Every personal injury case is different, the amount of damages you claim depends on each case. Depending on your harms and losses, you can claim different types of damages including but not limited to: pain and suffering, emotional distress, permanent physical impairment and disfigurement, financial expenses, past and future wage loss and past and future medical bills
Possibly, it depends. You can potentially recover punitive damages if the Defendant’s conduct was caused by willful and wanton conduct. For example, a driver that was driving drunk or texting while driving could potentially allow you to recover punitive damages. In Colorado, punitive damages are known as exemplary damages
A client should try to avoid long gaps between medical care. For example, waiting six month gap between seeing different medical providers. It is important that the client make all of his or her medical appointments and comply with the instructions of the treatment providers.
A client needs to make sure that his or her case will be in the best position for settlement. Often times, the best results are obtained by aggressively pursuing the case in pre-litigation and/or litigation. If a lawyer is handling 100 to 150 cases, including 30 or more cases in litigation, often times the client’s case will not be in the best position to maximize results for settlement. The client should also want to speak and work directly with the lawyer. And, not be shuffled around with paralegals, case managers, associates, etc. In such a scenario, the lawyer has too many cases to diligently and aggressively prosecute all of the cases with the needed time, energy and resources. So, a client should try to ascertain how many cases the lawyer is handling. A client needs to make sure that his or her case will be in the best position for settlement. Often times, the best results are obtained by aggressively pursuing the case in pre-litigation and/or litigation. If a lawyer is handling 100 to 150 cases, including 30 or more cases in litigation, often times the client’s case will not be in the best position to maximize results for settlement. The client should also want to speak and work directly with the lawyer. And, not be shuffled around with paralegals, case managers, associates, etc. In such a scenario, the lawyer has too many cases to diligently and aggressively prosecute all of the cases with the needed time, energy and resources. So, a client should try to ascertain how many cases the lawyer is handling.
Think about the O.J. Simpson case and how several “dream team” lawyers devoted months and months of litigation and trial work on one, single case. It is that type of focus, energy and great lawyering that wins cases.The Schatten Law Firm keeps a small case load. Mr. Schatten also works directly with all of his clients. This gives us the ability to really focus on delivering the best results
There are generally four important factors to be examined in examining a personal injury case. I call them the four legs to a chair. They include (1) liability; (2) damages; (3) insurance; and (4) the plaintiff. Liability is about determining who was at fault in the accident. For example, who ran the red light? Who failed to stop in time before causing a rear-end auto accident? Why was a puddle of water left in the grocery aisle. The damages that can be recovered were previously discussed above. Who is the Plaintiff? Is he or she likable and credible and will resonate with a jury? Evaluating insurance will be discussed in the next question
The evaluation of the insurance policies in a personal injury case is important as well. First, the Defendant (or at fault driver) bodily injury insurance policy needs to be examined. The Defendant (at fault driver) insurance policy can range from $ 25,000 to $ 5 million or more depending on number of factors and what the Defendant selected for his or her insurance. Sadly, some drivers fail to carry any insurance. The Defendant is required to disclose the amount of his or her insurance policy (if there was one) in litigation. Although disclosure of the insurance policy is not required in pre-litigation, many insurance carriers will often still provide it.
In an automobile accident case, the Plaintiff will also want to know his or her uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. The Plaintiff’s uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage policy will normally stack on top of the Defendant’s bodily insurance policy. So, to give a hypothetical example, if the Defendant has a $ 50,000 bodily insurance and the Plaintiff has a $ 100,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, then the two policies added together will provide $ 150,000 of insurance coverage.
In a slip and fall case, it will be important to evaluate the amount of the insurance held by the store. Often, large commercial businesses like Wal-Mart, King Soopers and other major chains have more than sufficient assets to pay any potential judgment. They are the deep pockets so the insurance question is often much less important in evaluating the collectability of the judgment
Normally, the client will have to pay attorney fees, legal expenses and medical expenses out of a settlement. The evaluation of paying back health insurance is known as subrogation. It is important to speak with a qualified personal injury lawyer. If a client was not “made whole”, then the client maybe able to argue that he does not have to pay back his health insurance under applicable state law. Subrogation is a complicated area and different laws apply for federal ERISA health care plans that can be controlled by federal law not state law
Often times, insurance policies will have a Med Pay provision. For example, there could be $ 5,000 of Med Pay available to pay back medical bills. One of the benefits of Med Pay is that generally speaking it does not need to be paid back
If the client does not have health insurance, the Schatten Law Firm can assist a client with securing needed medical treatment through a medical financing company. There are many good options available for the client
It is generally wise to retain a well-qualified, personal injury lawyer. The old adage is he who has himself for a lawyer has a fool for a client. Insurance companies live by the mantra – Delay, Deny and Defend. The data shows that personal injury lawyers can often obtain settlements that are significantly greater then when one proceeds without a lawyer. In addition to handling the litigation, the lawyer is also in a good position to discuss legal and medical issues with the clients. The lawyer can also negotiate down medical and health insurance bills and obligations.
Hard work, strong preparation and organization wins cases. In an auto accident case, it is generally wise to take photographs of the property damage of your vehicle. Keep good track of your medical appointments, medical records, and any documents you obtain from the police and all other documents that are related to the accident. Bring those documents with you to your first meeting with your lawyer
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