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Personal Injury FAQs

Specifics of international private law.
Law Offices of Marc L. Shapiro, P.A. > Personal Injury FAQs

Have you been hurt on the job or injured in a recent car accident?

What is the value of my case?

This is a difficult, but common question with regard to a personal injury matter. In order to establish a value for your personal injury claim, several things must be considered, including the severity of your injuries, the facts of the case, insurance policy limits and the character of the defendant in the case. If the liability issue is clear, the value of a case is generally based on five components: past medical history and bills, future medical care and the projected cost of that care, wages lost, diminished earning capacity, and pain and suffering. There is no exact formula in calculating the value of a personal injury claim. Evidence, conflicting testimony, past medical history, and other factors can affect the potential value of a claim. With that said, based on our combined experience with personal injury matters, we may be able to calculate an estimated value for your claim, once we have been able to obtain all medical records and statements and have been able to evaluate how our client’s physical and mental state has been altered from the date of injury. The gravity of your injuries, exact details of your accident, any degree of fault that may be yours, your employment history, your ability to work, and your life expectancy will all be examined and will play a role in determining the potential value of your claim. Your lifestyle choices, the consistency and forms of your medical treatment, and any past litigation history will also be analyzed.

How long will it take to finalize my personal injury lawsuit?

Each and every case is unique; therefore, it is very difficult to determine how long it will take to finalize a personal injury matter. Some personal injury lawsuits are settled within months, while others can go to trial and take years to finalize.

Can I file a personal injury claim if I was partially at fault for the accident that resulted in my injuries?

The answer to this question is solely based on your jurisdiction and the particular laws that exist there. In a very limited number of areas, individuals are unable to recover any kind of compensation if they are partially at fault for the accident that caused their injuries. However, most jurisdictions maintain that injured victims are entitled to receive compensation if they were partially at fault for the accident that caused their injuries. In these types of situations, the amount of compensation awarded to the victim is typically decreased in accordance with the victim’s degree (or percentage) of negligence.

Is there a timeframe within which I should file a claim for injuries?

Statutes of limitations are in place, therefore, it is imperative to speak with a personal injury lawyers as soon as possible, to establish the amount of time you have and ensure you are able to file any necessary claim in a timely manner.

What does negligence mean?

In order to have a worthwhile personal injury claim, the injured person must have been injured due to the negligence of another individual or entity. Negligence occurs when an individual or entity fails to exercise a reasonable standard of care for the safety of others. If an individual or entity’s failure to exercise a reasonable standard of care for the safety of others results in the injury of a person, they may be found to be negligent.

How is liability for a catastrophic injury determined?

It is imperative to contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss the details of your personal injury case. More than one person may be liable for any catastrophic injuries caused. Depending on the type of injury, a hospital, doctor, motor vehicle driver, truck driver, employer or drug manufacturer could be at fault.

Is it acceptable to sign any type of release?

Prior to signing anything, make sure to contact a personal injury lawyer for a clear explanation of your rights and to ensure your rights are well protected. If you sign a release without fully understanding what you are signing, you may disqualify yourself from any ability to recover future damages. It is not completely uncommon for an insurance company to approach an injured person early on and ask them to sign a release, and for an injured person to sign something, which may not fully compensate them, as he or she may still be unaware of the full extent and future ramifications and costs of their injuries.

What is a letter of protection and why is it necessary?

If an injured person does not have insurance coverage or if their PIP benefits have been exhausted, medical facilities and doctors may at times accept a “letter of protection,” which is a document allowing the injured person to move forward with treatment without having to pay for it until a later date. Most often, there is no reimbursement made until the injured person reaches a full recovery. It is important for the injured person to understand that if the case is not resolved in their favor, a letter of protection on file does not exempt them from paying their medical bills.

Why isn’t my full coverage insurance covering everything?

Many, if not most, drivers are under the impression that they have full coverage, when they are in fact underinsured in some instances. There are a variety of insurance coverage types, and the failure to have a particular one could completely limit any recovery. Most commonly, we have many clients who believe they have full coverage when, in fact, they do not have underinsured motorist coverage or uninsured motorist coverage, which will cover you in the event of an accident where the other party is uninsured and cannot pay. It is important to contact your insurance company and have a clear understanding of what type of insurance you have. If you feel it may be necessary, hire an attorney to assist you, if you believe your own insurance company is trying to avoid paying a valid claim. If you have full insurance coverage, but feel you have been unsatisfactorily compensated because your insurance company wants to minimize payouts, this could cause delays, and it is important to enlist the assistance of a personal injury lawyer to guide you through this.

Why am I responsible for paying my Personal Injury Protection (PIP) deductible?

When you select your insurance plan, you are given the option to pay a low monthly premium with no deductible, in case you are in an accident. You are also given the option of purchasing PIP insurance with deductibles ranging from a couple hundred dollars up to a couple thousand dollars. If you choose to have a deductible, you are agreeing to pay that amount up front in the event of an accident and prior to the PIP insurance beginning its coverage.

What is maximum medical improvement or MMI?

When you have completed your doctor-prescribed treatment plan with regard to an injury, we request a final narrative from the doctor(s). At this point, the doctor has determined that the injured person has reached MMI, or maximum medical improvement, which means they have reached a point where they are as healed and well as they can be. The injured person may not be in the same condition that they were in prior to the accident, but their condition has stabilized. If the injured person has not been able to reach the same condition as the condition they were in prior to the accident, a doctor may assign their patient with a permanent impairment rating according to American Medical Association guidelines.

What does it mean to “file suit,” and why is it done?

Maybe it won’t get that far, but those who care about these international law disputes think China and the U.S. are on a collision course because both sides hew closely to contradictory readings of international law. One would assume the conflict won’t go nuclear, because that’s a patently absurd result for economically intertwined nations. Maybe it won’t get that far, but those who care about these international law disputes think China and the U.S. are on a collision course because both sides hew closely to contradictory readings of international law.

Are depositions required and what types of questions may be asked during a deposition?

Depositions are not required, but the legal counsel representing the defendant’s insurance company may request one. Some questions that may be asked during a deposition include, but are not limited to: 1. What illnesses and injuries have you suffered from throughout your life? 2. Have you even been involved in any other litigation or legal claims? 3. How did the accident occur? 4. Were there any witnesses to the accident? 5. Did you file an insurance claim for injuries? 6. What are your injuries? 7. In what ways has this injury affected your life? 8. What is your employment history? 9. Has this injury affected your ability to complete tasks at work, and if so, how? 10. Has this injury affected your ability to complete every day tasks outside of work? 11. What types of treatment have you received? 12. Have they been effective? 13. When was your last treatment? We prepare our clients for any deposition by reviewing details of the case, including documents, such as police reports and medical records, which are related to your personal injury claim. We also prepare our clients for questions that will likely be asked during the deposition and will be there to assist you during the deposition.