If you have been injured you probably have a lot of questions. Figuring out how you’re going to pay your bills and cover lost wages can be a stressful situation but you don’t have to do it alone. To help you begin to understand the process of a personal injury claim here are a few frequently asked questions.
Q: The insurance company said I don’t need an attorney – is that true?
A: It is important to remember that your interests and the interests of the insurance company are not the same. You should always seek an opinion from a personal injury lawyer to get an unbiased legal opinion regarding your case and your rights.
Q: Do I have a personal injury case?
A: A good starting point to answering this question is by looking at your medical bills. Under Kentucky’s no-fault law, drivers give up their right to sue and be sued. You can’t sue the other driver unless the accident results in at least $1,000 in medical expenses, a broken bone, permanent disfigurement, permanent injury, or death. If someone else’s negligence has caused you any of those issues you may have a case.
Q: What if I’ve already started the claim?
A: More often than not, our new clients have begun the claims process themselves and find it stressful or cannot afford to pay out of pocket for the medical treatment they need, and for that reason they seek our assistance. It is our goal to alleviate as much stress as we can from our clients, so they can concentrate on getting healthy again, both mentally and physically.
Q: Do personal injury lawyers only help people in car wrecks?
A: No. While auto accidents may be everyone’s first thought when they hear of a personal injury case, that’s not the only type. It also includes medical malpractice, nursing home abuse, dog bite, slip and falls, motorcycle wreck, wrongful death, and several others.
Q: What should I bring when meeting my lawyer?
A: You should bring all documents that are related to your injuries. For auto accidents, you should bring a copy of the police or incident report, a copy of your insurance declaration page, photos of your vehicle and injuries, copies of medical records for related treatment, correspondence from the insurance companies, and any wage loss information. When you’re trying to determine what documents to bring, if it seems important, it probably is.
Q: What damages can I recover?
A: If you have been injured and require medical treatment, past and future treatment costs are recoverable. You may also recover lost wages and “general damages” which include pain and suffering, emotional distress, and inconvenience associated with the injury.
Q: How soon after I’m injured do I need to file a lawsuit?
A: In most cases the statute of limitations is one year from the date of accident. If you don’t file suit within the year window, you may not be able to.
Q: Do I have a claim if my health insurance is paying my medical bills?
A: Absolutely. If you have been injured due to someone else’s negligence you are entitled to the full value of your medical treatment, not just the co-pay or deductible.
Q: What should I do if the “at fault” driver’s insurance calls me?
A: Do not discuss details with the other driver’s insurance company or their attorney. If either of these parties contact you, refer them to your insurance company or your attorney.
Q: Can my health insurance file a lien against my case?
A: If your health insurance paid for your medical bills prior to the settlement of your claim, they may put a lien on your settlement in order for you to reimburse them. Some auto insurance companies may place a lien as well.
Q: Does every lawsuit go to trial?
A: Actually, about 95% of personal injury cases are settled before going to trial, often through arbitration or mediation. A case will got to trial if the defendant does not offer a reasonable settlement, liability or damages are disputed, or if the plaintiff wants to go to trial.
Q: What questions will be asked in a depo?
A: A deposition is a question and answer session between you and the defense attorney. Your lawyer will also be present, as well as a court reporter to document everything that is said.
Some of the topics you will be asked may include:
- General background information such as work history, education and family
- Your health condition before the incident
- Details of the accident
- Any medical treatment you received for the injuries
- How the accident has impacted your life
If you have been injured and have any questions please call us at 502-233-8385, our attorneys would be happy to help you.