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Personal Injury Lawyers


Helpful Information Regarding Personal Injury Lawyers

In the legal world, a personal injury is defined as an injury inflicted upon an individual. This differs from damage caused to an individuals property or their reputation. Personal injuries are commonly physical, but emotional and mental suffering will sometimes fall into this category, too.

Examples Of Personal Injury

While there are many injuries that fall into this category, there are some very common examples of personal injuries. Automobile accidents, slip and fall accidents, abuse and neglect and medical malpractice are prime examples. In some cases, wrongful death suits fall into the category of personal injury. These are just a few of many scenarios. To determine if an injury is indeed a personal injury, it is best to consult a personal injury attorney.

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Personal Injury and Tort Law


Personal injuries are directly related to tort law. A tort is defined as a wrongdoing that causes someone to experience harm or loss, and that results in someone else being legally liable for the harm. The person who caused the harm is sometimes referred to as the tortfeasor. Both the tortfeasor and the victim will typically seek legal representation.

Personal Injury and Financial Compensation


In many cases, the tortfeasor is required to pay a victim financial compensation for the harm that was caused. When dealing with a personal injury, a victim has the option to pursue legal action against the person who caused the injury. In many cases, the victim will seek financial compensation for medical expenses, lost wages and similar costs. Victims may also seek compensation for mental and emotional suffering.

Assistance With Personal Injury Cases


In order to get compensation, a victim must have a strong legal defense. The assistance of a personal injury lawyer is crucial at this time. A personal injury lawyer helps clients explore all of their legal options. They represent their clients during court proceedings and advise them through the entire process. Victims are more likely to achieve a positive outcome with the assistance of an attorney.

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WHAT TO DO IMMEDIATELY AFTER AN ACCIDENT 


Depending upon the nature of the accident and the extent of the damages and injuries involved, a series of auto accident reports must be filed. Sometimes the reporting of an auto accident is mandatory, sometimes it is voluntary. Reports typically must be filed with three sets of organizations:

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(1) Police (law enforcement agencies) - The law of the state where the accident occurs may require a police report to be filed. However, as there are many variations in state and local laws -- and even local practices -- we can not address them all. Generally if any personal injury occurs in an auto accident, a police report must be filed. A police report generally also is required when property damage exceeds a certain dollar amount (often $200 to $500). The manner of making the report also varies. Some local police only take certain auto accident reports over the telephone, some require a trip to the station house. To be safe, at least a telephone call to local police should be made shortly after an auto accident to determine local practice and the information you are required to provide.

(2) Insurance company - Most auto insurance companies require their policyholders to promptly report every auto accident. The insurance company will want to gather all of the basic information concerning the accident for its records. Sometimes the insurance company will want your authorization to make a recorded statement concerning the accident. We suggest that if you or your passengers were injured in the accident, or believe the insurance company will try to claim "you're not covered" or you have any concerns about the adequacy of your coverage, you should contact an attorney before you go much further, and certainly before you give the insurance company permission to record your conversation. However, bear in mind that failure to provide information to your insurance company on a timely basis -- your policy will set out how quickly you must notify the company (and it can be a VERY short time frame). Failure to comply could result in loss of coverage for the accident, without it constituting bad faith by the insurer. Click for a helpful article on how insurance adjusters work and how they think.

(3) Department of Motor Vehicles ("DMV") - Some state DMVs maintain auto accident reports. The requirement for these reports differ between the various states (for example, California requires every operator of a vehicle involved in an accident to file a "SR-1" whenever there is an accident with personal injury or property damage in excess of $500). Typically this report must be filed within 5 or 10 days of the accident. Failure to file such a required report could lead to suspension of your driving privilege. In other words, your driver's license could be taken away from you, regardless of fault, if you do not promptly file a report with your state's DMV. If you or someone was injured, it may make sense to speak to a lawyer BEFORE filing that report!

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Auto Accident Facts


More than 6,000,000 accidents were reported last year. Over 3,150,000 people were injured in these accidents and approximately 40,000 people lost their lives. Most Americans do not have an adequate amount of health, auto, and disability insurance to provide for them if they are seriously injured in an auto accident.

Most don't even have a life insurance policy that could pay for funeral expenses if the unthinkable happened. Considering the prevalence of auto accidents, it is important that automobile drivers educate themselves concerning auto accidents and the legal options that exist should an accident occur.

If I have an auto accident, what should I do at the accident scene?


1. Don't go anywhere. Stay Put.
2. Send a witness to call the police. Do not "handle it yourselves".
3. Render first aid to other victims if you are qualified to do so. Do not move any person unless not doing so directly endangers their life.
4. Do not move vehicles unless they are obstructing further traffic. If you have to move them, move them as little as possible. Warn approaching drivers.
5. If you are injured, stay in your vehicle.
6. Be very careful what you say. Do not falsely admit responsibility.
7. Seek medical treatment at the scene if you are hurt in any way even if it seems insignificant.
8. Gather and exchange information. Get the names, addresses, and phone numbers of all passengers, witnesses, and the driver. Get the license number and insurance company name and policy number from the driver and owner. Also, make notes concerning the time of day, weather and road conditions, lighting, location of vehicles, crossroads, stop signs, and traffic signals, and location and length of any skid marks.
9. If your car must be towed, get the name and license number of the driver, and the name, address, phone number, and registration number of the towing company. Also, find out how much the towing will cost.

What can I expect the police officer to do at the accident scene?


Depending upon the seriousness of the accident, either a police officer or the regional Crash Investigation Unit will investigate the accident. All parties will be interviewed and statements taken. The officer will give all parties involved an accident card that will detail how to contact him/her. The cars involved may be taken away for detailed examinations. The officer will issue a formal report when the investigations are complete. Criminal charges may also be placed as a result of the investigations.

What should I do after I have been dismissed from the accident scene?


1. Call your auto insurance company and relay all information concerning the accident.

2. Follow up with your doctor even if you don't think you have injuries. This needs to be done that day. If you do have unseen injuries, you don't want any questions arising concerning the cause of the injuries.

3. Contact your lawyer so you will understand your rights and responsibilities.

4. Report the accident to the Department of Public Safety

What to do in an Auto Accident?


Immediately after being injured in an auto accident, you are thrown into an adversarial legal system that is complex and confusing. While you are still receiving initial treatment for your injuries in a hospital emergency room, the parties at fault have already notified their insurance company of the accident.
 
Every insurance company has in place, a team of adjusters, investigators and attorneys whose sole responsibility is to limit the liability of the insurance company and minimize the amount of money they will be required to pay "innocent" auto accident victims.

You need the assistance of a qualified Personal Injury attorney to guide you through the system to ensure that you receive the maximum compensation allowable by law for your injuries. There are many mistakes that can be made during the initial stages of a Personal Injury claim that cannot be undone by even the most experienced attorney. We believe that our firm can help "level the playing field" by providing auto accident victims with an accurate straight-forward source of information regarding the legal and practical aspects surrounding the auto compensation system.

"RULES OF THE ROAD"

1.Stop your car, no matter how minor the accident.
2.Assist any injured persons. Call for an ambulance, if necessary.
3.Call and wait for the police.
4.Identify the other driver and get his/her address, telephone number and insurance information.
5.Get the names, addresses and telephone numbers from all witnesses.
6.Do not move the vehicles until the police view the scene unless it is safe to do so.
7.If possible, take pictures of the accident scene, even if the vehicles have been moved. Pay particular attention to skid marks and damage to all vehicles involved.
8.Never admit to the police or anyone else on the scene that the accident was your fault. Anything you say can and will be used against you to defeat your claim for compensation.
9.You may not be aware of the extent of your injuries immediately after the accident. It is important to seek medical treatment as soon as possible.
10.Inform your doctor that you were in an auto accident. Tell him about all your complaints no matter how minor, including past injuries to the same body parts that are presently injured.
11.Notify your insurance company about the accident. Even though you are required to cooperate with your insurance company, do not give them a statement (written or taped) without first contacting your attorney.
12.Never submit to any request for a statement by the other driver's insurance company. You are not legally obligated to give a statement. Such a statement could later be used against you. Simply refer them to your attorney.
13.Remember: Insurance companies are big business. They do not have your best interests in mind. The adjuster's sole objective is to settle your claim for as little as possible.
14.As soon as possible after the auto accident, you should photograph any visible injuries (i.e. cuts, bruises, broken bones, etc.) Before repairing your car, photograph the damage from all angles. Provide your attorneys with the prints (and negatives) of all photographs pertaining to your claim.
15.Consult with your attorney to determine who is responsible for payment of your medical bills. Your medical bills could be processed through the other driver's insurance company, your auto insurance policy or through your group health insurance. Be aware that some insurance policies require reimbursement of any medical expenses upon settlement of your claim.
16.Keep accurate records of your lost time and wages from work as a result of your auto accident. This information will assist your attorney in determining the value of your claim.
17.Before you repair the damage to your car, contact your attorney. Generally, your insurance company will pay to have your car repaired or pay you the value of the vehicle if it is a total loss. If it is determined that you are not at fault for the accident, your insurance company will seek reimbursement for medical bills from the driver at fault. Your attorney will explain the best way to have your car replaced or your total loss adjusted.
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