Over 400,000 personal injury claims are filed each year in the U.S. However, only 4% or 16,397 of these claims go to trial.
Being a personal victim of an incident cannot only be emotionally daunting, but also legally complicated.
Therefore, Ohio Personal Injury Lawyers John Fitch reveal and answer the most commonly asked questions on the internet regarding personal injury and victims’ rights.
What Can I Do If My Insurance Company Denies My Car Accident Claim?
After a car accident that results in injuries, you may find yourself with a claim that does not go through. If the insurance company denies your car accident claim, you are not necessarily out of options for pursuing compensation.
In this situation, you may need to gather additional information about what happened in the crash and then re-submit the claim.
After an auto accident with injuries that were the fault of another driver, you normally would file a personal injury claim against the other driver’s insurance company.
However, there are a few instances where you would need to file a claim with your own insurance company instead.
- The other driver committed a hit-and-run, and they can’t be identified
- The driver who hit you did not have insurance
- The driver did not have enough insurance coverage to pay for your injuries
Essentially, to receive a successful claim for compensation, you will need to show the other driver caused the crash and your subsequent injuries
What to Do When the Insurance Settlement Offer Is Too Low?
If an insurance settlement offer is too low, you don’t have to accept or deny it.
Instead, you can tell the insurance company you’d like a lawyer’s opinion before you do anything.
This will give you time to make a careful decision or get advice from a lawyer. Depending on the facts of your case, you may be entitled to many damages, and you – and the insurer – may not have considered all of them.
If you have a personal injury case or a similar case, you may be eligible for economic (financial) damages like:
- Any current and upcoming medical bills
- Any bills you may have for care or rehabilitation
- Lost wages due to an inability to work
- Diminished wages due to an inability to work the same job or duties
- Repair costs for your vehicle if you were in a vehicle accident
Your current settlement offer may not reflect the damages you deserve.
However, a lawyer can help you recognize your eligibility for all the damages you deserve and can also negotiate for these damages for you, allowing you to focus on more important matters, such as your health and family.
How Do I Increase the Value of my Insurance Settlement Offer?
Your lawyer may be able to help increase the value of your insurance settlement offer.
There are several ways you can support this, including;
- Giving monetary values to non-economic damages, like pain and suffering, and then claiming these damages
- Collect as much evidence to support your case and your claim to damages. Evidence may include witness testimonies, cell phone camera footage, and other kinds of evidence- depending on your case.
- Ensure the insurance company does not misrepresent you and your needs
- Provide the insurer with all relevant documents and other information they may need (such as police reports, your phone records, and other information)
- Understand your rights and responsibilities as much as possible
Can I Get a Settlement for a Car Accident Without a Lawyer?
There are no laws in place that require a victim to retain the services of a lawyer to pursue compensation.
However, using a lawyer is recommended to handle legal proceedings on your behalf and you could be more likely to receive a better settlement.
While reaching a settlement for a car accident without a lawyer is possible, you might risk undervaluing your case if you are unaware of what personal injury law entitles you to receive.
This occurs most frequently when an insurance company reaches out to you to offer an out-of-court settlement deal. Lawsuits are lengthy and expensive, and an insurance company knows it’s likely to pay less by settling outside of court.
Therefore, a legal team can help you review your case and explain your legal options and rights before confirming anything.
How Much Money Do You Get From a Car Accident Settlement?
Several factors affect how much money you could get from a car accident settlement.
These factors include the nature, extent, and severity of your injuries. Another element that affects how much you could recover is your contributing role in the accident.
The insurance company (and the court) considers the other party’s liability, if the person failed to react like a reasonable person would have in a similar situation.
You could recover compensation for two types of damages caused by another party’s negligence: economic and non-economic damages. However because there are so many unique variables per accident claim, there is no “average settlement.”
According to the Insurance Information Institute, the average car accident settlement for claims with bodily injury was $22,734 in 2022.
However, the average car accident settlement isn’t going to be the most commonly occurring payout and estimates will change with extremely high and extremely low figures awarded in special circumstances.
Will a pre-existing condition or drug abuse on my medical record affect my personal injury claim?
If you have a pre-existing condition or drug abuse on your record, it is imperative you disclose all pre-existing injuries willingly and honestly to your attorney. This is particularly important if the new injuries affect the same areas of the body as your old injuries. Being honest and forthright about your prior injuries or history of drug abuse will establish your credibility.
This is because at some point in the legal process, a defense lawyer will request documents in discovery—including the injured individual’s medical records. The insurance company will then have experts review these medical records for both the new accident and any previous injuries.
Whether or not a pre-existing condition or history of drug abuse will affect your current personal injury claim is dependent on the circumstances of your particular case.
Pre-existing injuries may sometimes have zero impact on a new damage claim, or in other instances, may have a dramatic impact. The defense may try to use your pre-existing injury or history of drug abuse to completely eliminate their liabilities.
If the pre-existing condition did not cause you any discomfort before the accident occurred, then the driver at fault should still be held completely accountable for your sustained injuries. If, however, your pre-existing condition caused you discomfort prior to the occurrence of the accident, then the driver at fault should be held responsible for the degree that the accident aggravated your condition.
Drug abuse may make your case more complicated. Your history will make you less sympathetic to a jury, thus negatively impacting your personal injury claim.
Defense lawyers may also argue that your drug abuse played a part in the reason you were injured, which could potentially lower the value of your case or even negate it entirely.
Whilst you may believe your drug abuse played no part in your injury, that will not stop the opposing counsel from arguing otherwise.
What Compensation Can You Get with a Dog Bite Claim?
Some dog attacks are fatal and if you lost a loved one in a dog attack, you might have the right to seek compensation.
Depending on the nature of your accident and your injuries, you may be able to recover damages. For example, some recoverable damages may include:
- Your current and future costs of medical treatment: This might cover hospitalizations, surgeries, prescribed medications, lab tests, and follow-up appointments.
- Lost wages for when your recovery process forced you to miss work: Compensation can replace your hourly rate, vacation days, and other benefits you lost.
- Property damage: Your belongings might sustain damage when the dog attacks you. You can get compensation for this.
- Pain and suffering: The physical pain you’re experiencing can keep you from going about your daily routine.
- Scarring and disfigurement: You can receive compensation if a dog bite alters your appearance or compromises your overall mobility.
Can You Pursue Damages for a Construction Accident?
Construction workers can apply for workers’ compensation after an accident, but that money may not come close to covering everything.
Workers’ compensation is not an option if you were not working on the construction site, and you were injured beforehand. As a result, you will need to file a civil suit if you want to pursue damages.
What If I Was Exposed to Water Contamination at Camp Lejeune?
If you or your family member suffer from a health condition caused by on-base toxic water exposure, you have the right to pursue justice and hiring a lawyer should be a priority. An attorney can advise you about how to seek the money you deserve for contamination-related harm.
You may get money for medical care, lost income, and other damages stemming from your exposure to toxic chemicals at Camp Lejeune.
The United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) explains that U.S. Armed Force veterans can seek money for contamination that occurred at Camp Lejeune if:
- You or a loved one lived at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987
- You or a loved one developed a health condition potentially linked to water contamination at Camp Lejeune