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This information is here to provide you insight into the personal injury claims process. A thorough understanding of the details of your personal injury case can help to educate you and promote a fair and adequate settlement of your claim.
Q: What is the most important thing for me to do after my injury?
Your absolute number one priority should be taking care of your health and recovering from your injury.
Q: How long should I wait after an accident before I contact a lawyer?
You should contact a lawyer as soon as possible. Once you are able to speak to a lawyer, it's important that any questions you have about the accident or case are answered.
Q: How will my lawyer handle my case?
Once meeting with you, your lawyer will investigate and evaluate your claim. Your lawyer may review police reports, obtain witness statements, review medical reports, consult with experts and visit the accident site.
Q: How will my lawyer be paid?
Typically, your lawyer will work on a contingency fee. This means your attorney will be paid by keeping a percentage or portion of the final settlement or court award resulting from your injury. A written contract should always be signed between you and your lawyer.
Q: What can I do to be sure my claim is valid?
As your lawyer will explain to you, you should never agree to sign anything provided to you by an insurance company until consulting with him first. Insurance companies are more likely to believe those people who can document their injuries through medical bills, credible medical reports and accurate lost wage information.
Q: How long will it take for my case to settle?
It is impossible in the initial stages of a personal injury claim to predict when the case will actually settle. Some cases settle in a matter of months after the injury while others can take years to get to settlement or trial. The severity of injury and course of treatment, along with the liability of the parties involved, amongst other factors, contribute to the length of time it takes to resolve a personal injury claim.
Q: Who is in control of the lawsuit?
The client. Your lawyer provides recommendations on how to proceed based on his experience with such cases and the risks involved with your particular case, but you decide how to settle, how much to settle for, when, and so on.
Q: How much is my case worth?
It is virtually impossible to predict the value of a case until your lawyer has investigated and evaluated the case, all information has been collected and you have recovered or almost recovered from your injury. Factors that determine the value of a case and reasons for settling may include the amount of medical bills incurred, lost income or other benefits, and whether you sustained permanent injuries and to what degree.
Q: How long does it take to get paid after settlement?
Typically between four and six weeks. The insurance company will require that you sign a release stating that your giving up your right to sue in the future in exchange for the settlement money. Your lawyer may also be required to pay medical bills and deduct his fees and expenses. After all deductions have been made you will receive the balance in a check processed from your own attorney's office.
Q: I may have a claim, where do I go for help?
Accident and injury claims are complex. They require medical evidence, expert testimony, and a detailed knowledge of negligence law. It is important to hire a lawyer who is experienced in personal injury matters to be sure your case is well prepared.