FAQ Personal Injury

What is a personal injury claim?

When a person is physically injured in an accident of any type which is caused by the wrongdoing of another, he or she can seek damages for his or her injuries from the person who caused the accident. A claim for personal injuries can be made directly to the at-fault person’s insurance company. The insurance adjuster will want proof of what the injuries are and may request to see medical records and proof of lost wages. The adjuster must be convinced that the insurance company should pay money to settle the claim. A personal injury claim may also be made by filing a lawsuit against the person who caused the accident. The person filing the lawsuit, known as the plaintiff, is required to prove to the jury that the person being sued, known as the defendant, caused the accident. The plaintiff must also prove that he or she was injured, what the injuries are, and what his or her damages are. A personal injury claim and lawsuit may be brought by the injured person even when he or she is partially at-fault in causing the accident.

What type of compensation can I receive for my injuries?

In a personal injury claim or lawsuit, the injured person may recover damages (compensation) for his or her pain and suffering, emotional distress, past and future medical bills, and past and future wage loss.

Is there a time limit on bringing a claim or filing a lawsuit?

Yes.  The time limit to file a personal injury lawsuit is two years from the date the accident occurred. This is known as the two year statute of limitations. If a claim cannot be resolved within two years and a lawsuit is not filed before the two year time limit is up, the claim will forever be barred. The right to seek damages no longer exists. Special rules exist for tort claims against government entities and with most claims the time limit to file a claim with the government entity is 6 months.

What does it mean to settle my claim?

Generally, a settlement is an agreement between the injured person and the person who caused the accident to resolve the claim or lawsuit. The injured person will be paid money to drop the claim or lawsuit and will release the person who caused the accident from all legal responsibility for causing the accident and the injuries.

What is a wrongful death claim?

A wrongful death claim is a type of personal injury claim brought by close relatives of the deceased against the person who caused the death. The relatives can recover damages for the loss of the deceased’s love, companionship, comfort, care, affection, society, moral support, and the loss of the deceased’s financial support. The relatives cannot recover for their own grief or emotional distress caused by the death.

How do I pay for a lawyer?

Personal injury lawyers typically will take personal injury claims and lawsuits on a contingency fee basis. The attorney does not charge fees unless the client recovers monetary compensation for his or her damages. The attorney’s fee will be a percentage of the gross monetary recovery of the client’s damages. The client is responsible for paying the costs and expenses incurred in pursuing a personal injury claim, even if there is no financial recovery for the client. The attorney will generally advance some, if not all of the costs and expenses, for the client. The client is responsible for reimbursing the attorney all of these advanced costs and expenses even if there is no financial recovery for the client.