Personal Injury Information and FAQ’s
Over the years, we have received many questions from our clients after they have been involved in an accident. Below is our effort at trying to answer some of these questions. Please be aware that this information is of a general nature only and is not intended to respond to your specific facts and should not be construed as advice tailored for your particular situation. Please contact us directly so we can discuss your specific situation in greater detail.
Question: What should I do if I am involved in an auto accident?
- If you or anyone else requires immediate medical attention call for medical assistance (dial 911 or the fire/police department emergency line).
- Allow the paramedics to examine you and transport you to the emergency room if necessary.
- If you have been injured, allow the emergency room to treat you.
- If you do not need immediate medical assistance, contact the police department to report the accident and wait for the police to arrive and personally describe the details to the reporting officer.
- Obtain the names, addresses, and phone numbers of all persons involved in the accident and anyone who may have witnessed the accident.
- Take notes about the details of the accident including the location of the vehicles involved in the accident and the damages done to the vehicles.
- If you have a camera phone, take pictures of the accident scene and the damaged automobile(s).
- If you did not require treatment at the scene of the accident, you may begin to develop pain at a later time. If so, go to your family physician or, if appropriate, the nearest emergency room.
- When you speak with your doctor, explain that you were a victim of an accident and ask them to assemble complete records of your injury and treatment.
- Contact an attorney- call or e-mail the Law Offices of Leonard S. Becker at (312) 492-7700.
NOTE: You should not give a &amp;amp;quot;statement&amp;amp;quot; or a description of the accident to the responsible driver’s insurance investigator. Often times insurance investigators will attempt to steer your responses, so such a statement is more likely to hurt you than to help you.
Question: What if my accident occurred at work?
- As with any type of injury, your primary concern should be your health, and you should seek medical attention immediately.
- Before leaving work-you should report the injury to your employer.
- Work-related injuries are handled through a somewhat different legal process
- Contact an attorney.
Question: Who will pay for my medical treatment?
Answer: The initial source of payment will be your health insurance company, if you have medical coverage. When your case resolves, your insurance company will be reimbursed out of the settlement proceeds. If you do not have medical insurance, you can still typically receive medical treatment so long as the fees will be paid once the case is resolved.
Question: How much will it cost to hire an attorney?
Answer: Most attorneys (including the Law Offices of Leonard S. Becker) handle personal injury matters on a &amp;amp;quot;contingency basis.&amp;amp;quot; This means that you do NOT pay anything unless and until a monetary recover is made on your behalf. The attorney’s fee will be a pre-determined percentage the money recovered. Typically, for non-work-related injuries, the contingency fee is one-third but can be higher if the case requires a trial. The contingency fee for work-related case is twenty percent.
Question: Will my case settle out of court or go to trial?
- Any time a case goes to trial, there is a chance you will lose. As such, attorneys will try to settle cases for their clients without the need for trial.
- Mr. Becker has an excellent track record of settling cases without the need for trial. Approximately 95% of Mr. Becker’s personal injury cases settle without needing a trial.
- Mr. Becker will take the case to trial in an effort to obtain the maximum compensation as needed.
Question: How long will it take until my case is settled or goes to trial?
Answer: Each case is unique, and different cases will take different amounts of time. Simpler, more straightforward cases may settle in a matter of a few months. If a case is going to trial, it may take several years to resolve the case. There are many factors that will determine how long it takes to complete a case, including:
- The seriousness of the injury (including how long it takes to complete treatment)
- Whether the other party admits they were at fault (liability)
- If the other party has insurance, and, if so, the specific insurance company
- Which court/judge the case is assigned
Question: How much money should I hope to get from my case?
Answer: There is no automatic formula to determine how much a case is worth. Factors may include:
- the amount of time missed from work
- the amount of medical bills
- the severity of the injury
- whether or not the injury was permanent
There are countless other factors that also help determine how much money you may receive so you should discuss your case with an attorney to determine what the likely range is for your case.
Question: How soon after the accident or injury should I call an attorney?
Answer: You should contact an attorney as soon as you are medically able to do so. If you are unable to contact an attorney yourself, a family member should contact one on your behalf. Please note that if it is difficult for you to travel for a free consultation, one of our attorneys would be more than happy to meet you at a location of your choice including your home or even the hospital.
Question: Do I need an attorney, or can I just represent myself?
Answer: There is no legal requirement that you have to hire an attorney to handle your case, and some people do handle their own legal affairs. However, an attorney can employ several advantages to maximize your dollar recover including:
- Being able to level the playing field when dealing with insurance companies. Insurance companies have resources, experience, and training that an individual typically does not have. A qualified attorney can often times match these advantages.
- Insurance companies are likely to take advantage of the un-represented individual by offering to settle for less than your case is worth. When you are represented by a qualified attorney, the settlement will in most cases, be a much higher dollar amount.
- An attorney can determine and advocate for all the losses associated with an accident. An insurance adjuster knows that a person without an attorney is typically not able to stand up for themselves in court, and that they are unaware of the full settlement potential of their own case.
If you have been in an accident, you owe it to yourself to seek qualified representation.
Question: Is it okay to talk to a representative from an insurance companies if I am contacted?
Answer: You are unlikely to benefit from talking with insurance company representatives and may even hurt your case if you do so. Your best bet is to speak with an attorney first. Your attorney will provide information to the insurance company in a way that is likely to result in the best financial settlement for you. It is the goal of the insurance company to minimize your dollar recovery. You are far more likely to maximize your dollar recovery by utilizing the services of an experienced attorney who knows the ins and outs of the insurance claims process.
Question: Do my facts support a personal injury case?
Answer: Before an evaluation can be given, we need to know the details of your case. Please contact the Law Offices of Leonard S. Becker so we can learn more about your situation and review the facts of your case. Contact us via phone at (312) 492-7700 or complete our on-line contact form. We promise to respond to your inquiry within 24 hours or sooner.