Frequently Asked Questions About Personal Injury Claims
What is a personal injury claim?
When someone is injured or loses a close family member due to another party’s negligence or wrongdoing, the injured person might have a personal injury claim against the responsible person or company. For example, if you were in a car accident and the other driver was at fault, you could bring a personal injury claim in which you ask the court to order that driver to reimburse you for the financial costs and personal losses you experienced. Other examples include cases where someone has been the victim of medical malpractice, or when a dangerous or faulty product causes injuries. In each case, the responsible person or company is being asked to compensate the injured person or family for the losses their behavior caused.
Do I need a lawyer, or could I just accept an offer from the insurance company?
After traffic accidents and other common incidents causing injury, you will typically be contacted by the responsible party’s insurance company. They may offer to settle your claim right away for what sounds like a reasonable amount of money. If you have been injured or a loved one has died, however, you should definitely talk to an attorney before accepting any settlement offer.
Insurance companies are in a stronger bargaining position than you are. They have more information and power, and — crucially — they are not injured. Being injured often means your medical bills are piling up right when you cannot work. Your ordinary bills keep piling up, but you may feel pressure to pay your medical bills or risk foregoing treatment. You are in need of money right now, and you may be tempted to take the money immediately. If you do, there is no changing your mind.
You and your doctor may not even know the full extent of your injuries yet. How can you predict what treatment you may need? Will that settlement cover everything in your case — or will it just be an estimate of what the average person in your situation needs?
Before you accept any settlement offer, you have the right to get it evaluated by a personal injury lawyer, and we would be happy to provide you with a free case consultation. To set one up, call us toll free at 866-592-4136 or contact us online.
Do I need a lawyer for my workers’ compensation case?
We recommend it, for two important reasons. The first is that you are dealing with an insurance company, and injury cases are never straightforward. Because of the individualized nature of every case, a ballpark figure from an insurance adjuster may not turn out to cover all of your losses adequately, but once you have accepted a settlement, you cannot go back for more.
The second reason is that many workplace accidents involve more than workers’ compensation. For example, if you were hurt by a faulty machine, you might have a claim against the manufacturer that would be totally separate from your workers’ comp award. Similarly, you might have a separate claim if your accident was caused by someone other than your employer or co-workers, such as a contractor. An attorney can help you determine whether you have an additional claim on top of any workers’ comp award.
Will hiring an attorney mean I have to pay a retainer? Or will I get less money?
We cannot make guarantees, but probably not. When you hire a personal injury lawyer, you do not pay an hourly fee. Instead, your lawyer is paid via a contingency-fee arrangement. That means that we only receive payment for our work if we obtain a settlement or jury verdict for you. If we do, our fee is a percentage of the amount we win for you.
Because personal injury lawyers spend a great deal of time preparing these cases, we have a strong sense of how much compensation it is reasonable to expect. We understand the issues and know all of the expenses and losses injured people can seek compensation for. We know how to present personal injury cases effectively to judges and juries. We believe strongly that people who hire attorneys usually get higher settlement offers and jury awards than those who do not — or we would not be in this business.
Remember, you do have the right to have an attorney review your situation before making any decisions, and it costs you nothing but time to do so. Contact us now through our online form or call 866-592-4136 to set up a free consultation.
We have offices in Englewood, New Jersey, and New York City, but if your injuries prevent you from coming to our office, we can make alternative arrangements.