There are many things you need to do after getting in a car accident. Between going to the hospital and contacting your insurance provider, you have a long list of things you need to do before your case is settled. This article is from Edmond El Dabe, a Los Angeles personal injury attorney.
Somewhere on that list you may have that you need to contact an attorney. But where on your list of to-dos should calling a personal injury attorney be?
Taking a case to court before you understand the extent of your injuries may mean you don’t get the compensation you need. But if you wait too late, you may not be able to take the case to court at all.
Knowing the right time to contact a personal injury attorney can be crucial for your case. But what is the right time to make the phone call?
Depending on the extent of the accident, you may need to hire a personal injury attorney right away. If you’ve been severely injured, paralyzed or a death to a loved one has resulted from the accident, you should talk with an attorney as soon as possible.
If you have immediate injuries, even if they aren’t considered severe, you will also want to start working with a personal injury attorney. The statute of limitations for an injury can begin as soon as you’ve been made aware of your injuries, so you won’t want to delay.
Keep in mind that you do not need to settle your case immediately after you begin talking with a personal injury attorney. While you will have many deadlines you will need to comply with, a personal injury attorney can work with you to ensure those deadlines are met and your case is in good standing.
It is recommended that you contact a personal injury attorney as soon as you believe they may be help to you. Because the statute of limitations for a personal injury case can run out quickly if you’re not paying attention, you will want to get the process started immediately.
Depending on the situation surrounding your accident, there may be time sensitive information that you need to collect. Witness testimonials, videos, images, and more will need to be collected in order to support your side of the story.
If you wait too long, this information will be incredibly difficult to track down. The sooner you begin the process of filing your claim, the better chance you have of getting all the information that you need.
A personal injury attorney can help you determine what you will need to file your claim before you take the case to court. They can work with you to proactively plan for what will come in your future instead of trying to get information that is lost far in the past.
Your personal injury attorney will also help you comply with deadlines and the statute of limitations on your case.
A statute of limitations is the time period in which you must file a lawsuit. If you wait until after this deadline has passed to file with the court, you will be unable to receive any compensation from the responsible party – no matter the circumstances surrounding the case.
Understanding the statute of limitations is incredibly important. For personal injury cases, the statute of limitations will depend on the state you live in and the kind of accident you were in. In Arizona, the statute of limitations for a personal injury case is only two years.
For most accidents, the clock will start running the day of the accident. However, certain circumstances may extend the statute of limitations because the clock does not actually start running until you are aware of the extent of your injuries.
If you suffer from a “hidden” injury, the statute of limitations will actually begin running once you’ve been made aware of that injury. A hidden injury is one that you don’t begin experiencing the effects of for many years. For a hidden injury, you would want to talk with a personal injury attorney once you know that the injury is related to your accident, no matter how many years have passed between.
The timing for contacting a personal injury attorney needs to be right, but it is almost always better to contact an attorney too early than too late. If an attorney feels like it is too early to take to court, they can let you know you should wait – but if you wait too long you could miss the opportunity to receive compensation at all.
Contact an attorney as soon as you believe one might be helpful.
This is an article contributed to our website by Delancey Street, a company that provides lawyers with small business loans. One of the most common questions a client will ask their personal injury attorney is about the amount of money they will receive for their compensation. It is a valid question and should be asked. However, most people are not real happy with the answer.
The truth is, your attorney may only have an estimated guess based on some of the information you provided during your initial interview. They cannot, and should not, give you an absolute figure because there are never any guarantees. They can give you an estimate based on similar cases they have had in the past, but it will not be an absolute figure.
How Compensation Is Determined
The first thing that all clients must understand is that their case, their losses, and their injuries are all very unique and personal. Every person will experience an injury in their own way. Every person will recover differently from those injuries, and every person will also suffer different losses because of those injuries.
Because of this, compensation is never a blanket amount. Compensation is unique to each case and based on the facts surrounding that case. This is why it is very hard for your attorney to provide you with an exact amount you will receive for your losses.
What Is Considered When Determining Compensation?
The circumstances surrounding an injury may affect the way compensation is determined. For instance, if you are found partially responsible for a car accident your compensation may be adjusted to account for your actions in the event. Or, if your case is work related you may be entitled to additional benefits not offered in a slip and fall event. However, most compensation claims, regardless of the type of accident often seek the following types of compensation:
• Current Medical Care – This includes all the medical care necessary for you to make a recovery from your injuries.
• Future Medical Care – If you will be required to have ongoing treatments for your injuries, need life time care, or will require additional surgeries in the future, your attorney will seek compensation for these issues to ensure that your medical needs are met.
• Current Loss of Income – Any lost income you have suffered from missing work because of the injuries and medical care will be included in this part of the compensation package.
• Future Loss of Income – Any anticipated lost wages from not being able to return to work, having to accept a part time or lesser paying position, or future time off for recovery is included.
• Current and Future Lost Benefits – If you receive any type of benefits from your employer such as matched contributions to your retirement account, paid medical benefits, paid time off, or similar benefits that you are missing because you cannot attend work, your attorney will include these losses.
• Cost of Services – If your injuries have required you to pay for specific services, such as lawn care or house cleaning because you cannot perform these tasks from your injury, your attorney will seek compensation for these costs. If you will require these services in the future, your attorney will adjust for this also.
• Loss of Consortium – This is often combined with loss of enjoyment, companionship or similarly worded terms. What this means is that you have suffered in a way that has kept you from enjoying your life as you did before the accident with your spouse or partner.
• Personal Property Losses – This would include repairing or replacing personal property that was damaged during the accident.
There may also be additional forms of compensation that you are entitled to under the terms of the insurance policy that is covering the accident or state law. Your attorney will explain to you the exact benefits that you can receive based specifically on your accident and injuries.
Compensation And Attorney Fees
Attorney fees and costs may not be covered in your compensation. This will depend on the type of accident you were involved in, the state laws that apply to your case and the terms of the insurance policy. Your attorney will inform you if they will seek attorney costs as part of your compensation package.
It is important to remember that your attorney fees and legal costs will come from your final compensation. Once you have come to an agreement with the insurance company over the final amount of compensation, your attorney will be issued a check in both the law firm and your name. Your attorney will have you endorse this check when it arrives.
Your attorney will then make sure that all of your bills from the case are paid. This includes all legal costs, medical costs and attorney fees. Once these bills have been paid in full, the law firm will issue you a check for the remaining balance of your settlement. At that time they will also provide you with a full accounting of what bills were paid from your settlment so that you know you are free and clear from any further obligations surrounding this case and your prior medical care.
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