Frequently Asked Questions

The Basics

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

If you have been injured because of someone else's negligence, you have reasonable grounds for a personal injury case. The question then becomes, is it worth acting on, and if so, what type of action.

If your injury did not require a visit to the doctor, and healed on its own in a few days, it may not be worth your time to act.

If your injury was more significant, and required you to miss work, or schedule an appointment with your doctor, then acting makes sense. For small claims where the loss was hundreds of dollars, handling the matter on your own usually makes the most sense.

When your injury has made a substantial impact on your life, not only do you likely have a claim, but you should also consider seeking the counsel of an experienced injury attorney.

Conversely, handling your own case puts you in total control. And, if you can achieve the results that an attorney could, you could hang onto the money that would have otherwise gone to your attorney.

What constitutes a personal injury claim?

A personal injury claim is a claim made against an insurance provider for damages suffered. It is a claim for financial reimbursement for your losses that came because of the accident, and for any future ramifications.

What does a personal injury attorney do?

At a high level, a personal injury attorney levels the playing field, and makes sure that insurance companies do the right thing - pay victims the money they are entitled to for their losses.

Looking at the role of a personal injury attorney more granularly, they help injury victims gain access to appropriate medical care and see to it that the, obtain reimbursement for financial losses such as missed work, make sure that future expenses are accounted for if long term care is required, or the injury negatively impacts future earnings, carries many of the stresses following an accident.

Without an attorney, insurance companies use varying tactics to keep from paying injury victims what they deserve. They will make low-ball settlement offers or refuse to play at all.

Why should I consult a personal injury lawyer for my accident?

First, consulting with an attorney is free. There is no cost and no obligation to you, regardless of what you choose to do in the end. So, you have nothing to lose, and potentially a lot to gain.

What you gain with an injury attorney consultation, is the wisdom that comes with years of experience handling cases like yours. They know the process intimately, and they are aware of both the opportunities and threats to a case like yours.

If the attorney believe they can help you with your case, they will tell you so. It is then up to you, to determine if you want to accept that help.

Hiring a Lawyer

Should I hire a personal injury lawyer? Or handle my own claim?

Deciding whether you should hire a personal injury lawyer or handle your case on your own is a decision that you must make for yourself.

While results cannot be guaranteed, a study conducted by the Insurance Research Council (IRC) showed settlements by attorney handled cases are three-and-a-half times higher than cases settled without the assistance of an attorney. This means that even after fees are taken out, most clients will still do much better with an attorney than without.

In addition to higher settlements, you remove the risk of making a misstep with your case.

An attorney will also carry much of the weight of your case, that you would otherwise have to carry if handling the case on your own - everything from the stress of your case to the filing of paperwork and the preparing of demand packages.

When should I hire an attorney after being in an accident?

In terms of timing, the sooner you can hire a lawyer, the better.

There are many timing concerns in injury cases. Chief among them, is the Statute of Limitation date - this is a hard date by which you must make a claim or file a lawsuit. This date can vary from state to state and from practice area to practice area. Further, or more significant, time restrictions can come into play when dealing with city, state and federal (government) claims.

In addition to the timelines for taking legal action, there is the concern for your health and recovery - delaying your hiring of an attorney could indirectly cause you delay in getting the medical treatment and attention you need to get better.

Gaps in medical treatment can compromise the value and integrity of your case. With your case under the guidance of an experienced attorney from the outset, they can work with you and your medical providers to make sure that you are getting your doctor necessitated treatment without introducing unnecessarily long gaps.

When do you NOT need an attorney after an accident?

Benefiting from an attorney is not the same thing as 'needing' an attorney. If you are of sound mind, there is nothing that necessitates that you hire an attorney. However, t an attorney to handle your

What kind of lawyer do I hire to go against a car insurance company?

Not all lawyers are the same. While there are some lawyers who practice 'general' law, and will tackle anything that comes across their desk, most lawyers focus on a subspecialty.

If you or a loved one was injured in a car accident, you will want to hire a personal injury lawyer to handle your case.

Personal injury is a subspecialty of law. These attorneys have experience handling accident and injury claims. They understand how to value your case - including futures costs. They have experience taking on insurance companies and working with the health care systems.

This is an occasion where you want to look to someone who focuses on auto accident injury cases, and not turn to your cousin that's a lawyer, or hire someone that will be handling your car accident case in the morning and a divorce case in the afternoon.

Why do lawyers have to get involved in personal injury claims?

Insurance companies are not charitable organizations - they are companies that answer to shareholders. They are in business to take in as much money as they can, and to pay out as little as possible. When a person makes a claim seeking money from the insurance provider, the insurance company will do all that they can to reduce that payout or remove it entirely.

These trillion-dollar behemoths know that they can push you around and intimidate you into taking offers far lower than what you are deserving of.

This is where lawyers enter the picture. They are not scared, not intimidated, and have the means to take on these giants - leveling the playing field for all of us.

In addition to keeping the insurers in-check, these men and women act as your guide through the confusing times that follow an accident. And they will be your advocate and champion along the way.

Do I need a lawyer for my car crash?

The short answer is no, you do not need a lawyer for your car crash. However, you may greatly benefit from having a lawyer.

Attorneys obtain much higher settlements on average (3.5 times according to a study by the Insurance Research Alliance), can shoulder the load for you, and carry much of the stress of a case.

How do I find a good lawyer for personal injury? is the easiest way to find an experienced and qualified personal injury lawyer.

Lost Income

Can I be reimbursed for lost wages after a car accident?

Yes, you can be reimbursed for lost wages. This can include wages that came because of work missed due to injury, as well as work you missed when attending doctors’ appointments.

Additionally, other missed opportunities can be factored in. For instance, if you missed out on a promotion because of your missed work, that loss can also be claimed.

How do I prove future lost earnings in a personal injury case?

Proving or showing future lost earnings is part science and part art.

You must first establish a baseline that shows the victim's current levels of earning. You then begin layering in factors such as inflation, promotions and pay raises. This produces a linear earning projection.

What's much more difficult to factor in, are events that could have potentially taken place, but now cannot. I The art comes when illustrating lost opportunities. This is a much harder thing to do, but the truth is, that an injury may have robbed the victim from an opportunity to improve their professional

Medical Costs

What are My Options for Covering Medical Costs after an Accident?

Medical costs can be significant, making the bills a concern for many. Fortunately, there are a few solid options available to accident victims besides paying full price out-of-pocket.

The first option is to use your existing Health Insurance plan, if you have one. By treating through your health insurance, you will benefit from being able to use your regular providers and minimize out-of-pocket expenses. Any expenses you do have can be reimbursed to you through the settlement.

The second option available to you, is to work with lien provider(s). These are medical professionals who will treat you, but rather than billing you directly, they will assert a lien against your case. In this way, you do not pay anything out-of-pocket. With this approach, your medical provider is agreeing to delay taking payment until your case concudes. Payment will be made to them out of your settlement money.

Can My Medical Bills be Negotiated?

Medical bills can often be negotiated, though there is no obligation to the medical provider to do so. That being said, most medical providers are willing to work with patients and their patient's lawyers to reach a


Will I get more settlement money with a personal injury lawyer?

A study conducted by the Insurance Research Council (IRC) found that cases handled by attorneys yielded outcomes that were 3.5 times higher than the outcomes achieved by individuals who handled their own case.

Injury Claim Process

How does the personal injury claim process work?

A claim is opened with the defendant's insurance company when the defendant is known and insured. In some cases, an Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist claim may also be opened with the plaintiff's (victim's) insurance company.

Once a claim is opened, a request is usually made for the policy limits of the applicable insurance policy to know how much or how little money is available.

You will begin medical treatment for your injuries. This usually continues until you reach your maximum medical recovery - a point when you are as good as you are going to be able to get medically, or the funds available in the policy are reached. It is everyone's hope that the policy is adequate to meet the costs required by your treatment.

While you are treating, your legal team will be working on collecting information that shows the other party is liable (police reports, photos, videos, etc.) and items related to your damages - medical bills, loss of work documentation, potentially property damage information when assisting with that aspect of the case, and similar.

At the conclusion of your treatment, your attorney will make a demand of the insurance company.

There may be some back and forth at this point between your lawyer and the insurer. Once a reasonable settlement offer has been arrived at, the attorney will present the amount to the client to accept.

If a settlement amount cannot be reached, and it makes sense to do so, a lawsuit will be filed, and your attorney will switch gears - preparing your case for trial.

The litigation process is complex and meticulous. Your attorney will build upon the foundation that was laid through the pre-litigation process. Through litigation attempts will be made by opposing counsel to poke holes in the argument that has been presented, and to devalue your case. Your attorney will work to prove that the demands made were fair and justified.

When a lawsuit is filed it is not a foregone conclusion that your case will go to trial. In most cases, the case will still settle before trial would begin.

Is being a plaintiff of a personal injury lawsuit stressful?

It can be very stressful. The legal system is complex, as is the insurance and health systems.

This is one of the major reasons why people choose to hire an attorney - they can carry much of the stress for you.

How do you prove negligence in a car accident case?

In many instances, negligence does not need to be proven. Often the defendant (the person who caused the accident) does not contest liability and will even take responsibility. In other instances, reasonable assumptions can be made based on the facts. or instance, If a car is stopped at a red light, and is hit from behind by another vehicle, it is reasonable to assume the driver of the car that hit the other from behind, is at fault.

In other instances, it is not clear, and potentially contested. Or liability is shared between two or more parties. In these instances, your attorney will seek out evidence to get a better picture of what happened. This could include witness testimony, photo or video evidence, or similar.

If deductions cannot be made from evidence gathered, your attorney may turn to an accident investigator or accident reconstruction expert. These specialists will look for additional data and use it to reconstruct what happened.

How long does a personal injury claim take?

The length of a personal injury claim can vary widely. Though rare, a claim can resolve in a matter of days. At the other extreme, a personal injury case can span several years.

Your average case that resolves pre-litigation will likely take somewhere between 6 - 18 months.

So, what dictate how long a case will take?

For most cases, the biggest 'delay' is in waiting for your medical treatment to conclude. It is unwise to close a case until all medical costs are known, and they will not be known until treatment has concluded. So, understandably, your case will remain open through the treatment process. There are of course exceptions to this, such as when treatment is expected to extend years into the future, or the insurance policy will not be able to meet the medical costs. In cases like these, the case the insurance company may tender the policy limits, or the attorney may proceed with projected medical costs.

In other cases, resolving liens can take time and tie up disbursement. This is especially true when working with agencies like Medicare, which can be backlogged in their processing by several months.

If a case needs to go to trial, additional delays can be expected. It takes months to secure a trial date. Even after the conclusion of a trial, it is possible for there to be an appealing of the court’s decision - adding further delay.

Insurance Companies

Can the auto insurance company ignore the police report?

It may be surprising to some, that a police report is not admissible in court because it is considered 'hearsay'.

Because it is not admissible in court, an insurance company could choose to ignore it. However, just because it is not admissible, does not mean it does not have value. Both insurance companies and attorneys give a lot of weight to police reports.

If an insurance company is treating you unfairly by ignoring a police report, or, if they are treating you unfairly because of errors contained in a police report, you will likely want to involve an attorney to set them straight and protect your rights.

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