Frequently Asked Questions About Personal Injury Claims

If you have been injured, chances are you have a number of things you’re worrying about. You may have questions about who will pay your medical bills, or how you will cover your bills and other living expenses while you are out of work during your recovery. As experienced lawyers, our team has handled all types of serious accident cases and have successfully recovered more than $100 million for the injured. Because we want you to be informed of your options after an accident, we have answered some of the most frequently asked questions about personal injury claims. If you have further questions, feel free to contact Pratt Clay LLC today to request a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

What is negligence?

Negligence describes a situation in which a person acts carelessly, resulting in someone getting hurt. For example, an employer who knowingly allows or encourages unsafe practices in the workplace may be considered negligent if an employee is injured in an accident. A driver may be considered negligent
if he or she engages in unsafe driving behavior, such as speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, driving while distracted, or driving aggressively. Personal injury claims hinge on proving that the defendant was negligent and therefore liable for compensating an injured person who would otherwise not have gotten hurt.

What are compensatory damages?

A compensatory damage award is money awarded to a plaintiff to reimburse them for losses they incurred in an accident caused by a negligent party. For example, if someone is injured in a car accident caused by a drunk driver, the drunk driver’s insurance company would owe the victim compensatory damages for their medical bills, vehicle repair or replacement costs, pain and suffering, and other damages related to the accident.

How much is my personal injury case worth?

The answer to this question depends on a number of factors, including the severity of your injury, the total value of your medical bills and projected
costs of future medical care, and the extent to which your injury has impacted your future. The amount of compensation you are owed should take into account any expenses incurred as a result of the accident, including things like hospital and medical bills, rehabilitation costs, prescription drug costs, lost wages and lost earning capacity. It also can provide for non-economic losses such as physical and emotional pain and suffering. If you have been injured, you should discuss the facts of your case with an attorney who can assess how much money you may be owed.

How are personal injury claims calculated?

Calculating the value of a personal injury claim depends on a number of factors. Economic factors to consider include the total of all medical bills, property damage, lost earnings, future lost income, and estimated future medical expenses. But how are non-tangible non-economic damages, like pain and suffering, calculated? In order to calculate the amount a person is owed for physical and emotional damages, attorneys and insurance companies take the amount of general damages and use a multiplier to assign it a reasonable value. The number used for the multiplier depends on the severity of the injury.

How long will my personal injury case take?

Again, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question – depending on the factual issues specific to your case, it may take months or years to obtain a settlement, especially if the case goes to trial. While an insurance company may make a settlement offer weeks or months after an accident, it likely will not be enough to cover all of your losses and it certainly won’t compensate you for your pain and suffering. If this is the case, it may be in your best interest to reject this offer and take the time to fight for a more appropriate amount of compensation.

Can I make a personal injury claim if I was at fault?

Even if you think you may have been at fault for an accident, it behooves you to have your case evaluated by an attorney. There may have been factors
at play that you weren’t even aware of that caused or contributed to your accident. For example, a car accident may actually have been caused by poorly designed or maintained roads, missing road signs, or some other factor.

What does municipal liability mean?

Sometimes, a local government (i.e. a town or city) may be responsible for an accident and can be sued for compensation by the injured person. For example, someone who was injured when they tripped on a section of a broken sidewalk may have a claim against a municipality for negligent maintenance of city property. A municipality may also be responsible for a poor roadway design, which may mean dangerous blind curves or insufficient signage/traffic lights. Public transportation accident cases, such as city bus accidents, can also involve municipal liability.

Can I appeal a personal injury judgment?

Yes; if you are unhappy with the outcome of your personal injury case, it may be possible to appeal the decision. Asking for an appeal is essentially asking the court to re-open your case to see if any errors were made during the trial. Your attorney can help you determine whether it is in your best interests to file an appeal.

Do I really need a personal injury attorney?

If you’ve been injured, you have a lot to worry about. Your first priority should be to see a doctor and get the medical care you need to get you on the road to health. The last thing you should have to deal with is an insurance company that – let’s face it –doesn’t want to pay you. Insurers will look for ways to diminish the value of your claim or deny it outright. If they do offer you a settlement, it may be far less than what you are entitled to and, more importantly, need in order to pay your bills. When you work with an attorney, he or she can take on the task of negotiating with the insurance company so you can focus on what’s more important: your recovery.

For more information on personal injury claims, please schedule a free consultation with an attorney at Pratt Clay LLC: 404-566-9460.