As a personal injury victim, you likely have a lot of questions about the process of filing and pursuing your claim. You should feel comfortable asking your attorney any question you have about the process and what you can expect as a claimant. If not, find an attorney that you do feel comfortable discussing these issues with. Having a trusting relationship with your personal injury attorney is important to your claim’s success.
You might also have general questions about the personal injury claim process. A few questions and their answers are listed below, but for more specific answers that are tailored to the unique circumstances of your claim, talk with your personal injury attorney.
Why Should I Work with a Personal Injury Attorney?
Working with an attorney who specializes in personal injury claims means working with somebody who knows the process intimately. Your attorney can advise you about the steps to take with your claim and determine an appropriate settlement amount for your losses.
If possible, you can even take this a step further and work with an attorney who specializes in your particular type of case. There are many attorneys throughout the United States who specialize in specific personal injury case types like dog bites or car accidents. Working with an attorney whose area of experience matches your claim type further puts you at an advantage because this attorney has invested a significant amount of time and energy into becoming qualified to handle your type of case.
Can I Appeal my Settlement?
Absolutely. If your claim is denied, the insurance provider most likely has a procedure in place for claimants to appeal their decision. Discuss this with the insurance provider and your attorney. In many cases, claims are denied because they somehow violate the policy’s rules – they might have been filed beyond the filing deadline or could be asking for more money than the policy covers. To have your claim reconsidered, you might have to revise it or provide additional evidence to support it.
How Much Will my Lawyer Cost?
How much your lawyer will cost depends on a few factors, such as:
- How long the attorney has been practicing personal injury law;
- The attorney’s previous success record;
- Whether the attorney works alone or as part of a firm;
- Where the attorney is located – urban versus rural or suburban; and
- How long your case takes to reach its settlement.
Always discuss costs with an attorney during your initial legal consultation with him or her. An attorney who refuses to provide a quote or will not reveal his or her billing method to you is not an attorney who should handle your case. Your attorney should be willing to discuss his or her billing methods with you.
Many personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis, which means that they are not paid until you receive a settlement. Generally, an attorney working on contingency receives one third to 40 percent of a client’s settlement amount. Other billing methods that attorneys employ include retainer fees, which are set prices for a lawyer’s services that include a contract stating a payment timetable and details of the services rendered, and hourly billing.
What Should I Do While my Claim is Pending?
Do not think that once your attorney files your claim, you can just sit back and wait to receive a settlement. As a claimant and recovering personal injury victim, you need to be proactive about recovering from your injury both physically and financially.
Always follow your attorney’s instructions about how to interact with the insurance provider, the court, and any other parties involved in your claim. Your attorney has experience handling personal injury claims and can guide you through yours to ensure that it goes as smoothly for you as possible.
It is also important that you obey your doctor’s instructions as you work through your medical treatment. This is important to making a full recovery. If you do not obey your doctor’s orders, you are putting both your health and your claim in jeopardy – your medical compensation is meant to cover the costs of treatments like physical therapy and medication. If you are not actively undergoing these treatments as ordered by your doctor, you do not need money to pay for them and thus put yourself at risk of having your claim denied.
Keep the following tips in mind as you work through the personal injury claim process. If you are ever unsure about one of these tips or any other issue that arises during the claims process, talk about it with your attorney.
- Stay on a regular exercise routine, but consult with your doctor first to create an exercise regimen that will not result in a worsened condition for you. Staying at a healthy weight during your recovery period will make your recovery easier;
- Continue to eat a healthy diet. Although it can be difficult to prepare your own meals and get to the store for fresh produce when you are injured, eating a healthy diet plays a significant role in keeping you at a healthy weight;
- Let your attorney handle the interaction with the insurance provider. You can potentially hurt your case by admitting fault or agreeing to a lower settlement amount than you need; and
- Educate yourself about the personal injury claim process. Although your attorney is there to guide you and handle the key aspects of your claim, understanding the terms and processes surrounding your claim can help you make better decisions throughout it.