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Personal Injury FAQs

1. How do I know if I have a personal injury case?

To determine if you have a viable personal injury case, we would advise that you speak to a personal injury attorney.  Essentially, you and your attorney will need to prove the following to recover in a personal injury case:

1) That you suffered damages
2) That the defendant was negligent
3) The defendant’s negligence caused your accident.

If, in fact, the previous elements are met, it is still necessary to further investigate the claim to ensure that you will be able to collect on the claim.  If the other party does not have insurance and does not have other assets that could be used to compensate you, then, despite a valid claim, it may not be worth pursuing for an inability to collect compensation for it.

2. What are some examples of personal injury?

  • Car and truck accidents
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Boating accidents
  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Dog bites
  • Home accidents
  • Medical malpractice
  • Nursing home abuse
  • Wrongful death

3. What if I cannot afford an attorney?

Many personal injury attorneys will take on these types of cases on a contingency basis. That is, if your case is settled or you win, your attorney will take their fees and costs out of the money you receive. This fee is usually based on a percentage of the money you receive and should be agreed upon in writing upon hiring your attorney.

4. How long do I have before I should consult with an attorney?

An attorney should be consulted as soon as possible so that evidence and eyewitness accounts of the incidents are “fresh”.  Generally, the statute of limitation—or the time a lawsuit should be filed from the time when the incident occurred—is 2 years.

5. Is it necessary to hire an attorney?

It is most likely in your best interest to hire an attorney.  You should always consult an experienced personal injury attorney before you give any statements or sign papers of any kind.  A qualified personal injury attorney will try to ensure you receive fair compensation for your injuries.

6. What should I do if I’m involved in a car accident?

It’s important to keep documentation of the entire situation, including daily notes on your injuries and any expenses or losses in income as a result of the accident.  It is strongly advised that you never admit responsibility.

7. What should I do if I’m hurt in an accident?

  • Most importantly, get medical attention.
  • File a police report as soon as possible (at the scene of an accident or immediately after).
  • Try to get the names and contact information of any witnesses.
  • Take pictures of the scene.
  • Keep all documentation related to your accident.
  • Document your expenses, pain, etc.
  • Consult with a personal injury lawyer.

8. What if I did not go to the emergency room or see a doctor right away?

It is always a good idea to see a doctor after an accident even if no pain exists.  Keep documentation of when pain occurred and every time you see the doctor.

9. How much should I expect to receive in settlement or in court?

The award is directly related to the costs you have incurred as a result of the injury as well as the extent of the injury, including physical and mental pain and suffering, economic hardship or financial loss, decreased earning potential and physical impairment, including disfigurement. The damages may include the following:
  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages, including overtime
  • Pain and suffering
  • Physical disability
  • Disfigurement
  • Permanent scars
  • Emotional trauma
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of enjoyment
  • Loss of love and affection
  • Mental disability
  • Property damage
  • Out of pocket expenses (transportation charges, house cleaning, grass cutting and others)

10. Will my case end up at trial or should I settle my case?

It is very common to settle before it is even necessary to go to trial, but this varies depending on the situation.  If a reasonable settlement is offered, the savings in time & cost should be considered.  Your attorney can help you determine the opportunity cost of settling versus going to trial.

11. If the other driver does not have car insurance, how can we collect money from him?

The underinsured or uninsured’s personal assets might be taken into consideration in a situation such as this.  Your insurance policy may also provide coverage in the event that a negligent driver is uninsured/underinsured.

12. How long will it take to get money in my case?

Getting to court for a vehicle accident can take anywhere from  2 -5 years in most cases.

13. Will my insurance company pay for my medical bills while I wait to go to trial?

Often the insurance company will pay a certain amount and once the case is complete, they will get reimbursed.

14. Can I file for unemployment?

If you are unable to work, you can file for unemployment, even if litigation is pending.

15. The other driver’s insurance company offered me money and I haven’t even hired an attorney yet. Should I take it?

Tell the insurance company that you’ll get back to them. Contact an attorney immediately. Often times an insurance company will offer a minimal amount of money in return for your signature stating that you won’t sue them. Remember, adjustors work for the insurance company — not for you — and their job is to settle the matter for the lowest possible expense to the company. Since a consultation is free, it won't hurt to ask us if we can help.  We would advise to never take an insurance check without first consulting an attorney.

16. Can I deal with the insurance company on my own?

Yes, you can but you should understand that the insurance company most likely does not have your best interests at heart.  They are just like any other business and are interested in making money.  They would like to minimize the claims they pay.  Their representatives are probably trained to minimize or even outright deny your claim.  An experienced personal injury lawyer knows how to work with and against insurance companies.