Most people who have been involved in an accident have dozens of questions. While we hope that the above information answered the majority of your most pressing questions, here are some common personal injury FAQs that you may still have:
How Long Will My Case Take?
Most people want to know exactly how long their case will take. Unfortunately, this is almost impossible to know, even once the claim has commenced. In most cases, it is a safe bet to assume that your claim will not be resolved in less than six months time. If your case is settled in out of court negotiations, it may be resolved within one year; however, this is no guarantee. Unfortunately, if your case does go to court, a resolution can take much longer. In fact, a resolution of your case may even take multiple years, especially if an appeal is filed. Cases that are more complex, where injuries are severe, and when liability is shared are generally much more complex and therefore take longer to resolve.
What Questions Will I Be Asked?
In the event that you file a lawsuit, a discovery process will take place. The discovery process refers to the rights of both parties to conduct a thorough investigation and collect all relevant evidence. During this process. you will likely be part of a deposition, or an inquiry. During the deposition, you will likely be asked a handful of questions, some of which may feel very private. Some of these questions may include:
- How was your injury sustained?
- What is the nature of your injury?
- Do you work? If so, how does your injury affect your job?
- Have you sought medical care for your injury?
- When was your last medical treatment?
- Did you file an insurance claim?
- Did you report your injury to the police?
- How has your injury impacted your day-to-day life?
- Were there any witnesses to the accident?
Do I Have to Testify?
Many people wonder whether or not they have to testify, and if so, what they will be asked. If your case goes to court, yes, you will have to testify. Many of the questions that you will have to answer include the same ones that you have were asked in a deposition (listed above).
Even if your case does not go to trial, you will probably need to provide a statement. Your statement should include information about how your injury happened and how your injury has impacted your life. Your attorney will guide you through all of this, and can help you to compose a statement that is concise and accurate.
How Much Does a Lawyer Cost?
As covered above, a lawyer can range in price from thousands of dollars to absolutely free – it all depends upon whom you hire and the fee system that that person uses. Some attorneys will charge you an hourly fee, others will use retainer fees, and yet others will work on a contingency fee basis. For injury victims who do not want to spend an arm and a leg on legal representation, a contingency fee basis is often best. In a contingency fee agreement, you will pay your attorney a percentage of your winnings that a) is agreed upon beforehand and b) is only valid in the event that your case is actually successful. Most of the time, an amount of 35 percent is standard, although this can vary slightly, especially if you go to trial. This means that if your case is successful, you will owe your attorney approximately 35 percent of your winnings, i.e. if you recovered $100,000, you would keep $65,000 and pay your attorney $35,000.
What Is a Letter of Protection?
Your attorney can compose a letter of protection on your behalf, which may be an essential part of making sure that your rights to medical care are protected. This is because a letter of protection is a letter to a hospital/healthcare professionals that stipulates that you are entitled to medical care–even if you cannot afford it–in exchange for an agreement that you will pay for your services directly from the funds acquired in a personal injury claim settlement. If you are unable to pay for your medical expenses and are worried that treatment will cease as such, contact a Phoenix personal injury attorney about a letter of protection immediately.
Is My Information Confidential?
Yes – when you hire an attorney, your information is 100 percent confidential. Your attorney does not have the right to disclose any information about you to anyone else without your permission. You should also know that any out of court settlement agreement that you reach is also completely confidential. However, in the event that your claim cannot be settled out of court and instead goes to trial, trials are public. As such, any information presented about you during a trial or/and disclosed about the amount you recover will be public record.
How Should I Choose an Attorney?
If you have decided that hiring an attorney is within your best interest, the next step is determining how exactly you will choose your attorney. There are many important questions that you should ask your attorney, including:
- How do you charge?
- Who will be working on my case?
- What will my role be in the process?
- What is your experience in personal injury law?
- What is your record of success?
- Do you specialize in a particular type of law?
Get to know the attorney that you are meeting with – if you do not feel comfortable with his or her approach or any of his or her answers to the above questions, interview a different attorney.
Can I File a Personal Injury Claim for a Workplace Injury?
Finally, many people wonder if they can file a claim for a workplace injury. In most cases, a worker who is injured on the job is barred from filing a personal injury suit against his or her employer, and instead must file a workers’ compensation claim for benefits. However, in some cases, a worker may be able to file a third party liability claim. A third party liability claim follows the same structure as a standard personal injury claim, and asserts that someone (other than the employer) acted negligently, causing the individual harm. In part III of this guide, workplace injury claims will be discussed in more detail. If you have more questions, please feel free to call our offices today.