Taking the Right Steps to Protect Yourself
When you’re hurt because of the negligence of another person, everything can change in an instant, leaving you with questions:
- Should you file a lawsuit?
- Should you turn to your insurance carrier to get the benefits you need?
- How long will it take to get the compensation you need to get back to your pre-accident life?
- What if your injuries don’t seem that serious?
- How long do you have to file a claim?
- How will I pay the legal expenses for a personal injury lawsuit?
Here are the most important things you should know when you’re injured because of someone else’s wrongful act.
Personal Injury Claims Come in All Forms
There’s a common misperception that your claim must fall into a limited number of categories—a motor vehicle accident, a slip-and-fall, a workplace injury, or a dangerous and defective product case. In the American legal system, you can seek compensation for any physical injury caused by someone else’s negligence. A person is deemed negligent if a jury finds that they failed to act as a reasonable person would under the circumstances. That standard can encompass everything from medical malpractice and nursing home neglect to product injuries and even careless exposure to toxic substances or a communicable disease.
Insurance Companies Have a Vested Interest in Minimizing the Amount They Pay You
Insurance companies are for-profit enterprises that maximize profit by paying as little as possible to settle claims made under the policies they sell. Accordingly, you can expect that they will engage in delays or denials or offer you far less than you deserve under the terms of your insurance contract. An experienced personal injury lawyer, on the other hand, is typically compensated on a contingency basis, which means they earn more by securing a higher damage award or settlement for you.
The Vast Majority of Personal Injury Claims Settle Before Going to Court
Though there may be times when it’s in your best interests to go to trial, your attorney will customarily seek to negotiate a settlement that meets your needs. Be careful, though, not to accept what your insurer offers you without consulting your attorney. Insurers have extensive experience handling these types of claims and will work hard to get you to accept less than you deserve.
You Should Always Seek Medical Care as Soon as Possible
If your injuries don’t require that you go to the hospital in an ambulance, you should nonetheless seek medical attention as soon as possible, whether by going to the emergency department, visiting an urgent care facility, or scheduling an appointment with your personal physician. Often, the adrenaline your body produces in a traumatic event can mask more serious injury. Additionally, some injuries simply take longer to fully develop. Waiting to get medical care can exacerbate your condition and give opposing attorneys ammunition to argue that your injuries weren’t serious or were caused by some intervening event.
When Must You File a Personal Injury Claim?
The timeframe for filing any legal claim is determined by the applicable statute of limitations. To ensure that you file your personal injury action in a timely manner, it’s in your best interests to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible, someone who will know all the deadlines and ensure that you meet them.
You Won’t Have to Pay an Attorney’s Fee Upfront
Personal injury claims are generally handled on a contingency basis, which means that any fees your attorney charges for legal representation (as opposed to out-of-pocket expenses, such as document production, court filing fees, and deposition fees) will be paid out of the verdict or settlement you receive. If your attorney fails to recover compensation for your losses, you won’t have to pay any legal fees.
Contact the Experienced Personal Injury Lawyers at Bailey & Galyen
At the law office of Bailey & Galyen, we understand how a personal injury can change your life. If you’re hurt because of the negligent acts of another person, send us an email or call our offices at 844-402-2992. Our phones are answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week.