Personal Injury Q&A
1. How much is my case worth?
It is very difficult for a lawyer to provide a quick assessment of the value of your case until all the facts have been reviewed. Depending on the circumstances of the case it can take several months or longer to gather all the facts about the incident and the medical condition of the injured individual. Frequently it is necessary to retain experts to evaluate the financial losses that an individual and a family has suffered. Although it is difficult, being patient with the process will ultimately provide the best results for the injured individuals and family members.
2. How soon after an accident should I see a lawyer?
You should see a lawyer about your situation as soon as it is practical in order to obtain advice about what you should be doing. It is important to contact occurrence witnesses as soon as possible after the incident because memories tend to fade with time. A lawyer can only pursue the facts after he or she has been retained on the case.
3. Will I be compensated for the pay I lose due to an accident?
Wage losses suffered as a result of the occurrence are included in determining the damages of the case.
4. What if the other driver has no insurance?
If there is no insurance, then the case can proceed against your own insurance company under the uninsured motorist provisions of your policy if you did not decline that coverage at the time you took out the motor vehicle insurance. The insurance company must be notified of the uninsured claim within the time period set forth in the policy. Also, a search can be conducted to determine if the other driver has any assets against which a judgment can be executed. Normally, if the other driver does not have insurance, he or she rarely has any significant assets against which a judgment can be executed.
5. What should I tell my insurance company when I report an accident (i.e., automobile accident cases)?
You should notify the company of the date, time, and location of the accident, the name and address of the other party, and what damages and injuries you have sustained. Your company will normally have a representative contact you to take a full statement.
6. If I am involved in an accident should I give a recorded statement to the other driver’s insurance company?
You should retain counsel as soon as practical and refer any contact from the other driver’s insurance company to your attorney. It is best not to make any statements to the other insurance company. Any statement you make to the other insurance company can be used against you at a later time.
7. How soon will my case be settled?
All cases are different. There is no set timetable as to when a case will be settled. Acquiring the necessary facts takes time. Once all the necessary information has been acquired, the attorney and the client are in a position to sit down and evaluate the case and then begin settlement discussions with the other side.
8. Do I have a claim?
Before any decision can be made as to whether you have a claim all the facts must be reviewed. At the time of the first consultation, the attorney attempts to gather sufficient facts from the client to do a preliminary assessment as to whether the client has a claim. Sometimes the client does not have enough information to determine whether there is a claim and additional information must be acquired before a decision can be made.
9. What are your fees to handle my personal injury case?
Fees will be discussed with the client after a determination is made as to whether the client has a claim. The fees for personal injury cases are normally 33 1/3 percent of the recovery up to and including trial, and 45 percent if the case is appealed. The fees for workers’ compensation cases are 20 percent of the recovery. In addition to these fees, the client is responsible for all costs incurred in the case. This will all be set out in a written contract if the client and the attorney agree that Benassi & Benassi is to handle the case.
10. If I am involved in an accident and have some pain, do I need to go to the doctor or emergency room right away, and if I don’t, does it hurt my case?
It is best that you receive medical treatment as soon as possible after the accident. Always explain to the doctor and nurses that you were hurt in an accident and what happened to you as a result of the accident. Going for treatment long after the events allows the defense to try to raise the issue that you were not hurt at the time of the accident. However, you will still be able to pursue your claim, even though you did not receive immediate medical treatment.
11. Should I give a statement to the insurance company?
You should not give a statement to the insurance company for the other party; however, your own insurance company is entitled to take a statement from you.
12. Is the other driver’s insurance company responsible to pay my medical bills?
You are responsible for your own medical bills; however, what medical bills you incur are included in the damages that are used to determine the value of your case. If you carry medical coverage on your automobile insurance policy, normally you can submit your medical bills to your automobile insurance company.
13. What if the police officer says it was partially my fault or I think it was partially my fault?
The police are entitled to ask you questions about what occurred. Do not make any statements to the police that you are at fault in any way. Only give the specific facts to the police that are necessary to answer any questions asked of you by the police.
14. Does this preclude me from recovering for my injuries and damages?
Being partially at fault does not prevent you from recovering for your injuries and damages; however, the extent of your fault can be used to reduce the amounts you can recover.
15. If I fall on somebody’s property, are they automatically required to pay me money or pay my medical bills?
No. Whether you can recover damages will depend on the facts of the case.
16. Do I need a lawyer in any personal injury case?
You should consult an attorney in every personal injury case and decide after that consultation what is best in your individual case. Claims adjusters are trained to settle claims to the insurance company’s advantage. Your lawyer is there to look out for your interests, not the insurance company’s interests.
17. How will I pay the attorney?
The attorney’s fees for injury cases come from the proceeds of the case. All costs (not fees) are the responsibility of the client regardless of the outcome of the case. The amount of the fees and costs to be paid is established as set forth in the above answer.
18. How long do I have to hire an attorney after an accident?
You should retain an attorney as soon as practical after the accident. All claims can become time barred if they are not filed or settled within the statute of limitations period.
19. How do I know which attorney to hire?
You should check with friends and family members to determine if any of those individuals has any information about the lawyer you are considering. Additionally, you should meet with a lawyer and discuss your case. You should feel comfortable with the lawyer and feel that he or she is knowledgeable about the type of claim you have.
20. How can I obtain more information about filing a personal injury claim?
Go to the Contact Us page and fill out the appropriate information to make an appointment to discuss your case.
Contact our Peoria, Illinois Lawyers
Our attorneys handle cases for clients throughout the state of Illinois; however, our practice is based primarily in central Illinois including the cities of Peoria, Eureka, Champaign, Bloomington-Normal, Pekin, Springfield, Rock Island, and surrounding areas. Please contact Benassi & Benassi. We are committed to providing positive resolutions to our clients’ legal disputes so they can move on with their lives.