Get Answers to the Most Frequently Asked Questions about Auto Injury Claims, Workers Compensation Claims, and Divorce & Custody Cases.
Questions about an injury claim, workers compensation claim or a divorce or custody issue? We want you to call us and ask your questions at (910) 341-7570. There is almost always a lawyer available to speak with you. The call is free and there is no obligation. If you prefer, you can gather more information on this site before you call. We answer many of the most frequently asked questions here. The site is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice. It is designed to give you the information you need to get started and to be knowledgable about the process as you search for the best injury lawyer, the best workers compensation lawyer, or the best divorce lawyer for you.
- Page 15
HOW MUCH IS MY CASE WORTH?
In determining the value of your claim, we take the facts of your case and look ahead. We project what a jury will award after a trial in the specific geographic region where we would try your case. This is true in every case, even though most cases never go to court.
In general, more serious injuries with greater medical bills produce higher settlement values. However, the value of a personal injury case is based upon many factors. Some of the questions that determine case value include:
1. Was the accident clearly the other person’s fault?
2. Was the injured person responsible in any way for the accident?
3. Were there any delays in treatment?
4. How severe were (or are) the injuries?
5. What is the total amount of the medical bills?
6. Have any of the bills been paid by a third party, such as health insurance or Medicaid?
7. Is there any permanent injury or loss of use of a particular part of the body?
8. Did the injured person have any pre-existing injuries?
9. Did the injured person have any particular susceptibility to injury?
10. Who is the injured person’s lawyer?
IS THE INSURANCE COMPANY’S OFFER FAIR AND REASONABLE?
Securing a fair settlement offer is not magic. You don’t get fair compensation because of whom you know. Fair compensation is not the product of intimidation, “smooth talking,” or “bulldogging.” It is the result of hard work, knowledge, experience, organization, and determination. It is both an art and a science. It is about using the right combination of sticks and carrots at the right times. The objective in every injury case is to demonstrate to the insurance company that
1. You can pay us now, or
2. You can pay us later.
Your lawyer must show the insurance adjuster, without arrogance or ego, that the company is going to have to pay this claim. He must show that the way that the adjuster can best do her job and save money for her company is by paying now instead of paying lawyers to defend the case and then end up paying you later.
WHAT IS PERSONAL INJURY LAW?
Personal injury law is the body of law that relates to compensation for injuries that are caused by others. No one ever wants to be injured. We go through our lives trying to avoid injuries. We tell our children “Be careful!” and “Look before you cross the street.” We put up signs. We try to follow the rules. We take every precaution. Still, sometimes injuries just happen.
Sometimes injuries are accidental: You might bump your head on a cabinet door that you left opened. And sometimes injuries occur because someone else makes a mistake. They did not intend to hurt anyone. They just made a mistake that resulted in an injury to another person. Under these circumstances, the body of law that relates to personal injury comes into play. It governs the rights and obligations of the parties involved.
The parties involved in a personal injury claim will vary from a few parties to many, depending on the nature of the claim. A claim will usually include those who caused the injury, as well as those who were injured. Also, insurance companies are involved in injury claims. In an auto injury case, for example, the insurance companies for the vehicle drivers, the vehicle owners, and the passengers may be included. In addition, the insurance company for the employer of the driver responsible for the accident may be involved. These are the usual suspects, but the parties involved may also vary from case to case.
The most common types of personal injury cases are auto inju-ries, premises liability injuries, and injuries caused by medical malpractice. Auto injuries typically occur when a person is injured because another driver makes a mistake. Premises liability claims involve injuries that occur because of dangerous conditions on someone else’s land. Claims for medical malpractice arise when a person is injured because a medical professional makes a mistake.
WHERE DID PERSONAL INJURY LAW COME FROM?
Personal injury law comes from the law relating to torts in civil law. Tort law governs the rights and responsibilities of the unin-tentionally injured. Intentional or purposeful injuries are usually addressed by criminal law. Thousands of cases have shaped personal injury law. However, two cases combined to create the original concept that we are all responsible for the damage we accidently cause to others.
Two cases establish the principles of modern personal injury law.
The first case involved a stonecutter who was injured when the wooden wheel of his 1910 Buick automobile collapsed. Judge Benjamin Cardozo of the New York Court of Appeals wrote in MacPherson v. Buick Motor Co. (1916), “If he is negligent, where danger is to be foreseen, a liability will follow.”
The second case is Donoghue v. Stevenson (1932). This case arose in Scotland when a Miss Donoghue became ill after drinking ginger ale poured from a bottle. She later discovered the bottle contained a dead snail. Lord Atkin wrote in the resulting opin-ion, “You must take reasonable care to avoid acts or omissions which you can reasonably foresee would be likely to injure your neighbor.” His use of the “neighbor” principle comes from the Christian principle of loving your neighbor, found in the New Testament parable of the Good Samaritan.