“Do I have a personal injury case?” and other Frequently Asked Questions
You probably have a lot of questions about your case and what to expect. Here, we’ve covered some of the most common ones that we hear.
1. Do I have a personal injury case?
If your injuries occurred recently, are supported by medical records, and are caused by the negligence of another party, then you probably have a claim. If you have any doubt, then schedule a consultation. Personal injury attorneys usually do not charge for a consultation, and only receive payment as a percentage if a case settles or is successful at trial. A reputable and experienced attorney will not encourage you to pursue a claim or a lawsuit unless your situation warrants it.
2. If the insurance company is working with me, then do I really need an attorney?
If you are not receiving medical care, have not lost time at work, and have no pain and suffering, then you probably do not need an attorney. However, if you are receiving medical care, or have lost wages, or have out-of-pocket expenses, or have pain and suffering, then you should probably hire an attorney. Insurance companies are not “on your side,” nor are they “good neighbors.” The job of an insurance company is to make money. They make money by receiving premium payments, and paying out as little as possible.
3. If I hire an attorney, then doesn’t that make me part of the problem of increasing insurance premiums?
This is an incredibly common question. There is a stigma around hiring an attorney. Claims for personal injury are a recurring joke on sit-coms. But when you’re the one injured, it’s no joke. If you are hurt in a car crash, and if the crash was not your fault, then your insurance company is not allowed to increase your premium. Your premium won’t go up, but the premium of the person that caused the crash may go up. Choices have consequences, and the consequence of causing a crash can include an increased auto insurance premium.
You are not part of the “insurance problem” if you are seeking fair compensation for injuries, expenses, and changes to your life. Your body and vehicle may have a number of related issues from a crash that do not immediately show up. It is tempting for a lot of people to minimize their own losses, especially if it was an accident that could have happened to anyone. Insurance is there to provide fair compensation for the changes in your life after a crash.
4. What’s my case worth?
There’s no realistic way to answer this without a lot of information, and usually a meeting with a lawyer. Each case is unique. Typically, once you’re done with your treatment then we understand what your injury is. Your doctor will tell us what your injury is in a report at the end of your care.
In general, a small injury has small claim value, and big injury has big claim value. Someone who has neck pain for six months after a crash has a claim. Someone who had back surgery after a crash has a bigger claim. If a crash causes someone to die, or have catastrophic injuries, then there is a significant claim.
We can determine the value of your lost wages, and the total amount of your medical bills. But your pain is a hard thing to put a price on. The time you lose with family when you get medical care, or changes in what you can do around the house, are just part of how pai