Frequently Asked Questions About Personal Injury

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  2. Frequently Asked Questions About Personal Injury
Frequently Asked Questions

When a person is involved in an accident, many personal injury questions arise.  It’s important to understand what to do after an accident and during the claims process. Below are FAQ’s that are associated with personal injury law and their answers.

What do I do after an accident?

The most important thing to do right after being injured is to seek the appropriate medical attention. If possible, photos of the scene of the accident would be helpful. Instead of claiming fault or placing blame, it is important to stay silent on social media and in general conversation during the aftermath of an accident that could potentially lead to a personal injury case.

How do I know if I have a case?

To know for certain if a personal injury case will arise from the accident, the smartest thing to do is to talk to an attorney to answer any questions you may have. This is not a decision that needs to be made on personal knowledge alone.

Do I have a case if I do not feel hurt?

Just because there is no immediate pain does not mean an injury will surface at a later date. There are many other types of trauma associated with being involved in an accident, such as emotional or internal trauma.

How long do I have to file a personal injury case?

The duration of time to file a personal injury case is solely based on individual state statute of limitations. The time frame can range from one to several years. However, if a personal injury case is something that you are interested in pursuing, it is necessary to begin the process as soon as possible. It is easier to prove liability and credibility if the case is filed sooner than later. In both North Carolina and South Carolina, the statute of limitations for personal injury is three years from the date of the accident.

What do I do if an insurance adjuster calls me?

In any instance that you are contacted by an insurance adjuster, it is in your best interest not to engage in any communication with them. Usually, they are trying to obtain information to lessen the liability of their client or the amount of money that can be obtained. The simple solution to this is to inform the adjuster that they can contact your attorney or your insurance company if you do not have an attorney. There is no reason they need to contact you directly.

What damages are available in a personal injury case?

Damages that are usually present in a personal injury case are compensatory, and they can be divided into economic and non-economic categories. Economic damages and the compensation received for them is based on time out of work, medical bills, and other expenses caused by the accident. Non-economic damages are based more on personal health and happiness and can include pain and suffering and a decrease in mental health. These are the damages that are found in almost all personal injury cases. There is a small percentage of cases that can also produce punitive damages if the defendant acted in a horrific manner.

How much is my injury case worth?

Every personal injury case is worth a different amount. Several factors are examined before an amount has a place in any case. You can ask your attorney for an estimate of how much money you may receive, but there is no guarantee of a certain amount. It all depends on the nature of the accident and the severity of injuries that were inflicted and sustained.

What if I had a pre-existing condition?

Pre-existing conditions do not automatically suppress all damages or compensation. Having a pre-existing condition could potentially lessen the number of damages that are obtained, but it also does not negate that the accident still happened. Regardless of any pre-existing condition, the accident still occurred, and you were still injured without the other party knowing the condition existed. These cases can be more complex, so attorney help may become more necessary.

What if I was partly at fault for the accident?

Each state has different guidelines as to whether damages can still be permitted if you are partly at fault for the accident. North Carolina is known as a contributory negligence state, which is simplified as meaning if you are partly at fault for the accident, there is a good chance that little-to-no damages will be given to you. However, South Carolina is different, in that if the personal injury claim is legitimate and has proper evidence and backing, there is still a great chance that compensation will be received in some capacity.

How long will it take to settle my claim?

Personal injury cases can take months or even years to resolve. There is a small percentage of cases that go to trial, but the vast majority end in settlements with a defendant or insurance company. However, there is no set time as to when the settlement will occur. The logistics of the case, along with the severity of the accident and the injuries all factor into how long it will take to reach a resolution.

What is a release in a settlement?

A release is a document that is signed to receive compensation from a settlement. It also states that all legal claims against the defendant are released. A release is generally required for there to be any settlement.

How long will it take to get my check?

After a settlement is reached between the parties, there is usually not a long timeframe to get the check. Because insurance companies want to close cases in a fast manner, checks will usually be sent within 1-2 weeks. The check is reviewed by your attorney and a settlement statement is conducted, which is when necessary deductions are made, such as attorney pay and reimbursements. Then, a check in the amount of the remaining money is given to you after the settlement statement is signed.

How do I pay my medical bills until I get my settlement?

Medical expenses are initially paid by you when the accident occurs. After the settlement is given, those costs are potentially reimbursed to you or almost completely reimbursed. Health insurance can also come into effect after an accident occurs. If you do not have insurance, there are usually doctors and hospitals that will treat you if they are going to be paid when a settlement is reached.

How do I make up for my lost wages until I get my settlement?

Lost wages will not be made up for by the insurance of the person at fault. PIP (personal injury protection) coverage can be used if it is a motor vehicle accident. Vacation or sick time can also be used for an employer.

These insurers usually will need to be reimbursed when and if you get a settlement.

What if the accident happened on the job?

If an accident happened on the job, there are multiple options for compensation. Usually, this is where worker’s compensation comes into play. If possible, it may be necessary to also file a personal injury claim if injured by a third party that is not an employer or coworker. This could be manufacturers of company equipment or employees of a delivery company.

Do I need a lawyer for a personal injury case?

Having a lawyer for a personal injury case is not a necessity and some simple cases do not need an attorney. However, if the accident is at all complex or causes moderate to serious injury, acquiring an attorney would be wise. Having an attorney will ensure that your best foot is forward in dealing with the other party, insurance companies, and settlement amounts.

How do I pay for a lawyer in a personal injury case?

Mostly, a personal injury attorney will take cases without any initial charge. This is a contingency fee agreement, which means that the lawyer will receive a percentage of the compensation you receive from the case. Usually, this percentage is between one-third of the settlement, and forty-percent if a lawsuit is filed. This also means that if no money is gained from the case, then the lawyer will not require any out-of-pocket payment.

If you are the victim of a personal injury accident, King Law is here to help you.  We will answer your personal injury questions and help you navigate through a long and difficult process.  We are here to give you peace of mind and achieve the best possible outcome for your case.  Give us a call at 888-748-5464(KING) to speak with one of our experienced personal injury attorneys in North Carolina and South Carolina.

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