Frequently Asked Questions
Question: What should I do if I’ve been injured?
How do I protect my rights?
Answer: First, the most important thing is to seek prompt medical attention and make sure that your injuries are properly treated.
Second, call a trial lawyer. If you have a severe injury, it isn’t fair for you to go alone against a trained insurance company professional. You can visit with a trial lawyer and decide if you injury case is severe enough that you need help. In some cases, it may not be – and a good trial lawyer will tell you if you really need a lawyer or if you can handle it yourself. He or she may even give you suggestions about how you can make sure you are treated fairly if you do handle the matter yourself. The insurance companies want you to talk with them first — before you talk with a lawyer. Ever wonder why? If the insurance company gets to you first, they may try to get you to accept less than you deserve. A trial lawyer won’t. The trial lawyer’s fee is based on your recovery. It is in the lawyer’s best interest to make sure that your claim is resolved for every cent you are legally entitled to recover. It is an insurance adjuster’s job to settle your claim as cheaply as he can. Who do you think is going to be fairer to you? Click here to setup a free consultation with Mitchell+Pencheff, Fraley, Catalano and Boda.
Question: What is “personal injury?”
Answer: Personal Injury refers to the laws covering those who have been injured, physically or psychologically, as a result of the negligence or wrongdoing of another person, company, government agency, or other entity.
Question: Why should I bring a personal injury claim?
Answer: If you are injured through the fault of someone else, you may be entitled by law to compensation for your injuries. This covers both expenses you’ve already incurred and expenses and losses you will suffer in the future. If you or a loved one has been severely injured, a claim can insure the injured person’s future is secure. Also, your claim may be able to prevent a similar injury from happening to someone else.
Question: Is there a time limit for bringing my claim?
Answer: Yes. The statute of limitations (time limits) for bringing a personal injury claim is based upon a variety of factors, so it is important to consult a lawyer as soon as possible. However, even if you were injured some time ago (especially if the injured person is a minor or disabled and is unable to bring an action on their own), you may still have a case. Talk with one of our experienced lawyers to get more information.
Question: How long will a claim take?
Answer: This depends on many factors, including whether the case settles or goes to trial. Most cases take one to three years to complete, but very complicated cases can take even longer.
Question: What is the value of my claim?
Answer: The value of your claim depends on a wide variety of factors including the severity and permanency of the injury, the amount of medical expenses, the liability of the defendant, and whether the case is to be tried or settled. It is impossible to fully estimate the value of a claim until the case has been fully “worked-up” or investigated from all aspects, and even then it may change based on what happens during litigation. You should be wary of anyone who tries to give you a valuation of your claim in the very early stages of your case. Only after we have been able to fully work-up your case will we give you an opinion as to the value of your claim. If the insurance company offers to settle, we will discuss the proposed settlement with you and give you advice about whether to accept the amount offered. Of course, the ultimate decision to accept an insurance company’s offer of settlement or to allow a jury to decide the value of your injuries is always up to you.
Question: What are the fees? Can I afford a lawyer?
Answer: All fees for personal injury cases are contingent fees. This means that Mitchell+Pencheff, Fraley, Catalano and Boda collect no fees unless we are successful in obtaining compensation for you. Typically, the fee is 1/3rd of what is recovered, and there is no fee due unless and until money is actually collected for you.
Question: Is it possible to “settle” my case.
Answer: Yes. Under certain circumstances it may make sense to reach a full and final settlement of your claim. A settlement would pay a lump sum of money for closing your case.