Although many personal injury cases involve only minor injuries, you may still be entitled to a substantial monetary settlement. The best way to find out whether or not you have a viable injury claim is to talk with an Indianapolis personal injury lawyer like Randy Sevenish. In general, you and your attorney will have to prove three things in order to recover money: that you suffered injuries, that the defendant was negligent, and that the defendant's negligence caused your injuries. Even if you have a valid claim, however, your attorney will have to investigate whether or not you could collect on your claim, depending on whether the defendant has insurance or whether there are other assets available to recover compensation for your injuries.
If you suspect you may have a valid injury claim, contact Randy Sevenish right away to discuss and evaluate the circumstances of your claim. An experienced lawyer will be able to tell you pretty accurately whether your claim would be likely to succeed, and if not, you will not need to waste time and money pursuing an unpromising claim. If you do have a case, the best way to help it succeed is to find an experienced injury lawyer to handle it for you and lead you through the maze of legal hoops and paperwork necessary to resolve your claim.
How much is my case worth?
Determining the monetary value of a particular injury claim is a complex matter which requires a thorough, professional evaluation of several different factors by a personal injury attorney. Each case is unique; it is difficult to generalize or typify a settlement amount. The proper value of a claim is established when your lawyer reviews and interprets the important information about your case, including the following factors:
- Past, present and future medical expenses
- Lost income related to the accident, if you are unable to work because of your injuries or you miss time because of physical therapy or other treatment
- Permanent physical disability or limitations
- Impact on future earning capacity
- Loss of family, social or educational experiences – missed vacations, school, or special events
- Emotional damage, such as stress, depression or strains on family relationships
- Property damage
- Loss of ability to do certain activities, or loss of enjoyment of activities you do
- Permanent disfigurement or visible scarring
In addition, the following conditions increase the value of potential damages you may recover:
- The more painful your injury
- The more obvious or clear the medical evidence of your injuries
- The longer your recovery period
- The more serious and visible permanent the effects of your injuries
Again, a proper analysis of the value of your claim can only be done by an experienced injury lawyer. To receive a free case evaluation, call 1.800.278.9200 or visit SevenishLaw.com.
How long will my case take?
Personal injury cases can vary in length from a few months to a few years in some situations. The length of your case will depend to a large extent on the nature of your injuries and medical treatment. It is in your best interest to wait until you have fully healed from your injuries and have been released from treatment by your doctors.
Many injured victims are understandably in a hurry to get their money and move on with their lives; however, a good injury lawyer will advise you to be patient. You will usually get more money at settlement if you wait long enough for the dust to settle, until you are either recovered or your doctor determines that you have reached maximum medical improvement. While you are undergoing medical treatment, your attorney will be gathering valuable information and working to prepare your case for favorable presentation to the insurance adjuster.
Will I have to go to court?
The vast majority of Indiana personal injury cases are actually settled in negotiations with the insurance company without a lawsuit being filed. A good injury lawyer who does excellent research will be able to prepare and present cases powerfully enough that the insurance company agrees to pay the amount your attorney believes the case is worth. If you are satisfied with the amount and wish to settle your claim at that point, your case will not have to be filed as a lawsuit with the court system.
However, there are some cases that must be filed and enter the litigation process. About 95 percent of all injury lawsuits filed actually settle prior to trial by jury. Therefore, it is extremely unlikely that your case will have to be tried in court by a judge and jury.
Make sure you keep notes about your injuries. Six months from now, you might forget how much it hurt just doing simple things like getting dressed or climbing the stairs. Write down all your pain medications and other prescriptions. These written documents can be very valuable, in addition to your official medical records, in helping present your case to the insurance adjuster or to a jury.
Keep track of all your expenses related to the accident, not just your medical expenses. Keep your prescription receipts as well as other things you pay for because of your injuries, including household services such as cleaning or lawn mowing, car rentals, and even gas expenses if you have to drive long distances to see a medical specialist in another city.
Randy Sevenish and his staff will work hard to prepare and present your medical records in the best way possible. If appropriate, they will obtain affidavits or medical narratives from your doctor to validate the records of your injuries. If you have a pre-existing medical condition which was aggravated by the accident, they will request the appropriate prior records and thoroughly research how your condition has been affected by your accident-related injuries. They will also keep your past medical history that is unrelated to your accident completely confidential; the insurance company does not need to know intimate details of your past unless your case actually goes to trial.
Your lawyer and staff will also gather as much visual evidence as is available, taking photographs of your injuries and property damage and collecting any video or photos taken by witnesses. If you contact an Indianapolis injury lawyer early enough after your Indiana accident, he or she can have an investigator videotape your injuries and the extent of their interruption of your everyday activities, creating a powerful tool to be used later to present your case to the adjuster or a jury.
What is attorney-client privilege?
The law obligates attorneys and their staffs to not divulge any details of your case without your written consent. This means that any legal information or matter that you discuss with your lawyer is strictly confidential and cannot be discussed with anyone else.
How are attorney fees structured?
In the area of personal injury law, most attorneys are paid at the time of settlement. You do not pay anything up front, and if for some reason your lawyer does not recover money for you, you do not pay him or her. Many injury lawyers have simple contingent fee structures. This means that lawyers take a percentage of the settlement (usually 1/3, or 33%). This fee compensates them for their time and effort and the costs of acquiring your medical records, getting photos and video evidence from investigators, etc. If you have a particular question about an attorney's fee, make sure to ask him or her about it during your initial consultation.
How do I hire an Indiana law firm or a lawyer?
Randy Sevenish, an experienced Indiana injury lawyer, is available to meet personally with any potential clients who think that they may have a valid Indiana injury case. This meeting usually follows a short phone call to Sevenish Law Firm to initially discuss the general facts of your potential case. If you decide to hire Randy and he accepts your case, you will be asked to read and sign medical releases, which allow the law firm to gather your relevant medical records, and a written contingent fee agreement. This allows the staff of Sevenish Law Firm to begin investigating and putting together the evidence for your personal injury claim.