Are You Considering Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney? Read These FAQs
Follow These Steps When Considering Whether to Hire a Personal Injury Attorney
Sometimes after you have been injured in a car wreck, involved in a workplace accident, or building up medical bills because of a slip and fall injury caused by a business’s negligence, figuring out what to do next can be stressful and confusing. What steps should you take in reviewing and making your claim? While injuries occur unexpectedly each day, most people are still uncertain about their own fate in recovering damages. First, let’s review some important points to keep in mind if you have been injured and are considering filing a claim.
- When you make a personal injury claim, you have to prove that you were injured and that another person (or business) caused your injuries.
- You have to have evidence like medical bills, photographs, witness statements, accident reports, or expert testimony.
- If you don’t have evidence to support your claim, an insurance company generally won’t settle with you.
- If that happens, it is likely a jury won’t find in your favor either.
Take the time to review our suggestions on how to best receive compensation and weighing the pros and cons of hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer. Attorneys can help by:
- Evaluating injuries and identifying who may be at fault.
- Working with the right experts and medical professionals to gather reports and injury documentation.
- Helping determine what effects an injury will have on an individual, including medical expenses that may be incurred in the future.
- Evaluating the effect injuries have on an individual’s ability to earn income.
- Ensuring that everything is done in a timely manner. In Indiana, most injury cases, such as auto accidents or slip-and-fall claims, have a two-year statute of limitations (the need to file a lawsuit within a time limit) but not all. The time begins to run when a cause of action accrues.
It is likely that if you hire an attorney and they have agreed to take your case because you have provided all that is needed to prove fault, you will move towards a settlement for your damages. You may be entitled to a number of different types of damages under Indiana law. Some of the more common types of damages are: reasonable and necessary medical expenses, lost earnings, reduced earning capacity in the future, future medical expenses and prescriptions, pain and suffering, and permanent impairment.
Understanding The Claim Compensation Process
Once you have made the decision to hire a personal injury lawyer to pursue your claim, the lawyer will collect the details of your experience and make the best possible estimate of how much compensation you should receive. But even attorneys can’t necessarily pinpoint what your case is worth until it is close to a resolution. Many factors, including the circumstances of the accident, the state of all involved and the insurance companies influence the outcome. Here are some other influencing factors:
- Disabilities and ongoing pain and suffering from injuries
- Emotional distress from injuries
- Evaluation of relationships affected and impacted by injuries
- Extent and type of injuries
- How much has been lost in time and wages from work to date as well as how much will be lost in the future
- How much insurance is available to compensate injuries
- Identifying and collecting evidence to support the claim
- Review of disfigurement and permanent scarring caused by injuries
- Role of all individuals involved in injury
- What medical treatment was received and will be needed in the future
Once an estimate of your claim has been made, the process of demanding a settlement can begin. Estimates are made using an attorney’s experience with prior settlements and verdicts of similar personal injury cases.
Your attorney will start settlement negotiations on your behalf by making a demand for compensation. If there is strong evidence supporting your claim, the insurance company may pay the claim and your case will be closed. In most cases the insurance company will counter the demand for compensation with a lower offer. Attorneys can continue conversations on your behalf until an agreement is reached. Your case may settle even before your attorney files; on the other hand, it may go all the way to a trial and a jury verdict. The majority of lawsuits are settled before they get to trial, but what happens in your case depends on the facts, the law and the parties involved.
Q: When should I stop negotiating a settlement and agree?
A: Since your settlement is reached through the process of negotiation, it is generally not suggested to accept a first offer. Follow the guidance from your personal injury lawyer and allow them to evaluate your case and support your claim throughout this process.
Q: I have accepted my settlement offer, now what?
A: Negotiations will be complete once you accept your settlement offer. This will mean you agree to accept a ‘release’ from the responsible party or insurance company by receiving a settlement check. By signing the ‘release’ this will mean that even if you discover you have additional injuries related to the same accident, you will not be further compensated. Your settlement compensation should arrive shortly after you have signed and returned your release.
Q: My settlement was rejected. Do I need to go to court?
A: If an agreement cannot be reached, one of our experienced personal injury attorneys may discuss proceeding with a lawsuit. During this time, you will need to work with your attorney and make the decision to continue the case to a jury trial. The jury will then decide how much you will be compensated for and you must accept the amount as determined by the jury.
About our Indianapolis Personal Injury Lawyers
Stephen Wagner and Jason Reese are more than happy to talk with you about your case, without charging a fee for the consultation. Even if it is a case that Wagner Reese is unfortunately not able to take, we can make suggestions about what can be done, or refer you to other legal resources that may be able to provide assistance.
Contact us now at (888) 204-8440 to schedule an appointment in our Indianapolis or Carmel offices, or use our convenient, confidential contact form.