Accident Information

How a Bankruptcy Filing Affects a Personal Injury Claim

Posted in Accident Information on January 17, 2021

Every personal injury claim is unique. Some encounter complications, such as one party filing for bankruptcy. A bankruptcy filing can affect a personal injury claim in many ways – including the possibility of taking away an injured person’s ability to seek financial compensation from a defendant. If you believe your personal injury claim will involve a bankruptcy filing, learn more about what this may entail with help from an attorney.

If the Defendant Files for Bankruptcy

The defendant is the party allegedly at fault for causing the victim’s injury and losses. A defendant will be financially responsible for an accident if he or she caused the accident by failing to uphold the accepted standards of care. But what happens when the defendant does not have enough money or assets to pay for a victim’s losses? The answer depends, but it may involve a bankruptcy proceeding.

Some defendants file for bankruptcy if they cannot afford to pay a settlement or jury verdict awarded to a plaintiff. Upon filing, the defendant will be granted an automatic stay. An automatic stay is an injunction that effectively prevents debt collectors from seizing the defendant’s property or taking legal action to do so, such as filing liens against the defendant. The point of an automatic stay is to protect the debtor’s assets against all creditor actions.

In this scenario, a creditor cannot proceed with any litigation, trial or enforcement of judgments won against the defendant. However, an automatic stay is not without its limits. As a plaintiff, you may be able to continue with your claim despite an automatic stay if your situation meets the requirements of the Bankruptcy Code. You will need to seek relief from an automatic stay from the Bankruptcy Court by filing a motion.

In your motion, you will explain the legal basis on which you are seeking relief from an automatic stay, along with related documentation to support your claim. You will also need to pay a filing fee. If the Bankruptcy Court rules in your favor, the defendant may have to pay for your losses. If the court discharges all debts the defendant owes, you may no longer be able to pursue compensation. You may have to end your claim there, or else have your attorney search for other defendants to hold responsible for your losses.

If the Plaintiff Files for Bankruptcy

Another possibility is the plaintiff in a personal injury claim filing for bankruptcy. If you file for bankruptcy during a personal injury lawsuit in Nebraska, this can impact your ability to recover compensation from a defendant. Once you file for bankruptcy, the defendant can file a motion for summary judgment. This means the defendant will no longer be the real party in interest in the lawsuit. Instead, your case will be handed over to the Bankruptcy Court and your trustee – a person appointed by the federal court to take possession of your bankruptcy estate.

If you file for bankruptcy in the middle of a personal injury claim, your trustee will take control of how to proceed with the lawsuit. You will lose your autonomy in deciding whether to settle with an insurance company or take your case to trial. These will be decisions made by your trustee instead, with the approval of the bankruptcy court. This is why it is extremely important to consult with an attorney before you file for bankruptcy prior to the resolution of your personal injury claim.

Get Help With Your Personal Injury Claim in Omaha

How bankruptcy will affect your personal injury claim depends on many factors, including the type of bankruptcy filed and who files. The most common types are Chapter 7, Chapter 13 and Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. A personal injury lawyer in Omaha can help you navigate a complicated claim where you or the defendant files for bankruptcy. Before you go any further with your case or a bankruptcy filing, contact an attorney for legal advice.

5 Things to Know About Filing a Personal Injury Claim

Posted in Accident Information on January 5, 2021

If you suffer an injury in an accident in Omaha, you could be eligible for financial compensation. The civil justice system gives injured accident victims the opportunity to bring damage claims against at-fault parties. A successful claim will result in financial compensation to make the victim whole again. Learn five basic facts about filing a personal injury claim before you start the legal process.

An Injury Does Not Automatically Mean You Have a Claim

First, recognize that suffering an injury in itself will not automatically give you the right to file a personal injury claim. The accident that caused your injury must contain the required elements of a claim based on the overarching law. For example, if you wish to file a claim based on negligence, you will need to prove that the at-fault party owed you a duty of care, failed to fulfill the standards of care and caused your accident.

The elements of proof will change depending on the legal doctrine applied. A case based on premises liability, for example, will not be the same as one based on product liability. In general, however, a defendant must have committed a wrongful act that caused or contributed to your injury. If no one negligently, carelessly or recklessly caused your injury, you may not have grounds for a claim. There are exceptions, however, so consult with an attorney to find out if you have a case.

Insurance Companies Do Not Always Treat Clients Fairly

One of the biggest mistakes injured parties make is thinking the insurance company receiving the claim is on the client’s side. The agent you speak to may sound friendly and sympathetic, but he or she has one goal: to save the insurance company money. A claims adjuster will often try to achieve this goal by undervaluing the worth of a client’s losses.

Be wary when speaking to an insurance company about your claim. Do not admit fault for the accident and do not accept the first settlement offer. Initial settlements are not always fair. Seek a second opinion from a lawyer first, especially if your injuries are serious or long-term.

Personal Injury Lawsuits Come With a Deadline

Another critical error is assuming you have an unlimited amount of time in which to file your personal injury claim. In Nebraska, a law called a statute of limitations limits your ability to file a claim to four years from the date of the accident or of injury discovery. Although this rule has a few exceptions, it is critical to act quickly to file your claim if you do not want to risk being barred from recovery forever.

Filing a Claim Does Not Mean You Will Have to Go to Court

You may not have to go to trial to obtain compensation for your claim. The majority of personal injury cases settle before they go to court. Settling means the insurance company accepted the claim and offered a reasonable amount the client agreed to, effectively ending the case. The only cases that end up in trial are those with complicated factors, high-value damages or liability disputes. You can increase your chances of saving time and money by successfully settling your injury claim when you hire a personal injury attorney.

Hiring a Lawyer Makes a Big Difference

Hiring a personal injury lawyer can make an enormous difference to your case – both its outcome and your legal experience. A lawyer will understand Nebraska’s laws and navigate them to your greatest advantage. A lawyer will create an accurate estimate of your case’s value and won’t let you settle for less than you deserve. A lawyer will also grant you greater peace of mind during a tough time in your life.

If you are worried about how to afford a personal injury lawyer, look for a law firm that practices on a contingency fee basis. With this arrangement, you will not pay your lawyer unless he or she wins financial compensation on your behalf. This removes any financial risk you have in bringing a claim. Learn more about filing a personal injury claim during a free consultation with an attorney today.

 

How Are Personal Injury Damages Calculated?

Posted in Accident Information on January 2, 2021

In personal injury law, damages refer to the amount of money (compensation) you can recuperate for your injuries and losses. The amount you receive in damages is important, as it can determine whether you have enough to pay your debts and move forward after an accident. Learn how the courts in Nebraska calculate personal injury damages for an accurate idea of how much your case is worth. Estimating the value of your claim can allow you to negotiate with an insurance company for a reasonable amount.

The Myth of the “Average” Personal Injury Settlement

Many claimants in Nebraska ask what the average amount is for a personal injury settlement. This amount does not exist. Although you could calculate the average amount among recent settlements and verdicts won in Nebraska, this would not be an accurate predictor of what the average claimant receives, as there is no such thing as the average claimant. Settlement amounts vary widely from client to client. Many factors unique to a case can determine its worth.

  • Injury severity
  • The length of time it will take for the victim to recover or reach the point of maximum medical improvement
  • Whether or not the injury is permanent
  • The age and health of the victim
  • The victim’s income level
  • The extent of the victim’s losses
  • Whether the defendant has enough insurance or assets to pay out a settlement
  • Liability and comparative fault

These are several basic examples of factors that can impact the amount of personal injury damages awarded to a plaintiff. The issues that affect your specific claim may differ from this list. Some claimants in Omaha have received tens of thousands of dollars or less for their claims, while others have received multiple millions. Rather than looking for an average amount on which to base your claim, take the time to calculate its potential value using the same methods used by insurance companies, judges and juries.

Economic Damages in a Personal Injury Claim

The vast majority of personal injury cases in Omaha settle without ever seeing the inside of a courtroom. A settlement comes from an insurance company. After an injured victim files an insurance claim, the insurance company assigns a claims adjuster to review the matter. The claims adjuster will recommend to the company whether or not to accept the claim, as well as suggest an amount the adjuster believes is appropriate for the victim’s losses.

An insurance claims adjuster bases his or her estimate on documents such as medical bills, income statements, repair estimates, letters from doctors and expert opinions. For an idea of what your insurance settlement could be worth, add up all of the bills related to your accident. Don’t forget to estimate your future expenses, as well. This should give you an accurate idea of what your claim is worth in economic damages. Do not settle for less than this from a claims adjuster if less is offered. The insurance company may be offering less than your claim is really worth.

Pain and Suffering Damages

Pain and suffering damages, also known as noneconomic damages, are more difficult to calculate. You can receive this type of damage award if your injury claim goes to trial in Omaha. Pain and suffering is a category of damages awarded by a jury. This award is difficult to predict due to the fact that a jury has full discretion over how much or how little to grant. Although calculation methods are available, a jury can decide to use these equations or not when determining a fair amount in pain and suffering damages.

For the most accurate estimate of the full and fair value of your personal injury claim, consult with an attorney in Omaha. An attorney will review your case and related injury documentation; then, he or she will estimate your case’s value based on the damages suffered, the severity of your injuries, comparable cases and many other factors. Discuss your claim with an attorney today for more information.

How Do Insurance Companies Investigate a Car Accident?

Posted in Accident Information,Car accidents on December 30, 2020

If you get injured in a car accident in Nebraska, you will file a claim with the auto insurance provider of the at-fault party. This could be the other driver involved in the crash, a third party or your own insurance company. Either way, you will have to go through the insurance investigation process before you can receive benefits. Knowing how insurance companies investigate car accident claims can help you prepare for the process to come.

Assign Claims Adjusters

First, the insurance company will assign a worker with the title of insurance claims adjuster to your case. Insurance adjusters receive multiple cases across their desks every month. They are the professionals in charge of reviewing insurance claims and deciding if the claimant is entitled to receive benefits.

The insurance adjuster will be on the side of the insurance company. The adjuster will want to minimize, not maximize, your payout to save the insurance company money. Be careful what you say to a claims adjuster during an investigation. Do not admit fault, for example, or talk about your injuries until you have seen a doctor. The adjuster will be looking for reasons to deny or reduce benefits.

 

Read the Police Report

The adjuster will call you shortly after you report the car accident to ask for details and information, starting with the police report number. Calling the police and getting the police report number can strengthen your claim in the eyes of an insurance company. The police report can contain important details about your crash, such as who the police officer believes was to blame or which driver received a citation. Always give the police your side of the story while at the scene of a car accident. This will help you establish your version of events.

 

Talk to the Other Party

Once the adjuster speaks to you about the accident, he or she will collect information from the other party or parties involved. The adjuster may call the other driver involved in your wreck as well as speak to eyewitnesses who watched the crash occur. The goal of these conversations will be for the claims adjuster to obtain a well-rounded view of how and why the accident happened. This will allow the adjuster to determine liability and decide on your claim.

 

Review Photographs and Other Evidence

The insurance company will ask you to submit any evidence you have regarding your car accident. This may include photographs and video footage. The claims adjuster will inspect images taken to see if the property losses match what you have claimed. Taking photographs yourself while at the scene of a car accident can give you evidence of the other driver’s liability. A picture of food wrappers in the other driver’s seat, for instance, could serve as evidence of driver distraction.

 

Assess Property Damage in Person

Many insurance claims adjusters leave the office to visit crash scenes and auto shops in person. The adjuster may need an in-person assessment of property damage to accurately estimate the costs of repairs. The adjuster will also check to make sure the losses claimed are accurate to verify your credibility. The adjuster may also revisit the scene of the crash to try to gather available evidence, such as photographs of tire marks on the ground.

 

Review Medical Documentation

Last but not least, an insurance company will conduct an in-depth review of your medical records. It is important not to sign a release form giving the insurance company full access to your medical history. This is a strategy the adjuster may use to search for pre-existing conditions and deny your injury claim. Instead, give the insurance company copies of only the medical records that are relevant to your claim.

If you need assistance negotiating with an insurance company during its car accident investigation, contact an attorney in Omaha for representation.

What Is an Injury Demand Letter?

Posted in Accident Information,Car accidents on December 26, 2020

After an accident such as a car crash, you need to take certain steps to recover financial compensation for your medical bills and property repairs. You must initiate a claim with the liable party’s insurance company. The document that starts an insurance claim is the injury demand letter. Find out how to write a winning injury demand letter, as well as when to hire an attorney for assistance.

What Does a Demand Letter Consist Of?

The injury demand letter is the note you will send to the insurance company receiving your claim after an accident. If you wish to claim benefits for an injury after an accident of any kind, you will need to submit a demand letter to establish your grounds for the claim and seek a specific amount in damages. A good injury demand letter covers several key topics.

  • Your full name and address.
  • The current date and the date of the accident.
  • The defendant’s name and address.
  • A brief description of the accident.
  • Why you believe the defendant is liable.
  • Relevant laws that establish the defendant’s liability.
  • A description of your injuries.
  • A list of all compensable damages sought, as well as their dollar amount.
  • The total amount it will take for you to settle.
  • A line explaining that you are willing to go to trial.
  • Your signature or that of your attorney.

With these essential elements, you will have a strong demand letter that states your case and contains instructions for how you wish to settle the matter. You will submit the demand letter to the insurance company of the at-fault party. Then, you will wait for the insurance company to respond. The insurer will investigate your claim and reply with either an acceptance and a settlement offer or a notice of claim denial.

Tips for Writing a Good Injury Demand Letter

A strong demand letter is an important asset during a claim. A well-worded letter that contains all pertinent information can facilitate a more efficient claims process. It can increase your chances of the insurance company responding positively. Use a few tips to make sure your injury demand letter sends the right message.

  • Be polite and respectful. Do not let any anger or frustration about the accident come through in your letter.

 

  • Be clear and concise in your wording. Cut out any unnecessary words or phrases. Your letter should be one or two pages maximum.
  • Mention the ability to go to court. The threat of taking the insurance company to court is what motivates it to offer a fair settlement.

Submitting evidence and documentation along with your injury demand letter can strengthen your claim. Send the insurance company proof of your injuries and losses, for example, such as medical records and pay stubs. Submitting evidence right away can cut out a lot of back and forth between you and the insurance provider, saving you time and energy.

Ask a Lawyer for Assistance

Do not take the injury demand letter lightly. It could be all that stands between you and the compensation you need to move forward. It is important for your demand letter to be succinct and professional. From small mistakes such as grammatical errors to major issues, the insurance company may change the way it handles your case based on your demand letter.

Give yourself the best possible odds of obtaining fair compensation by hiring a lawyer to write your demand letter for you. A lawyer will know exactly what to say and how to say it in a way that makes an insurance company take your claim seriously. If the insurance company still refuses to offer a fair settlement, your lawyer can take the case to trial instead. Either way, an injury lawyer will not allow you to settle for less than your injuries demand. Speak to a personal injury lawyer today for more information about an injury demand letter.

Who Is Liable for a Self-Driving Car Accident?

Posted in Accident Information,Car accidents on December 20, 2020

The vision for self-driving cars was always to make the roads safer by eliminating human error. No car, however, can guarantee zero accidents. When a self-driving or autonomous vehicle does crash, who is liable for paying the bills? These types of accidents result in tricky claims that may require help from attorneys.

Nebraska’s Liability Laws

Before you can determine liability for a self-driving car accident, you need to understand the general liability law for car accidents in Nebraska. Nebraska is a fault state, which means the party to blame for causing a car accident will be who has to pay for victims’ injuries and losses. Nebraska also uses a modified comparative negligence law. Under this law, if the filing party (plaintiff) is more than 50% at fault, he or she cannot collect damages from the other driver. In a typical car accident case, the at-fault driver will be liable.

Self-Driving Car Accidents vs. Ordinary Accidents

The rules for a self-driving car accident, however, are different. Since one of the vehicles is partially or fully autonomous, the crash may not involve two drivers. Instead, the liability case may come down to one driver vs. the self-driving vehicle’s autonomous technology manufacturer. While liability will still go to the person or party most responsible for causing the collision, this could be various parties depending on the case.

  • Vehicle owner/operator. Even self-driving cars require at least some input or supervision from human operators. If the human inside the vehicle made a mistake that contributed to the crash, such as ignoring the car’s warning to take control of the wheel, the driver could be liable for damages.
  • Vehicle manufacturer. The company in charge of designing or manufacturing the self-driving car could bear liability for a crash if the vehicle contained a defect. If the design or assembly of the autonomous vehicle puts the user at an unreasonable risk of injury, for example, the manufacturer could be responsible for related incidents.
  • Technology or software company. Self-driving cars use advanced technologies that are relatively new to the road. A malfunction of the vehicle’s software in transit could lead to a system failure and related collision, such as the car failing to detect an obstacle and apply the brakes. The company responsible for creating the software could be liable for this accident.

Third parties could also be liable for self-driving car accidents, such as the City of Omaha for a dangerous pothole or road defect. Some cases involve shared liability among multiple parties. You may need a car accident attorney in Omaha to help you determine liability for your self-driving car accident. These crashes are complicated and can point to the fault of many different individuals and companies. A lawyer can help you pursue fair damages from the correct defendant.

What to Do After a Self-Driving Car Accident

If you collide with a vehicle while it is using full or partial automation technology, call the police to file a report. The police can help you gather key information, such as the name of the other driver and his or her insurance information. Take photographs of both vehicles and the crash scene. Go to a hospital in Omaha immediately for a checkup. When it is time to file an insurance claim, call your own insurance provider for the initial report. Then, contact a lawyer.

Self-driving car accident claims are difficult to litigate. They involve complex liability laws that other crash claims do not. You may have grounds to file a lawsuit against the vehicle’s manufacturer, for example, instead of just the driver, for a preventable self-driving car accident. Explore Nebraska’s tort laws and your rights as an injured victim with help from a car accident lawyer. Hiring a lawyer will make sure you protect your rights during a claim.

 

How Is a Wrongful Death Settlement Divided?

Posted in Accident Information,Car accidents,Wrongful death on December 10, 2020

Wrongful death is the tragedy of losing a beloved family member in an avoidable accident, such as a car crash caused by a distracted driver. If Nebraska’s wrongful death laws apply to your loved one’s passing, you and your family may be entitled to financial compensation from the at-fault party or parties. A successful claim could lead to financial reimbursement for expenses such as funeral and burial costs, medical bills, and mental anguish. How a settlement is divided, however, depends on the state’s laws for interstate succession.

How Are Wrongful Death Settlements Paid Out?

The two basic payout options in a wrongful death lawsuit are a lump-sum settlement and structured settlement. In a lump-sum settlement, the recipient will receive the full amount of the settlement or verdict at once, in a single check from the insurance company. Surviving family members will receive the full payout of their economic and noneconomic losses, allowing them to pay their debts upfront.

In a structured settlement agreement, recipients will receive parts of the settlement at a time for an extended period. This can help a family pay for larger financial debts over time by guaranteeing a consistent stream of income. Structured settlements have less flexibility than lump-sum settlements. The right type of payout for a family will depend on the specific situation.

The Deceased Person’s Surviving Spouse, Children and Parents

Any wrongful death settlement or verdict awarded in Nebraska will be divided based on the state’s rules for intestate succession. Nebraska has multiple laws that apply to dividing wrongful death awards. Nebraska Revised Statutes Section 30-2302 states that the first person who will receive a portion of the settlement will be the deceased person’s surviving spouse. The surviving spouse will have an obligation to share the proceeds with any surviving children or parents of the decedent.

If there are no surviving children, but there are surviving parents, the spouse will have to share the first $100,000 with the parents plus 50% of the balance of the intestate estate. If there are surviving children, the children will receive the first $100,000 instead, but only if the surviving children are the issue of the surviving spouse as well. If the surviving children are not the issue of the surviving spouse, the children will receive 50% of the intestate estate. If no surviving children or parents exist, the spouse will receive the entire intestate estate.

Others Entitled to a Portion of a Wrongful Death Settlement

According to Section 30-2303 of the law, with no surviving spouse to receive the first portion of a wrongful death settlement, the full amount will go directly to any surviving children of the decedent instead. All surviving children will split the settlement equally if they have the same degree of kinship to the deceased person. Otherwise, a larger portion of the settlement will go to the child with the closer relationship to the decedent. If no surviving spouse or children exist, the decedent’s parent or parents will share the wrongful death settlement equally.

In a case where there is no surviving spouse, child or parent, the deceased person’s siblings will receive the wrongful death settlement. If none of these survivors exist, the surviving grandparents of the decedent will split the wrongful death settlement equally or according to kinship to the decedent.

Finally, if the decedent has no surviving spouse, child, parent, sibling, grandparent or issue of the grandparent, the entire settlement will pass to the deceased person’s next of kin. The only exception is if two or more collateral kin exist but claim the settlement through different ancestors. In this case, the kin with the closest ancestor will receive preference.

Dividing a wrongful death settlement in Nebraska can be extremely complicated. For assistance with every step of your claim, including settlement division, contact a wrongful death attorney.

What Information Do You Need for a Car Accident Claim?

Posted in Accident Information,Car accidents on December 4, 2020

Filing a car accident claim is the only way to receive compensation for expenses such as vehicle repairs and medical bills. For your claim to succeed, you will need to gather certain pieces of information. Collecting critical documents for settling a car accident claim can make your legal experience easier. Get the most from your car accident case by preparing the necessary information from day one.

Information From the Scene

It is best to collect information while at the scene of your car accident, if possible. If your injuries prevent you from doing so, you can return to the scene of the crash later. You can also trust a friend or family member to collect key information for you. Write down the full name, address and phone number of the other driver. Record the license plate number, insurance information and a description of the vehicle, as well.

On the day of the crash or shortly after, write down a description of what happened while the details are still fresh in your mind. Include important details such as the date, time and location of the accident, as well as how many people were involved and who you believe is at fault. Information collected from the scene can help you prove liability later.

Photographs and Videos

One of the most important types of evidence to have during a car accident claim in Nebraska is photographic evidence. Pictures and video footage of the scene of the car accident may serve as undeniable proof of the other driver’s fault. Photographs of vehicle damage, for example, can allow crash reconstructionists to piece together the dynamics of the collision. Do your best to capture up-close photos of both vehicles and any key pieces of evidence, such as tire marks on the road. Capture wide-lens shots of the entire crash scene, as well.

Statements From Eyewitnesses

Before you leave the scene of a car accident, ask for the names and contact information of anyone around who saw the crash occur. You can even go so far as to record or write down their statements, if possible. Otherwise, obtain their phone numbers and call them later for statements. Eyewitness statements can provide key information about how and why the accident happened, such as one of the drivers speeding or running a red light. If you are not in a fit state to speak to eyewitnesses, the police can do so for you.

Copy of the Police Report

Call the police after any car accident in Omaha to receive an official record of what happened. The police can document important facts related to your case, as well as take official photographs for you. While at the crash scene, ask for your police report number. Then, in the days following your crash, contact the police department in the county where your accident occurred to ask for a copy of the accident report.

Medical Records

Always go to the hospital after a car accident, even if you do not think you are injured. You may have injuries that have not yet shown symptoms, such as a hidden back or head injury. Make copies of all relevant medical records and documents, including x-rays, test results, letters from your doctor and prescriptions. Medical records can be critical during your injury claim.

Phone Number of a Car Accident Lawyer

Finally, you will need the contact information of a reputable car accident lawyer in your city. A lawyer will give you access to important information and resources for your claim, such as car accident experts. Bring all of the information and documentation you have regarding your car accident to an attorney. The more information you collect, the stronger your case will become. Work closely with your lawyer to obtain fair compensation for your past and future losses.

 

 

What Questions Should I Ask a Car Accident Lawyer?

Posted in Accident Information,Car accidents on December 16, 2020

Car accident lawyers aim to help injured victims in any way they can. This is why most offer free initial consultations. A consultation is your opportunity to ask the questions you have and receive trustworthy answers. Knowing what to ask a car accident lawyer during your free consultation can help you understand what to expect from the meeting. Asking the right questions can give you greater peace of mind during a difficult time.

Do I Have a Case?

The first step in your legal consultation will be giving the Omaha car accident lawyer your story. You will describe what you know about the car accident, including who you believe caused the crash. The lawyer will review the facts presented, as well as any evidence you bring to your consultation. Bringing police reports and medical records to your initial consultation can give the lawyer a more comprehensive overview of the crash. The lawyer can then let you know if you have grounds for a case.

Do You Accept Cases Like Mine?

If you do have a case, your next question should be whether the attorney you are talking to handles your type of case. Different car accident lawyers in Omaha have different practice areas. Find a lawyer with on-the-job experience handling your specific type of motor vehicle accident. The car accident lawyers at Knowles Law Firm, for example, accept cases involving cars, trucks, motorcycles, buses, bicycles, pedestrians, rideshare vehicles, hit-and-runs, drunk driving, rollovers, auto part liability, and more.

How Much Experience Do You Have?

Next, ask how much experience the car accident lawyer has representing injured car accident victims. You do not want a green personal injury lawyer who has never before handled a car accident claim. Experience is key to an aggressive and successful legal strategy. Look for years of experience in your practice area, as well as positive results. Although no lawyer can guarantee future results, a history of successful outcomes can show you that the lawyer has what it takes to win.

What Are Your Legal Philosophies?

Get to know the car accident lawyer to find out if he or she is the right fit for you. Ask about the lawyer’s principles, protocols and legal philosophies. The ideal car accident lawyer for you will share your priorities. If you are looking for a lawyer with the time to communicate with you one-on-one about your case often, for instance, find a lawyer who emphasizes communication. You may be able to get an idea of the law firm’s philosophies by browsing the website before you meet with the attorney.

Who Will Be Managing My Case?

Some law firms, especially large mill-type law firms, hand car accident cases off to junior staff members at the firm. These law firms wish to resolve as many cases as possible for maximum profitability. They typically do not offer dedicated care from a lead attorney. Instead, a paralegal or junior associate will handle the case. Ask the attorney you are talking to if he or she will be the one on your case. While it is normal for multiple attorneys at a law firm to work together on a case, your lawyer should not pass your case off to someone less qualified.

What Are Your Legal Fees?

Before you end your initial consultation, ask the lawyer about his or her fee structure. Many car accident attorneys operate on a contingency fee basis to make their services affordable for injured victims. A contingency fee means the lawyer will only charge fees for his or her services after the lawyer wins the case. The fees will come directly from the insurance settlement or jury verdict won. That way, the client never has to afford attorney’s fees out of pocket. Ask if the lawyer works on contingency. If not, the lawyer may have a different solution, such as paying in installments. It is important to have an idea of what to expect in terms of legal fees before you sign a contract and begin your car accident claim.

 

Questions to Ask Your Potential Personal Injury Lawyer

Posted in Accident Information on November 29, 2020

Hiring a personal injury lawyer in Omaha is one of the best things you can do for your claim – especially if an accident gave you or a loved one a serious injury. A lawyer will have the experience, professional expertise and resources to properly litigate your claim. Before you choose your attorney, however, ask several key questions to confirm the lawyer is the right one for you.

questions to ask a personal injury lawyer

How Much Experience Do You Have With My Type of Case?

Check to see if the attorney has hands-on experience in your practice area. It is important to find a lawyer who accepts your specific type of case. For example, if you were injured in a commercial truck accident, hire an attorney with experience in truck accident law. Each type of case is unique, with different rules, statutes and procedures. Your lawyer will need to understand the elements of your specific type of claim. Your lawyer should also have experience representing clients with injuries similar to yours, especially for a catastrophic injury claim.

What Is Your Track Record?

Ask about the law firm’s past track record. While no lawyer can win every case every time, the attorney you choose should have enough positive settlements and jury verdicts in his or her history to give you confidence in the attorney’s abilities. You should not hire a lawyer who has never taken or won a case in your practice area. Ask to see past case awards and client testimonials. You also have the right to ask about any certifications, honors, awards or recognition the law firm has received.

How Soon Can You Start My Case?

Some law firms may be too busy to prioritize your case. Others (mill-type law firms) may purposefully accept as many cases as they can to maximize their profits. In either case, the law firm might not be the right fit for you. Ask if the law firm has the personnel and resources right now to properly handle your case. If the answer is no or the lawyer already seems too busy to meet with you or answer your questions, look elsewhere. The attorney you choose should have the time and energy to fully dedicate to your case.

Who Will Handle My Case?

The attorney you meet with during your free consultation may not be who actually takes care of your case. Some law offices pass cases off to assistants, support staff and paralegals. During your free consultation, ask the lawyer if he or she will be the person handling your claim. Your case deserves attention from a lead attorney, not someone less qualified to litigate your claim.

How Much Are Your Attorney’s Fees?

Legal fees are an important item to ask about during a consultation with a lawyer. Different lawyers and law firms charge varying amounts for their services. The attorney should be forthright with how he or she charges, as well as how much a case like yours might cost. While the lawyer may not be able to give you an exact fee amount, he or she should at least be able to explain how the law firm charges. If the firm operates on a contingency fee basis, for example, the law firm should be transparent about if and when you will have to pay, as well as the percentage that will be deducted from your award for legal fees.

If You Win My Case, How Much Will I Get?

Do not be afraid to ask about the potential value of your personal injury claim. After listening to your story and reviewing your medical records and injuries, the lawyer should be able to give you at least a broad range of what your case could be worth. Again, the attorney may not be able to give you an exact amount and should never guarantee positive results. However, you may be able to receive a ballpark case value so you can understand whether it is worthwhile to hire an attorney.

The person you choose to represent you can make an enormous difference to your case. Select the personal injury attorney that makes you feel the most confident in his or her ability to handle your case.