Common Legal Questions About Personal Injury Claims
- Do I need a personal injury attorney?
- How much is my case worth?
- Should I accept an insurance company's settlement offer?
- Will I have to go to court?
- When should I call an attorney?
- How do I choose an attorney?
- Why should I retain your firm?
- How much will the legal process cost?
- I've just been in an accident, what do I do?
- After an accident, who should I talk to and what should I say?
- The accident was not my fault. What rights do I have?
Do I need a personal injury attorney?
An attorney with experience representing personal injury victims and negotiating with insurance companies can analyze your case and determine fair compensation for your losses. Medical problems caused by an accident may not be fully recognized for months or even years after the accident. Losses from medical bills, decreased earning potential, and many other problems can pile up unexpectedly. An experienced attorney can protect your rights and represent your interests in negotiation with insurance company attorneys.
How much is my case worth?
Compensation for your injuries depends on several factors, including the extent of your injuries, physical and mental pain and suffering, the amount and length of medical treatment, economic hardship or financial loss, decreased earning potential, and physical impairment and/or disfigurement.
Should I accept an insurance company's settlement offer?
Before accepting a settlement, it is always in your best interest to consult an attorney. Adjusters work for the insurance company, not for you. Their job is to settle the matter for the lowest possible cost to the company. An attorney will work for you and ensure that a settlement results in full compensation for your injuries. If you settle and later discover that your injuries and losses were worse than you originally thought, you will not be able to recover more money.
Will I have to go to court?
Many injury claims can be settled for their full value through negotiation, mediation or arbitration, without you having to go to court. However, some complex cases may require a trial.
When should I call an attorney?
You should consult an attorney as soon as possible after being injured. In most cases there are time limits for filing claims after an injury occurs, and if this deadline passes, your claim could be dismissed. In addition, finding witnesses and gathering evidence to support your case becomes more difficult the longer you wait.
How do I choose an attorney?
The success of personal injury attorneys is based on several factors, including education, legal skill and experience. The attorney you retain should have a proven record of winning cases similar to yours and should be willing to thoroughly explain his or her recommendations based on the specific details of your case. Your attorney should also have extensive experience settling cases through negotiation and trying cases in court. Another very important factor is for you to feel comfortable with your attorney, and confident that your interests will be a top priority.
Why should I retain your firm?
Our firm carefully selects its personal injury cases, allowing us to focus more of our substantial resources and expertise on each client. Our attorneys offer the professionalism, integrity and compassion clients deserve. They personally will handle your case from its inception through resolution and will not turn over your case to a paralegal.
How much will the legal process cost?
We will be happy to provide you with a free, no obligation evaluation of your prospective personal injury claim. If we take your case, you will owe us nothing unless we recover money for you. Then, our fee is a percentage of the recovery.
We accept personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis because we understand that families can be ruined, both physically and financially, when a loved one is seriously injured in an accident. Medical bills can mount quickly, and in many instances, the injured family member misses work because of the injuries, causing even greater financial hardship on the family. A contingency fee arrangement allows you and your family to receive assistance at a time you need it most, without having to spend money out of your pocket.
I've just been in an accident, what do I do?
Remain calm. If possible, locate witnesses and get their names, addresses and telephone numbers. Exchange information, including insurance data, with the other driver. Call the police. If there is debris from the accident, think about returning and taking photos. Don't discuss the facts of the accident with anyone else, unless you're asked by the police. Tell them the truth. If you have been hurt make sure you get medical care as soon as you can. Call an attorney promptly to learn about your legal rights. Never discuss any aspect of the accident or your injuries with the other person's insurance company representative.
If you are injured in an accident, it is important to seek treatment immediately. Sometimes serious injuries do not cause immediate pain. If you experience even minor pain after an accident, seek treatment immediately.
Remember to obtain the name, address, license number, and insurance information from the other drivers involved.
After an accident, who should I talk to and what should I say?
Never discuss an accident with the other person's insurance company representative. An insurance adjuster’s job entails getting as much information about your accident or your injuries as possible, and then potentially using that information against you. You must talk about the accident with your insurance company. However, even your insurance company is going to look out for its own interests before it looks out for yours. That's why it's a good idea to talk to a lawyer before you talk to any insurance company.
If the accident is serious, or if you are partially or totally at fault in the accident, you should contact a lawyer prior to speaking to anyone, if practical. Your lawyer can review the facts with you to ensure that your statement is clear and factually correct. If necessary, your lawyer can help you fill out any required accident reports and insurance claim forms.
The accident was not my fault. What rights do I have?
You have the right to have your medical bills paid and your wage loss reimbursed. You also have the right to make a claim against the driver who caused the accident. In that claim you may recover damages (money) for pain, suffering, disability, disfigurement, emotional distress, loss of earning capacity and other losses that you may have suffered. The money for these losses is primarily paid by the other person's insurance company. You also have the right to get your car fixed, or, if it's totaled, get the value of the car as it was just before the accident. This is called a property damage claim. It can be made against your company if you have what's known as "comprehensive" coverage. You may also have the right to be compensated for that damage from the other person's insurance company.