4 Frequently Asked Questions about a Personal Injury Case
- November 20, 2017
Who should I call first after my auto accident?
After you have contacted 911 and filed an accident report with the police, you should speak with a doctor. After that, you should speak to a lawyer about a personal injury case. It’s that simple.
How long does a personal injury case take?
No attorney can say upfront how long a personal injury case will take. This varies from situation to situation. There are two main factors that determine the length of a case: liability and medical stability.
In order to determine liability, we have to answer two questions: who is responsible for the injury, and to what degree is that party responsible? It is possible that more than one party is responsible.
Aside from liability, a person’s medical status is probably the biggest determining factor of how long a case will take. Ideally, the injured person should get to a point where his or her medical situation is not necessarily resolved but is stable. Then we can have a realistic idea of what the future holds. Oftentimes, people settle their case too early, and then they find out about additional injuries and complications.
Sometimes, surgery is not necessary until a substantial amount of time after the accident occurred. You should only settle a case when you and your medical team agree that you have reached the end of your medical treatment. If you foresee the possibility of another medical procedure down the road, it might be best to wait to settle. This is because you only get one shot at settlement; once you agree upon a sum of money for your injuries, you will not be able to get anymore, even if other expenses arise later on.
Let’s consider a typical situation. If someone has a back injury, most doctors will treat it conservatively and won’t even discuss surgery for months if not over a year (except in extreme situations). A person who has had surgery is usually entitled to more compensation than those who have been treated conservatively and their injury has been resolved.
Your medical situation will dictate how long you should wait before you can settle, but it is crucial that you get the case started as soon as possible. You want to inform the insurance company and all other necessary parties. Sometimes, there are some very short deadlines for various types of cases that you will need to keep in mind.
If I’ve already worked with my insurance company, can you still help me?
Certainly. You almost always have options, and it is never too late to speak with an attorney about your case.
What does an insurance company consider when making a settlement offer?
An insurance company considers two main things when making a settlement offer. One of those factors is liability. The other factor is the person’s medical situation. One person with a broken leg may be very different than another person with a broken leg. For instance, the broken leg on a basketball player is a lot different than the broken leg on a secretary. Generally speaking, the livelihood of a construction worker or a commercial driver very much depends on leg use, whereas a secretary’s livelihood is less dependent on this body part. The insurance company will take all of these things into consideration when determining what they’re going to pay.
For legal advice on your specific situation, call the New York personal injury attorneys at Stenger, Diamond & Glass, LLP today. We have two convenient office locations in Poughkeepsie, NY and Wappingers Falls, NY.