FAQ And Answers In Personal Injury Cases
1. Do I need to hire a lawyer in any accident case?
The short answer is no. Cases that involve a small amount of damage to the involved vehicles and relatively minor injuries that heal quickly do not justify the involvement of an attorney. We recognize that other firms maintain the position that you should have a lawyer on each and every automobile accident case. We simply do not agree with this philosophy and we are willing to have open and honest conversations with prospective clients about their options.
If you have a relatively small accident case, the involvement of a lawyer may not improve the outcome enough to warrant paying that lawyer’s fees. We do not take those kinds of cases for this very reason. We are not a firm who signs up everyone who comes through the door. We only take on cases where our representation will provide meaningful help.
2. What should I do if I am in a serious accident?
If you are in a serious car accident and have significant injuries as a result, it is very important that you obtain competent and qualified counsel to handle your claim. Insurance companies are not in the business of paying large claims voluntarily, easily or without a fight. It is very important that you retain counsel who has a wealth of experience with the kind of accident and injuries that you have. It is also important that whoever you hire has a successful track record both in settling such claims and taking them to trial. Contact a reputable attorney as soon after the accident as possible. The attorneys at our firm have attained a score of 10.0 or superb for personal injury by Avvo and have been recognized by our peers as among the very best attorneys in this field.
Do not start giving recorded statements to insurance companies or signing forms and releases without first consulting with a qualified attorney who has navigated these waters many times before.
3. How much do you charge? Will I owe you money if I lose?
Our firm handles personal injury cases on a contingent fee basis, which means you don’t pay us for our time if we lose or we don’t obtain money for you. You will not receive a bill from us for any attorneys’ fees no matter how many hours we spend working on your case.
4. What about all of my medical bills from the accident?
This is the most common question accident victims have and the most stressful part of many claims aside from the injuries themselves. The short answer is that your own health insurer should pay your medical bills just as if the medical care was due to any other cause. If the case results in a recovery of money, you will often have obligations to pay back some of the money to insurers who have paid bills on your behalf. This process is called “subrogation” or “reimbursement”. That process is complicated and an attorney experienced in negotiating subrogation claims can make a huge difference in the ultimate outcome for the client. Feel free to talk to us about this concern and our experience with these situations.
5. What is product liability?
Product liability is a way of getting compensation for injuries caused by a product.
6. What is a product?
A product is anything man made. For example, an automobile, a home appliance, a drug, a machine, a chemical, a tool, really anything that is manufactured, changed, bottled or packaged.
7. When can an injured person recover injuries caused by a product?
Recovery for injuries caused by a product depends on whether the product was in some way defective or unreasonably dangerous; in other words that there was a defect in the product, a flaw or a failure in some manner.
8. If I think I’ve been injured by a defective product, what should I do?
Save the product, never throw it away. Try to locate and save all purchase documents, receipts, manuals. Speak with a qualified product liability attorney about your case.
9. What is a traumatic brain injury?
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) happens when a sudden traumatic event causes damage to the brain. A TBI can result when the head hits an object such as in a car accident or during contact sports, or when an object penetrates the skull and enters the brain tissue.
10. What are some of the symptoms caused by a TBI?
Symptoms of a TBI can be mild to severe. A person with a mild TBI does not have to lose consciousness. According to the Brain Injury Association Of Maryland, other TBI symptoms include the following:
- Blurred vision or tired eyes;
- Ringing in the ears;
- A bad taste in the mouth;
- Fatigue or lethargy;
- Sleep changes;
- Behavioral or mood changes;
- Memory, concentration and thinking problems.
If you have hit your head, first seek out medical attention. If the injury was caused by someone else’s negligence, consult a qualified personal injury attorney.
11. What is a concussion?
The word concussion is used to describe any injury to the brain that is the result of an impact to the head. This can be mild or severe. Concussion and closed head injury mean the same thing. Modern medical science is greatly increasing the ability of qualified clinicians to detect traumatic brain injuries even months or years after the traumatic event.
12. What is a closed head injury?
A closed head injury often happens in a car accident. No object actually penetrates the brain but the brain has suffered a trauma from a violent shake or thrust or by hitting a hard object. The injury can be diffuse, meaning all over the brain, or focal, meaning that the damage is centralized to one area. These injuries range from mild to severe.
13. What is an open head injury?
An open head injury can also be called a penetrating head injury or skull fracture. This injury happens when something penetrates the skull and enters the brain. These injuries are typically focal, affecting only a specific area of brain tissue. These are very serious injuries that can cause permanent disability and can be fatal.
14. What is a diffuse axonal injury?
A diffuse axonal injury results from the brain moving back and forth in the skull as a result of acceleration or deceleration. In this injury nothing hits the head. This injury can be caused by a fall, in sports, in a car accident or by a violent act such as shaken baby syndrome.
15. What is insurance bad faith?
Generally it is when your own insurance company does not treat you as they are required to under the law that is, with good faith and fair dealing. Your own insurance company owes you a fiduciary duty, which means that they must treat you fairly and honestly as opposed to trying to take advantage of you.
16. Can my insurance company deny my claim for any reason they choose?
No. denials must be made after your claim has been properly investigated. Insurance companies do not have to pay every claim. If your claim is fairly debatable or questionable, the company can deny the claim. An experienced bad faith attorney can advise you on whether denial of your claim is bad faith or not.
17. Can my insurance company ignore my requests for information or clarification?
No. Your insurance company must answer you in a timely manner.