In Your Experience, What Are The Components That Make Up A Viable Personal Injury Case?
A viable personal injury case is comprised of two main components with an additional proviso. The first component is liability. Liability refers to who is responsible for causing the personal injury, and to what degree that person or entity is responsible. That’s a very important component of a personal injury claim. The second component of a personal injury claim that is important are the damages that accrued from the incident that caused the injury. In addition to those two components is a third component that is more of an evidentiary issue, which is the documentation. Now, documentation doesn’t necessarily always mean paper documentation. Documentation could refer to the evidence or material that is going to support the two components of liability and damages. Therefore, you’ll want to properly document the fault issues and the extent of the injuries.
Once I Hire An Experienced Personal Injury Attorney To Handle My Case, What Information Is Critical To Share With Him Or Her Right From The Start?
Right from the start, once you hire an experienced personal injury attorney, your attorney is going to look at what caused the incident that resulted in your having these personal injuries. We want as much information as we can get about the circumstances of the incident. We’ll also be looking for information about the extent of the injuries, the mechanism of the injuries, the medical treatment that was received, and will want to know if there was time lost from work, school or as a homemaker. We will also want information about the evidence that will be available to document these issues. We’ll want to know whether you had any similar injury in the past. If we’re getting the information at a later date, we’ll want to know whether anything intervened from the time the incident occurred until the time you started talking with us. Was there any other incident that may have contributed to your injuries? Was there any other information learned that established fault one way or the other? For example, were there witnesses that appeared later? As mentioned, we want to know all the details about the incident. How did it occur? And, to what extent did it cause you damage? We will work with you to compile a list of all the types of harms that this may have caused.
Will My Medical History Or Could My Medical History Be Used Against Me?
Your medical history is going to be important in your personal injury case. It’s important to the extent that it supports whether there was an aggravation of a pre-existing injury, whether it’s a brand-new injury, or whether you may have been predisposed to this type of injury because of a previous occasion in which this may have happened in the past. For example, if you had a previous surgery on your neck, and this incident reinjured your neck, that would be important to know. As a result, your medical history will most certainly play a part in determining the extent of your injury, and it can work to enhance the value of your case or detract from it, but it will most certainly be a factor.
Can The Police Report Help Or Hurt My Case? Will My Attorney Have Access To Any Police Reports Immediately?
The police report is relevant in a personal injury case. The police don’t always get it correctly, but that’s usually the first information that’s available from the scene. So, it’s important for us to be able to get the police report to learn if any of the participants or witnesses gave statements. Statements from witnesses or participants in the police report can help us determine whether they are consistent with what we understand to be the actual circumstances of the case. If they’re inconsistent, we’ll want to know that, and we’ll want to try to figure out why they’re inconsistent, and address those issues appropriately.
The police report will help guide us as to what further information we may need and/or information that we need to challenge in some fashion. Some information we used to be able to obtain from the police report is no longer available, since it has been limited by privacy laws.
Sometimes, the party’s addresses, dates of birth, and other identifying information will be blocked, and that makes it more difficult to figure out who is involved. Therefore, it is important to gather as much information as can be obtained initially on the scene by the client.
If The Injured Party Was Partially At-Fault For The Incident Or Accident, How Does That Impact The Personal Injury Case In Rhode Island?
In Rhode Island, we have what is known as pure comparative negligence. That means that if an individual is determined to be 50% at-fault, they will get 50% of the damages that are allowed to them. If the person is deemed to be 80% at-fault, they will get 20% of the damages. That is different in many other states. Some states, such as Massachusetts, have a comparative fault situation that specifies that if the person making a claim is more than 50% at-fault, they don’t get anything. However, Rhode Island is a pure comparative negligence state, which means that if you are partially at fault, you will still get be able to recover something. For instance, you could be 90% at-fault and still get 10% of your damages.
What Evidence Is Critical To Building My Personal Injury Case? Will Your Firm Have Investigators Sent To The Scene Of The Accident, If Possible, To Gather Evidence Or Witnesses?
Initially, you want to get as much information as you can in relation to your personal injury case. If there are witnesses at the scene, and you’re able to get them identified, that’s very important. Sometimes, you or the people you’re with may be in a difficult medical situation where you’re unable to do that sort of thing. Hopefully, people will come forward and give their names to the police. But, as I indicated earlier, the extent of that information nowadays is sometimes limited by the police department. Photographs are another element of evidence that is essential, and any other early evidence gathering that can be made at the scene is also important.
If we are called upon at an early enough stage, and we’re able to get to the scene, then we’ll try to get as much information as we can, but we usually get involved at a point sometime after the incident took place. For example, if it’s a medical malpractice claim, we are not in the operating room. It is not possible for us to monitor things at that moment. The same is also true about automobile accidents. We don’t get contacted until after the accident occurs. But, if there is any viable evidence left at the scene, we’ll try to get it.
As we begin to develop the case, I always make it a point to visit the scene because there is nothing like a firsthand look. At that time, I try to get a perspective of what happened. For example, if it’s an automobile collision, it is going to help to know whether there was a curve in the road, whether there was a hill, or what was visible at a particular point. If it’s an intersection controlled by a traffic light, we’ll want to see what the sequence of the lights are. We want to see if there is some evidence that supports our claims. So, at some point, I make it practice to get to the scene as soon as practical.
How Important Is It That Medical Attention Was Sought Immediately Following The Accident That Caused My Injuries?
Following an accident, it is very important to seek medical attention if it is evident that you are suffering from injuries. However, sometimes injuries don’t develop until afterwards, and so, there is no immediate need to rush out and seek medical treatment. You should only seek medical treatment if you need it. If you feel that it is not worthy of medical attention, then don’t do it. If something develops later, such as, you begin to have post-concussive type symptoms like dizziness or headaches, and you believe that it occurred as a result of the incident, then you should seek medical attention. It is important to get it as early as you can, but it’s also equally important not to get medical attention unless it’s really needed.
Will The Insurance Companies Have Access To My Past And Present Medical History And Treatments? Could Any Of These Past Or Unrelated Injuries Or Illnesses Impact My Personal Injury Case?
If a lawsuit is filed, and oftentimes a lawsuit has to be filed in order to get proper compensation, the insurance company will have access to your prior and ongoing medical information. If a lawsuit is not filed, my firm generally restricts insurance companies to the relevant medical information that was a result of the incident and subject of the claim. If there are preexisting injuries that are similar in nature that could impact the case or clarify the type of injuries and claims that are being presented, then we might provide that information as well. But, we won’t allow full access to your medical information prior to a lawsuit. After a lawsuit, we’re more restricted as to the type of information that we’re able to withhold. As a result, we can be court-ordered to produce all relevant medical information from previous years and going forward.
Even under those circumstances, we’ll often ask the court to limit it in time or scope. Sometimes, we’ll ask the court to limit the information to be provided to similar type injuries. Sometimes we’re successful, sometimes we’re not. If we can’t limit the information, then we are required to produce the medical information regardless of whether or not it’s relevant to the injury.
What Is My Responsibility In Notifying My Insurance Company Or The At-Fault Party’s Insurance Company Of The Incident? What Kind Of Contact Should I Have With Them?
In regard to your own insurance company, it’s important to notify them. You generally have a responsibility under your insurance policy to provide prompt notification to them. It is advised to at least put them on notice that an incident occurred. There won’t be any determination made initially as to fault. You won’t be charged right off the bat with an increase in premiums. That’s only going to occur if you are determined to be at-fault.
When it comes to the other party’s insurance company, you are under no obligation to notify them. Our advice is to let them deal with the attorney. If we are your attorney, we’ll want the other party’s insurance company to be in touch with us rather than having you speak with them directly. It’s never a good idea to speak with the other insurance company directly because they will attempt to have you commit to certain statements and sequence of events that may still be under investigation or perhaps undetermined. They’ll want you to commit to the extent of your injuries, which may still be unknown. And so, it’s never a good idea to speak to the other person’s insurance company without an attorney. If they want any statements about the incident, as your attorney, we’ll give them the statements. We will present the case to them instead of the client.
What Are Some Of The Defenses That You See Or Find Insurance Companies Use To Avoid Paying Out On Serious Injury Claims?
The defenses that insurance companies use to avoid paying out on claims fall into two categories: a) it’s not our fault; b) you’re not as injured as you claim to be. They can slice and dice it as much as they want, but it generally comes down to those two defenses.
How Is Long-Term Care, Such As Future Surgeries Or Other Treatments That Could Be Needed, Calculated In A Settlement Amount When You Don’t Know For Certain What That Might Look Like?
In order to help calculate a settlement, we work with the medical providers to try to get the best assessment as to future treatments. We generally ask their opinions in regard to ongoing or future care. If ongoing or future care is needed, we want to know the extent of the care that is going to be needed. Are there going to be future surgeries? If so, what is the surgery going to look like? What can we anticipate for costs for this type of surgery? And so, we base it on current conditions. We have the medical personnel anticipate the extent of future losses to the extent that you sustained some sort of disability. We have them assess how it’s going to impact your standard of living, and your ability to earn a living. We also engage other experts, such as economists, and ask them, based on the sort of limitations that you’re likely to experience medically, what your limitations are going to look like. How’s this going to impact your future earnings? How is it going to impact your future quality of life? There are people we work with that deal primarily in those type of issues. They help us make these determinations.
As The Attorney, Do You Know When It Is The Right Time To Advise Your Client To Settle In A Personal Injury Case?
Settlement is always the client’s call. Oftentimes, the client is in need of quick funds, or there may be an emergency that arises. There could be circumstances that require the client to get their money quickly. So, ultimately, it’s going to be the client’s call as to whether or not he or she should settle. Of course, we would give our best advice as to whether a settlement is appropriate, but again, it is up to the client.
Usually, we like to see to what extent the injuries have been resolved. That way, we can make a reasonable prediction of what the future is going to look like and the sort of damages that are going to accrue. We like to be able to assess the probability of that as best we can before we say, “Okay, this is what these harms are likely to look like, and this is what we think the value of this claim is.” Thus, we like to get to that point before we begin to approach a settlement.
Sometimes, it’s an ongoing thing, and we really don’t know. And so, we have to assess it on the information available to us. But ultimately, the actual decision to settle rests with the client. Hopefully, the client will take our advice and decide based upon our counsel.
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