Personal Injury

Q&As

1

What is a Personal Injury?

A personal injury is any physical or mental injury to a person as a result of someone’s negligence or harmful act.

2

What Should I Do if I’m Hurt because of Someone’s Negligence?

See your doctor soon as possible following your injury. Follow the doctor’s orders. For you this may mean some are all of the following:

1. Do not miss appointments with your doctor. Stay in touch with your doctor and be certain to maintain your appointments. If you have to cancel, notify the doctor with as much notice as possible. The words “no-show” on a doctor’s record can use against you at the time of settlement or trial.

2. Attend physical therapy sessions as prescribed. Your physician or hospital may prescribe therapy to facilitate recovery from your injury. Such a procedure is often helpful in many types of injuries including strains and sprains and other so-called “soft tissue injuries.” If the physical therapy is prescribed be sure to keep your appointment and participate actively in the process. Again, if you have to cancel the appointment, be sure to call

3. Do what your doctor tells you to do. If your physician prescribed certain medications, exercises, or limitations on activities – be sure to follow your doctor’s orders. Failure to fall your doctor’s advice can be used against you when it comes to settlement of your case or can be used against you in court if your claim proceeds to litigation.

Also, if you’re able, you may want to create a record that could help protect your claim. File a police report, either at the scene or as soon as possible afterward. Try to get names and contact information from any witnesses. If you’re able, write down exactly what happened as soon as possible after the event. Accident scene photographs often provide valuable evidence that can’t be duplicated after the fact. And, of course, you can talk to a personal injury lawyer to get advice about how to proceed, what kind of records you should be keeping, and how to handle any phone calls you should receive from the other party’s insurance company.

Download our Free Auto Accident Glovebox brochure to keep in your vehicle in case you are in an accident. The brochure contains step by step instructions of what you should do if you are in an accident and space to write down all the information you may need later.

3

How do I pay my medical bills?

Your lawyer will discuss the payment for medical bills in detail with you. Your medical bills may be paid by one of the following methods:

1. Your health insurance;
2. Personal Injury Protection or Medical Payments from your automobile policy if you were involved in a car accident;
3. Your personal funds if you are not insured;
4. Worker’s Compensation insurance; or
5. Other possible sources such as an attorney’s letter of protection.

4

Will the doctors, hospitals and other medical facilities wait for payment if I’m unable to pay on medical bills as they are incurred?

In most cases where there is no immediate method to pay medical bills as they are incurred, many doctors hospitals and other medical facilities will wait to be paid for their services when the case is finally resolved by way of settlement or verdict in court. It is important to let medical providers know early in the process if you have no insurance or financial means to pay medical bills as they are incurred. Have any medical providers contact your lawyer.

5

What is Negligence?

Negligence is any conduct that falls below the standards of care established by law for the protection of others against unreasonable risk of harm.

6

How do I Know if I have a Personal Injury Case?

You can find out whether or not you have a viable personal injury claim by talking to a personal injury lawyer. In general, you must have suffered an injury to your person, and the injury was the result of someone else’s fault.

7

How Much is my Personal Injury Case Worth?

It is very difficult to set a dollar amount on the injuries you may have suffered in an accident. There are so many things to consider like doctor’s bills, time lost from work, medical costs for ongoing injuries, pain, and suffering, and so on. Insurance companies take all of them into account when deciding how much to offer, and ultimately pay out for a personal injury claim.

8

What is the Difference Between Economic, Non-economic and Punitive Damages, and which can I Get?

Economic damages are damages meant to compensate. They pay you back for your actual losses like medical bills and lost income. Non-economic damages include compensation for things such as pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life. The purpose of the compensation is to put you as nearly as possible back in the position you would have been in had the defendant’s negligence not occurred. Punitive damages, on the other hand, are intended to punish the defendant and to discourage others from engaging in the kind of negligence involved in your case. Where they are allowed, which is usually in rare cases, an award of punitive damages typically requires a showing of something more than mere negligence.

9

Should I Deal with Insurance Companies on My Own?

Insurance companies are mainly concerned with their own interests rather than your best interest. The business of an insurance company is to take in as many premiums as possible while paying out as few claims as possible. Their representatives may be trained to minimize or outright deny your claim, and they typically employ a variety of tactics to accomplish that – sometimes even pretending to be on your side and want to help you get your claim resolved quickly. A personal injury lawyer can negotiate on your behalf and should know how to work with – and against – insurance companies.

10

How soon must I bring my claim?

Each state sets a time period during which a person must bring a personal injury claim. The period may vary depending on the circumstances surrounding the accident, such as the plaintiff’s age, the type of personal injury claim, the particular facts giving rise to the injury, and when the injury is discovered. You must be absolutely certain that you know the time limitation period that applies to you, or you risk jeopardizing your legal rights. Simply email us or call us toll-free at 800-366-1609, and we’ll help you arrange a free consultation with an experienced lawyer at Edwards & Ragatz, P.A. Even if you’re well within the limitations period, though, timely legal advice can be critical. Getting advice and guidance from a personal injury attorney as soon as possible may help you avoid mistakes that could later harm your personal injury case.

11

What should I do if I can’t afford an attorney?

Many law firms will agree to pursue a personal injury claim for a contingency fee, which means that the law firm’s fee is subtracted from any amount that the firm collects for you. If no amount is recovered, then the firm receives no fee, but the client is typically responsible for actual expenses, such as court filing fees or witness fees, whether he or she wins or loses.

12

What is the Likelihood that My Case will Go to Trial?

Many cases are concluded without even filing a lawsuit. Most lawsuits are settled without an actual trial. A settlement avoids the costs and delays of a trial and may result in a greater net recovery. However, if the case cannot be settled on satisfactory terms, it may be necessary to try it in court.