If you are injured in an accident because of the carelessness of someone else, the medical bills and expenses start adding up fast.
If you want to be pursue a claim for these damages, this is called a personal injury lawsuit.
Kevin Salute and Salute Law represents people injured in RideShare Accidents including Uber and Lyft. (Please note that Kevin Salute and Salute Law have no affiliation with either Uber or Lyft which are trademarks and/or copyrights of their respective corporations.)
(1) How much is my personal injury case worth?
The answer to this question is not based on any mathematical formula but rather depends on the nature of your injuries, your out of pocket losses, and how much you have suffered as a result of the accident.
(2) How much does a lawyer cost?
Most lawyers that handle personal injury cases, do not charge any fee unless they win your case. This is called a contingency-fee. Also, most lawyers front the costs of the litigation including experts, filing fees, and other related costs, and only get reimbursed out of the settlement or verdict if the case goes to trial.
Reasons a Personal Injury Lawsuit May Be Necessary
If you suffered an injury that was caused by someone else or a corporation, you may incur medical expenses, physical therapy treatment costs, lost wages, and other so-called out of pocket losses that hurt you and your finances. If the other person or company refuses to take responsibility and pay for those losses, you may have no choice but to pursue a lawsuit in order to recoup your losses.
To maximize your chances of full recovery, you should explore hiring a personal injury lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to handle your case.
How Much Can You Expect to Get Out of A Personal Injury Case?
The value of a personal injury case really depends on a couple of things.
First, you will to prove that the other party is at fault. This may require the hiring of experts by the attorney in order to show the insurance company or a jury the reasons why the other person or company caused the accident.
Second, you will to establish the severity of your injuries.
Third, there are outside factors such as insurance coverage issues that may come not play.
An attorney that is experienced in handling personal injury cases can give you an estimated case value assessing the facts and circumstances of your case. However, it may not be clear until later after medical studies are obtained and other evidence is reviewed as to what the case value really is.
What are the Types of Damages Recoverable in a Personal Injury Case
There are many different types of damages are recoverable in a personal injury lawsuit. The two main categories are generally referred to as “economic” damages and “non-economic” damages.
Medical Bills You are entitled to seek to recoup the costs of medical treatment that occurred in the past as well as future medical care that may be required in the future.
Lost Wages If you missed work or lost your job because of your injuries or treatment that you were required to obtain for your injuries, you may be entitled to recover past and future loss of wages. If you are no longer able to perform your job as a result of the injuries, you may be entitled to seek the loss of earning capacity (your ability to earn money) in the future as well.
Pain and Suffering This is a form of non-economic injury (meaning money to compensate for a loss that did not result in financial harm to you). The amount of a pain and suffering award is dependent upon the evidence in each case. For example, some people that are injured only experience pain for a short period of time and then recover. Others, however, experience a life time of pain and never fully recover to their pre-accident condition.
Emotional Distress Many people that suffer injuries in accidents or see their loved ones involved in accidents suffer more than the actual injury itself. Seeing your loved one in pain or being pain can cause depression, anxiety, and just general emotional distress.
Wrongful Death Survivors of loved ones killed in accidents due to the negligence or misconduct of another individual or party are entitled to compensation for loss of the love, support, and income of the deceased family member.
Loss of Consortium A spouse or domestic partner may be entitled to loss of love and companionship with a person severely injured or killed in an accident.
Punitive Damages In some instances, you may be entitled to seek damages to punish the other individual or company because they acted so egregiously. Punitive damages can be awarded to make an example of the individual or company so that they and others would be deterred from engaging in similar conduct in the future.
Types of Personal Injury Cases
Motor Vehicle Accidents Accidents involving cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats, and other vehicles are probably the most common type of accidents that occur in the United States.
Slip & Fall/Trip & Fall Accidents Those who slip and fall on someone’s property may find themselves with severe injuries, medical bills, and a lifetime of pain. Many of these accidents could have been avoided by simple and cheap precautions by the property owner.
Brain and Spinal Cord Injuries These types of injuries can be devastating and permanent to both the injured person and to their family. These injuries may be temporary or result in permanent disability including cognitive impairment, paralysis, and a host of other conditions.
Burn/Fire Injuries Unsafe building conditions can result in fires in apartments, homes, and other areas where people live and work. The failure to install and/or maintain proper fire safety equipment, the failure to follow proper fire safety protocols, hot beverages, and other types of negligent behavior can cause serious burns and lifelong scarring.
Animal Attacks/Dog Bites owners are responsible for the conduct of their dogs. If you are attacked by a dog or other animal and it causes an injury, you can pursue a claim for damages against the owner for failing to keep the animal under their control in a safe manner.
How a Lawyer Can Assist in a Personal Injury Case
Personal injury lawyers play an important role in personal injury cases. They are the ones that fight for you to get the compensation you deserve to try to make you whole for the injuries and damages you suffered.
They will gather together all of the important information regarding the incident including:
Investigating the scene of the accident;
Obtaining relevant documentation;
They will fight with the insurance company and its lawyers to get you the best compensation for your case. Many times, that will result in a settlement without having to go to court. However, if they are not willing to settle for an amount that is fair, the attorneys are prepared to file the case in court and take it to trial if need be.
Your Role in a Personal Injury Case
When you’re the client in a personal injury case, there are only a few things you need to do, including:
Don’t talk to anybody about the circumstances of the accident without first talking to your lawyer;
Follow the treatment and recommendations of your health care providers and doctors;
Be honest and forthright with your attorneys including providing any documentation you have that can help or hurt your case: police report, insurance documents, and photos or videos you have of your injuries or the accident scene, among other things.
Steps in a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Take care of yourself first. Your health and well being is the most important thing. So, go to the doctor and start treatment for your injuries. After that, these are the next steps in the process:
Reach Out to a Lawyer: Contact an attorney with years of experience handling personal injury cases. As mentioned above, they have a strategic approach toward assessing cases to determine whether you are able to pursue a personal injury claim and how much you could get in a case.
Building Your Case: After you sign a retainer agreement, your attorney and legal team will begin looking over every aspect of your case — your injuries and the circumstances that caused them, the evidence, your employment history and wages, your family’s circumstances, and any other elements that will bolster your claim.
Settlement Negotiations: Your attorney will send what is called a “demand letter” to your insurance company or other party, laying out your case for damages. Oftentimes, this is where your lawyer can get you a suitable personal injury settlement that will help make you feel whole again.
Filing Your Lawsuit: However, if the other party offers a low-ball amount or outright rejects a reasonable settlement, then your legal team will switch gears and be ready to file a lawsuit to try to get you the best compensation possible.
Discovery: This is a period of time when both sides of a lawsuit share documents and other evidence, as requested. During this time is when your attorney will go after every possible piece of documentation the other side has that could help support your case.
Trial: When a case can’t be settled, it goes before a judge and jury. It is during this time that your attorney will argue your case, which includes interviewing expert witnesses.
Personal Injury Settlement
Once you have finished your medical treatment and all of your damages have become fixed, that is the time when your attorney will begin the process of trying to settle your case for an appropriate amount to cover medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses. Your actual settlement amount will vary depending on a host of circumstances, including your level of injury, the type of accident, your employment situation, and what sort of bills you’ve incurred as a result of someone else’s negligence.
The process isn’t instantaneous: Your attorney won’t take the first offer, but will instead go back and forth with opposing counsel to get a dollar amount that is suitable to your circumstances. Once the parties agree on an appropriate amount, it can take up to several weeks to get your money.
Settlements Generally Aren’t Taxable
Settlements in a personal injury lawsuit aren’t taxable under state or federal law. There are some exceptions depending on the nature of the claims — if an emotional injury claim didn’t arise from a physical injury, for example. You may need to seek the assistance of your tax consultant or a tax attorney to help you clarify specific tax questions.
Deadline to Bring Your Case - Statutes of Limitations
Many personal injury lawsuits have strict deadlines embodied in the law — these laws are called “statutes of limitations.” In some states, you have as little as a year or two after your accident to file a lawsuit. If you wait too long to file, then a personal injury law firm can’t take your case and you won’t be able to pursue compensation for your injuries.
If you’ve been injured and you face medical bills and can’t work, and want to try to get your life back on track, you should consider contacting a personal injury attorney today. You could lose out on compensation if you wait too long and miss a deadline.
No Recovery, No Attorneys Fees
Personal injury attorneys like those at Salute Law don’t charge hourly rates or generally any fees at all up front. Instead, they work on what is called a “contingency fee” system, which means that they only get paid if they win your case.
This arrangement allows injured people to gain access to a quality attorney they might not have otherwise been able to afford had they been required to pay an hourly rate.
If your legal team wins your case for you, only then will you pay them. They take a reasonable fee from your recovery, although in certain case types the defendant will be the one to pay your attorney’s fees. In either instance, you’re not paying anything up front.
If you or a loved one were injured, contact Salute Law for a free, no risk case evaluation.