If you have been injured while at your place of work and find yourself dealing with a complicated workers compensation claim, it may be time to consider hiring a work accident lawyer to assist you with the situation. When faced with a situation like this with your employer, arbitrarily choosing a lawyer is not beneficial to you or your workers compensation claim. It is imperative that you schedule an appointment with a lawyer that is trustworthy and knowledgeable about the workers compensation process.
Seek Friend and Family Referrals
There are several approaches that you can take when in search of a competent work injury lawyer. One of the surest ways to locate and hire a capable lawyer who will work tirelessly for you is to get recommendations from friends or family who has had experience with a workers compensation lawyer in the past. Asking friends or family for referrals can be tough or awkward, but these worries should not interfere with your search for a lawyer. One of the best reasons to speak with the members of your social and familial circle is the knowledge that they only want what is best for you and you can trust in their referrals. Friends and family are almost always willing to share their feelings about the legal team that assisted them, giving you a solid idea of how the lawyer may work for you.
Just receiving recommendations from family and friends isn’t sufficient to promise that the lawyer you select will be the paramount choice for your circumstances. This is why you need to comparison shop. Once you acquire the names of more than a few possible lawyers, contact their offices and arrange an introductory consultation to chat about your case and to gather more information about the lawyer’s skill and legal background. When you attend this initial consultation be sure to bring all documents about your work injury with you. This will permit the lawyer the opportunity to become better acquainted with your situation so that he or she will be able to determine if their law practice will be able to offer the essential resources to help you with your workers compensation claim.
Prepare for Rejection
Although you are questioning the lawyer to determine their ability to represent you, you also need to prepare yourself for rejection. Not every lawyer will be willing to take your case. Why is this? It could be that the lawyer feels you do not have a right to a workers compensation claim or that your claim is too complicated and the lawyer does not have the proper experience. These are a few explanations as to why a lawyer may decline your case. The possibility for refusal is another incentive to comparison shop and to secure numerous recommendations. It is also the reason that you need to be prepared to present all information pertaining to your claim when you schedule an appointment to speak with a work accident lawyer. Taking these steps will help you receive the result you desire from your workers compensation claim.
Auto Liability insurance is a special type of coverage that pays for damages to another person’s vehicle or property in the event that you are the one responsible for the accident. Each state in the US requires car owners to have some level of auto liability insurance coverage.
Components of Auto Liability Insurance
1. Property Damage Liability Coverage
Property damage liability specifically covers damage you cause to another person’s property such as a building or mailbox. It also pays for repair/replacement costs for his/her car or other stationary objects.
What Property Liability Doesn’t Cover
Property damage liability covers none of your personal or private properties.
2. Bodily Injury Coverage
If you have caused an accident and people are injured or dead because of you, bodily injury coverage can help you in settling their:
• Medical expenses for minor or serious bodily injuries
• Bail bonds or legal defense fees for people listed on your policy
• Emergency aid at the scene of accidents
• Medical services for disease or sickness
What Bodily Injury Liability Does Not Cover
If you are responsible for the accident, bodily injury insurance pays none of your medical bills. In addition, it does not provide any compensation for replacements or repairs to your personal car, even if it has suffered serious damages.
How Much Liability Car Insurance is Enough for You?
When purchasing an auto liability insurance policy, it is very important to be very careful with the limits. Apart from meeting your state’s minimum required limits, you should strive to purchase a liability policy with higher limits to provide enough coverage and stay safe. The reason is that, if the damage or injury caused by your carelessness exceeds the limits of your coverage, it is very easy for you to be held financially responsible for the difference through a lawsuit.
Whenever an accident occurs that causes damage to a vehicle or injuries to its passengers, an insurance claim will be filed.
What happens during the claims adjustment process can vary widely, and depends on the insurance company, state regulations and even the type of insurance policy. Understanding this process and knowing what to expect from your insurance company’s claim adjuster is a good idea before you select an insurance provider.
We all assume the insurance company will bring us peace of mind and financial security. With some companies, however, there can be surprises during the adjustment process that can lead to added stress.
The coverage limits of your policy plays a large role in the claims adjustment process, because the policy’s coverage specifies how much a claim can be filed for. If you are in an accident and the other driver carries a policy that provides $250,000 medical liability coverage, you may be able to claim up to $250,000 to help pay your medical expenses.
Claims adjusters, however, are charged with minimizing the cost to the insurance company as they assess and resolve the claim. This means they will look for reasons why the full amount is not warranted.
Documenting the Damage
Having the proper documentation is often the difference in getting the money you deserve and getting short changed during the claims adjustment process.
This doesn’t just mean taking pictures of damage and injuries. You should have photos of your vehicle’s condition before the damage, as well as documentation for everything that could be damaged or stolen within the car. Photos, receipts or appraisals can all help you get these items replaced.
Investigating an Accident
Claims adjusters investigate each claim that is filed with an insurance company. They determine the value of the vehicle, look at the police and injury reports and may even interview witnesses. They must determine who was at fault in the accident. Some states, such as New York, do not require a determination of fault because insurance companies are required to protect their policy holders either way.
Regulation of the Industry
In almost every state, insurance agents must hold a license to be able to do business. This regulation is an important part of ensuring consumers are protected from unfair or fraudulent insurance practices. Organizations such as the National Association of Insurance Commissioners makes sure that each states insurance department administers consumer protections dealing with proper business conduct and insurance contract regulation.
Knowing how your auto insurance claims adjuster handles each claim is an important part of making sure you maximize an insurance settlement. If you don’t have the money to hire a private lawyer, there are public claims adjusters that can be hired to work for you and handle the negotiation process so you can receive a fair reimbursement.
You’ve probably gone through the process of dealing with insurance companies after getting hit by an automobile on the road. But what if you were hit by a semi-tuck? How do you handle that situation? Is it any different?
Truck accident claims are conducted differently than car accident claims for several reasons. Due to the commercial nature of the trucking industry, there are many factors, parties and liabilities involved in the accident. For instance, many truck companies employ drivers not as employees, but as independent contractors. This allows them an additional buffer against being liable for accidents, which only serves to make things more difficult for you if you’re trying to get a settlement. Trailers and their merchandize are owned by different companies than the trucks themselves.
Semi-truck accidents are not and should not be treated like regular car accidents. They include a greater likelihood of serious injuries or deaths. As opposed to car accident claims, claims against trucking companies can include negligent hiring, inappropriate supervision, careless maintenance, and failure to follow federal and state truck driving regulations.
Most semi-trucks are federally regulated by the Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration. And this creates a complicated overlap of state and federal regulations.
Usual Accident Causes
Driving a semi-truck on limited rest is a danger to other people on the road, and this may increase the value of a case settlement if this information is discovered. Other truck accidents occur due to excessive semi-truck loads, breaking defects, tired drivers using drugs to meet deadlines, drug and alcohol use, worn out tires, overweight trucks, speeding, reckless driving, falling asleep, improper driver training, and not performing routine maintenance on trucks.
All of these are considered forms of negligence and could be used in favor of the victim in court.
What Happens After the Accident?
Due to the numerous liabilities and factors involved, trucking companies hire immediate response teams who appear onsite to take pictures, collect evidence, and interview witnesses to build a case for their defense. These teams can consist of former police investigators, insurance adjusters and private investigators. When the accident happens, the truck driver calls their dispatcher, and their dispatcher calls the response team who then rushes to the accident scene to start their investigation. The evidence the team gathers will be used against you.
Why do they go through the trouble of hiring a team of experts? Well, truck insurance costs a lot more than auto insurance. It’s not rare to see deductibles of $500,000 for a semi-truck. Using a response team, the company can save money that would otherwise go to paying their deductible or the case settlement for a victim.
Use an Expert Semi-Truck Accident Lawyer
An experienced lawyer will be able to guide you through the complexities of the litigation process and properly present your case to a judge or jury. He or she also uses state-of-the-art techniques such as accident animations to give jurors a good portrait of the accident scene, and will also investigate if the trucking company violated any federal and state laws regarding truck safety. They know the laws regarding these cases and will use them for your benefit.
Semi-trucks are held to higher safety standards than cars. Knowledge of industry standards and federal trucking laws and regulations is essential for achieving a successful litigation in court. An attorney who’s experienced in semi-truck accidents will be able to greatly help you. Contact a lawyer as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to win the case in court.
Automobile accidents can cause different types of injuries in several parts of your body. The severity depends on the circumstances of the crash and the seriousness of the impact. If you take a closer look at the range of insurance and personal injury claims related to automobile accidents, you’ll see that certain injuries stand out more than others. The following are some of the most common injuries and symptoms that occur in a car accident.
Back and Spine Injury
Your, back, spine and all connecting muscles are susceptible to being injured in an auto accident. Back injuries can become chronic, debilitating and painful. Acute back pain is intense and lasts from a few days to a few weeks. Chronic back pain is less severe, but persists for a long period of time and reappears every few months. Though acute or severe back pain improves over time, chronic back pain can get progressively worse. It’s a frustrating reality for victims and requires multiple treatment sessions by a psychiatric therapist. People suffering from chronic back pain can have any of the following conditions:
A herniated disk, whereby a disc of the spine bulges and puts pressure on nearby nerves
Fibromyalgia, when a person is subjected to ongoing aches and stiffness
Sciatica, which is pain in the legs brought on by pressure on the nerves of the lower back.
During an accident flying objects inside the car like broken glass and metallic parts can cause all types of wounds. Simple cuts may heal by themselves or with a few stitches. Deep lacerations may result in hemorrhage due to blood loss and will require surgery to heal. Permanents scars can result from deep cuts and plastic surgery may be required to minimize visible scars, especially if the scars are on the face or neck.
Head Injury, Brain Injury and Concussion
A concussion happens when there is a sudden fierce blow to the head that makes the brain collide with other parts of the inner skull. If there’s a skull fracture, bone fragments can enter the tissue of the brain and cause a bruise. This puts pressure on the brain and can impair vital functions. A person that has a concussion experiences a brief loss of consciousness and memory loss. Other symptoms include dizziness, blurred vision, mood changes, headaches, incoherent speech and weakness in the arms and legs. If you experience any of these indications after a car accident, seek immediate medical attention.
Neck and Whiplash Injury
A very common form of injury from a car accident is a neck injury, which occurs in mild forms such as whiplash and neck strain. Whiplash happens when an unexpected rear-end collision causes the head to be rapidly knocked forward and bounced back. In a split second, the neck goes from a relaxed position to a strained one. This can force the neck bones to snap out of place, thereby causing damage to the surrounding muscles and nerves. In some cases, nerve damage interferes with your blood flow and the transmission of electrical impulses. Whiplash effects can be painful, debilitating and long-lasting.
So What Should You Do If You Were Injured After a Car Accident?
Take pictures of your injuries, the crash and get medical attention. Get medical treatment for any injuries you suspect you have, and also include preventive exams for any symptoms you are experiencing. Minor injuries that go untreated can turn into something serious in the future. A minor car crash can cause a minor injury to develop into chronic back pains, permanent joint problems, or nerve tissue damage. This is why it is important to document everything about the injury and the car crash itself. No injury, however minor, should be ignored. Not only will pictures validate the accident, but they may later be used to establish a connection between the accident and any long-term injuries that may develop. Make sure to document your medical condition with the doctor. Take x-rays of any areas in your body where you feel pain. Lastly, in your discussions with insurance claim adjusters, be sure to mention any physical pain or symptoms you’re experiencing. It’s better to get a record of them from the accident as soon as possible to protect your legal rights in case you have to go to court. You may want to get a lawyer to represent your interests and ensure you receive just compensation for your injuries and losses. They can help you deal with insurance companies and resolve the case quicker and more efficiently. Keep in mind that attorneys get a large cut of your settlement amount.
Let’s say you were in a car accident and it left you with chronic injuries. If it was the result of someone else’s fault or negligence, it could be used as a base for filing a claim in court. The process can be complicated, but hopefully, after you read this page, you will have an idea of how to settle a personal injury claim.
The first thing you should do after the accident occurs is to file a report with the local police department and notify your insurance company. The police report will help determine who was at fault after examining vehicle and traffic laws. Get copies of any reports that were filed related to the accident.
Visit a doctor for examination no more than 24 hours after the crash occurred, regardless of the severity of your injuries. What may appear to be mild injuries now can quickly develop into something serious. Also, take photos of any visible wounds that were inflicted.
The more evidence you gather and record, the better the chances are that your claim will be successful. Record the time of day, the date, the location, any hazardous road conditions, names of eye-witnesses, injuries that resulted, damage done to both cars, medical bills and loss of income from missing work. You will have to release all your health information and include any prior records to make sure that you’re not being treated for an existing condition. Be aware that your treatment should be consistent and appropriate for the injury claimed.
When you make your injury claim to the insurance company, they will significantly low-ball you. And insurance claims adjusters will encourage you to settle before you know the full extent of your injuries. Don’t do it as the amount of the settlement will always be less before all medical and therapeutic procedures have been completed.
Using a lawyer will probably get you a larger settlement, but a lawyer will charge you 33% of whatever amount you get. So make an educated guess on what your settlement might see if getting a lawyer is worth it. There is no easy formula to calculate how much your settlement will be, but you can get an educated estimate from reading this page. Take into consideration the fact that, with an attorney, the insurance carrier is far more likely to take you seriously and will be willing to settle quickly. And the downside of dealing with the claim adjuster on your own is that he is a professional and you’re not. He knows the law better than you and will use his knowledge of it to his advantage.
The worth of a personal injury claim will depend on what the jury or judge considers “fair and reasonable” concerning the intensity of the injuries and their consequences on your daily activities. An attorney will help you to deal with the insurance company to get a larger settlement, but in the end, it will be the court who will decide what you get.
There is not an exact formula that determines how much money you will get after an accident lawsuit because each case is different. However, there is a way to determine an estimate of how much you can get.
How To Estimate An Auto Injury Settlement
The unknown factor is always how much you will get for pain and suffering. For the average settlement for a car accident, a rule of thumb people use is to assume three times the cost of your medical bills. Since your insurance company pays for your medical bills and car repairs, pain and suffering is the only part of the settlement that will be determined by the court. To determine the exact amount, the judge looks at the type of injury diagnosed, the kind of treatment, duration of therapy, pre-existing conditions, severity of the crash, and wage loss due to time spent in the hospital and rehab. Your settlement would be larger if you were not at fault for the accident. You should determine if the injuries caused by the crash will be permanent before you settle. No settlement will be offered or made until you are finished with your medical treatment. So when you speak with the insurance company, tell them you are still having medical treatment
Choosing a Lawyer
A lawyer will usually take 1/3 of your final settlement amount. Make sure all his expenses are itemized and save all your receipts and bills so you can give them to him. The questions your lawyer will have for you are:
li>What kind of treatment did you have? Was it just doctor visits? Or was there also any physical therapy, diagnostic testing to screen for conditions, x-rays, etc.
How long was the treatment for?
How much did you have to pay out of pocket?
How much time did you miss from work?
Do you have any prior injuries to your affected area?
If you don’t use a lawyer, you can try to settle your bills with the insurance company. But they will always try to lowball you since it’s their job to do it. They may try to argue that your medical bills are too high because you received unnecessary treatment, or that you were healthy enough to go to work. However, if you followed your doctor’s recommendations for treatments and missed days of work, then you should be able to recover your medical bills and lost wages caused by the accident. The amount of your settlement will vary depending on the severity of the injury. Frank Jazlovietcki, an injured victim from Pennsylvania, was awarded $850,000, because his injuries did not allow him to perform his job correctly. This is a case where serious injuries were sustained, but your case, in particular, is probably worth more than you think. Especially if you were not found at fault of the accident.
How Much is Your Compensation?
To determine your accident settlement value, add together your medical bills, auto repair bills, income lost from not being able to work, cost of the car rental, and pain and suffering. Your insurance company can cover all related medical expenses, car repairs and income lost. The more difficult question to answer is, how much are you entitled to recover for your pain and suffering?
How to Calculate Pain and Suffering
The Multiplier Method
A standard method for estimating these damages is to multiply your expenses for medical bills and income lost by an arbitrary multiple between 2 and 4. For example, if you had a neck injury related to a car accident, your medical bills were $5,000, and you missed two weeks of work, which cost you $3,000, your expenses are $8,500. Depending on the other factors in the case, the accident settlement value of your claim is somewhere between $17,700 (2 times cost) and $34,000 (4 times cost). Some factors that increase the multiplier are:
Whether there are any aggravating conditions in the accident, such as drunk driving or driving under the influence of drugs
The severity your injuries
The time of recovery
Whether the damage is permanent or just temporary
Take a common sense approach when you look at the case. If your out-of-pocket monetary expenses are high compared to the injuries, use a lower multiple. An example of this is if you had to go to the emergency room, you received a lot of treatment, your medical bills were high, but you were treated for minor injuries. On the other hand, if you had major injuries and your out-of-pocket expenses are low, use a higher multiple.
The “Per Diem” Method
Another way to determine your pain and suffering settlement is by giving it a per diem (per day) rate and adding it to your expenses.” Let’s use the example above. You had medical bills of $15,000 and a job-related income loss of $10,000, for a total of $25,000. Assume that you received treatment for a neck injury for three months, and you still had pain in your neck for two months after that. Using the per diem method, you assign an amount to each day that you suffered from your injuries. In this case, it would be six months. When you are asked, how did calculate your pain and suffering number, use your actual income figures to account for damages of the time you were in active treatment. You reason that dealing with your injury is at least as challenging as your regular job. And it’s a valuation method you can use when your case goes to court. In court, the multiplier method is not formally recognized. You can’t stand in front of a judge and tell him you want four times your expenses. Judges will award you the settlement they deem fair and adequate for medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering. Therefore, you can use the per diem to explain to a judge what you are claiming.
Putting the Pieces Together
The best way to evaluate your settlement value is to use both methods: multiple of expenses and per diem. Then use common sense to determine what a reasonable number is for your pain and suffering claim. As an example, fenders benders could be worth $500-$3,000, and major accidents could be worth $50,000-$100,000. In short, winning a car accident claim will entitle you to a settlement that covers:
Your medical bills
Your auto repair bills
Your income loss from not being able to go to work
Your injury treatment bills for the duration of your treatment
Your pain and suffering from having to live with the discomfort of your injuries for the duration of your injury
Your pain and suffering from not being able to perform your job correctly due to your injuries
Let’s say you were just in a car accident. You’re not sure what to do and how to handle it. Some questions you may ask yourself are: should I let my insurance company handle the accident? Are they going to take advantage of me? How long is it going to take to get my car fixed going to take? Should I get a car accident lawyer?
In a perfect world, you would call your insurance company, they would promptly handle all the work, and you would receive your maximum benefits for the accident. But it doesn’t always work that way. Your insurance company will always put their interests above yours.
So let’s say that you’re in a car accident. The first thing you should do is call the police. When there is an accident, whether there are any injuries or not, the police needs to investigate the accident. They will give you a case number that you need to give to your insurance company’s claims department. The police officer looks at the circumstances that caused the accident, including the road conditions, the weather, the cars and drivers.
Next, call your insurance company and start taking pictures. Take pictures of street names, both cars involved in the accident, license plates, and pictures of the damages caused by the accident including anything that fell on the ground. After you get the police report case number, the date, the location and the pictures of damages, give that information to your insurance company so they can file claim a claim. If the other party was at fault, then your insurance company has to rely on the other party’s insurance company to settle your claim.
If there were any injuries, go to the nearest hospital to get treatment. If you live in a state that has state accident insurance, the hospital should have a claims office where you can file your case and they can help pay for treatments. You have up to 24 hours to get treatment for injuries. After that it’s too late to claim them.
When to Get a Lawyer
If the other driver does not have car insurance, you can hire a lawyer and take the case to court. A private attorney can be expensive, so ask for their fee first. If it’s too expensive, check with free legal services in your city because they will help put you on the right track. If the other party was at fault, then the attorney fees can be covered by their insurance. Have all your documents ready: name of other driver, photos of the car, claim number, insurance company information and name of the repair shop where your car is being serviced. Give all of this information to the lawyer. They will carry out the process faster than if you only include your insurance company.
Lawyers are also very helpful in case you want to get compensation from accident injuries. If a private lawyer is too expensive, your state’s compensation office may have attorneys who will defend you at lower rates. You can have the attorney attend the case on a contingency basis, which means that you pay no legal fees unless you win the case. Your lawyer will get a percentage of the settlement, which means no money will come out for your pocket.
Getting a Rental Car
After all the necessary paperwork has been filed, go in person to a car rental agency and ask for a car replacement. Give them your insurance information and tell them you were in an accident. The car rental agency works with the insurance company to complete the required paperwork. Depending on your insurance coverage, the rental agency will tell you what type of car you can get and for how long. For example, my insurance company allows me to rent a car for 10 days while my car is being repaired in an auto shop. Anything longer than 10 days comes out of my pocket and it may take much longer for my car to be repaired.
So Should I Hire a Lawyer?
To summarize and answer the initial question, should you get a lawyer? If you were in an accident, and suffered an injury, it’s a good idea to get one. A lawyer will have your interests in mind because if you win, they win. They will speed up the process and will help you get the best compensation for car repairs and personal injuries. Your insurance company will help you, but they are more interested in paying you the least they can and will sometimes drag the process for a longer time than it needs to. In the end, getting a lawyer will depend on how serious the accident was and the severity of the injuries.
You can find all the information you need about lawyers and car accidents by reading my free articles. They are listed on the top right hand side of this page.