Common Questions

What is personal injury?
A personal injury in the legal sense is any injury that is done to the mind or body because of someone else’s carelessness (legal term: “negligence”) or deliberate act.  Usually, though, personal injury is limited to harm done to the body.  You can suffer from a personal injury due to a car or other vehicle accident, medical malpractice, falls, dog bites, and many other events.  A person’s family members may have a wrongful death claim if he or she dies due to another’s actions or wrongdoing.

What is the law in personal injury?
The law in personal injury is designed to provide full and fair compensation for victims of wrongful harm.  You may hire a knowledgeable and experienced personal injury attorney to represent you to get the best possible settlement.  You may also hire an injury law firm to help you file a case in court if you think that you have better chances of getting fair compensation this way.  There are two initial things that are being looked into by an injury law firm.  First, it needs to identify those who the law might deem responsible for the personal injury.  Second, it should also be established that there is, in fact, legal liability on their part.  You cannot file a personal injury claim if the accident is completely caused by your own wrongdoing.  Assessing your harm and compensation is next.

What are the different forms of compensation the law allows?
The law designs the personal injury recovery to compensate you for a lot of things.  It can cover your personal injury expenses, such as medical costs and lost earnings.  It is also designed to compensate you for your non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, inconvenience, changes in activities and lifestyle, disability, emotional trauma, and so forth.  The insurance settlement should be enough to cover all the damages resulting from your personal injury, including:
* Medical bills
* Lost wages and work time, even if paid by your employer
* Lost overtime hours
* Impairment of future earning capacity
* Car and other property damage
* Towing and rental car
* Other out of pocket expenses (travel, housecleaning, mowing, etc.)
* Pain and suffering
* Physical disability (full or partial)
* Permanent injury
* Emotional trauma
* Mental anguish
* Loss of enjoyment of life
* Embarrassment/shame/inconvenience
* Loss of love and affection
* Spouse’s individual losses due to your injuries
* Police officers: Unique losses to officers include lost off-duty hours, seniority, retirement service credit, and other benefits.
* For wrongful death damages, click here.

Can I recover money for my medical bills and lost time from work even if my own insurance or other benefits have paid for them?
In general, yes.  In most cases, we can get a recovery for our clients even though their lost time from work has already been paid for by their employer or by using accrued sick time or similar benefits.  The same is true for medical bills paid by our clients’ own insurance or worker’s compensation system.  This may sound at first like an improper “double recovery” but it is not because of established laws favoring injured people and other techniques our office uses to get maximum recoveries for our clients.

Can I still file a compensation claim if the accident was caused partly by my own wrongdoing?
In most cases, yes, you can, but the personal injury case will be subject to comparative negligence principles.  This means that the fault of all parties to the accident will be carefully weighed when determining the insurance settlement.  To determine your settlement, take the total of all your legal damages and then subtract from it the percentage of your own fault.

When should I work with a personal injury law firm?
There are many reasons why you should start working with a personal injury attorney even in the early stages of the case.  First and foremost, it is unfortunately a fact that insurance companies profit greatly due to the many mistakes that claimants make handling their own claims, usually at the very beginning of the claim.  These errors later result in a much lower settlement.  An experienced personal injury lawyer will prevent these mistakes.  Second, the lawyer can guide you throughout the process of getting an insurance settlement, doing the necessary work so you can focus on getting well without the additional time and stress dealing with the insurance company.  Third, an experienced injury lawyer provides the insurer a strong motivation to pay your claim fairly because such a lawyer is trained and experienced in bringing a lawsuit and going to court for a trial.  Last, another reason you should talk to an attorney immediately is because of various legal time restrictions.  Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may not be able to bring an injury claim if you go beyond that time period.

What is a contingent attorney fee?
This means that you don’t have to pay your personal injury attorney any legal fees unless he is able to win the case and you are able to get your insurance settlement.  Once a recovery is made, you pay your lawyer based on a percentage of the recovery.  You can hire our office under a contingent fee arrangement.

Do I need to bring my personal injury case to court?
Insurance settlements are often made without having to go to court.  After all, parties at fault and insurance companies usually would like to get rid of further hassles and bad image.  But the ultimate decision of whether to accept the final offer from the insurance company or go to court in your particular case is yours to make (with advice from your lawyer).  Fortunately, working with an experienced personal injury trial attorney such as Terence Traverso would mean that you can feel much more comfortable making that choice.

How much can I get for my injury claim?
This depends on a number of factors and requires a thorough evaluation of your own case, because all cases are different.  There are no fixed rules for valuing cases (even though some people and even some lawyers might mistakenly say otherwise).  But the evaluation starts with economic losses (medical bills, lost wages, etc.) and continues with the nature and extent of your injuries and their effects on you, along with likely jury trial outcomes and many other considerations.  You will be able to know it early, though, if you start working with an experienced personal injury attorney such as Terence Traverso.

Will you be able to let me borrow some funds?
Unfortunately, injury law firms aren’t able to make such loans under lawyers’ Rules of Professional Responsibility.  We can, however, advance the costs necessary to resolve your case.  We also do what’s necessary to quicken the resolution of your case and your settlement.  If you have creditors or collection agencies pursuing you, we can inform them of your personal injury claim and that you have retained our office.  This way, they may cease collection efforts and wait to receive payment from your insurance settlement.

Can I talk to my insurance company?
As much as possible, we advise our clients not to.  There’s a good chance that what you say will be used against you and you won’t be able to get a full settlement.  You may not even win your case.  If the insurer asks you questions, these should be addressed to your lawyer that you choose to hire, who will be the one to answer them for you.

For a free consultation or to ask questions about your case, call us at 425-453-0115 or e-mail us at info@TraversoLaw.com.

 

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