What if I am injured in an auto collision?
Have you been in a car accident or suffered other kinds of personal injury? At Palace Law in Tacoma, WA, we understand how traumatic personal injuries could be. We are committed towards helping you recover damages that you might have suffered as a result of your injury. We believe in providing the best legal aid possible to clients who need assistance in any kind of personal injury. Below are some of the questions that clients have frequently asked us in regards to personal injury cases.
Personal Injury is any physical or mental injury to a person that results from another person's careless or harmful act. Personal injury can occur in a wide variety of ways.
The following are some of the most common:
- Animal Attacks
- Car Collisions
- Insurance Bad Faith
- Insurance Fair Claims Act violations
- Slip and Fall Accidents/Premise Liability
When a personal injury strikes, there are a number of things you should and shouldn’t do to protect your rights. You want to be sure you are covered and compensated for all the damages, both personal and emotional, that you have suffered. Most important, you should follow these key rules:
- Be careful what you say to insurance companies and opposing attorney. Don’t answer any questions without your attorney present. After the collision, the adjustor for the other driver’s insurance company will ask you for a statement. You are under no obligation to give one. Do not give them any information about your past medical care or treatment. It may be used against you later.
- Tell your doctor or healthcare provider about all your symptoms. Doctor’s records and reports are very important when evaluating your claim. Be thorough in relaying your symptoms, including any pain you may be experiencing. Be sure to follow through with any follow up medical appointments and recommended treatments. Your claim could be compromised by missing an appointment or not cooperating with your doctor.
- It is possible that you will be investigated. Either insurance company could hire a private investigator to monitor your activities.
- Don’t settle without consulting with your doctor. You may get pressured by insurance adjustors to settle your injury claim prematurely, but first consult your doctor. Only settle when you and your doctor can safely predict your future medical needs and expenses.
- Consult your attorney before signing a Release. A release ends your claims with the insurance company, and you cannot file additional expenses or claims once you have signed it.
We work with you on your case, we will contact the insurance companies and determine what coverage and benefits are available to you. This may also involve working with Medicare, L&I, DSHS and other agencies to be sure that you continue to receive appropriate payments. Once all available insurance coverage’s and other benefits have been determined, your attorney will then communicate with your healthcare providers and coordinate all benefits during the claims process.
Collision victims are entitled to recover monetary damages for all losses and expenses suffered from the collision. Depending upon the particular circumstances of your case, damages may include recovery for any of the following:
- Emotional Trauma
- Lost Wages, including overtime
- Medical bills
- Mental Disability
- Pain and Suffering
- Physical Disability
- Property Damage
It is likely that your personal injury claim will reach a negotiated settlement so a lawsuit is never filed.
If the case cannot be resolved, however, you have the option of filing a lawsuit and your attorney will explain the steps in the legal process. This is what happens when you file a lawsuit:
Your attorney will prepare a Complaint, a legal document that lays out your claims and secures it on the site.
The Defendant will have to file an Answer that says what portions of the Complaint, if any, the defendant admits to, what the Defendant contests, what defenses the Defendant may have, and whether the Defendant has claims against you or any other party. If the Defendant doesn't answer the Complaint, the court may enter a default judgment against the Defendant.
Your attorney will then exchange documents and other information about the issues relevant to the lawsuit, in a process called Discovery. Discovery can take three forms: written questions which must be answered under oath; document production; and Depositions, which are formally transcribed and sworn statements taken in front of a court reporter.
Sometimes, it is at this point that the case can be resolved in a pre-trial settlement. In that case, the settlement agreement resolves all issues and the court is either not involved or is involved only informally. If the parties do not reach an agreement the case will go to trial.
At trial, the attorneys for each side present evidence and arguments and the judge or jury decides the unresolved issues. Once the judge or jury has reached a decision, the judge will order that Judgment be entered for the side who wins.
A contingency fee is an industry standard fee that is applied to personal injury cases, and is dependent upon the successful resolution of your case. A contingency fee is a percentage of the monetary recovery obtained by an attorney on a client's behalf and is only paid if and when an attorney is successful in obtaining monetary recovery, whether through settlement or litigation. The industry-standard contingency fee is about one third of the awarded settlement. A contingency fee is the form of payment earned by an attorney when he or she states that "there is no fee unless we win your case."