Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Personal Injury Laws in Indiana
Below are the answers to common initial questions many clients have when they first contact Keller and Keller. We hope that the information below address many initial concerns you may have, but if you don't find the answers here, please contact us with questions specific to your case. The consultation is free and confidential.
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Does Keller & Keller handle property damage claims, too?
We’ve handled many motorcycle claims throughout the years for our clients, and they have been especially concerned about the loss of their bike. Many times the parts on the motorcycle were custom, and it’s not always as easy as just picking out another bike to replace the loss.
With regard to your damaged or lost bike, we will always be happy to offer advice in helping you settle your property damage claim. However, we typically advise our motorcycle clients that we can’t actively represent them with regard to the property damage portion of their claim. The reason for this is because if we represent you, then legally we would be obligated to take a fee which would leave you with less money for your bike. We understand that you need every dime recovered to repair your bike or get a new bike.
Remember, you have 2 separate claims related to your motorcycle accident: (1) a property damage claim, and (2) a personal injury claim. These claims can be handled and settled separately from one another.
Why is it bad to delay seeking medical treatment after a motorcycle accident?
Most motorcycle accidents will involve serious injury, and the need for treatment will be apparent; however, we have represented several bikers that were fortunate enough to have sustained injury that didn't require surgeries, or lengthy hospital stays. The reason we were able to help those clients is because they didn't delay in seeking treatment for the less apparent injuries that they did suffer.
Motorcyclists that suffer scrapes and cuts, or soft-tissue injuries, are less likely to seek immediate attention from an ER or their doctor because they thought the aches and pains will resolve themselves over time. Unfortunately, a biker that waits to seek treatment is causing serious damage to any potential claim he may have against the at-fault party.
Insurance companies have been known to outright refuse personal injury claims because the injured person waited too long. By waiting, the injured party creates what is known as a "gap in treatment." A gap in treatment is one of the most damaging accusations against any personal injury claim, as an insurance company and/or jury will see your gap in treatment as a sign that you weren't really injured. And even though there may be rational reason behind your delay in seeking treatment, it won't hold water with the insurance company.
Many times a soft tissue injury can not present its most severe symptoms until days after the accident. Someone that has never been in a motorcycle accident might not suspect this, but it's a common occurrence. For this reason, we advise anyone who thinks they may have suffered injury to visit with their doctor as soon as possible, not only to protect your claim, but to make sure your injuries aren't more serious than you first believe them to be.
Can I Get Pain and Suffering Money for a Michigan Accident?
Because Michigan is a “No-Fault” state, your auto insurance company will automatically pay for your medical bills, 85% of your lost wages for up to three years, and almost every other expense you incur arising out of the car accident (these are referred to as “personal injury protection” benefits), regardless of who caused the accident.
However, you will not be automatically compensated for your pain and suffering or lost wages after three years. These damages are recoverable from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. To receive compensation for pain and suffering, Michigan law requires that you establish:
a. You have a “serious impairment of your body function” caused by the car accident, or;
b. You have a permanent disfigurement
Michigan courts have developed a framework to determine whether an injury meets these standards. The value of your claim for pain and suffering arising out of a car accident depends, primarily, on whether the above “thresholds” have been met and, to what extent your injuries have affected your ability to function in the way you did prior to the car accident.
When should I go to the doctor after a car accident in Michigan?
As soon as possible.
In addition to insuring your health is a priority, immediate follow up with a doctor will also provide official documentation of your injuries. This evidence will be key to your being fairly compensated for the damages that resulted from the accident.
Specific to Michigan accident victims is the fact that every injured person has a duty to mitigate their damages when an accident is caused by another person or entity. In other words, if you do not seek proper medical treatment, and it results in the worsening of your injury, then you are not entitled to receive compensation for your worsened condition.
How Long Does a Personal Injury Case Take to Settle?
Every personal injury case will have a unique set of facts and circumstances. There is the possibility that a case may settle relatively quickly while another similar case will require time-consuming litigation. Until you speak with an experienced accident attorney, provide full details about your accident and health, there' simply no way to know how long your case may take.
It's never advisable to settle a case until your doctors have released you from treatment, and the reason for this is simple: signing a release means you waive your rights to recover for future damages related to the accident. If your injuries are much worse than they originally appear, a quick settlement puts you at risk of losing out on compensation that you are entitled to receive. Unfortunately, many injured individuals give in to pressure from the insurance companies to settle quickly, giving up their right to seek additional compensation when the injury worsens in the future.
Once you have finished treating, and we have received all of your medical records, our attorneys will begin to prepare a demand package on your behalf to begin negotiations with the insurance company. It's highly recommended that any discussions with an insurance company be handled by your personal injury attorney, as they will have experience with similar claims and will work to protect your interests. Remember, anything you say to an insurance adjuster may be used against you in the future.
If the insurance adjuster refuses to pay a fair settlement, or suggests that their insured is not liable for your injuries, we may determine that a lawsuit must be filed against the negligent party, however, this doesn’t mean that your case is necessarily going to trial. We are able to settle most injury cases before trial, whether by informal discussions, facilitative mediation, or further case evaluation.
In the rare instance your case DOES require a jury trial, there are several additional steps required to ensure procedure is followed, and ultimately, the case may then take years to settle.
When should I go to the doctor after an accident left me injured?
Victims of automobile accidents, slip and fall, dog bites, etc. may be unsure as to when or if they should see a doctor. In determining when you should see a Doctor in Albuquerque, Las Cruces, Santa Fe or elsewhere in New Mexico, it is always better to be safe than sorry. If you have a possible claim for injuries suffered, your damages will be determined in part from a medical provider's assessment. Thus, if you don't see a doctor, often times it is difficult to establish a value for your accident. It is also important to consider future health problems.
"John Smith is shopping at his local grocery store and there is unknown liquid on the floor that he overlooked until he slipped. He gets up, dusts himself off, and thinks maybe I have a couple bruises but I am otherwise ok. John files an incident report with the store and the store's insurance company contacts him. They offer him a cash value or advise the store to give him credit to cover for their negligence. Then they give him a form to sign that prevents him from suing them them in the future. Six months later, he is exercising, or playing with his dog, and he feels a sharp shooting pain. John goes to the Doctor and finds that as a result of the fall in the store he had a hair-line fracture or a torn ligament that had gotten worse with time but could have been identified had he seen a Doctor right after the accident."
The moral is, if you have been in an accident, it is in your best interest to see a medical provider either immediately or soon thereafter. You may need to report the incident, but there is no harm in following up with your primary care physician.
If you have questions and would like to discuss your claim with New Mexico personal injury attorneys, contact Keller & Keller at 1-800-2-KELLER.
Can I afford to hire Keller and Keller for my car or truck accident claim?
The first question most callers ask our lawyers is: “How much does it cost to hire Keller & Keller?”
Immediately after a car accident, friends and family will likely start talking to you about your personal injury case, including how expensive it is to hire a lawyer. Unfortunately, the people giving you this advice often aren’t attorneys, and you may feel pressured to accept a low-ball settlement offer thrown at you by the insurance company simply because you think hiring a lawyer is too costly.
You Can Afford Legal Representation in Your Injury Claim
Before you try to settle your car accident claim on your own, know this: because we work on a contingency fee basis anyone can afford to hire Keller & Keller!
What Is a “Contingency Fee’?
A contingency fee agreement is a very attractive arrangement that allows you to focus solely on your physical and emotional recovery without having to stress about paying our lawyers an hourly rate just to work on your injury case.
Our Zero Fee Guarantee Means You Don’t Pay If We Don’t Win
With regard to Keller & Keller’s contingency fee agreement, we offer everyone a Zero Fee Guarantee, meaning no one at our offices will ever ask you to front case costs with money that comes from your pocket, and the only way our attorneys are paid is if a recovery is made on your behalf.
How do I become part of a class-action lawsuit?
In most instances, you need not do anything. In other words, you won’t be asked to “join” a class-action lawsuit. Instead, you become a party to the lawsuit by not “opting-out.” (There are times that you may be asked to become a member, or “opt-in” for a class-action lawsuit, but these instances are rare.)
Typically a drug will be recalled in some large-scale fashion and law firms will seek out people who have suffered a type of injury as a result of taking the drug. Any resulting settlement from the lawsuit will then be shared by other members in your particular class-action group.
How long do drug lawsuits take to settle?
This is a very hard question to answer, and in all honesty, no one knows.
There are several factors that affect the time it will take for a class-action lawsuit or defective drug claim to settle. The best way to help us determine when you could possibly even begin to expect a settlement is to contact our defective drug case manager and talk to them about the specific drug that has left you or a loved one injured.
Depending on the drug, we may be able to give you additional information, such as how many people are part of the lawsuit, which drug manufacturer is being sued, and what progress has been made thus far in terms of making a recovery.
Ultimately, it's important to realize that these cases can take years. The drug manufacturers fight extremely hard to protect their interests and its not uncommon to see them file many appeals.
How does a dangerous drug get released to the public?
Many people often want to know who is responsible for the dangerous drug that they or the loved one have taken. In fact, it's not uncommon for you to be saying, "How did this happen?"
One of the ways a dangerous drug reaches the public is that the drug company who produced the medicine either minimized the or hid the risks associated with the drug and the side-effects it may cause. Another potential fault rests with the Federal Drug Adminsitration (FDA) and their failure to conduct a thorough investigation of the drug manufacturers' application concerning the defective drug.
While these are the two most common ways a bad drug is introduced to the public, it's not always the case, and that is why drug litigation is a lengthy process. There are seferal questions that need to be answered, and the drug company will fight extremely hard to limit their liability.
What types of recovery can I receive if I suffer injury after taking a defective drug?
In the event that you have a claim against a drug manufacturer for injuries caused by taking their product, it's possible you or a loved one can recover for the following 5 types of damages:
- medical costs
- rehabilitation costs
- diminished earning capacity (loss of potential or future employment)
- lost wages
- pain and suffering
You have insurance, but you were struck by an uninsured driver. What happens now?
Your motorcycle insurance policy will likely have uninsured motorist coverage, and if you were hit by a driver who had no insurance, your insurance company then becomes responsible for compensating you for the loss of your motorcycle, your medical bills, pain and suffering, as well as any lost wages that resulted from the accident.
Some bikers are hesitant to file a claim against their own insurance company for various reasons, all of which are usually misguided.
Remember, YOU pay your insurance company money to protect you and your bike from uninsured drivers. This piece of your policy is designed to compensate you in these instances.
Never think that you shouldn't file an uninsured claim simply because it's your own insurance company. This is faulty thinking that could cost you thousands.
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