Most personal injury victims have never been injured before: thus, when they find themselves the victim of another person’s negligent behavior, the victim can be confused about what to do or what to expect. This, in turn, can result in a great deal of distress for the injury victim. What is more, the injury victim is prone to making mistakes that can negatively impact the victim’s ability to recover compensation through a personal injury lawsuit.
The precise questions you might have in your personal injury lawsuit will depend on your case’s unique facts and circumstances. Some of the more common questions and concerns personal injury victims have include:
“I have been injured: Now what?”
If you have been injured you should first seek medical treatment from an emergency room or your nearest medical provider. Seeking treatment promptly is essential to minimizing the extent and severity of your injuries and is important so that you are not accused of contributing to your injuries by failing to seek medical care. You should attempt to write down all of the details of your injury incident as soon as possible after the accident so that you can refer to these details later and important information will not be lost. Try also to write down the names and contact information of anyone who may have either seen the accident occur or have information about the accident. Finally, consult with an experienced personal injury attorney right away so that you can take steps to protect your legal rights.
“How long will my personal injury case take to resolve?”
It is impossible to say how long your case will take to settle or be resolved through a trial. Generally speaking, the clearer it is that the other person caused your injury, the quicker that other person and/or his attorney will be to resolve the case and move on. If the other person contests fault or claims you played a role in the accident, your case can take longer to resolve.
“How much does an attorney charge to handle a personal injury case?”
Attorneys are able to charge any amount they choose to handle a personal injury case so long as the amount is not “unconscionable.” An attorney may choose to handle a personal injury case for a set fee per hour or he or she may handle the case on a contingency-fee basis. In a contingency-fee arrangement, the lawyer agrees to collect his or her fees out of any recovery he or she is able to obtain for you in your case. If your attorney does not collect any compensation, you do not owe any attorney’s fees. You may, however, still be responsible for certain administrative costs: read the retainer agreement carefully before signing a contingency-fee arrangement so that you know the expenses you are responsible for.
“What is a settlement?”
A settlement is an agreement between the victim and the one accused of causing the injury that resolves the dispute between them. In a typical settlement, the other party (the defendant) agrees to pay the victim a certain amount of money within a certain amount of time in exchange for the victim agreeing not to seek any further compensation from the defendant in connection with the injury incident. Because settlements are difficult to get out of once they have been signed, it is generally advisable to review a settlement agreement with an attorney before signing so that you understand the terms and conditions of the agreement.