FAQ’S & Answers
PERSONAL INJURY CLAIMS
Q: How do you determine if a client has a claim for personal injury?
A: Our goal is to recover a fair settlement for clients injured through the fault of another person such as a client’s injury due to someone running a red light or speeding. Examples of potential cases are too numerous to try to list. A person can still recover for injuries even if they were partially at fault so long as their fault is equal to or less than 50%.
Q: What is my case worth?
A: We consider many aspects of a claim in order to determine what is a fair settlement of our clients’ injury claims. From the first meeting, we begin to prepare for a jury trial. With some insurance company representatives, a jury verdict is the only factor that will force them to pay what we believe is fair.
We know our clients often experience significant loss of good health as a result of car wrecks. That loss of good health affects them every day and often will for the rest of their lives. Certain activities that make up an enjoyable life are compromised. Our community enjoys a large senior population. Many of our clients already may have some arthritis in their spines or joints which gets substantially worse with a motor vehicle impact. Sometimes the person’s arthritis was initially caused by some car wreck many years ago. With that worsening comes limitations and reduced activity. When a person is harmed by the wrongful conduct of another, the law seeks to “balance the scales of justice” by allowing the injured person money damages based on the amount of harm done. I tell clients and jurors to consider the amount of money we all spend on pleasurable activities over a life span: vacations, golf clubs, boats, fishing gear. With a permanent injury, we seek a fair amount of damages considering limitations in those pleasurable activities for the rest of a client’s life span. That is a part of what are called noneconomic damages. Or damages for “pain and suffering”.
Lost earnings up to time of trial or settlement and projected out into the future for permanent injuries are also an important component. Past and expected future medical bills are a consideration. Only when our clients are finished with curative medical care can we fairly assess the value of a case and begin settlement discussions with the insurance company.
Insurance companies hire doctors who no longer treat patients and they tend to say the same thing in every case: our client’s injury is just a sprain/strain that will go away in 90-120 days. Usually the experience of our clients and many jurors is not consistent with that opinion.
Q: Do we make a claim against the at fault driver or the insurance company?
A: In the case of a careless driver, the insurance company for that driver is responsible to pay the claim. If the case is not settled a lawsuit may be filed against the driver but the insurance company hires a lawyer to defend their insured. The jury is not told that an insurance company is involved.
Q: What if the person responsible for the injury does not have insurance?
A: In motor vehicle collision cases insurance is almost always available to pay the claim. Liability and uninsured motorist coverage is required by law. Your own uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage is used to pay your claim if the person responsible does not have insurance or the person’s insurance is not adequate to fairly pay for your injuries.
WORKERS’ COMPENSATION CLAIMS
Q: My workers’ compensation claim has been denied. Can a lawyer help?
A: Our firm has substantial experience helping injured workers get the benefits they deserve. Workers’ compensation insurance companies often deny claims based on erroneous information. We will obtain a hearing in front of a judge who will hear your testimony, that of any witnesses as well as review medical records. We frequently meet with our clients’ doctors and get any necessary reports. When an insurance company refuses to take responsibility for work related injuries, they compound the injured workers’ problems. Our firm strives to work with injured workers in order to help them navigate through those problems and get the benefits they deserve such as disability benefits and medical coverage.