Frequently Asked Questions About Personal Injury Cases
Answers you can trust from an attorney with a unique perspective
If you've been injured in a car accident or any other incident that was a result of someone else's actions, you may not know what to do next. You weren't expecting to be hurt - and that puts you at a disadvantage. The insurance companies deal with these cases every day, and they have hundreds of tricks at their disposal to reduce or deny your claim.
That's not right, and that's why we're here. The experienced attorneys at the Oliver Law Group have prepared this list of questions and answers to give you an idea of what to expect.
- What should I do at the scene of an accident?
- Do I need to see a doctor right away?
- The insurance company keeps calling me. What should I do?
- How much is my personal injury case worth?
- Will my case take a long time to resolve?
- Can I afford to hire a personal injury lawyer?
Remember, these questions and answers are intended to serve as general information only, not as legal advice. We strongly encourage you to speak with a personal injury lawyer from our firm about your individual case before taking action. Give us a call today at (800) 939-7878 to schedule a free consultation.
Your first priority at the scene of any accident is to make sure you are safe. Contact emergency services as appropriate, and assist if you are trained to do so. Depending on the type of accident, you may need to call the police; if that's the case, make sure you get the investigating officer's name and badge number.
Exchange contact information and, if applicable, insurance information with anyone else who was involved in or witnessed the accident. Keep your comments at the scene brief, though, and stick to the facts of what happened. Don't say anything that could be construed as admitting fault.
Take pictures of the accident scene if it is safe to do so, including any property damage as well as visible injuries. Again, make sure you have contact information for any witnesses. The more evidence you have, the easier it will be to potentially file a claim.
Contact us today to learn about your legal options in the wake of a pedestrian accident. You have rights, and you need to discuss them with an experienced attorney. Call (800) 939-7878 for your free consultation.
You definitely do. Even if you think your injuries are minor, the best option for your health is to be medically cleared. You could have a brain injury or internal organ damage that could take time to become readily apparent. The sooner you are checked out by a doctor, the better.
Tell the doctor who sees you that you were hurt in an accident and comply with all of your provider's instructions. Make sure you document every medical appointment, including mileage and travel time to and from the doctor's office. All of this information could help protect your legal rights if there is a dispute with an insurance company later on.
After some types of incidents, such as car accidents, you do need to notify your insurance company promptly in order to file a claim. Beyond that, though, you are under absolutely no obligation to answer the insurance company's questions. Remember, the insurance companies aren't on your side. Their priority is to reduce their own liability, and they will use any information they can get from you for that purpose.
That's why it's so important to contact an experienced attorney from our firm as soon as possible. When you retain us to represent you, we'll deal with the insurance company on your behalf so that you can focus on getting better.
That depends on the facts of your case and the effect your injuries have had on your life. In general, you can claim a wide range of compensatory damages, which are financial compensation for losses you have sustained.
Some compensatory damages are called economic damages. These are objectively verifiable dollar amounts that reimburse you for well-defined financial losses, such as:
- Medical bills for treatment for your injuries
- Lost wages if you are unable to work while recovering
- Lost earning potential if you are permanently unable to work or need to take on a "light duty" position for less pay
- Replacement services such as childcare and housework that you needed to hire someone to perform due to your injuries
- Modifications to your home or vehicle that were needed to accommodate an injury
- Repair or replacement of any property that was damaged in the accident
You may also be able to claim non-economic damages, which compensate you for losses that are more subjective and not attached to a specific dollar amount. These are, however, still real losses that you have sustained, such as:
- Pain and suffering, which can be substantial awards if you have severe or chronic pain
- Emotional distress and mental anguish
- Loss of consortium with loved ones
- Loss of care, companionship and society with friends and family members
- Loss of enjoyment of life
In some cases, injury victims are awarded punitive damages. These are additional financial penalties on the at-fault party designed to punish particularly reckless or intentional conduct.
That depends largely on the insurance company's willingness to negotiate. In general, we start negotiating with the insurance company once you have completed your medical care and can reach a settlement in three to nine months. If the case goes to trial - and that's usually because the insurance company asks for a trial - it may take one to two years before you go to court, though we can still settle at any point prior to the verdict.
Absolutely. We accept personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis, which means our firm advances all costs related to moving your case forward. You won't owe us anything out of pocket. If we recover for you, our fee is a percentage of your recovery; if we don't recover, you don't owe us anything.
The better question is whether you can afford not to hire an attorney. Statistically, just meeting with an attorney will help you recover significantly more than someone who does not, and actually hiring an attorney can increase your recovery by a factor of three or four. In short, hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer is the best way to pursue full compensation for your injuries, and you can't afford to do anything less.