Personal Injury Attorney - What Happens After An Accident
A personal injury attorney can help you understand the next steps after an accident.
If you’ve never been in an accident before, you may think the process of a personal injury claim is pretty routine. You get injured, you file a claim with the responsible party’s insurance company, you recover, and you receive a fair settlement. Any lingering financial burdens you have as a result of the accident are covered quickly, and you move on with your life.
It’s how we’d all like to think these situations are resolved.
Unfortunately, you may be learning the hard way this is not at all how personal injury cases are handled.
You’ve Been in an Accident
So, you’ve been in an accident that wasn’t your fault. Your injuries are substantial enough that you’ve had to take some time off of work to recover. Even though you exchanged insurance information with the at-fault party, things aren’t progressing in your favor.
What you thought would be an open and shut case is still unresolved, and you have unpaid medical bills piling up that are circulating from one insurance company to the next without any payment. When they begin landing in collections, it’s going to be your name on the bill. The complex paperwork is overwhelming, the financial stress is keeping you up at night, and you’re wondering how in the world you got into this position when the accident wasn’t even your fault.
Personal Injury Law
If you have been injured in an accident, personal injury law allows you to file a civil lawsuit for compensation to recover losses stemming from the accident. It is meant to protect you from financial implications due to someone else’s negligence.
A personal injury case is usually set in motion when you hire a personal injury attorney to represent you. The first step is to determine who is legally at fault through a court judgment. The second step is to determine the amount of compensation to which you are entitled. It is very common for personal injury cases to be resolved through an informal settlement before any lawsuit is actually filed.
This process requires a detailed understanding of the facts, the processes, and the law. If your life has been impacted by an accident that wasn’t your fault, whether due to someone’s actions or failure to act, you may be entitled to compensation.
Personal injury attorneys can help you through cases involving:
There are important steps to take immediately following any accident.
1. Medical Evaluation
Everything you do after an accident can affect your personal injury case. It’s important to document the timeline of events and obtain a proper medical diagnosis. Without it, you really don’t know the severity of your injuries. That first medical report sets the stage for further treatment and will also help determine how much time you will likely need to fully recover from the accident. Your number one priority is your health and well-being.
2. Preserve Evidence
Evidence fades quickly and memories become fuzzy. If you were involved in a car crash, get pictures of all the damage before your vehicle is repaired or disposed of. Take photos of your injuries and write down as many details about the accident as you remember.
3. Leave the Details Out
Avoid discussing the details of an accident with anyone until you speak to an attorney.
It’s better to say too little than to say too much before you have the opportunity to talk about your accident with a personal injury lawyer. This advice holds true at the scene, on the phone, and online.
Personal Injury Claim Process
You may still have some questions about what to expect from your personal injury claim even after discussing the details of your accident with an attorney. All the information is new and the amount of details can be overwhelming. Feel free to ask any questions you have. Don’t feel foolish about not understanding something. An experienced personal injury attorney is there to be your trusted guide, and they are happy to clarify any information for you.
There are 10 common steps to a personal injury case.
1. Injury Occurs
This is the time of the accident. Document what you can by taking notes, obtaining witness information, and snapping photos or quick videos. Always remember, that your first priority is your health and wellbeing.
If you don’t seek immediate medical treatment and you start having complications from the injuries you sustained, insurance companies will ask why you didn’t get a medical evaluation right away. They can question if the injuries you are claiming were, in fact, related to the accident. Get medical care immediately whether you feel like you need it or not,and make sure you follow up with any additional care that is recommended by your doctor.
You may be offered an amount based on the investigation from the insurance adjuster. You can accept the initial offer or negotiate. It’s important not to make any decisions without first discussing the details with your attorney.
Until the claim is complete, no medical bills will be paid by any other party and you remain responsible for those bills. If your insurance company receives the claims and they pay any of them, your attorney will work to get them reimbursed.
In some cases, completing all the medical treatment before filing your claim will allow you to see what your true injuries are. There is a two-year Statute of Limitations in Ohio to file a lawsuit or settle your claim, however, your lawyer will need time to preserve evidence and compile the information needed to file the lawsuit.
This involves subrogation, which is the legal principle that requires someone to be reimbursed if they paid medical bills on your behalf, and then you collect money. This is addressed once a settlement or judgment is obtained.
Many settlements are reached without ever needing to file a lawsuit. However, if you have not settled when the Statute of Limitations date is approaching, we may need to file a lawsuit to avoid missing this deadline.
Once your case is resolved, the insurance company will request that you sign a release for the claim noting the final settlement. Your attorney will review this document with you and make any changes necessary. Your attorney will also prepare a document called settlement analysis which will detail the amount that will go to the attorney and how the remaining settlement money will be disbursed.
THE ARTHUR LAW FIRM10-Step Personal Injury Proven Process
We created our Arthur Law Firm Proven Process to guide clients and answer questions commonly asked by someone going through a personal injury claim.
Find the answers you’re looking for in both a written format and with informative videos by our attorneys. We will guide you through the steps involved in a personal injury case and answer any questions you may have along the way about those steps.
Please feel free to explore our Proven Process, and look for answers to your questions. We are here to help.
You need to make sure that you are collecting and tracking all information and evidence when you have a personal injury claim after an accident. This includes keeping all your medical, financial, and personal records organized and available. We will need to obatin the car accident report, photos and video from the scene, and witness statements, among other things.
Types of Evidence
There are several types of relevant evidence in a personal injury case after an accident. These include:
Physical evidence (tangible evidence of the incident)
Scene Evidence (such as photos of skid marks, broken glass, etc.)
Relevant Documents (paperwork that proves injury, such as medical records, bills, and proof of lost wages as a result of the accident)
Witness Testimony (those who were present at the time of the crash or saw you progress through the healing process
Preserving evidence can be complicated, so it is best to work with a Northwest Ohio personal injury lawyer who understands what you will need and how best to preserve it. This may include taking and recording witness statements immediately, as well as photographing the scene and collecting any other physical evidence right away.
It’s important to remember that insurance companies are not looking out for you as much as they are looking out for themselves. They want to pay out as little as possible, and if you are willing to settle for less than you deserve, they are happy to oblige. Insurance adjusters would prefer to speak with you directly. They may even try to speak with you before you’ve had a chance to talk to your attorney. They know that your attorney will not settle for anything less than fair compensation, and if they can get you to agree to a small settlement early, they are happy to do so.
Advantages of Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer
If you’ve been injured in an accident, take advantage of a free consultation and talk to a personal injury lawyer. Most will offer free consultations, so there’s no reason not to make the call-you have nothing to lose and so much to gain from their experience and advice. A personal injury lawyer will be a knowledgeable guide to help you through the process. Legal proceedings can be complicated, and a trusted attorney is your best ally.
1. Professional and Objective
Seeking legal guidance after your accident can help you understand any legal options you may have for your situation. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you understand your rights and explain the process of a personal injury case. Many times, a personal injury case will be settled before going to court. A personal injury lawyer won’t be emotionally involved in your case and give you honest feedback to help make objective decisions as you move forward through the legal process.
2. Experienced Negotiator
Insurance companies have teams of adjusters and lawyers who are experienced and trained to negotiate for lower settlements. You may be pressured by the insurance company to quickly agree to their unfair offer. If you don’t, they may find ways to drag things out and cause delays. A personal injury lawyer understands the tactics insurance companies use and they know how to negotiate for a fair settlement.
3. Fair Compensation. Fast
A personal injury lawyer understands the law, and they work hard to protect people’s rights. It’s important to them that you get the fair compensation you deserve to be able to move on with your life. One bad accident can lead to a lifetime of financial burdens if you don’t get the compensation you need. Nobody should have to face that after being injured in an accident that wasn’t their fault.
In Ohio, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit to collect compensation. Because it can take time to file a case, it’s a good idea to contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. If you don’t already have legal representation, we can help.
Mistakes That Can Complicate Your Personal Injury Case
There are ways you can positively impact your personal injury case, and there are things you can do that can be detrimental to the outcome. These actions can negatively impact your settlement, and there will be little to nothing your personal injury attorney can do to mend the damage once it’s done.
Waiting too long to take action
Once you pass the Statute of Limitations for your case, you will not be able to file a claim and you will not receive any compensation for the damages you incurred as a result of your accident
Underestimating your injuries at the scene
Too often we want to believe we are ok, so we act as though we are fine at the scene of an accident. The truth is, some injuries can take longer to present themselves, and sometimes after the dust settles and we have time to reflect, we realize maybe we should’ve gone to the hospital after all. Seeking medical treatment immediately after any accident is important, even if you are feeling only minor injuries at the time.
Saying the wrong thing to the wrong people
Talking too much can really hurt your personal injury case. If you find yourself talking to an insurance adjuster, remember their job is to save money and pay out as little as possible. They are looking for any information that can help them, not you. Give them the basic information without discussing anything in detail until you’ve talked to an attorney.
Waiting to gather evidence
This can be difficult if you are injured and shaken after an accident. As soon as you are able, get the names and contact information of witnesses, take pictures of the scene, take pictures of your vehicle, and hang onto every piece of paper related to your accident. In addition, keep the physical evidence of your injuries, including braces, pill bottles, and photos.
Agreeing to a quick settlement
Whether it’s because you need money quickly or you simply want it to be over, agreeing to the first offer from an insurance company can be tempting. If you agree to a low settlement, you will likely not be getting the money you deserve, and the case will be over.
Signing anything without an attorney’s review
Let your attorney read any papers you are given before you sign them. If you inadvertently agree to something you shouldn’t have, and you signed legal documents, there may not be anything anyone can do to reverse your signature.
Talking about your case on social media
Talking publicly about your case is extremely risky, and social media has the added bonus of time-stamped documentation. Be very careful about what you share. The insurance companies can and will use anything against you, even if it seems innocent.
Schedule Your FREE Consultation With Us Today!
As an experienced & trusted Northwest Ohio personal injury attorney, Arthur Law Firm is ready to help you gain your confidence and your life back.
If you’ve been injured in an accident and are unsure of your next steps, contact us today for a free consultation.
In many instances, the words “fee” and “cost” mean the same. In a personal injury case, however, they are not as interchangeable.
A fee is what you will pay your attorney, which will usually be under a contingency agreement. A personal injury lawyer will charge a fee based on a set percentage of your settlement, which will be paid out to them from the money you are awarded once your case is settled.
The fee is to cover common expenses related to preparing and filing your case, which includes, but is not limited to:
Medical record requests
Expert witnesses (doctors who will testify or write opinion letters)
Court filing fees
Mailing and postage
Fair & Square Fee Guarantee
What if you don’t recover enough from your settlement to compensate for your damages and also pay your attorney fee? We can’t speak for others, but Arthur Law Firm guarantees that when your case is resolved, our attorney fee will never exceed your net recovery. With our Fair & Square Fee Guarantee, you can trust Arthur Law Firm to protect your rights and recover all damages you are entitled to under the law without fearing you might pay more in legal fees than what you will recover from your settlement. If our attorney fee exceeds your net recovery, we will reduce our fee.
The costs are any expenses related to your case. This includes the items listed above, as well as administrative and investigation costs, and more.
The attorney will likely pay these expenses as the case proceeds, but once a settlement is received, these items will be reimbursed to the attorney out of the claimant’s portion of the settlement.
How Do I Hire and Pay for a Personal Injury Lawyer?
When you are already facing medical bills and lost wages, the cost of hiring an attorney can feel out of the question. With a contingency fee arrangement, you don’t have to figure out how to pay your attorney upfront. The fee will be agreed upon before you hire the attorney. Your first consultation with a personal injury attorney is likely free, and you will discuss all the fees and payments associated with your case so there won’t be any surprises at the end.
Choose Arthur Law Firm as Your Personal Injury Lawyer in Toledo, Ohio
Not every victim will need a personal injury attorney, but you need to know your options after an accident. Recovering from injuries is hard enough, and the added stress of lost wages, sifting through complex paperwork, and negotiating with the insurance companies can make the process overwhelming. You don’t have to go through it alone. You need a trusted advocate who can explain your options and manage all of the legal conversations and negotiations on your behalf.
Arthur Law Firm understands the trauma you and your loved ones have suffered. We fight hard for the victims in personal injury cases because we believe no one should face insurmountable financial burdens due to an accident that wasn’t their fault.
Arthur Law Firm offers free consultations to find out if legal representation is right for your situation. Many of our personal injury client’s cases are able to be resolved and settled without having to file a lawsuit.
We handle the negotiations so you and your loved ones receive fair compensation.
If you’ve been the victim of an accident and you’re looking for a personal injury attorney in Lucas, Henry, or Wood county, contact Arthur Law Firm today to schedule your free consultation at (419) 782-9881.
Areas We Serve
Arthur Law Firm has four convenient locations in Northwest Ohio to serve our clients.