Personal Injury Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Over the past forty years, we’ve litigated thousands of cases.
Welcome to our comprehensive FAQ section, where we’ve compiled answers to the questions we encounter most often in our practice. For a more detailed answer, click any of the questions below.
If you can’t find the information you’re seeking, don’t worry. Just reach out and ask!
We make our living fighting insurance companies and seeing to it that injured bikers don’t get shafted. The Biker Lawyers aren’t just lawyers who figured out that we could make money by working with a niche audience.
A personal injury is typically a physical injury to a person’s body, caused by someone else’s fault. In many cases, personal injuries that are caused by someone else qualify for monetary (money) compensation.
The question you’re actually trying to figure out is what your personal injuries are worth. This can vary greatly depending on the circumstances.
The amount you ask for in a personal injury lawsuit needs to be realistic, based on the facts of your case. Asking for too little is rarely a good idea, however, asking for too much can actually harm your case.
The key is to fully evaluate every little bit of your case before putting a dollar amount on it.
Perhaps the better question is “Is there a difference, legally speaking, between “personal injury” and “severe personal injury?”
The short answer is yes, there is a difference.
Severe personal injuries typically involve the need for surgery, maybe multiple surgeries, months of complete loss of ability to work, loss of mobility, and isolation.
With severe personal injuries, the long-term effects of a severe personal injury often last for years, perhaps a lifetime.
Any personal injury that disrupts your life, whether it costs you money, saddles you with medical debt, or causes you lasting health issues.
This is a question of degree. Any personal injury that disrupts your life costs you money, saddles you with medical bills, causes you lasting pain and suffering, creates physical or mental disability, or puts you out of work is a serious personal injury.
There are six common categories of personal injury damages.
Each category must be considered to maximize the value of your case and potentially increase the amount of money you are entitled to.
- Past medical expenses
- Future medical expenses
- Loss of income
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Loss of function of the body and mind – past and future
- Physical and mental pain and suffering – past and future
The above six are a good starting point in considering the extent of personal injury damages, but all too often, a deeper dive into your case is required to get the full extent of what you may be entitled to.
Typically one to three years, although it can settle in the first few weeks.
It’s a common question, with no solid answer. Each case is different, but typically, from start to finish, a personal injury lawsuit resolves in settlement or trial within 1-3 years.
Your personal injury lawyer will want to help you resolve your case as fast as possible. To this, you’ll want to file your lawsuit as fast as possible. It’s no secret that insurance companies like to hold on to their money as long as they can, even when it is rightfully your money.
Yes. “Pain and Suffering” is a type of damage that can result from your personal injuries.
It also includes loss of quality of life or loss of the ability to do what’s important to you. “Pain and suffering” is a category of damages that can result from an injury.
Other damages categories include loss of income, loss of future earning capacity, medical bills, future medical costs, and loss of physical and mental function.
Understanding compensation for emotional distress can be complicated.
We wrote an entire article about Emotional Compensation here, but the thing to understand is that emotional distress qualifies for compensation in many personal injury lawsuits. Mental pain and suffering include emotional distress as part of the damages category for personal injury.
The short answer is ‘Yes.’
Other drivers on the road may not carry insurance, or the insurance coverage they have may not fully cover any damages you suffer. To protect yourself, uninsured motorist (UM) and underinsured motorist (UIM) insurance policies are key. While we do not advocate for insurance companies whatsoever, these forms of insurance may prove critical to you when recovering damages sustained in a serious accident.
There are too many variables to give a concise answer with any degree of accuracy.
The short answer is that we highly recommend you talk to an experienced personal injury lawyer such as Pete or Dan as soon as possible.
A bodily injury claim is a type of personal injury claim. The method used to pursue a personal injury claim is critical. In nearly all cases, an injured person has little or no experience in dealing with insurance and law. On the other hand, an insurance adjuster deals in bodily injury claims every day, and it is part of the job for an adjuster to pay out the smallest award possible.
If the injuries and damages are severe, the best thing an injured person can do is consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer.
First and foremost, you should move to a safe location immediately to prevent any further injury or property damage.
Once you have properly evaluated your injuries and called emergency services (as needed), you should obtain insurance information from the other driver, including the details of their vehicle. Lastly, if possible, take photos of the accident, including both vehicles and all injuries you suffered.
You hire a personal injury lawyer after an accident for the same reason that you hire an expert/professional to handle anything.
You need us, just like you need a mechanic when your motorcycle won’t run and you can’t figure it out. This is what we do every single day, we’re here to help.
A qualified attorney is crucial to ensuring you pursue your claim in the most effective way possible, and to ensure no mistakes are made.
Hiring a proven and trusted personal injury or wrongful death attorney is the best way to ensure you get the best representation for your interests. Specifically, we’re your best chance to get the compensation you are entitled to.
We accept cases involving motorcycle injury on a contingency fee basis.
This means there are no fees associated with our representation unless we successfully help you recover damages for your accident.
The statute of limitations imposes a strict boundary on the amount of time available to injury victims in which they can file suit.
In civil law systems, the statute of limitations is known as a prescriptive period. Most injury claims must be filed within 2 years of the accident’s occurrence.
Liability will depend on the circumstances, but typically if the other driver was responsible, they will be liable for the damages. Basically, if a state uses a fault (tort) system, the driver responsible for causing the accident covers the victim’s damages (or at least, their insurance company does).
There is no one size fits all prediction for how long it may take to reach a settlement.
Some cases take as little as a few weeks, while others can take several months to a year. It will depend upon your situation. Ensuring you get the best possible outcome for your case, and the compensation you’re entitled to is no easy task and not something that should be rushed.
If you refuse a settlement offer, the defendant no longer has to keep the offer open should want it back in the future.
It depends on a long list of variables, all of which you will want an experienced personal injury attorney to help you with.
There are a few easy steps you can take if involved in a motor vehicle crash:
- Make sure the police are called after your crash so that they investigate and file a report.
- Take video and pictures of the scene of the crash as soon as possible.
- Request your medical bills and records be given to you from every place where you receive treatment.
- Contact an experienced personal injury lawyer near you as soon as possible after your crash.
There are a lot of things that your attorney will need to know before answering this question. This includes things like…
- How well you’ve recovered
- The medical treatment you received
- How much time you missed from work
- Property Damage
- Personal losses
Once your attorney knows these things, they won’t be shy about telling you how much your case is worth.
A good settlement offer should comprehensively compensate you for all the damages you’ve suffered as a result of your personal injury. This not only includes direct economic damages like medical bills and lost wages but also non-economic damages such as pain, suffering, and emotional distress. The settlement should also consider future expenses related to the injury, such as ongoing medical treatment or loss of future earning capacity. In essence, a good settlement offer should bring you as close as possible to your pre-injury status, financially and emotionally.
Generally, the answer is no. The initial offer is typically a starting point for negotiations. Insurance companies may start with a low offer, hoping that you will accept and close the case quickly.
As the saying goes, “If they made an offer, they can make another.”
It’s essential to consult with your attorney before signing any settlement agreement. They can evaluate whether the offer fairly compensates you for your losses.
Begin by filing a claim with your insurance company.
Once you have made your claim, we recommend you call an experienced personal injury lawyer near you (such as Dan Matzdorff or Pete Leehey) for guidance. This is especially important if you are seeking larger compensation for serious injuries and pain and suffering, you are seeking future damages such as lost future income or to cover the costs of medical treatment, or if there is a question of fault.
Nearly always “yes”.
Since most personal injury attorneys offer free case evaluations, your best bet is to meet with an experienced personal injury attorney and discuss the facts of your case. Each case is different, so making use of free expert advice is the wisest course of action.
If you decide to hire a lawyer to help you get a fair settlement of your personal injury case or to take your case to trial, it will not break the bank.
Personal injury attorneys usually charge a percentage of the money they recover for you, rather than hourly fees. This means the lawyer is unlikely to take your case unless that lawyer is convinced he or she can get you more money than is already available to you.
The most competent, responsive, and compatible experienced personal injury attorney is who you want for your case.
Find a lawyer who understands the various factors of your unique case and one that you can get along with. Before hiring them, get to know them, their experience, and other areas of expertise. You may be working with them for quite a while.
In Iowa, the answer is… Sometimes.
The simple answer is that you may be liable if there is a dangerous condition on your property and you never warned anyone.
According to a legal review from 2016 by Iowa State University’s Center for Agricultural Law and Taxation, “Bottom line, tort law requires that we take responsibility for our own actions and the hazards we create. If we don’t, we can be sued and ordered by a court to pay damages to those we have harmed.” The report goes on to explain that there are several different torts or civil causes of actions that people can seek damages for, but the most common is negligence.
This compensation usually comes from the at-fault person’s insurance policy. Someone who makes a personal injury claim is called a plaintiff. The person or company that harmed the plaintiff is called a defendant.
An easy way to remember this is the plaintiff files a lawsuit. The defendant defends.
The location doesn’t matter as much as who is at fault.
If you’re injured in a state you don’t live in but it’s not your fault, you most likely have a case. Typically the best thing to do is not admit fault, find out your rights and how you’re protected, and consult a lawyer.