Personal Injury FAQ's
At JudeLaw LLC we evaluate every Personal Injury case, big or small, and every personal injury case is different. Below are frequently asked questions we receive about personal injury claims in the state of Colorado.
What should I do immediately after an accident has occurred?
If someone has been injured, the first thing you should do is call 911. If no injuries have occurred that require immediate medical attention, you should still contact the police.
What information should I obtain immediately after a car accident?
The names and contact information of all the other drivers. You should take down the license plate numbers of all the vehicles involved in the accident. The names and contact information of all passengers and witnesses at the scene of the accident. It is very important to document the insurance information of all the drivers involved in the accident.
Should I talk to the police after the accident has occurred??
Yes, it is important to talk to the police after an accident has occurred. Explain how the accident happened from your point of view, however, limit yourself to taking any fault in the accident.
Should I contact my insurance company?
Yes, you need to contact your insurance company. In fact, most insurance companies require their policy holders to report an accident immediately. They will ask you for general information on how the accident occurred and what the situation is. You have the legal right to speak to any attorney if you feel you would be better served by having professional legal counsel.
Should I talk to the other driver's insurance companies?
You should not speak with the other driver's insurance companies until you have spoken with a perosnal injury attorney. You need to have a general idea of your rights and responsibilities so you do not jeopardize your claim. You should never provide a statement to the other driver's insurance company. Often times, the other driver's insurance company will try to get you to admit to partial or full fault in the accident and this will negatively affect your claim. The insurance company will try to paint a different picture of how the accident occurred and who was at fault. Please, protect yourself and your rights to compensation and speak with a personal injury attorney before speaking to the other driver's insurance companies.
Should I seek medical attention even though I don't feel hurt?
Sometimes pain will not set in for several days after an accident. With that said, it is ALWAYS a good idea to be checkout out by a medical professional just as quickly as possible after an accident. Waiting too long could hurt your chances of being fairly compensated for your injuries later on.
Is there other information I should obtain from the scene of the accident?
Take pictures of the overall scene fo the accident, this would include all vehicles invloved, different locations of the scene, different angles, pictures of all injuries, damaged items should also be photographed. Take as many pictures as you can from different areas and angles. If is a good idea to keep a disposable camera in your glove box, or you can also you your cell phone.
When should I contact an attorney?
You should contact an attorney as soon as possible after an accident. An attorney can protect your rights, deal with the legal processes and provide legal advice to you. You should contact an attorney that deals specifically with the type of accident you have been involved in.
What is Personal Injury? How do I find out if I have a personal injury case?
Personal Injury is when a situation occurs or arises in which you have been personally harmed or hurt. In order for one to go forth with filing a personal injury case, one must be aware of the fact that they are injured, physically, or emotionally. One must be able to prove that an opposing party is at fault for their injuries and suffering, and often must prove that the other party is more so at fault for their injuries than they are.
What is Negligence?
Negligence occurs when someone is careless with their actions or behavior, and as a result of their carelessness another party is harmed or injured.
What is “Comparative Negligence”?
Comparative negligence operates on a percentage point, it refers to the degree of liability in an accident and the injuries suffered due to that particular accident. An example of this would be a two car accident; both parties are found to be at fault, one for running a yellow light and the other for not looking both ways. The percentage of liability can range from 50/50, 80/20, and anywhere in between.
What does the term “liable” mean?
Generally speaking, liable means responsible. Liable should not be confused with guilty since one being guilty usually refers to a criminal case. A court or legal representative usually names the party at fault, and in essence that party is obligated to compensate the injured since the liable party was responsible for the damage done.
What should I do if I get into a motor vehicle accident?
Aside from speaking to personal injury attorney, exchange personal information as well as insurance information with the opposing party. Additionally, try to obtain the personal information of any witnesses. Also, report the accident to your insurance company right away. Make no statements to the opposing party aside from exchanging your personal and insurance information. If the police are at the scene you will be asked to give a brief statement as to what occurred, be honest and civilized. Take photos of the car and the scene of the accident. If you are hurt or have been in a high impact accident go to the hospital and get an evaluation, make sure to save all of the paper work and bills from the medical treatment that you have undergone and provide your attorney with those records.
What does “duty” mean in a lawsuit for personal injury?
When speaking of duty in regards to personal injury cases, it is something that the law imposes on us (everyone) as individuals in order to protect the general public. For example, when we commune daily to work or elsewhere, it is our duty to drive safely not only for other drivers, but also the pedestrians as well as ourselves.
I was injured; can I file a lawsuit against the party that caused my injury & handle my own claim?
Certainly, however, signing on with an attorney is highly beneficial because the attorney is aware and knowledgeable of the laws pertaining to personal injury cases and how to handle them with the opposing party’s insurance. Often insurance companies can take advantage of the sole individual not represented by a law firm simply because the sole individual does not know the laws to the extent that an attorney does. Additionally, here at JudeLaw there is no cost to you upfront, we don’t get paid until you get paid! However, if you feel comfortable taking on a lawsuit on your own terms then that is an option.
Who is responsible when a person is injured?
The individual who is named at fault is responsible for any injuries inflicted on an individual. If the person at fault is insured with a particular company, that company too is responsible for the damages of the injured.
How do I decide if I need to hire an attorney?
If you feel that you do not have the expertise to resolve and take on your own claim, which in most instances that will be the case. Attorneys are very knowledgeable about laws pertaining to PI cases and other cases that the lay-individual may not be aware of. Essentially the attorney protects the individual from being taken advantage of.
How long do I have till I need to hire an attorney?
The statute for car accidents runs out after three (3) years, and two (2) years for premises liability. However, the sooner an individual acquires an attorney, the better chances they have of recovery.
How much do you charge if I choose to hire you as my attorney?
That truly depends on the attorney. However, for our personal injury claims we do not charge the client unless a settlement is established and the client collect. There is a contingency fee charge of 33.3%, only if settlement occurs. Otherwise it’s free.
How much will the fees be for a personal injury case/lawsuit?
At JudeLaw filing fees can range anywhere from $100 to less that $350. Some of these fees include ordering records and bills from numerous providers, police reports, investigations, process servers, etc. In addition, if a case goes to trial, doctors and other individuals such as witnesses testify, and the doctors are compensated for their time, and that is costly and expensive. Keep in mind, it is rare for most of our personal injury cases to go to trial, but it’s not out of the question since every case is different.
The opposing insurance company wants to send someone to my home so they can write me a check and settle the case, should I accept the offer?
Often the opposing party will try to resolve the matter as quickly as possible without any bumps in the road so to speak. Be cautious and make sure you know what you are agreeing to if you accept the check, do your research if you are uncertain as to what is being presented you or simply speak to your attorney to have it looked over and make sure all is well and proper. Do note that you are not obligated to accept any of the offers presented to you.
The insurance company wants me to give a recorded statement, should I do that?
If you feel comfortable doing so you may do so, however, you in fact are not obligated to give a statement and can decline do a recoded statement until you consult with your attorney. The reason the opposing insurance company would ask for a recoded statement from you is for two reasons—for you to admit some percentage of the fault in the accident and to note the injuries that you are aware of at that point in time, which may be a time when your injuries are not fully understood or have yet to surface. It is best to speak with your attorney regarding the matter due to the fact that every case is different and requires individual review.
The insurance company wants me to sign a medical authorization, should I do that?
It is wise to consult your attorney regarding this matter; medical authorization documents contain your personal information so it is good to be cautious with such documentation. When an attorney and an insurance company are aware of one another, they work together, and they handle the exchange of such information lawfully.
How will my claim be processed?
The client will meet with the attorney, if they decide to hire hat attorney they will need to fill out documents so the firm can be allowed to represent them and retrieve their medical information, etc. The client will continue treating if necessary, after treatment is no longer required due to doctor’s orders, the medical records and bills are collected in order to compile a packet for the opposing party’s insurance company so a settlement agreement can be established Once settlement is agreed upon, the claim is closed out.
What damage(s) can I recover?
Since every personal case is different, that truly depends on the type of incident and extent of your injury. You may be able to be compensated for a number of damages such as; physical disability, pain and suffering, lost employment wages, medical treatment and bills, permanent disability, disfigurement, scarring, mental and emotional trauma, loss of employments, property damage and out of pocket expenses such as prescription medication, transportation mileage, etc. All of the recoveries differ from case to case.
Who is going to pay my medical bills?
Essentially the individual responsible for the cause of the accident and injury, as well as their insurance company is responsible for all medical costs and treatment.
How will I get my employment wages paid while I am unable to work due to my injury?
Keep records of the day(s), hours, and your pay rate and present it to your attorney. Additionally, have it verified with your employer that the correct information is being submitted.
How can I determine how much my claim is worth?
Since ever personal injury case is different, a number of factors are taken into mind when determining the value of a particular case. In some cases the at fault party is unclear, and the injuries are not severe— such cases may be worth very little to nothing, essentially not having enough value for us to pursue the case. On the contrary, there are cases in which the party at fault is clear and the injuries are quite severe, in such cases the insurance and recovery become important factors which we would take on.
What should I bring with me for my meeting with a lawyer?
It would be wise to bring all documentation that you have in your possession that are regarding the particular claim which you wish to pursue; medical bills, letters, etc. In addition, have with you an Identification Card or Drivers License with you.
What if a person dies before a personal injury lawsuit settles?
That depends on whether or not the client died due to the injuries suffered in the accident or due to reasons completely unrelated to the accident claim. Usually the settlement dies with the client, unless a wrongful death has occurred.
What if I cannot prove someone’s negligence caused my injury? Are there any other avenues for personal injury liability aside from negligence against that party?
Colorado is a comparative negligence liability state. If one cannot prove fault of the opposing party, they are not liable. Then each party would have to cover or mitigate their own damages, ether personally or through insurance.
Will the individual(s) who caused my injury be punished?
If the opposing individual has insurance they will be represented by their insurance company for any damages incurred. If they do not possess insurance representation they leave themselves open to being personally liable for any damages.
Am I able to collect from an opposing party if they do not have insurance?
The answer to this question is dependent on the particular case, since every case is different. You have the ability to file civil action for damages; however, the chances of recovery are based on the opposing individual’s capability to pay for the damages addressed. Please consult with an attorney to further discuss this matter in regards to your particular case.
Will an attorney discuss my case for free?
This will vary according to each attorney. However, yes we will discuss your case at no cost to you. The first consultation will be for the purpose of evaluating the case to see if it is worth pursuing. After that initial evaluation, it is up to the individual to see if they wish to hire that attorney and further pursue their claim
Can I benefit from an accident if I was the passenger in a vehicle?
Yes, you certainly can; as a passenger you are entitled to recovery from the driver’s insurance policy.
What if I live outside of the state of Colorado?
This is not an issue, we have a number of clients that reside out of state, or come to us for an accident which occurred out of state. For an out of state client the communication would be mainly via email, phone, and fax. However, do keep in mind that every case is different.