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Personal Injury FAQ

Banner Legal > Personal Injury FAQ

If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident and believe it was caused by someone else, you may have a personal injury case. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about personal injury lawsuits and the steps you should follow in determining your next course of action.

I don’t know If I can afford to hire a lawyer. What should I do?

All personal injury lawyers get paid only if you get paid. This is known as working on a “contingency” basis. If your case is lost, the law firm does not receive any money whatsoever from you.

Most personal injury law firms work only on a percentage based fee, meaning they get paid a pre-set amount of your award only and there are no “hidden” costs, regardless of their expenses in trying your case. This fee tends to reduce the amount of frivolous lawsuits because lawyers will only spend time on cases they think they can win.

If a law firm agrees to handle your case, you pay them absolutely nothing until you are awarded a settlement, and then your payment only comes out of that settlement award.

How do I know if I have a case?

If you have been injured or traumatized and believe it is the fault of someone else (including a company, person, or their property or pet) then you are likely to have a personal injury case.

Only a professional team of experienced personal injury lawyers can determine whether or not you have a personal injury case.

By contacting a law firm you can find out if your particular circumstances warrant legal action or not. Every law firm should give you a free, no-obligation consultation. During this consultation lawyers will examine the facts of your case. They will make a determination to proceed with a lawsuit or not.

What kind of monetary compensation will I get?

Each case varies, but you may be compensated for a number of things including all medical related expenses (including physical therapy and medication), lost wages (including overtime and potential future wages), pain & suffering, emotional trauma, embarrassment, mental illness, property damage, and any fees associated with the case in your day-to-day life.

How soon should I file a lawsuit?

You should contact a personal injury law firm as quickly after the incident as possible. Try to document the incident with police and medical records and avoid signing any statement or papers from anyone else.

Your case may still be handled even though the incident occurred long ago, however.

Do not settle – or deal with at all – someone else’s lawyers without your own legal counsel. Many cases have a ” statute of limitations ” meaning that you only will have a certain amount of time during which you can file a claim, though there are several legal cases where this may not matter.

What happens during a personal injury lawsuit?

Your personal injury firm will determine the facts of your case and will contact the legal representation of the company or person you are filing a grievance against. Most personal injury cases are settled before any trial is needed.

Your participation is very minimal. There generally is no trial, court appearance, or court testimony necessary. The two sides will typically settle out of court and your law firm will give you a check if you are awarded damages.

What should I do if I’m ready to seek legal advice?

Write down all of the specifics of the incident that you can. This will include knowing approximately where and when the incident took place. Keep records of all of your medical expenses, including physical therapy and driving expenses.

Never sign anything without legal counsel. Mail your local police department for a police report of your incident and retain all police or law enforcement paperwork if you have it. Assemble witness information (name, phone number, etc.) or anyone knowledgeable about the case.

You don’t need to have any of this paperwork to file a claim or to contact a law firm but it does help your case overall.

The most important thing to do – before you do anything else – is to contact a personal injury lawyer for a free consultation. Only with experienced and professional legal counsel can you truly reclaim your rights.

What’s the difference between a class-action lawsuit, civil suit, and criminal suit?

A class-action lawsuit is a lawsuit seeking monetary award for damages done to a large number of people. Frequent class-action lawsuits occur against corporations for some product defectiveness or defective drug problem.

A class action lawsuit typically does not get the individual plaintiffs much money in awards, but class action suits are effective in changing a company’s practices or getting faulty products out of the market. Personal injury lawsuits can use the class-action status if many people were injured in the same way.

A civil suit is any lawsuit filed against someone else (or some entity) seeking monetary compensation. Personal injury lawsuits are a type of civil suit, though so are many other kinds of lawsuits depending on the type of redress sought or type of crime committed.

Criminal lawsuits are a kind of suit filed by the government against individuals or entities (such as companies) seeking social redress. Criminal lawsuits seek some form of punishment not limited to monetary fine, including incarceration, probation, or other forms of law enforcement action.

Do I need to hire a personal injury lawyer in my city or town?

No, but your personal injury law firm should at least be from your state. Personal injury law firms who operate in your city, or in the city where the injury took place, may also know more about the area, and thus more about your case. Personal injury lawyers have many contacts in the community, police and government that can help your case as well.

Your personal law firm should have a high level of experience in trying personal injury cases. Your law firm should also have their own website with examples of cases that they’ve successfully tried and won. This can show you a law firm’s specialty as well as typical awards that were given in similar cases as yours.

What if I was partly at fault for the accident?

Most states have laws that give rights to people even if they were partly at fault. This area remains one of the most changing areas of personal injury law, however, and is a good reason to contact an experienced law firm to help you.

What if I need a second opinion?

Second opinions on personal injury cases are common and easy to get. You may need a second opinion on your case if a law firm declines to handle your case. Typically law firms will let you know if they are not going to take your case fairly quickly, which can allow you time to consult with several others.

In other instances, you may have better results from a law firm who has specific experience in handling personal injury suits that are similar to yours. You always have options and consulting another law firm for a second opinion is not only legal, but also highly encouraged.

What if I am unsatisfied with my current attorney?

A good personal injury lawyer will always be available to you for any reason throughout your case, or they will be prompt in getting back to you. They will be on time and be honest with you about the possible options and outcomes of your personal injury suit. They will consistently move your case forward as quickly as possible.

If you are unhappy with your current attorney for any reason and want to change lawyers, it is very easy to do so. In most cases of personal injury, the new law firm will take over the case and then they will split the percentage of your award with the old law firm. This apportion does not involve your percentage of the award.

It will not cost extra to switch to a new law firm at all. Switching law firms should happen if you are unhappy with your current lawyer. They are working for you ultimately and you should be satisfied with the work that they are doing.