When you or a loved one is injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you will inevitably feel overwhelmed and frustrated. You most likely have a thousand questions, but there are some that you need answers to right away – and the questions you have are probably far more common than you realize. What follows are a list of some of the most frequently asked questions that personal injury lawyers are asked on a regular basis.
What is a Personal Injury?
A personal injury is defined as a physical or mental injury that occurs as a result of another person’s negligence or harmful act. Insurance companies may also refer to personal injury as “bodily injury.” Many people assume that a personal injury automatically involves a car accident, but that is not correct. It also includes incidents like bike accidents, medical malpractice, pedestrian accidents, slip and fall injuries, dog bites, airplane crashes, boat accidents, defective products, and home accidents, just to name a few.
A personal injury case is defined by the following:
- An “at-fault” person was under duty to do or to not do something
- The “at-fault” person failed that duty
- You suffered damages because of the “at-fault” person’s actions
Note that the “at-fault” person failed to either do something or not do something – that is negligence. In a personal injury case, it must be proven that the “at-fault” person was negligent, and that your injuries resulted from that negligence.
What Should I Do After an Accident?
The most important thing to do after an accident is to see your doctor or visit an emergency clinic, even if you do not think you have been injured physically. Many times, the pain from injuries may not show up right away, even though the damage has already been done. Adrenaline and shock can combine to hide the pain, even when you are seriously injured. This is not the time to put on a brave face.
If you do not seek medical treatment right away, the opposing side’s insurance company will use that fact against you to claim that you were not as badly injured as you say you are. Again, even if you do not feel any pain, you need to seek medical attention as soon as possible after the accident.
Once you have received medical care, your next step should be to find personal injury lawyers to represent your case. This needs to be done quickly so that the attorney can help you to obtain and retain evidence that may prove critical for your case.
Remember not to discuss the accident on social media, and limit what you post regarding your life and activities until after the completion of the litigation, because it can be used against you in court.
Should I Accept Compensation from the Insurance Company?
The insurance company has one goal: settle the claim as quickly as possible while paying out as little as possible. One of the reasons why it is so important that you retain the services of a personal injury attorney is to make sure that you receive the compensation that you deserve — not just the compensation that the insurance company wants to pay. Do not accept compensation from the insurance company without seeking advice from your personal injury lawyers.
How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit?
According to Pennsylvania Statutes Title 42 Pa.C.S.A. Judiciary and Judicial Procedure § 5524, you have two years to commence “an action to recover damages for injuries to the person or for the death of an individual caused by the wrongful act or neglect or unlawful violence or negligence of another.”
How Long Will It Take to Settle My Claim?
There are no simple answers to this question, because every personal injury case is different. The process starts when your physician releases you from treatment. Once your personal injury lawyers have all the records needed for your case, your claim can be filed with the insurance company in as little as five to ten business days.
From there, you would wait for an adjuster to evaluate your claim and prepare an initial offer. That process typically takes from two to four weeks. The remaining time is usually spent negotiating the settlement. Factors that can increase the length of time it takes to settle a claim include the complexity of the case, the seriousness of the injuries, and the amount of money involved.
How Much Compensation Will I Recover?
Compensation typically includes all losses and expenses that were incurred as a result of your accident. There are many types of damages that you may be eligible for, including:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Mental anguish
- Physical disability
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
- Out-of-pocket expenses
Medical expenses can include both doctor and hospital bills, prescriptions, physical therapy, and diagnostic tests, as well as other similar expenses.
How much you will receive depends on many different factors and varies greatly, which is why it is determined on a case-by-case basis. Personal injury lawyers will look at things like lost wages and medical expenses, but they are not allowed to promise their clients a dollar amount. The exact value of your case is not known until all the facts are established and the extent of your injuries is known. However, the more serious your injuries, the more compensation you are likely to be eligible for.
How Can Personal Injury Lawyers Help Me?Experienced and successful personal injury lawyers provide you with the legal counsel and representation you need to win your case. They have an in-depth understanding of not just the laws involved but the methods used by the insurance companies and their lawyers. Personal injury attorneys will ensure that you receive the compensation that you deserve, not just the compensation that the insurance company wants to pay.
If you or a loved one has been injured due to the negligence of another person, contact Donaghue & Labrum immediately for a free consultation. We are highly skilled personal injury lawyers with an impressive track record of winning compensation that our clients rightfully deserve. We have decades of experience, and will put our knowledge and passion to work, aggressively defending your rights. Find out more about our past settlements and verdicts.