back into your pocket. You should know that there are exceptions for ERISA plans and other specialized federal programs. Ask your attorney if you have a unique plan.
What do I do if I don't have insurance?
This can be a challenge. Some healthcare providers have been willing to hold bills until the liability insurer pays the settlement. Some have requested that the patient sign a guarantee that the healthcare provider will be paid out of the settlement, effectively placing a “lien” on the settlement.
But not all providers are willing to do this. If the provider will not wait for payment, then you will need to pay for those doctors out-of-pocket. These arrangements are important for your health however, and you will be reimbursed for those costs later from the liability insurer.
Should I quit treatment until I can pay?
No! Do not hold off on treatment. This is also true for doctors or clinics who can’t “fit you in” for many months. The liability insurer may argue that you are not as injured as you are making out to be: “See? She’s not even going to the doctor.” Or, it may argue that you are trying to make the problem worse by not mitigating your losses.
Should I get as much treatment as I possibly can?
This is a tricky question. You should get all the treatment that you and your doctors feel that you need. You should not try to make a mountain out of a molehill. You want to avoid looking like someone who is trying to pad the dollar figure. The liability insurer is only responsible to pay for “reasonable” care. If the care is not reasonable, you may be stuck with the bill.
Who will pay for my treatment after my case settles?
Your health insurer will pay for treatment after settlement. In Washington, insurers cannot exclude pre-existing conditions. This rule may vary if Labor & Industries is involved. Ask your attorney if you have coverage under any policy than a standard health insurance plan.
As a side note, we cannot settle part of your case while the medical issues are ongoing. It really is a one-time settlement.
How long will it take for me to recover from my injuries?
This question is best-suited for your doctor. The best route towards healing is following your doctor’s advice and following through with treatment. If treatment is not working, then discuss it with your doctor. You should always feel comfortable getting a second opinion. Doing so is almost always a reasonable thing to do.
What if I have suffered a permanent injury?
If your injury is permanent, rest assured we will discuss this fact with the liability insurer. The level of permanency and impairment may be an issue of debate. Your injury is considered permanent when no additional improvement can be expected. It is your doctors that will make this determination. The liability insurer will also have doctors on board to give an opinion of your condition.
How much money is my injury worth?
This is a common question, with answers as varied as are the people who ask. It will depend on the nature of the injury, its size and location. It will depend on the amount of the medical costs and treatment. It will depend on whether you reach maximum medical improvement, or whether you have a permanent ratable impairment. Did you have a related pre-existing condition? This will be an issue. It will also depend on how old you are, and who depends on you in a family. Your emotional state and trauma will have bearing on the matter.
This maze of issues requires information, experience and ingenuity when determining what amount to request in a demand to the liability insurer. Our firm purchases, and regularly reviews, repositories of jury awards, settlements, and arbitration or mediation results. We compare facts of cases past with the facts of your present case. Throwing some skill as a negotiator into the mix helps quite a bit too.