Commonly Asked Personal Injury Questions
What is the first thing you should do if you think you have a personal injury claim?
Answer: Get medical care and attention for your injuries. When evaluating your personal injury claim, the insurance company will review medical records and bills to determine the value of your claim. If your injuries do not require ambulance or immediate emergency room service, you should nevertheless immediately seek urgent care or other medical attention.
When should you talk to an attorney?
Answer: You should contact an attorney immediately after you attend to your initial medical care and attention. You should talk to an attorney before you speak to anyone from an insurance company. Your attorney will be able to provide you with basic information you will need to process your insurance claim. The attorney can help you file your claim. The attorney can help you with the property damage aspect of your claim. Where coverage is available, an attorney can help you get a rental car. Most attorneys are willing to provide free advice over the telephone to help a person in the preliminary stages of filing a personal injury claim.
How does the attorney get paid?
Answer: Personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. If there is no personal injury settlement, there is no charge for attorney fees. Standard contingency fees for most attorneys are 33.3% for those cases settled prior to filing a lawsuit. If the case can not be settled, and where litigation is required, attorneys typically charge between a 35% to 40% contingency fee depending on how far along the case goes before final resolution.
What happens next?
Answer: If your injuries warrant follow up medical care, your attorney can help direct you to the appropriate medical care provider. In some instances, this will be your primary care physician. In other instances, this will be a doctor who specializes in medical/legal claims.
How long will it take to get a settlement?
Answer: This varies on a case to case basis. The more serious cases require extended medical care and treatment. Your case can not be settled until all medical care has been completed and the full nature and extent of your injuries can be documented in a medical report. At the conclusion of your treatment, your attorney will obtain all of your medical records and bills. He will then present them to the insurance company to begin settlement negotiations.
How much is my case worth?
Answer: Obviously, this varies on a case-by-case basis. There are many factors considered by the insurance companies in evaluating a personal injury claim. Some of those factors are set forth below:
- Damage and severity of the motor vehicle collision
- Were the nature and extent of the injuries severe enough to warrant immediate ambulance transportation to emergency room
- Were the nature and extent of the injuries severe enough to require immediate emergency room care without an ambulance
- Were the nature and extent of the injuries severe enough to require emergency room or urgent care within 24 to 48 hours
- Did the injuries require that the client obtain follow up medical care after the accident
- What type of follow up medical care and treatment was required
- How long was follow up care required
- Did the injured person have a qualified personal injury attorney to represent them
Will an attorney help me get my car repaired
Answer: A good personal injury attorney will assist their client resolve ALL problems relating to a motor vehicle collision.
If you are involved in an accident, you should follow these tips:
- Do not leave the scene of the accident. Keep calm and do not argue with the other driver. Do not accept blame or make any admission to anyone. If your vehicle is not operable, you should remain near your car until help arrives.
- Call for medical assistance. If anyone is injured, you should immediately call 9-1-1. If urgency dictates, you should provide first aid. DO NOT attempt to move any injured person.
- Call the police. When police arrive, ask for the officer’s name, badge number, police station address and telephone number. Ask when the accident report will be available and how to obtain a copy.
- Turn vehicle engine off. Do not risk sparking a fire. You should use your vehicle’s flashers to warn other drivers.
- DO NOT ACCEPT OFFERS TO SETTLE. Never accept an offer from another driver to settle the damages at the scene.
- Read your policy. Determine whether your policy covers the costs for towing or a rental car. For a nominal fee, most automobile insurance policies will include these benefits.