Process of Filing a Claim
This would also depend on the case itself. A rear end collision without a lot of property damage, for example, would be a very difficult case. When someone ends up with an injury after an accident that caused minor to moderate property damage, the insurance companies sometimes take the position that they could not see a lot of damage on the outside of the car, therefore they assume there was not a lot of damage to the person, which would not necessarily be true.
Other cases that can be a big fight are the higher dollar ones where there is more money at stake, so there is more for the insurance company to fight over.
Do People Misunderstand How Complicated These Cases Can Get?
Definitely. There are procedures as well as laws that have to be followed, and unless the person does this on a daily basis, it is somewhat hard to navigate through it and get what they are entitled to.
Do Most Personal Injury Cases Reach A Settlement Or Go To Trial?
Most personal injury cases reach a settlement. It is usually in the client’s best interest to try to reach an out of court settlement if the insurance company evaluates the claim reasonably. Unfortunately that does not always happen.
Considering the cost and the time involved in going through a trial, it can be very risky to put it in the hands of six people who have never met the injured person before and who do not know anything about the person other than what they learned from the first day of the trial to the end. Often thus evidence that may be very helpful to the jury in making their determination is excluded for technical/legal reasons.
Often thus a client can end up putting more money in their pocket if a settlement can be reached prior to going through with litigation, although not always.
What Makes Up A Viable Personal Injury Claim Versus One That Is Not Going Far?
Liability and damages are the two main factors. When somebody calls our office, the first thing we would look at would be how the accident happened and whether the person calling our office as a potential client was potentially liable or whether there was a 100% liability on the other party.
We also handle cases where our client could be partially liable, and that would be considered a comparative negligence case. It would depend on the amount of the damages if our client was 10% liable and the other party was 90%. In this case, we would basically take 90% of the damages whether they were in the form of personal injury damages and/or property damages.
The other component would be the actual damages themselves. While the amount of property damage is not 100% correlated to the bodily injury, it would give us a good place to start.
The rest of it would be the actual bodily injuries to the client themselves. MRI testing would usually be done about 30 days to 3 months after the accident if the person was still complaining about pain at that point in time, because they would want to see what was going on inside that they could not see from just an outside evaluation.
The value of the claim would be a little higher if the MRI showed the person had a herniation, and it would be even higher if it turned out the person was a surgical candidate after receiving some conservative treatment for that injury or that they had to have actual surgery done. It is self-explanatory with respect to values if the case involved a paraplegic, as well as if the case involved death.
Other Information People Should Know About Personal Injury
The main areas we practice in are personal injuries resulting from motorcycles, bicycles, and automobiles accidents, as well as social security disability and medical malpractice.
How Is An Attorney Compensated For A Personal Injury Case?
The initial consultation is free. A client can talk to an attorney for free just to see what their case may be worth or whether they even had a case, or just what to expect.
Beyond that, if they want the attorney to represent them, they sign a contingency, fee contract meaning the attorney would get a percentage of the settlement at the end of the case.
That percentage would be 33.33% unless it goes into litigation. At that point the fee would go to 40%. If it had to be appealed after a trial, the fee goes to 45%.
The costs involved in a case would generally be under $1,000 until we begin litigation, once in litigation, the cost can range anywhere from about $10,000 up to hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on the type of case. The costs would be paid by the attorney as the case went along, but the client would owe those costs back at the end of the case.
For more information on Filing A Personal Injury Case, a free initial consultation is your next best step.