FAQ’s About Personal Injury Law
As a personal injury lawyer I’m frequently asked many questions about different types of personal injury litigation. I believe that one of the most powerful tools my clients can have is knowledge. Oftentimes my people don’t realize there are laws in place to protect them from their losses. In many instances, I find that people simply don’t know the first step to take. Listed below is a list of frequently asked questions.
Common Questions About Vehicle Accident Claims
The first thing to do after a car accident is nothing. Stay calm. Your blood will be filled with adrenaline. Adrenaline will stop you from feeling pain. This will cause you to be a poor evaluator of the extent of your own injury. It will also increase your emotional responses to everything. So, stop and take a few minutes to relax. Do not talk with the other driver. Clients who, filled with adrenaline, “talk” with the other driver can get into emotional confrontations that will hurt your ability to successfully pursue a claim later. Your behavior at the scene is relevant. Do not get out of your vehicle after the collision unless remaining in the vehicle places you at further risk of harm. Do not leave the scene. You should wait until there is a police officer at the scene before you talk with anyone. You should talk with the officer. Be respectful. Try to stay calm, be honest, and clear. That officer will be writing the Police Report later. If you’re not sure about a detail of the collision, it’s alright to say so.
You should allow the EMTs (Emergency Medical Technicians) to examine and treat you at the scene. Do not let yourself worry about the cost of care (that’s my job later). Do not voice concerns about the cost of care to anyone at the scene. Do not talk about suing someone or refer to an attorney at the scene of the collision, even if you’re angry. That will also hurt your claim later. You should allow the ambulance to take you to an ER. Be honest and consistent with everyone about what happened. Everything you say to the ambulance crew and ER staff will make it into the medical record. Call me the next day and I’ll take it from there.
I’ve just been in a car accident, and I told everyone at the scene I was “just fine” and then, after the police left, I went home. It’s the next morning and I hurt everywhere. What do I do? Have I screwed up my claim?
You have not screwed up your claim. It is very common for injured parties to tell police officers and EMTs (Emergency Medical Technicians) at the scene of the collision that they are “just fine,” not hurt, and do not need care or ambulance transport. Right after a collision, your blood will be filled with adrenaline. Adrenaline will stop you from feeling pain. This will cause you to be a poor evaluator of the extent of your own injury. The vast majority of claims I successfully handle involve an injured party who doesn’t treat until the morning following the collision when they wake up and realize that they need medical care.
The power of adrenaline and your own desire to believe that you are “just fine” is so great that, years ago, I represented someone who, after a very serious collision, stepped out of his vehicle and told EMTs that he was “just fine” only to then lose consciousness and fall to the ground. Upon evaluation, it was found that he had a punctured lung and two compression fractures of the cervical spine (a broken neck).
No responsible attorney can tell you how much your claim is worth during the initial consultation. Any attorney who tells you something else is not an attorney you should work with. I am only able to fully discuss the value of a client’s claim after I have reviewed all medical records and bills as well as the facts of the claim. Some facts are only discovered after hiring a private investigator. In the past, claims that I initially believed had limited value, after evaluation, have had significant value. And, every attorney has had cases that looked like their facts would justify very high values only to learn, after evaluation, that those cases were not as valuable as everyone would have liked them to be. It is important for you to work with an experienced attorney who can properly evaluate your claim.
I believe in pre-litigation settlement negotiation. If a claim is properly evaluated and a timely demand is made against the party at fault, that claim can be resolved without litigation in only a few months. However, if a claim is put into suit and litigated to trial that process can take two years or more. Even if your claim eventually needs to be litigated, pre-litigation settlement is helpful both to educate all parties about value, and make settlement in advance of trial more likely. Pre-litigation settlement negotiation preserves the time value of money as well as your credit rating.
It is usually very difficult to treat, replace your vehicle, live the routine of daily life, and learn enough law to negotiate with an insurance adjuster. Remember that this is an adversarial process. Insurance adjusters are trained to pay as little as possible to injured parties to resolve their claims. The injured party is not prepared to go toe to toe with any insurance adjuster. There are several practical reasons for that. If this is your first claim, you will be negotiating with an insurance adjuster who has negotiated hundreds or thousands of claims. That disparity in experience means that, while you have no practical idea of the value of your claim, the insurance adjuster does, has no reason to be honest with you about that value, and is actively working against you. Another reason not to try to negotiate on your own is that there are years of legal precedent and statutes that you do not know.
It is a personal injury attorney’s job to know them. In my experience, insurance adjusters often do not know the law. Only an experienced personal injury attorney will know the law and be able to bring his or her knowledge to bear against the insurance company. This is one area where what you do not know will hurt you. It is also true that one of the only ways an injured party can actually screw up their own claim is by talking at length on a recorded line with the adverse insurance carrier. It can be hard for even an experienced attorney to undo that damage.
An Uber driver uses their own personal vehicle when picking up Uber fares and for personal use when they’re not on the job. They carry their own insurance on the vehicle for personal use. However, when they activate their Uber App notifying the Uber website that they are available to pick up a fare, Uber’s insurance covers the vehicle. Uber’s insurance also covers the vehicle when they are operating with an Uber fare passenger. Similarly, if an Uber driver has activated the Uber App between fares, Uber’s insurance extends to their personal conduct within or outside of the vehicle. For example, if an Uber driver gets drunk, activates the Uber App notifying Uber that they are accepting fares, and then the driver beats someone up on the street, Uber’s insurance extends to that behavior as surely as if they were operating their vehicle under the influence on the job. Visit the blog for more information about rideshare accidents.
Frequently Asked Questions About Personal Injury Claims
Most car accident cases are settled before trial but if a fair settlement cannot be reached, we will be poised to fight your case in court.
Possibly. The employer may be held liable for the negligence of their employee under some circumstances.
Do I have a case against the manufacturer if I was in an accident and the air bags in my vehicle did not deploy?
It depends. There are several factors that dictate whether an air bag should deploy in a collision. If the circumstances show that your airbags should have deployed, you may have a product liability claim against the manufacturer.
Not without first speaking with an experienced auto accident attorney. The insurance company will typically offer minimal amounts of money in return for your agreement not to sue and will often discourage you from obtaining a lawyer so they can pay you less. The claims adjuster’s job is to protect the interests of their employer. Who is protecting yours?
Yes. Although potential compensation can sometimes be reduced, it is important to understand that seat belt or no seat belt – it is the fault of the negligent party that is the primary factor in car accident lawsuits.
Probably, but not always. There are some exceptions, for example, if the other driver cuts in front of you or if you are involved in a chain reaction.
Stop, don’t leave. You could be charged with a “hit and run” even if you’re not at fault. Call 911. Get medical attention. Call your own car insurance company as soon as possible (within 24 hours is best), call and file an accident report. Don’t sign anything. If another driver’s insurance adjuster shows up at the scene, don’t give a statement and don’t sign anything. Gather information, such as the names, addresses and phone numbers of everyone at the scene. If possible, take pictures of the vehicles involved. Call an attorney. An experienced lawyer can protect you and can make sure you are treated fairly.
Any injury that is life-threatening or extremely life-altering is catastrophic. These injuries are serious often leading to significant medical bills. It is important to enlist the help of a lawyer who can help you obtain compensation when the bills begin to mount. If you have suffered a catastrophic injury contact an experienced Kansas City personal injury lawyer – give me a call today.
Airline accidents are rare but when they do occur, they are catastrophic. The size and number of passengers on any given flight can make an airplane accident the scene of significant harm and wrongful death. If you have been involved in an airline accident contact an experienced Kansas City personal injury lawyer – give me a call today.
When loss of life could have been prevented, the family members and dependents of the decedent may be entitled to a significant amount of compensation. contact an experienced Kansas City personal injury lawyer – give me a call today.
Serious side effects can occur to individuals who are prescribed the wrong medication or treated with a defective medical device. These injuries can cause long-term negative effects, so get help from an attorney who can help you fight for just compensation. If you have been injured due to a doctor’s medical negligence, contact an experienced Kansas City personal injury lawyer – give me a call today.
The most common personal injury in the United States is a car accident. Fortunately, there are many laws in place for drivers. These however, do not prevent collisions and the detrimental effects of these accidents. If you have been involved in an auto accident contact an experienced Kansas City personal injury lawyer – give me a call today.
It is not unusual to first notice pain until several hours or even a day or two after the accident. Seek medical attention as soon as you think you may be injured.
As a result of the high price of gas, more people are turning to busses as affordable transportation. When a bus accident occurs, every single passenger on board, as well as any nearby vehicle on the road, is put in danger and risks injury. If you have been involved in a bus accident contact an experienced Kansas City personal injury lawyer – give me a call today.
There is an evident difference in the size and weight between trucks and their roadside counterparts. This can cause catastrophic injuries for anyone involved in a truck collision. If you have been involved in an accident with a commercial vehicle, contact an experienced Kansas City personal injury lawyer – give me a call today.
Motorcyclists are much less visible to other vehicles on the road, and this is often the cause of serious accidents. As a result of the nature of a motorcycle and the exposure of the driver, these accidents often lead to catastrophic injuries and even wrongful death. If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident contact an experienced Kansas City personal injury lawyer – give me a call today.
No Upfront Costs or Fees
At no up-front cost to you, Plaza Injury Law provides the best legal representation in personal injury and work injury on a contingency fee basis. This means that I do not take a fee until you receive compensation. You will not incur any legal fees or costs for my time and assistance unless I successfully earn you a trial verdict or settlement. Meaning, I have every incentive to maximize your recovery. I adhere to a “Clients First” philosophy, which means that I will do everything in my power to help you receive the justice and compensation you deserve for your injury and we help you get back to normal as quickly as possible.
This website is a form of advertising designed for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. Your choice of legal representation is an important one and should not be based solely on advertising. Neither the Supreme Court of Missouri nor The Missouri Bar reviews or approves certifying organizations or specialist designations. Past results afford no guarantee of future results. Every case is different and must be judged on its own merits. Co-counsel may be used or referral made.