Nobody Plans for anAccidentto Happen
Nobody Plans for an Accident to Happen
Don’t let someone else’s mistake ruin your life. When accidents occur you’re vulnerable. In the aftermath of an accident, you’re physically and emotionally hurt and may be overwhelmed with what needs to be done. A qualified and experienced attorney can help guide you through the steps you need to take and handle the legal aspects of a personal injury claim, while you focus on your recovery.
Table of Contents: for your convenience, below are quick links that will take you to the corresponding sections lower on this page.
If You’ve Been Injured and Need Answers
If you’ve been injured and are seeking an experienced and dedicated personal injury attorney, contact me for a free consultation.
Types of Accidents I Can Help You With
I can help you with any type of accident caused by the negligence of another. Accidents are really just another term for negligence and damages can be pursued as a personal injury claim.
I’m surprised all the time–I’ve worked on cases with some crazy and hard to believe circumstances that proved to be viable and winnable. Below are some of the types of accident cases I have experience with.
- Car Accident
- Uber Accident
- Lyft Accident
- Bus Accident
- Truck Accidents
- Semi Truck Accident
- Motorcycle Accident
- Bicycle Accident
- Pedestrian Accident
- Boating Accident
- Drowning Accident
- Aviation Accidents
- Train Accident
- Hit and Run Accident
- Drunk Driving Accidents – DUI ? or impaired driving, driving under the influence, drugged driving?
- Workplace Accidents
- Construction Accidents
- Slip and Fall Accidents (premises liability)
Helping You Navigate the Complexities of the Legal System
Careful What you Say
Once you start talking you’re creating evidence that could be helpful or hurtful. Be mindful when talking to the following that you act in your own best interest.
- Insurance Companies - Insurance companies train their representatives to handle cases like yours every day. You are at a disadvantage from the start. Calls with an insurer typically start off with the statement, “do you consent to this call being recorded.” From the beginning, evidence is being obtained. Before providing a statement to an insurance company, you should talk with a lawyer.
- Law Enforcement - Statements made to law enforcement may be included in their reports and relied upon by insurers and experts.
- Friends and Family - Don’t talk about privileged conversations with your lawyer, or about your case. You should not discuss, text, or post anything about your case with anyone other than your legal team. You should otherwise live your life as if there was no claim or lawsuit.
- Social Media - Just don’t. Whatever you share on social media can be used against you. If you have social medical accounts, consider adjusting your privacy settings, and restricting what is posted publicly.
- Doctors - You should follow medical advice as if there was no claim or lawsuit. Be sure to explain to your medical providers how your injury occurred. Don’t minimize any aspect of your injuries.
If you have been injured by the negligence of others, contact me for a free consultation.
Valuing Personal Injury Accident Cases
Personal injury accident cases are evaluated on a case by case basis. No two cases are the same. Factors considered include:
- The strength of the liability argument
- The nature of the incident or how the incident occurred
- The injuries involved
- The time missed from work and recreational activities
- Whether any injuries are permanent
- How strong or likable witnesses are
- Medical expenses
A full valuation of an accident case can not be done until a full recovery is made and the full extent of damages are known. Values can increase or decrease based on facts learned as the case progresses. There is no definitive guide that lays out the value of a case or that can take the place of the knowledge of an experienced attorney. If you’ve been in an accident contact me for a free consultation.
When To Call a Lawyer After an Accident
The earlier the better. I’ve been called by clients while they are still at the scene of the accident. I’ve also been called the day before the statute of limitations will run out. To see if you have a personal injury claim worth pursuing, contact me for a free consultation. The sooner I’m hired, the sooner I can help you navigate the insurance issues and handle all the phone calls and paperwork.
Why Hire a Lawyer Immediately After Accident
You should consult with a lawyer immediately after an accident to see if you have a personal injury case worth pursuing. If so, evidence can be obtained, and the attorney can start working on and handling the case for you.
Accident Settlement Process
An accident settlement process does not begin until a full recovery is made or the condition has plateaued or reached maximum medical improvement. Once that point has been reached the settlement process is as follows:
- A demand letter is sent to the insurer or risk management office of the negligent party.
- Negotiation begins
- Agreement is reached
- A release is signed by the injured party
- A check is issued
Accident Lawyer FAQs
Below are common questions people ask about accidents and pursuing a personal injury case.
What Does an Accident Lawyer Do?
An accident lawyer works with insurance companies and the opposing attorneys so you don’t have to. Guiding you through the legal system and presenting your case in the best light possible.
Should I Get a Lawyer After an Accident?
Though you may not need a lawyer, you should always consider consulting with one after an accident to find out if your case is worth pursuing. If you’d like to know if your case is worth pursuing contact me for a free consultation.
Should I Hire a Lawyer for Minor Accident?
It depends. You should consult with a lawyer to find out if your case is worth pursuing. If you’d like to know if your case is worth pursuing contact me for a free consultation.
Can I Get an Accident Attorney if I Wasn’t Injured?
If you weren’t injured and haven’t sustained any damages, there may not be a claim to assert. If you’re unsure, you can always request a free consultation to find out if your claim is worth pursuing.
Do I Need Lawyer for an Uninsured Driver Accident?
You may need a lawyer for an uninsured driver accident if you’ve sustained damages to yourself or property and have uninsured motorist coverage of your own.
If the other driver was uninsured and you don’t have uninsured coverage, you are unlikely to recover anything unless the uninsured driver has substantial assets.
How To Find a Good Accident Attorney
One way to find an accident injury attorney is from a personal recommendation from someone you know who has had a good experience with a lawyer. Another would be to do internet research. Virtually all accident attorneys offer free consultations. Get several consultations and work with the attorney that’s a good fit for you and your case.
How Much Does an Accident Lawyer Cost?
Most accident lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, as I do. This means that the fee charged is based on a percentage of the settlement, award, or verdict. The fee is collected at the conclusion of the case. There is no requirement for a retainer or advanced deposit for costs.
How Are Accident Settlements Calculated?
In accident cases, settlements are calculated on a case by case basis. No two cases are alike. Factors that come into play include:
- How the injury occurred, the injury itself, treatment, and period of incapacity
- A permanent injury would include future general damages and special damages if applicable
- General Damages include the nature and extent of the injury
- Disability, disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life
- Pain, and suffering, both mental and physical
- Mental anguish
- Disability or disfigurement
- Emotional distress
- Loss of society and companionship
- Loss of consortium
- Impact on personal and professional activities
- The law has not furnished us with any fixed standards by which to measure non-economic damages
- Special Damages, such as medical expenses, lost earnings, property damages, and other damages that have a specific known value
How Much Is My Accident Settlement Worth?
How much an accident settlement is worth depends on many factors including:
- how you were injured
- the liability of the other party
- the type of injury
- the type of treatment
- the time length of the disability
- whether any of the injuries were permanent
- medical expenses
- wage and economic loss
In most cases, a complete assessment can not take place until your injuries have healed or plateaued (when further treatment will not cure the condition).
How Long Do Accident Settlements Take?
There are no set guidelines on how long an accident settlement can take. The more contested the case is, the longer it takes. A settlement may occur shortly after treatment is complete or after a verdict has been rendered. Every case is different, and there are so many variables and moving parts there’s just no way to predict when a case will end.
Why Is My Accident Settlement Taking So Long?
When you’re the one that’s hurt it always seems to take too long. An accident case can not be settled until all damages are known, which will occur when treatment is finished or plateaued. Depending on circumstances and court availability a case can resolve shortly after treatment has finished or plateaued or after a trial or appeal. This process can be anywhere from 5 months to 6 years.
The shortest case I’ve worked on is 5 months, and the longest was 4 years. An example of a long period of litigation is the Exxon Valdez Oil spill, which took 26 years to work its way through the courts.
How Many Steps Are There in the Accident Investigation Process?
The number of steps involved in investigating an accident depends on the type of case.
With auto accidents, typically law enforcement will investigate, and then the attorney can follow up with the witnesses. You should still obtain the other driver’s name, insurance, and contact information, as well as witnesses’ names and contact information, and take photographs.
In other types of accidents where law enforcement, or another entity, does not investigate, you should obtain the other driver’s name, insurance, and contact information, as well as witnesses’ names and contact information, and take photographs.
The damages to you or your property will require investigation as well. Medical records will need to be reviewed by your attorney and possibly medical experts. Every case is unique and will require its own investigation plan.
Are Accident Settlements Taxable?
Generally, the Internal Revenue Code, § 104(a)(2) excludes from your gross income, the damages (other than punitive damages) received on account of personal injury or sickness. You should talk with your tax advisor regarding the taxability of any settlement.
Can You Fire Your Accident Lawyer?
Yes, you can fire your accident lawyer. If you do release your lawyer, they may be entitled to lawyer fees for work done to date.
What to Expect
When you’re hurt, you probably don’t know what to do. You have competing insurance companies calling you and you’re unclear of their roles and agendas. You may not be fully aware of the benefits you qualify for from your own insurance company — when was the last time you read your policy? — or even who all of the potential at-fault parties are regarding your injury.
The sooner you call the sooner your situation can be evaluated and explained to you — and the sooner I can start working to get you taken care of.
Example of what your experience might be like — from intake to completion
- Free Consultation (typically done in person)
- If hired, an agreement is signed by both parties. No retainer or advanced cost is required
- Notice of representation. I will contact and work with all of the involved Insurance companies.
- Ensure medical treatment is given and the proper insurer is paying for it
- Assist with damaged vehicle if applicable
- Acquire medical records when needed
- Once treatment is done, the value of the case can be assessed based on all information available
- Settlement negotiations occur
- If no settlement is reached a lawsuit is filed
- After a lawsuit is filed, a trial date is set
- Discovery begins. Discovery will include interrogatories which are written questions answered under oath, and depositions where you’ll be asked questions under oath. In some cases, you may be asked to be examined by a medical expert hired by the defendant.
- Many cases settle after the discovery process concludes either informally or through mediation.
- If not settled, then trial prep continues.
- Trial proceeds.
- The verdict is rendered and judgment obtained
Every case is unique and the above is just a general outline of what you may experience. Because both sides are continually weighing the strengths and weaknesses of the case, a case can settle at any time — even during jury deliberations.
Don’t Let Someone Else’s Mistake Ruin Your Life
Regardless of where you’re at in the process, if someone else's mistake or negligence caused you an injury, please submit my free consultation form or give me a call at (425) 374-4907. I can help get things sorted out and make sure you’re getting the medical treatment and benefits you’re entitled to.
I look forward to discussing your case with you,
Derek P. Radtke