First, it is worth noting that most people come to an attorney's office with lots of questions. But many of those questions are generally about things that have little to do with money. While people do not generally talk to a lawyer just to get money, it can certainly become a big deal later in the case. For instance, you may get into a car accident and be genuinely upset that the other driver caused you this much difficulty and grief. But when those medical bills start pouring in, and you can't make your rent because you are still out of work due to pain, that is when money becomes the big question. So, to help better put some dollars and cents on the table, here is what every car accident victim should understand.
Damages Are Dollars
Your injuries can be broken down into several categories. These are called damages. These are the things you can get paid for. Here's how they work.
- Medical Bills. First, you can demand that the negligent driver who hurt you pays for your medical bills. When an attorney represents you, this is done differently than if the insurance company deals directly with you. When you are working without an attorney, the insurance company will pay medical providers directly, at a much reduced amount, then leave you hung out to dry when you try to seek money for pain and suffering. That is just another reason why hiring an experienced trial lawyer is so important.
- Lost Income. This is another big driving force in settlement negotiations. When your attorney is negotiating with the insurance carrier, your inability to work or loss of wages will always come up.
- Pain and Suffering. This is a tougher one to put a number on, but in general, we tell our clients that insurance companies will offer somewhere between the total value of your medical bills and about 50% of that as a payment to your pain and suffering, if you are not represented by a lawyer. With a lawyer, you can usually get about 2-3 times what you would be offered without one. The old golden rule was long considered to be "3 times medical bills." This just means that historically, personal injury attorneys used the 3 times medical bills rule as a general guide post for resolving auto accidents. However, this is a poor measure of actual value. There is so much more that can go into the calculation.
Another important factor in determining your final economic recovery is your own contribution to the accident. Did you do something to make it worse? Did you do something that could be considered partial responsibility? If so, the insurance company can argue that your recovery must be reduced by your own share of liability. It is called "contributory fault." This can be a big source of contention, but even where there is shared liability, in many cases, our office is able to get our clients compensated. The key is not being mostly to blame. If you are just 10-20% to blame, then yes you may have your settlement or verdict reduced by that amount, but you are still better off than not pursuing it.
Call a Lawyer Today
There really is no good excuse to wait and not call a lawyer. At CROSSROAD LEGAL, our team is available to take calls 24/7. We never charge for consultations, there is zero obligation, no high-pressure tactics, and we only take a fee out of the money we are able to recover on your behalf. What's more, we do things NO OTHER LAW FIRM does. For instance,
- We reduce our fee so our client ALWAYS gets more than we do!
- We will match our client's donation to a local charity of their choice, with up to 10% of our attorney fee!
- We offer massive discounts for first responders, military, veterans, and healthcare workers! These discounts can save you thousands.
- We provide rapid response, online access to documents, and even allow clients to sign up from their couch, using e-sign agreements!
So, if you or someone you know suffered a serious injury in southern Illinois, call CROSSROAD LEGAL today. Just remember, there are strict deadlines on pursuing compensation, and if you wait too long, you will forever give up the right to recover anything. So, call the firm, or visit us online to see our upfront pricing and learn more about us.