They are all over TV. Every time you change the channel, you are met with a commercial advertising a person injury lawyer. They ask you if you have been recently injured and if you have yet received compensation for the injury. Then, they close out the commercial by telling you about how much money they have won for their prior personal injury clients. These commercials have caused many people to think they have a personal injury legal case, when they do not. Before contacting a personal injury lawyer and planning what you will spend your settlement on, first, make sure you have a legal case.
Were you injured?
The first question to answer is if you were actually injured. Did you suffer a personal injury due to the fault of someone else? The most common cause of a personal injury comes from a motor vehicle accident. Auto accidents occur every day, caused by many different things including distracted driving, drinking and driving, and even overly tired driving. There was an estimated 32,166 fatal motor vehicle crashes in the U.S. just in 2015.
How long ago were you injured?
It is also important to consider how long it has been since you were injured. Most states have a statute of limitations that prevent you from filing for personal injury after so many months, or years. Also, if you were injured many years ago and have not scheduled any physician checkups and your work attendance has not been affected, it will be very hard to get a personal injury attorney to take your case. In order to have a case, you need to demonstrate that the auto accident affected your finances, either by costing you a lot in medical costs or by preventing you from working.
Who was at fault in the auto accident?
Of course, if you were at fault for the auto accident, you are generally not subject to any compensation. The only way you can get compensation for a personal injury is if your injury was caused by the neglect or fault of someone else. Also, it does not matter as much to who you think was at fault, but instead, the police report is what matters. If you receive a ticket for an accident that you do not believe was your fault, you will first need to fight that ticket. Most personal injury lawyers will not take your case if you were the one at fault.
Were drugs or alcohol involved?
Drugs or alcohol can complicate a legal process. Yet, drugs other than alcohol (legal and illegal) are involved in approximately 16% of motor vehicle crashes. If you were involved in an auto accident that ended with a personal injury, and you think that drugs or alcohol were involved, it is important to get the police involved. It can be impossible to prove the other driver was drunk driving after the fact and this could be an important part of your legal case. Your personal injury lawyer will include the drugs and alcohol use in their case. It could result in criminal charges for the at fault party and can ensure that you get just compensation. It is also important to remember that chances are, you will not go to trial. Approximately 95 to 96% of personal injury cases are settled pretrial, even with a car accident attorney on the case.
Continuous legal commercials can make everyone think they have a personal injury case that will get them a significant settlement. This is not always the case. While you are owed compensation when you are injured at the fault of someone else, such as in the event of an auto accident, it is important to evaluate the specifics of the case with your personal injury lawyer first.