If you are considering filing a personal injury claim after an accident, your mind is most likely buzzing with dozens of questions, from how much is this going to cost to what am I supposed to say to the insurance company.
At The VanDeLoo Firm, we receive a number of frequently asked questions about personal injury claims. Here are the top five.
1. Do I have a personal injury claim?
First, you must determine if you do indeed have a claim. Contacting a personal injury lawyer can help you discern if you have a case or not.
After an accident, whether it be a car accident, product defect or slip and fall, it may be difficult to determine who or what is at fault. When proving fault, or liability, in a personal injury case, it often comes down to “negligence.” For example, was the driver who hit your car drinking and driving at the time of the accident. Or, did the restaurant fail to advise patrons it the stairs were broken? For product liability, the plaintiff may have to prove an injury resulted from the manufacturer’s defective product, which is called “strict liability.”
As you can, determining if you have a legal claim can be confusing and stressful. That’s why it’s best to contact a reputable personal injury attorney. The VanDeLoo Firm offers no-obligation, free consultations. We can explain to you how the law applies to your individual situation.
2. Do I need to hire a personal injury attorney?
While this is a very common question, the answer is not so straightforward. It depends on your case and your individual situation (i.e. severity of injuries, property damage, time etc.)
Some cases, such as a minor fender bender, you may choose to handle on your own, through your insurance company or through Small Claims Court. However, it’s critical you thoroughly assess the extent of damage that has resulted from the accident.
A skilled personal injury attorney can help you navigate your legal claim, be your advocate and deal with the insurance company for you.
Read the benefits of hiring a small personal injury firm, here.
3. How much will this cost?
There is no denying legal claims can become expensive and drawn out. When weighing whether or not to hire an attorney to represent you, you may think this will cost you even more money. Legal fees can add up; however, hiring a qualified personal injury attorney can actually save you money in the long run.
Here are a few other factors to consider:
- A free initial consultation means that the client is entitled to a free appointment without being charged. During this meeting, the attorney will gather facts about your case and determine if they will represent you.
- A contingent fee agreement means that the client does not pay unless they win. The attorney only receives payment after they recover money for you. The amount you pay is based on the total recovery.
- Court costs and fees are usually paid at the conclusion of your case and are separate from attorney’s fees. These fees are to pay for filing cases, serving defendants with notices, filing for witness statements, etc.
4. Should I settle?
Speaking with an honest, reputable lawyer will provide you insight into this question. On one hand, settling out of court offers a variety of benefits. For example, it’s quicker, less expensive, less time-consuming and less stressful. Plus, your does not go into the public record.
However, going to trial is advantageous for certain personal injury cases. If you have been offered a settlement you do not deem fair, you may wish to take your case to court and let a jury decide.
Read more about this topic, here.
5. What should I say to the insurance adjuster?
Remember this: insurance companies do not have your best interests at heart. They are in the business of minimizing payouts in order to save their company money. The adjuster’s goal is to pay you as little compensation as possible. Some adjusters are rewarded for resolving claims quickly and cost-effectively.
When speaking to an insurance adjuster, do not fall for their traps. Even what seems like the most trivial of details can be taken out of context and used against you.
This is why seeking legal advice before speaking to the insurance company is wise. An attorney will speak to the insurance adjuster for you and act on your behalf. An attorney has experience working with insurance companies and know how they operate. An attorney will make ensure the insurance company pays you the compensation you deserve.
Read tips on how to speak with an insurance adjuster, here.
If you have been in an accident and have questions, contact The VanDeLoo Firm for a free initial consultation. We will speak to you about all the aforementioned questions and more so you have a full understanding of your case and what you can expect. Contact us today at 972.200.5080 and let us help you get the full value of your claim.