Common Questions About Personal Injury Claims
At Munday & Nathan in Chicago, we want to make certain that you have the information you need to make the decisions that are right for you. At this early stage in your case, you may have a lot of questions. While the answers may vary based on the specifics of your case, here are responses to some of the most commonly asked questions about personal injury claims.
- Should I Accept a Settlement Offer?
- What Can I Get Compensation for?
- How Much is My Case Worth?
- Will My Case Go to Trial?
- Is There Anything I Can Do to Strengthen My Case?
- How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Lawyer?
Should I accept a settlement offer?
Some people are surprised when they are contacted by an insurance company with a settlement offer soon after suffering an injury. It can be tempting to accept the offer and get the whole matter done with, you should be aware that these early offers often fall short.
You may not even know the full extent of your medical costs yet, so how can you be sure that the settlement will cover them? Does the settlement include compensation for pain and suffering, which is difficult to calculate? If you sign off on a settlement and it runs out too soon, you will not be able to go back for more. On the other hand, it does not cost anything to have an experienced personal injury attorney review the offer.
What can I get compensation for?
There are three main categories of compensation: Medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Medical expenses include not only those that you have already accumulated but future medical costs as well. The same is true of lost wages.
How much is my case worth?
This answer truly requires a careful review of your case on the part of a lawyer. Be aware that simply adding up your medical bills and lost wages may not be an accurate indication of what your case is worth. Depending on the severity of the injury, it may be worthwhile to have medical experts look at your case to help ascertain future medical expenses, among other costs. Pain and suffering is a noneconomic damage that is all-too-often overlooked.
Will my case go to trial?
Most personal injury claims are ultimately resolved with a settlement. If you have an attorney who does the legwork ahead of time to make it clear to the insurance company exactly how much the case is worth, and who can effectively negotiate with the insurance company, a trial may not be necessary. That being said, it is worthwhile to have an attorney on your side with a reputation for success in trial, in case the insurance company does not play fair. Leveraging trial strength can be beneficial, even in settlement negotiation.
Is there anything I can do to strengthen my case?
Yes! Keep documentation. Make note of what happened that caused the injury. Record as many details as you can remember, and if possible get witness contact information. Photographic evidence of something like an auto accident scene or your injury before it heals can be valuable too. Also, use caution when talking about your case. What you say to the insurance company may be used against you. Avoid posting about your case on social media.
How much does it cost to hire a lawyer?
Personal injury lawyers typically work on a contingency basis. This means that you pay nothing unless we get you compensation. If you are compensated, we will be paid a percentage of the money you receive.