Personal Injury FAQ
What should I do if I am in a car accident?
Call the police to come to the scene and take statements. Write down the other party's contact information, insurance information, license plate and vehicle information. Immediately take pictures of your car and the other party's car. Get the contact information of any witnesses. If you have any cuts, scrapes, wounds, bruises, or marks, make sure to seek proper medical treatment. Take plenty of pictures, and date the pictures. Keep an accurate and complete list of every single health care professional who treated you. Keep receipts of all items you had to buy because of the accident. Keep track of all time that you lost from work because of your injuries.
How do I find the right lawyer?
Ask your friends. A referral from a friend, especially one who has knowledge of a lawyer's abilities, is a great option. Log on to the internet and do research on a particular lawyer. Meet the lawyer, and assess if you and the lawyer are a good fit, and if you feel comfortable with him or her. A qualified attorney will advocate on your behalf in an attempt to avoid trial by persuading the Insurance Company to agree to a fair amount based on each client's personal situation, thus speeding up the process and avoiding a lengthy trial. A qualified attorney will also be prepared to take a case to trial when the Insurance Company refuses to play fair.
Should I deal with the insurance company on my own?
In cases where you suffered an injury, it is wise to contact an attorney. The other side's Insurance Company (and sometimes, even your own!) are not your friends. Their goal is to pay you as little as possible.
How much is my case worth?
It depends. The amount of compensation you deserve depends on many factors, including the severity of your injuries, the length of time it will take you to heal, the amount of your medical bills, whether you lost any time from work and other factors.
Should I settle or file a lawsuit?
Settlement is a wise option if you are offered a fair amount for your injuries. If you are being low-balled, and the Insurance Company is refusing to offer fair compensation, then filing a lawsuit is the only option.
What happens when I file a lawsuit?
Your lawyer will file what is called a "Complaint", which is another word for "a lawsuit." The other side then has to file an "Answer" to your Complaint. Once they do that, then both sides engage in the process of "discovery", where each side uses tools to learn and gather information about the case's strengths and weaknesses. A trial will be scheduled, and will usually take place within one to three years of filing the lawsuit. However, your case can settle at any time, before trial, during trial or even after trial.
How long do I have to wait to get compensation?
An uncomplicated case can settle within three to seven months, on average. If a lawsuit has to be filed, then it can take many months, or even years, until your case is resolved. Your patience will be most helpful.
How much insurance coverage should I have?
An insurance policy has different parts, and each has its own coverage limit. There will be one coverage limit for "liability", another for "property damage", and another for "uninsured/underinsured", among other areas. In my opinion, people should have at least $100,000 in liability coverage, and also at least $100,000 in uninsured/underinsured coverage. This means that, if you cause an accident that injures someone else, your insurance policy will cover up to and including $100,000 of that person's bodily injury losses. It also means that, if you are injured by a driver who was no insurance, or who does not have enough insurance to compensate you, your insurance company will compensate you up to and including $100,000 for your bodily injury losses. In today's climate, with so many uninsured drivers roaming the streets, everyone should have uninsured/underinsured coverage.