Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS) on Personal Injury Claims
Most people have either personally gone through the experience of being injured by another person’s careless acts or know someone who has. If you or a loved one has been injured and you believe it was the fault of another person, take a look at these frequently asked questions regarding personal injury claims, and then contact a personal injury lawyer at Jinks Crow & Dickson.
What is personal injury law?
Personal injury law is generally that area of the law dealing with someone sustaining damages to their person (physically, psychologically, and emotionally) as opposed to their property (real estate, cars, boats, etc.). Personal injury also includes other damages associated with the injury such as lost wages, pain and suffering, lost earning capacity, medical expenses, short- and long-term assistance, etc. Personal injury law includes injuries caused by a variety of occurrences, such as auto accidents, truck accidents, toxic exposure, malpractice, pharmaceuticals, defective products, defective highways, defective equipment, intentional misconduct, negligence, assault and other criminal conduct, defective property or conditions (leading to a slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall, for example), texting and driving, drinking and driving (or drunk driving), explosions, fires, and workplace injuries.
How do personal injury claims work?
Generally, if there is enough time before a lawsuit must be filed, once all of the facts are gathered regarding the cause of the injury, the responsible parties, and the resulting damages, a settlement demand is made on the responsible parties. If the case cannot be settled, a lawsuit is filed. Settlement negotiations may continue while the lawsuit is pending. If the case cannot be settled, a court (and usually a jury) will determine who is responsible and the amount of damages. Then there may be an appeal. Once the judgment is final, it must be collected.
Are personal injury lawyers worth it?
Good personal injury lawyers are worth the fee that they earn. They aren’t paid unless you recover an award or settlement. They create value that exceeds what an unrepresented person can collect because of the threat of court. If the case doesn’t settle, they can take it to court. Insurance companies and other defendants do not pay top dollar to an unrepresented person (though they may tell you that they do). A personal injury lawyer can help you maximize your recovery.
What do personal injury lawyers do?
A personal injury lawyer investigates the cause of the personal injury to determine who all may be responsible for the injuries. The personal injury lawyer gathers all evidence of the injury or damages. The personal injury lawyer creates a theme for the case – how best to communicate to third parties how the injury happened and its effects. Generally, a settlement demand is made. If the case is not settled at that stage, the personal injury lawyer prepares the paperwork necessary to file a lawsuit. The personal injury lawyer prepares the case for trial, responds and attends various pretrial matters, and is always prepared to negotiate a settlement when the opportunity arises during the process. A personal injury lawyer handles practically all aspects of the case from the very beginning, so you don’t have to.
When to contact a personal injury lawyer?
It is important to contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after an injury occurs. The personal injury lawyer can help ensure that all relevant evidence is gathered appropriately before it is lost or destroyed. A personal injury lawyer can also help guide an injured person through the complicated process which generally follows a personal injury, from medical treatment to insurance claims, to giving statements to investigators, to law enforcement.
How personal injury compensation is calculated?
Compensation for personal injury is provided by law. The law generally tries to put the injured person in the position that he would have been in had the injury not occurred. To the extent that isn’t possible, the law allows additional compensation to make up for how the person’s life is permanently different as a result of the injury. Personal injury compensation depends on the injury and the person injured. Two people injured in the same way may be compensated differently depending on their circumstances. The personal injury lawyer seeks compensation for their client’s actual injuries, regardless of whether another person would have suffered the same injuries.
Can personal injury settlements be garnished?
Personal injury settlements can be subject to garnishment depending on how they are structured. A personal injury lawyer can ensure that a personal injury settlement is structured properly.
Are personal injury settlements taxable?
Some parts of a personal injury settlement may be treated as income for income tax purposes and some are not. It generally depends on how a personal injury settlement is structured. For example, lost wages are generally treated as income just as wages are. However, compensation for physical injuries is not treated as income.
Will a personal injury settlement affect SSDI?
A personal injury settlement can affect SSDI. It generally depends on what caused the disability and what caused the personal injury. The interplay between a personal injury settlement and SSDI can be very complicated. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help ensure that a personal injury settlement results in your maximum recovery and can make recommendations to try to protect their client’s ability to access benefits.
Can personal injury be mental?
Mental anguish is often a component of personal injuries. The law generally allows for the recovery of mental anguish associated with personal injuries, even if there is no permanent injury. In some limited circumstances, the law allows the recovery of mental anguish damages even if the other personal injuries are relatively minor.
Will personal injury affect SSI?
Generally, personal injury settlements will not impact one’s SSI retirement. If someone is receiving SSI due to a disability, a personal injury settlement could have an impact on SSI depending on what caused the disability and what caused the personal injury.
Are personal injury settlements marital property?
Personal injury settlements are generally personal, but they can include components that are marital property or can otherwise be affected by a divorce. It is important that the personal injury lawyer and the divorce lawyer communicate.
Can a personal injury case be reopened?
Once a personal injury case is resolved either by settlement or a paid judgment, it cannot generally be reopened. If an injured person signs a release of claims against a responsible party, that can permanently prevent the injured person from ever recovering anything else from that party and could even affect claims against other parties. An injured person shouldn’t sign anything that they have not read and do not understand completely. Your personal injury lawyer can review any documents for you before you sign them.
Can I claim personal injury if I was at fault?
Even if you were “at fault” in an accident, you may still be entitled to collect for your personal injuries. While an investigator may say you were at fault, the actual cause of the accident and the personal injuries may be the result of someone else’s negligence or a defective product or roadway defect. A thorough investigation done by an experienced personal injury lawyer can uncover causes of personal injury which may not be obvious.
How are personal injury settlements paid out?
Personal injury settlements are paid out in a variety of ways. Sometimes they are paid in a lump sum. Sometimes they are paid in monthly or annual installments. How they are paid is often up to the injured person and their lawyers and financial advisors. But sometimes the structure of the settlement is determined by the person paying the settlement. A personal injury lawyer can help you decide what is best for you and also what will maximize your recovery.
Will personal injury settlement affect child support?
A personal injury settlement generally should not affect child support but it depends on how the settlement is structured. It is important that a personal injury lawyer is aware of any child support obligations or pending or potential divorce.