Personal Injury FAQ
Tampa Personal Injury Lawyers Offering Answers
What can I expect to happen during my personal injury case?
The personal injury process can seem daunting. An injury victim can submit
a claim with the insurance company of the at-fault party, or with his
or her own insurance provider in some cases. This should only be done
after the victim has consulted with an attorney. The insurance company will
then review the claim and either offer a settlement or deny the claim
altogether. If an unfair denial occurs or if a fair settlement cannot
be reached, the victim and his or her lawyer have the option of filing
a lawsuit against the insurer and getting the matter decided in court.
In some cases, it may make more sense to file a lawsuit rather than making
a claim directly with the insurance company. It is vitally important to
speak with an attorney to learn about the time constraints involved in
submitting a claim with an insurance company or filing a lawsuit.
What do I do if the at-fault party's provider asks for a statement?
Do not speak with any insurance claims adjusters until after you have talked
to a personal injury lawyer! In fact, once you retain legal counsel, the
insurer can deal directly with your lawyer. Insurance companies often
try to get victims to make statements that could hurt their own claims,
such as statements that indicate that you are partially at fault or that
your injuries are not that severe.
What is the difference between a settlement and a verdict?
A settlement occurs when the injury victim and the at-fault party's
insurance company come to an agreement on a certain amount of compensation
that will be paid to the victim. A settlement can be reached before a
claim is ever filed, but often times does not occur until after the victim
files an injury lawsuit. That is why having the right legal counsel on
your side early on in the process can make a huge difference. On the other
hand, a verdict is a final decision issued by the court after a trial
is held. In a personal injury trial, a verdict will determine how much
compensation must be paid to the victim. In some cases, a settlement between
the parties may be reached after a trial is started, but before a verdict
has been reached.
What are punitive damages?
In personal injury litigation, sometimes punitive damages are awarded as
part of the verdict. These are monetary damages that are meant to punish
the defendant rather than to compensate the victim for his or her claimed
losses. Punitive damages are usually only awarded in cases that involve
extreme situations of negligence.
How long does a personal injury case take?
The span of time that takes to resolve a personal injury case widely varies.
If you are able to reach a quick settlement with the at-fault party's
insurance company, the case may just take a matter of weeks or a couple
of months. However, if you and the insurance company keep going back and
forth and have difficulty reaching an agreement, or if you need to take
your case to trial, your case could take several months, or even years.
In some situations, the case may be on the longer side because the full
extent of the injury cannot be determined right away, or because the case
is particularly complex and requires more investigation. By consulting
with an attorney, you can get a better idea of how long your case is estimated to take.
How much compensation will I get?
The amount of compensation you can receive will depend on the specific
circumstances of your case. Some of the factors that determine the amount
of compensation you should receive include the following: medical bills
(current and future), lost wages (current and future), extent of pain
and suffering, extent of psychological or emotional trauma, burial expenses
(if a loved one was lost), amount of punitive damages, etc. It is important
to have an attorney help you assess the total damages so that you can
seek the appropriate amount of compensation.