Personal Injury Lawyers
Injuries are awful. You often find yourself swamped with medical bills and unable to return to daily life. It’s really not a great situation. We totally understand that. It is good to get in touch with our personal injury attorneys. Call today for a free consultation.
Types of Personal Injury Cases We Handle
There are several ways you might get hurt due to someone else’s negligence. You can rely on us to handle the following types of personal injury cases:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Slip and falls
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Dog bites
- Medical malpractice
Each type of personal injury case is unique and requires specific experience. You don’t want to choose a lawyer who hasn’t handled your specific personal injury case before.
The personal injury attorneys you choose needs to have a good grasp on your specific type of case.
Specialized experience means that your lawyer is going to be ready for the challenges your case will inevitably bring. If your lawyer can do that, they can help you become that much more successful.
Secrets to a Successful Claim
You have a lot of things on your plate. A personal injury case doesn’t have to add to your worries. That’s why we urge you to get in contact to discuss how we can help you ease your worries. That’s the first big choice you need to make to ensure you’re going to have a successful claim. Your lawyer is going to be the one who guides you through this legal process. Anything else that’s attributed to your success will be things you do before acquiring your lawyer.
Having the right lawyer is one of the most important things you need to have a successful injury case. It is imperative that you trust your lawyer and that you get along with them. Our personal injury attorneys care about your case. You are not just a file to us. You are a person with a story and a life that matters. Your injury deserves justice. We can help you get that justice.
Things to Do Right After Your Injury
You’ve likely been pretty seriously injured. You have a lot of pain, and you need to get to a doctor as soon as possible. That’s a step you absolutely cannot and should not avoid. Your health is the absolute priority. You cannot decide you’re too busy to see a doctor right after you were hurt. That’s not an option. Immediate medical attention is what you need to be getting.
Hopefully before you head to the emergency room or urgent care, you have collected evidence at the scene.
Evidence collection is a crucial point to a successful claim. You can take photos of the scene. You can take videos. You can talk to witnesses to get their contact information. You are entitled to collect any and all evidence from the scene of the accident.
Something you should absolutely not do is say you are to blame for what happened. You may be trying to sound apologetic, but you don’t want anyone to have it in their head that you confessed to causing the accident. It will hurt your personal injury claim.
Act in a Timely Manner
You don’t have a very long time to get the ball rolling on your claim. You really want to act fast. Delaying talking to an attorney will only harm you in the long run.
That is not an invitation to wait around for three years and talk to a lawyer. You shouldn’t really even let a few weeks get away from you. You have to act fast. Your witnesses may be hard to track down. They may forget crucial details about your case. Your evidence may disappear. Surveillance video could be taped over within a day or so.
You are putting the success of your case at risk if you choose to wait a prolonged period of time to bring your claim. If you wait longer than three years, you will no longer be allowed to bring a claim at all. The quicker, the better.
Frequently Asked Personal Injury Questions
What are the steps in a personal injury claim?
A question we often get when people contact my firm about representation on potential personal injury claims is the question of what the steps are in a personal injury claim or personal injury lawsuit. Almost on a weekly basis some form of this question gets asked, and the advice that I always tell people is, first and foremost, if you are involved in a potential personal injury claim, if you or a loved one have been hurt by someone else’s bad conduct or negligence, the first thing to focus on is the medical treatment of just getting better. It’s a personal injury and your health is at stake. First and foremost, we want you to get better; we want you to get the treatment that you need. Simultaneous with that, or as fast as you can after seeking out the medical treatment, we do advise that you consult with an attorney who regularly handles personal injury cases.
The reason it is so important that you talk to an attorney early in the case is not because we’re just going to run out and file a lawsuit, or not just because you want to get a claim going immediately. There are just some practical reasons that will help you down the road if you have an attorney involved early on. These are things that you just don’t think about unless you’re an attorney who handles these types of cases on a regular basis – things like preservation of evidence, preserving and documenting the scene of the accident, documenting the scene of a premises liability claim, talking to witnesses, identifying those witnesses, etc. Most of the time, it’s a lot easier to run down and get the identity of a witness closer to the time when the event happened than if you wait months or weeks or years down the road. The preservation of the claim itself and how you prove it is going to go so much smoother if an attorney is involved in that process.
At some point along the way, you will file a claim, presumably with the insurance company for the person who caused that claim or with the individual or corporation themselves. That’s where having an attorney involved becomes particularly important. No matter how much you think that they’re going to treat you fairly, you need an attorney who works these claims regularly in order to know what your full rights are and help with valuation of the claim. This is a specialized area of practice, and most people, if you don’t do this on a regular basis, just have no idea how to put a value on their claim. People regularly overlook elements of the claim that help you determine a value, or else they’ll short-sell themselves. Having an attorney involved early on in the process helps in that regard.
Once the time comes for you to file a claim and you’re trying to negotiate it, having an experienced practitioner who regularly negotiates these types of cases is going to be to your benefit. Most importantly, and what we see on a regular basis, is that claims just do not settle for fair value early and fast. Often, because of the insurance company’s greed and their daily practice of just not treating claims fairly and not treating people fairly, they will try to undercut your claim, devalue it, and prove that they don’t owe anything. This often leads to litigation.
What I have learned over my years of practice and through my success in this field is that the best way to approach litigating a case is to win that case before you ever file suit. The way that you do that is having an attorney involved— an experienced practitioner in personal injury cases and trial lawyer who knows how to prepare the case and take it to trial. The type of attorney who will get it in the best position possible, who will have all of these facts and evidence gathered up before you ever file suit. When you file suit with the right lawyer on your side, the insurance company and the defense counsel know that you are prepared to take it all the way. Working up the case the right way is how you get in a position to get paid fairly and to get top dollar for your claim. As always, if you have any questions about a personal injury claim, the Kegan Coleman Law Firm is here to help, and we would be happy to give a free consult or just answer your questions about your potential claim.
How long will my personal injury claim take?
I was at my office just last week and had a new potential client contact me. Among the series of questions that client asked was the question of how long it takes a personal injury case in i from beginning to end. That’s an excellent question. It’s a question that a lot of clients – in fact, almost every client that comes in the door – ask us. It’s certainly a fair question, too, because if you have a claim for personal injury, most of the time not only are you hurting and having to get medical treatment, but also it frequently results in loss of being able to do daily activities or not being able to work. It has a real impact on people’s lives. Because of this, how long it will take to complete a case is an important question for most clients.
The answer to that question is, really, it depends. There’s not a hard and fast rule of thumb and certainly not a law or rule that says how long your case is going to take. It’s going to depend on the severity of the injures. It’s going to depend on how long the person receives medical treatment. For instance, a personal injury claim where a person is injured, gets immediate treatment and heals pretty quick— say in a few days or a few weeks— in that claim the injuries are complete, so we can proceed with getting a fair payment on it relatively quickly. Compare that to a case where there are serious injuries and a person is hospitalized for an extended period of time, where there’s rehab afterwards, where there’s potential physical therapy and long-term consequences, and so on. Cases like that often have to wait or take longer because both the medical doctors and the attorneys and the insurance companies involved need to get a sense of what that person’s prognosis is going to be, once they’ve had a chance to get their medical treatment and once they’re on a path to recovery.
Oftentimes, a person may be getting medical treatment for a year or more before you really know how they’re going to recover. What we mean by that is a person could be getting medical treatment and go into rehab, and you may not know, for instance, if they’re going to be in a wheelchair for the rest of their life or if they’re going to be able to walk through physical therapy and through recovery. The medical treatment itself and the recovery period has a big impact on the timing and how fast a case moves. Once a person reaches maximum medical recovery, if you have an experienced personal injury attorney involved in your case, then an experienced trial lawyer can take that claim, work it up – once there’s maximum medical improvement – and package that claim for a demand to the insurance company. An experienced trial attorney will know right off the bat if the insurance company is going to make an offer on that claim that is fair value or close to fair value and treats the injured person right. If not, then you’ve got to proceed into litigation. Typically, once you go into litigation and depending on the complexity of the case, you’re looking at anywhere from nine months at the shortest up to about 24 months from when the case is filed until you get to conclusion.
I hope this answers some of the questions on that. Obviously, every case is different. The Kegan Coleman Law Firm is always here for a free consult on your potential personal injury case or just to help answer your questions, such as this, about your case or your loved one’s case.
Do I need a minimum amount of medical bills to file a personal injury claim?
Very recently, I had a client contact us about a potential personal injury claim. The question the client immediately asked us was if there was a minimum amount of medical bills that is needed to have a personal injury case. As I moved forward talking with that client, I came to find out that they had had an injury but had received emergency room treatment, not a whole lot of extensive follow up, but they had lost a couple of fingers in the process. The answer to that question is that it really depends on the case.
Every case is different. Some cases are driven by the value of the case or driven by the value of the medical bills— at least in the eyes of insurance companies and their adjusters. The real value of a case, and certainly the way we look at the case, is not just a dollar amount of medical bills, but it is the real cost to our client of those injuries. For instance, a person who receives a traumatic brain injury may not have extensive medical bills after the treatment, but that injury could impact them for the rest of their life. The same could be said for other types of injuries, similar to the example I gave of the person who lost their fingers. They don’t have fingers for the rest of their life, even though the medical bills themselves were not much more than emergency room treatment and a few follow-ups.
There is a lot that goes into valuing a personal injury claim. It’s not just the medical bills. It’s the impact on that person’s life; it’s the impact on their earning capacity; it’s the impact on their relationships with their family, with their spouse, with other people; it’s the impact on their activities of daily living and all that entails and all the reverberations that come from that in terms of their mental, emotional and physical health. Putting a value on that is part of the expertise that you get in hiring an experienced trial lawyer who regularly deals with personal injury cases, and it’s why you should not go it alone on cases like this.
To answer the question, no, there is not a minimum on the amount of medical bills that a person has to have to have a personal injury claim. The real question is, was your injury caused as a result of the bad act or negligence of another person or a corporation? If so, it is for your attorney to help you walk through what the appropriate compensation for that is or an appropriate remedy. As always, if you have a personal injury case that you need a consult on, Kegan Coleman Law Firm is available for a free consult, and we will do our best to answer your questions and get you the help that you need.
Will pre-existing conditions affect my ability to recover compensation?
There’s a term that comes up almost daily in law practice, especially for those of us who practice in personal injury. Increasingly, over the last several years, it’s a term that the general public has gotten very familiar with— pre-existing condition. We’re used to hearing that term in the context of health insurance. Most everyone knows or has heard of someone whose health insurance claim has been denied because of a preexisting condition. Likewise, we know that people with preexisting conditions sometimes have difficulty getting access to health insurance. It comes up often in my practice that a client comes in, who has been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence or bad conduct, and they ask how their preexisting condition impacts their claim.
To look at it from another angle, oftentimes, we have clients who come into us with a claim or an injury who have tried to resolve it on their own with the insurance company of the person who is responsible for causing that injury, and the insurance company wants to devalue their claim because of an alleged preexisting condition of that person. Folks often ask and want to know how that impacts their claim. Here’s the reality of preexisting conditions under under most states.
When a person does bad conduct or a person makes decisions and acts in a way that hurts someone else – what we call negligence – they take that person as they find them. It’s called the eggshell rule in some states; the thin skull rule is what it’s referred to in other states.
I have handled multiple cases like these over the last few years, and I’m working on some now. Take the example of an older person, a retired person, who is still very active in their life but maybe has arthritis, maybe they’re in their 60s or 70s, or they’ve had prior back surgery. They have a preexisting condition in the sense that their back is not as strong as it once was, or their knee or their hip isn’t as strong as it once was, or they’ve had prior injuries, but they’re still active and able to drive. Well, if a drunk, distracted or irresponsible driver comes along and runs a red light or stop sign and hits that elderly person’s car, causing new injuries to that back, hip, or knee where they’ve had problems, or that exacerbates or brings back the problems that they previously had with that back, hip or knee, the person who caused that wreck is responsible for those exacerbated, worsened, or new injuries. The preexisting condition is, in some instances, a side note. Ultimately, the person who caused that injury takes their victim as they find them.
Frankly, what we have learned is to not be afraid of preexisting conditions in our clients. We embrace them because our clients are who they are. Our clients are the victim, and the guilty party has to take our victim the way that they found them. If they made a preexisting condition worse, if they brought back an old injury that our client had previously recovered from, if they added new injuries on top of it, then they have to be held responsible for that under the laws of most states. An experienced trial lawyer who works on personal injury cases on a regular basis will know how to work up the case to make sure that the client is fairly compensated for those injuries, regardless of whether a preexisting condition is present.
If you have a personal injury claim, Kegan Coleman Law Firm is here and available for consult regarding your preexisting condition or any other claim that you may have. We’ll try to answer your questions.
What is the role of expert witnesses in a personal injury case?
We’ve recently had a couple of cases that we were able to resolve for fair value, or what I would say are top dollar for our clients. One was a death case involving a tractor trailer truck; another, a medical malpractice case. In both of those cases, what became central to us getting top dollar on those cases were the experts that we retained in those cases. Expert witnesses are very common in personal injury cases. You need an attorney who is experienced in medical malpractice cases, who has worked those types of cases before, and who knows the nuances of these cases. Otherwise, you run the risk of getting an attorney who potentially misses key steps like that. For instance, in a medical malpractice case, you would have an expert review the case and acknowledge to the attorney that there is a basis for bringing the claim before you even are able, under our statutes, to go file suit.
Those statutory requirements aside, experts can be very important in proving up your cases. Here in our firm, we use experts regularly in a number of ways to prove our cases across the board. For instance, in the car wreck and tractor trailer case that I gave earlier as an example, we brought in crash reconstruction experts. We use some of the top experts on our cases, sending them to the crash scene to survey it, pull in the information and then reconstruct what happened in that wreck. This can show scientifically how and why the defendant in that case was responsible for the wreck and how that led to the injuries or sometimes death of our clients. That information is critical in addressing the liability issues in a case so that you remove doubt about liability and get to a place where you show the defendants are absolutely liable. You do that through expert reports, expert testimony and the science that they bring— hard science.
Similarly, in medical malpractice cases, you want an expert in that field. This expert will work with you getting ready for trial and building up the case so that you show the science and demonstrate what the defendant did wrong in the case. The reality is developing these relationships with experts and understanding how to manage experts takes time and experience. It takes a trial lawyer who has been there before to do that the right way.
It also requires significant expenditure, so one of the things you want to look for when you’re consulting with or talking with potential attorneys on your potential personal injury claim is if this firm has the means and the ability to go out and hire top notch experts to pursue your claim. Are they willing to do that? Do they have the budget and the capability to get the experts they need to prove up the case and get top dollar, versus someone who may cut corners or may not be able to afford the very best? Other types of experts often get involved in cases, preparing exhibits, visuals, or videos that demonstrate what happened, or the nature of the injury that the client had. Also, we regularly use economic experts to show the true value of the harm and damages that our client sustained.
These are just some of the examples of how experts, when used by experienced, competent trial lawyers can really help drive not only the success of your case, but the value of them. We try hard to do that and do it in the right way. If you have a personal injury case and believe that our help or additional experts may be able to help your case, we’re here to consult with you on that and try to answer your questions.
Can I recover emotional damages in my personal injury claim?
On a phone call with a potential client we began discussing their potential case and the question came up about emotional distriss damages. It was a tough case involving someone who had lost a family member as the result of someone else’s bad conduct and negligence. I won’t go into the details of that case, but suffice it to say the spouse who was bringing the potential claim was confused about whether or not they had a case. They had heard about people having claims for emotional distress or their emotional loss and asked me if it’s true that in most states you can recover for emotional distress. I think that is a great question that a lot of people— because of what you see on TV or hear from others— may not be sure about, and it’s a question that I thought we could address here.
The answer to that question is, yes, you can recover in a personal injury claim for your emotional distress in most states. That can result from what we call pain and suffering—the pain that they go through as a result of that injury, or the suffering that they go through as a result of that injury. This pain and suffering is and should be compensable under our law. It can also go to the emotional distress that’s tied to the loss of a loved one, as in the case that I was referencing, where a spouse had died as a result of someone else’s negligence. The spouse who survives and their children – and there could be other members of the family, depending on the situation – under our law are entitled to compensation, not just for the lost earning capacity of that individual, not just for the economic loss of medical bills and those types of things, but for the very real emotional loss of having someone torn from you before their time as a result of someone else’s bad conduct.
The short answer is, yes, under the law in most states, you can recover for that emotional loss. The key in doing so is having an attorney and a law firm that deals regularly in these types of claims for personal injury and wrongful death, who knows how to work up the case to get you the correct value, the true value, the top dollar for those emotional losses. It’s not enough just to say that you had them and to make a claim for them, it has to be proven. It’s only with the right experience and working up the case and putting in the sweat equity and working up the case properly that you get that value that you deserve for those very real emotional losses.
As always, we are here at Kegan Coleman Law Firm are available to consult on your case, if you have any questions, and to get you answers.
Should I accept the insurance company’s first settlement offer?
Very regularly, a high percentage of the calls we get from potential clients on personal injury cases involve a client asking whether they should accept the first offer that an insurance company has made in their claim, since they’ve been, for instance, in a car wreck or some other type of injury and they know they have a claim. They’ve talked with the insurance company involved, and there’s an offer on the table. They then call to ask us if they should take that offer from the insurance company. The simple answer is that I would advise you to not accept any offer from any insurance company without at least consulting with an attorney first. The reason for that is, if you speak with and consult with an attorney who regularly handles personal injury claims and has experience and some level of success in handling those claims, they’re going to have a much better sense of what the value of that claim is than a person who doesn’t do that every day.
You’re really selling yourself short if you don’t speak with an attorney who does this on a regular basis. Here’s the thing. Most attorneys, like our firm here, who do these cases on a regular basis, will tell you, if it’s a fair offer, to take it. If it’s not a fair offer, and they believe they can add value to that claim for you, then they can consult with you and walk you down a path to get your fair value. You have nothing to lose by contacting that attorney. Just make sure that you’re contacting trial attorneys who handle personal injury cases on a regular basis and who have experience in these cases and some success.
I believe that most firms, like ourselves included, can look at your case and see if the offer is a fair offer. Most of the time, that first offer never ever is fair because the insurance companies expect you to negotiate back and forth with them. If you have an attorney involved, they know that there’s going to be some negotiation involved. Usually that first offer— especially if you do not have a lawyer representing you,— is an offer and an attempt to just buy the claim for cheap. What they’re looking to do is wave a little money in front of you and pay a fraction of what that claim is worth in order to get it off their books and save them money by not paying full value.
Don’t just accept the first offer that you’re given. Talk with an experienced trial lawyer who handles personal injury claims and is going to deal with you fairly. I know, certainly, myself and my firm do. If we can’t get more, we’ll tell you that and advise you to take that offer. If there’s value to be had and you’re not being treated fairly, then we can consult with you and advise you, and then walk you down a path to get you what you deserve on your claim.
If you have a personal injury claim that you believe we could help you with, we offer free consultations and we’re here to answer your questions.
Will my personal injury case go to trial?
A question that we get all the time when people contact us about personal injury cases is if their case will have to go to trial. It’s natural for people to ask that question. It’s a great question, especially in the personal injury context, because for most of our personal injury clients, they have gone through enough with the injury itself. The prospect of having to go to trial and putting it all out there in the open and reliving it again is scary for a lot of folks. The reality of our civil justice system is that well over 98% of all civil cases, which a personal injury case would be, never go to trial. They get resolved well ahead of trial, through settlement or mediation or some other means.
Here’s the little secret that not everyone talks about in those numbers. If you are going to get fair value and top dollar for your claim, you’re only going to get that if the insurance company, their adjusters, and their lawyers are convinced and know that you have a lawyer who will not only take that case to trial but who will put in the time and the work to work that case up and take it to a trial and get a top dollar verdict from a jury. If you have a lawyer who is an experienced trial lawyer, who regularly works personal injury claims, and who will put in the sweat and the work to work up that case the right way, then most likely that case will resolve before trial because the insurance company, their adjusters, and their lawyers will know that they don’t want to go face the music before a jury and a lawyer who has worked up your case the right way.
That’s why it’s so important to get an experienced trial lawyer who has had success on these personal injury cases involved in your case early on. The fact of the matter is, most of these cases are won in the workup before you ever file suit. Once you file suit, the case should be worked up, you should be ready, and then at that point you’re getting ready for trial. That’s how we approach it here at the Kegan Coleman Law Firm PLLC.
As always, if you have any questions about your personal injury case or if we can provide you a free consult to help you take your case in the right direction, we’re available for that.
Call Our Local Personal Injury Attorneys Today
You deserve to be treated as a priority. Our personal injury attorneys are here to help guide you through this difficult time. We know it is not easy to go through something like this. We can educate you on how to proceed. It is important to us to get a fair and full result for you. You deserve that. Call us today to get the success you deserve. We will sit down with you for a free consultation to go over what to do next. Call us at 1-877-421-1041 to discuss your case.