- How do I know if I have a personal injury case?
- How much is my personal injury case worth?
- How much do you charge?
- What should I do if I’m injured in a car crash?
- Do I have to speak with my insurance company?
- Why do I need a personal injury lawyer if I’m injured?
- Can I settle my case on my own without a personal injury attorney?
- What if I’m injured but don’t want to sue?
- Are there time limits involved in making a claim for personal injuries?
- Who pays medical bills after I settle my auto injury case?
1. How do I know if I have a personal injury case?
While its impossible to answer this question without knowing the details of your individual case, most personal injury cases require that your injury be caused by someone else’s careless or negligent act. If you find yourself in this situation, you may be able to pursue financial compensation for your damages and should consider consulting an experienced personal injury attorney to evaluate the merits of your case.
2. How much is my personal injury case worth?
In most cases there is no “formula” to determine the value of a personal injury lawsuit. While an injured person can recover damages for lost wages and medical expenses which are relatively easy to measure, he or she may also be eligible for more subjective damages such as ‘pain and suffering’ and ‘loss of enjoyment of life.’ As a result, it is often impossible to predict the value of a case with 100% accuracy. As an experienced personal injury firm, however, we will usually have a pretty good idea of a reasonable settlement range based on the extent of your injuries, the amount of medical treatment required, and any impact on your ability to earn a living.
3. How much do you charge?
Our firm works under a contingent fee arrangement, which means we would handle your personal injury claim in exchange for a percentage of the amount recovered. If there is no money recovery, there is no legal fee.
Additional information regarding contingent fees can be found here
4. What should I do if I’m injured in a car crash?
The most important thing to do following a car crash is determine whether you or anyone else involves needs medical attention. Only after this important step has been completed should you consider taking the following steps to ensure that evidence helpful in pursuing a personal injury claim will be available:
- Notify the police immediately
- If possible, have someone you know take pictures of the accident scene, the vehicles involved and your injuries.
- Write down the names, addresses, phone numbers and license plates numbers of all people involved, including passengers and possible witnesses. Don’t count on police or others to do this for you.
- Ask for a copy of the police report.
- Notify your insurance company. Your application for No Fault coverage must be submitted within 30 days of the accident. More information regarding No Fault coverage can be found here.
- Don’t assume that you know your rights. Seek legal advice.
5. Do I have to speak with my insurance company?
You must cooperate fully with your own insurance company as part of your insurance contract. This does not mean, however, that you should speak to them without consulting a personal injury attorney. Under some circumstances, you may have an additional claim against your own insurer, and you do not want to give statements to them that may damage your case. You should have NO contact with the insurance company for the other party.
6.Why do I need a personal injury lawyer if I’m injured?
If you are seriously injured and have a personal injury claim, you will almost always be going up against professionals who will minimize the amount paid. These people deal with injury cases and insurance issues every day and are experienced at what they do. Most injured people have no such experience.
An experienced personal injury attorney will:
- help you evaluate the liability,
- know how to properly value your injuries,
- examine the facts to determine if additional insurance coverage may be available, and,
- pursue money damages that you may not even have considered.
An experienced lawyer’s understanding of your legal rights and the nuances of your case helps to level the playing field for you when seeking fair compensation for your injuries.
7 . Can I settle my case on my own without a personal injury attorney?
There is no legal bar to your attempting to settle your personal injury case without hiring an attorney. There is, however, a practical reason not to. In most cases you’ll be dealing with insurance adjusters who have many years of training to help them minimize your claim. They are so much more experienced in this area than you are that it’s not a fair fight.
Some major insurance companies have admitted that claims can be settled for about 10 percent of their fair value if the injured person has no attorney. Their corporate goals include protecting the assets of the company. Insurance companies are not in business to hand out money. An experienced personal injury attorney will know the value of your case and help you obtain full compensation.
8 . What if I’m injured but don’t want to sue?
Most injured people don’t want to pursue a personal injury lawsuit. They know they were hurt by someone’s mistake. They know it wasn’t intentional and they don’t want to cause any harm to anyone.
They would, however, like to receive fair compensation from the insurance provider.
Most cases involve a claim against the defendant’s insurance carrier, and the insurance — not the defendant — is the source of any money paid. Also, the vast majority of cases are settled without a trial through negotiation with the insurance carrier.
9. Are there time limits involved in making a claim for personal injuries?
Yes. The Statute of Limitations for most negligence cases in New York is 3 years from the date of injury. Once the Statute of Limitations has past, you will be forever barred from making a claim for your injuries. The Statute of Limitations can also be far shorter.
If a municipal agency, such as the City of Buffalo, Erie County, or Niagara Falls is a defendant, a document called a Notice of Claim must be filed within 90 days of an accident or any further claim may be barred. Those time limits occur in cases where a town, city, county or state worker has been negligent, or when a public teacher or public transportation driver is involved in an injury matter.
Statutes of Limitations differ state to state. They are also may be extended for children and people suffering from mental limitations or illness.
10. Who pays medical bills after I settle my auto injury case?
This question is asked by almost every auto injury client. In New York, medical bills are paid by the insurance policy for the car you were traveling in at the time of the crash. Your personal injury lawsuit is agains the other driver and their insurance company.
If you settle with the defendant’s insurance company, the medical portion of your case remains open. The insurer already paying your medical bills should continued to pay them — up to the policy limits.
Bottom line: you can settle most cases without impacting future medical care.