Personal Injury | Frequently Asked Questions

What Exactly is a Personal Injury Case?

  • Personal injury cases arise from such a wide range of circumstances that it’s impossible to list them all here. Some of the most common are car accidents, slip and fall injuries, motorcycle accidents, and work injuries, but any time someone is harmed by the fault of another person or company, there might be a personal injury claim. In fact, personal injury lawyers often handle negligence claims that don’t actually involve physical injuries at all – negligent destruction of property, for instance. A personal injury lawyer will be able to tell you whether or not you might have a personal injury case.

What is Negligence?

  • The law requires us to act with “reasonable care”. The specifics of what constitutes reasonable care vary somewhat from state to state and from situation to situation. When someone fails to act with the reasonable care required by a given circumstance, that may be considered negligence. That’s important to you because in order to recover for most personal injuries, you and your personal attorney will have to prove that another person or a business was negligent, and that the negligence caused your personal injuries.

How do I Know if I have a Personal Injury Case?

  • You can find out whether or not you have a viable personal injury claim by talking to a personal injury lawyer. In general and in addition to other elements, there are a few main things a claimant must prove in order to recover in a personal injury case: that you suffered damages, that the defendant was negligent, and that the defendant’s negligence caused your damages. Even if you have a valid claim, though, your personal injury attorney will have to investigate whether or not you would be able to collect on your claim. If the other party does not have insurance and does not have other assets that could be used to compensate you, then it may be that you have a valid claim but will be unable to collect compensation for it.

How Much is my Personal Injury Case Worth?

  • A number of factors figure into the monetary value of your personal injury claim. For instance, the value of your case is impacted by the nature and extent of your personal injuries; the amount of your medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and other financial losses; pain and suffering; and present and future disability. Even when those factors are considered, there are significant variations in the value of a personal injury claim based on the amount of insurance involved or the assets of the defendant, any partial fault on the part of the injured person, the victim’s willingness/ability to invest a long period of time in litigating the claim versus the need for a relatively quick settlement, and more. Assessing the value of your personal injury case isn’t an exact science, and your personal injury attorney won’t be able to give you a definite value up front. However, a personal injury lawyer can weigh the various factors to give you an overall picture of the strengths and weaknesses of your case.

What should I do after I have sustained a personal injury?

After being injured in an accident, it is very important to protect your rights to all legal remedies available to you. Following are steps that you should take following an accident:

  • Seek Immediate Medical Attention For Your Personal Injuries. If you or a loved one is injured, you should seek prompt medical help. Clearly convey all of your personal injuries to the attending physician or emergency services personnel and explain how you sustained your injuries. Reporting your injuries will be memorialized in your personal records, which will help doctors manage your treatments. However, it will also provide evidence that your injuries are connected to the accident, which is necessary in your case to establish that the accident caused the injuries.
  • You or a loved one should also: 1) take photographs of all injuries; 2) keep records of all medical appointments and treatments, medications taken, lost time from work and other activities, pain experienced, limitation of activities, and all incurred expenses; and 3) keep notes of all conversations with doctors and medical personnel.
  • Preserve Evidence. If possible, write down the names, addresses and phone numbers of all potential witnesses to the accident. If motor vehicles are involved, get all the license plate numbers and the names, addresses, phone numbers, and insurance information of all drivers. Take photographs of the accident scene and surrounding area from different angles, and the source of the personal injury if possible.
  • If you have been injured by a defective product do not return it to the retailer or manufacturer, and do not throw it away. Make sure that it is kept in a secure place and do not alter it in any way. Your attorney will need the product to have it examined by experts. If the product is in the possession of someone else, seek an attorney’s help. An attorney may be able to file for a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction to avoid destruction of the product.
  • Contact An Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer. Your chances of recovering adequate compensation for your injuries in an accident could change at any moment. Not knowing important steps that should be taken early on in your case can result in irreversible damage to your case. It is essential to consult an effective personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after an accident in order to protect your legal rights and to ensure that evidence is preserved.
  • Do Not Talk To An Insurance Company Without Consulting Your Personal Injury Attorney. Insurance companies do not make profits by paying out personal injury claims. It is in their best interest to avoid payment altogether or to settle quickly for the least amount of money possible. In the majority of personal injury cases you cannot ask for additional compensation once you have agreed to a settlement. Often, an injured person will discover as time goes by that his personal injuries were more extensive than they appeared initially.This could lead to additional unexpected medical bills and longer disability. Do not discuss anything pertaining to your personal injuries or about the accident which caused them without consulting a personal injury attorney first.

What Kind Of Compensation Can I Recover In My Personal Injury Claim?

  • If you have been the victim of an accident and have been injured, you have a right to be compensated for your losses. There are two main types of personal injury damages: 1) compensatory or actual damages, and 2) punitive damages.
  • Punitive damages are discretionary and are usually awarded to a victim in addition to actual damages when the defendant’s conduct has been especially malicious or egregious. Punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant for his or her reprehensible conduct and to act as a deterrent to prevent the defendant and others from acting the same way.
  • Compensatory or actual damages are intended to cover all the expenses and aliments caused by the personal injury. Your family members may also be entitled to recover if your injuries in certain circumstances. Damage awards can include the following:
  • Medical expenses. This includes bills and expenses for services from doctors, hospitals, ambulance fees, medication, and services from nurses or other health care providers related to your injury.
  • Pain and suffering. This is an award to compensate you for past and future physical pain caused by your accident.
  • Lost wages. This award represents the amount of money you would have earned from the time of the injury to the final judgment or settlement.
  • Impairment of earning capacity. If the injuries from your accident have reduced your ability to earn money in the future, compensation can be awarded for that loss.
  • Future medical expenses. This applies to continued medical care needed as a result of your accident or injury.
  • Mental anguish. This type of damage applies to certain circumstances of mental suffering or emotional distress, including mental suffering from disfigurement, or witnessing the death or catastrophic injury of a loved one.
  • Loss of consortium. These damages apply to the deprivation of the benefits of married life after an accident or injury, including companionship, affection, comfort, or sexual relations between spouses. Usually the spouse of the injured person is the party who makes these claims.
  • Loss of society and companionship. This is a damage that may be awarded in wrongful death cases to immediate family members of the deceased for the loss of love, comfort, and companionship they would have enjoyed if the deceased had lived.
  • Property damage. An award for expenses related to property damaged in an accident, such as a wrecked vehicle.

What will this cost?

  • All motor vehicle accident cases are handled on a contingency-fee basis. We will advance all costs and expenses. You will not have to reimburse us for any costs or expenses unless we are successful. That means you will pay absolutely nothing for lawyers’ fees or costs unless we win a monetary award in your case. When we win for you—and only then—we then charge an agreed-upon portion of the amount won.

What is the Likelihood that My Case will Go to Trial?

  • Less than 25% of personal injury cases go to trial, and most of those settle before the trial ends. Whether or not your personal injury case goes to trial, though, isn’t dependent just on the odds. It is dependent on a variety of factors like the value of the claim, the insurance company involved, the certainty of the evidence, and more. Your personal injury attorney will be able to give you a better sense of whether or not yours is a case that will likely go to trial, but, just like case valuation, the analysis is not an exact science.

What Happens if I was Engaging in Dangerous Activity when I was Injured?

  • If you were engaging in a dangerous activity or were otherwise aware of a risk that you could be injured, you might be deemed to have “assumed the risk”. In many personal injury cases, “assumption of risk” is a valid defense to a plaintiff’s personal injury claim. Assumption of risk is most commonly used as a defense in products liability cases when the plaintiff failed to follow directions or warnings or to properly maintain the product.
Gamache Law Firm