You Have Questions about personal injury, We Have Answers
We hear from car accident and personal injury victims every day at Callahan Law, P.S., Inc.. Based on our conversations with our clients over the years we have compiled a few questions you may have while researching for a personal injury case.
- Unless you are badly injured, the law requires you to exchange contact and insurance information with others involved. Call for aid if anyone is injured.
- Do not admit fault to the police, or anyone else. Ask the officer if you can give a statement later, as you may not even realize the extent to which you are “in shock” from the event. You should only give a statement to police when in a clear frame of mind.
- Go immediately to the hospital or your doctor to be checked, even if initially you feel OK. After an accident, adrenalin may mask injury. Hours or days may pass before you realize you really are hurt. If you delay getting medical help, insurers are apt to believe you were not truly injured during the incident.
- Call your insurance to make a claim with the time required—often within 24 hours (see your insurance card or policy). If the insurance company or attorney of the person at fault calls, they may ask you to record a statement. Don’t talk to them, let alone be recorded! Refer them to your insurance company or your lawyer. You probably do not have a full understanding of what happened, or of your injuries or losses right now and you may say something that will later limit your recovery.
- Find a good lawyer for advice—we can help. Researching the web is no substitute for legal advice tailored to you and your unique incident. Also, the other party’s insurance adjuster may hound you to settle for an inadequate sum by signing a release. Don’t do it without the advice of your own advocate—you need a lawyer on your side.
How do car accident settlements work?
A lawsuit may be filed immediately, resulting in the court scheduling of a series of events. However, in most cases it is more prudent first to determine the extent of the injuries, which may be discovered in the course of treatment, but not known initially. Also, an injury may later be determined to be permanent, which should result in greater compensation over the estimated lifetime of the injured person.
Most cases, by far, are settled through negotiation by your lawyer with the insurance company without the filing of a lawsuit. Settlement efforts may be delayed somewhat until you are fully recovered; the total amount of “special damages” (compensation for medical bills and related expenses) is not known until you are done treating your injuries. Those who have purchased optional Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance policy may submit medical bills to their insurer to be paid as they are treated. Those without PIP may have medical providers who will agree to wait to be paid until a settlement is reached with the other party’s insurance.
Once your medical expenses are determined, a “demand” letter is prepared and presented to the insurance adjuster for the other side. The more powerful the letter, in terms of concrete evidence of injury, the larger the settlement offer will be.
Why hire a personal injury lawyer?
It is important to hire a personal injury lawyer to protect your interests and to make sure you are not taken advantage of. Whether you are injured as a result of a car accident or a slip and fall, the insurance company covering the other person or business at fault will act quickly. They will attempt to take a recorded interview of you with leading questions and they will quickly spin any of your answers to try and show you were partially at fault or otherwise have some contributory negligence.
Further, even a person’s own insurance company can act against them and will try to pay for as little as possible. Hiring a personal injury attorney immediately puts up a wall between you and the insurance companies, allowing you to be protected from manipulation. A personal injury attorney will coordinate all of the communication with the insurance company and they have the skills and experience to make sure your claim is presented in the most effective manner, to maximize your results and compensation. Here at Callahan Law we are dedicated to helping all of our personal injury clients to get the best result possible
How to choose/hire a personal injury lawyer?
The process of hiring and choosing a personal injury lawyer can seem overwhelming as there are a large number of attorneys who practice in this area of law. Whether you have been injured in a car accident or suffered a slip and fall, you want to find the lawyer and law firm that fits you best. The most important thing to do is ask for a free consultation and aim to have this consultation in person. This is your opportunity to essentially interview the attorney while also getting a much clearer picture of how a personal injury claim works and the process you will be looking at.
A significant part of the attorney client relationship is developing a level of comfort and trust and the in person consultation will allow you to do that. Make sure to ask about the attorney’s experience and what that firm can do to assist you in getting the best possible outcome. Choose the attorney who you feel the most comfortable with and who was able to provide you with the most helpful information during the free consultation. Here atCallahan Law, P.S., Inc. we offer 100% free in person consultations.