Personal Injury FAQs

I'm here to help you understand your legal situation, your rights, and your options. I can help you achieve the best possible outcome for your case, working with you every step of the way in a trusting, confidential environment. Please read my frequently asked questions to get a better idea of your rights. And if you have any questions about your unique legal situation, whether you are facing overwhelming financial difficulties, serious criminal charges, or a devastating personal injury, contact me at The Law Office of Chris D. Hefty.

What are my rights if I'm injured because of another person's wrongful actions?

If you're injured and it is determined that the other person caused your injury and your damages, then you have the right to be reimbursed for your expenses and to collect for damages.

Damages are somewhat complex, but they include medical bills, loss of income, loss of use or function of the body, and pain and suffering.

As an example, if you get into a car accident and you have a broken leg that results in a permanent disability, you have the right to have all your medical bills paid by the at-fault party. You also have the right to be paid for how a permanent disability from the accident affects your life.

You have the right to deal with an insurance company and settle your claim, although you should understand that insurance companies are concerned with profit: they are going to want to settle your claim for the least amount of money possible. They are going to want to deny payments for certain aspects of your damages. Because of this, if you don't feel that your claim is worth a lot of money-or if you aren't sure how much your claim is worth-you should talk to an attorney before you talk to an insurance company.

Sometimes people think that personal injury law is an area of law that people use just to get rich. Politicians talk about tort reform all the time. But actually, personal injury law is one of the oldest areas of law in the country because we realize people need to be careful, people need to look out for others, and people need to be responsible for the things they do that affect others. This is why you have the right to seek compensation for the harm caused to you by the negligence of others.

What do I have to prove in my personal injury claim?

In personal injury claims, the legal issue is the liability. You must prove that the party that injured you failed to act as a reasonable person would have acted in the same or similar circumstances: they were negligent.

In automobile accidents, that can mean someone violated a traffic law: they turned left in front of you, were speeding, ran a stoplight, were drunk driving, etc. Those kinds of things prove negligence. But negligence then has to result in an injury, whether it's financial or personal. Then, you have to prove that the injury was the direct result of the negligent action.

Proving your personal injury case can sometimes be complex, depending on the medical information that you have. This is why it is so important to have an experienced personal injury attorney on your side.

Why should I hire an attorney for my personal injury case?

A good personal injury lawyer truly wants to help you.

A lot of people think that lawyers are in it for the money. But most good personal injury attorneys truly want to help you.

Without a personal injury attorney, you may not receive the compensation you deserve. Both the other side as well as the insurance companies want to minimize what happened to you in order to pay as little as possible-which is why it is best to have someone on your side who can present your case effectively and who knows how to fight for the compensation you are entitled to.

A personal injury case is a hard case to pursue, so you should rely on an attorney to help prove your case.

What types of compensation can I seek in my personal injury claim?

Most of the compensation you can receive from a personal injury claim is monetary. You should receive compensation to pay for medical bills, physical therapy, loss of income, future medical bills paid, pain and suffering, and future pain and suffering.

You are entitled, first of all, to what you lost. If your car is damaged, you're entitled to get your car fixed or have it replaced. If you have to pay an ambulance bill, a doctor and emergency bill, or any medical bill, you are entitled to be reimbursed for those bills. If you had to take time off of work because you were injured, you're entitled to be paid for your lost income. If you had to hire someone to take care of you, you are entitled to be reimbursed. If your spouse or loved one left work because they had to stay home and take care of you, they are entitled to be paid for their lost income.

The list of compensation, or reasons for you to get damages, is quite long. Generally, you're entitled to seek reimbursement for any out-of-pocket expense. In addition to out-of-pocket expenses, you are entitled to a reasonable payment for your pain and suffering including impairment of any physical or mental ability related to the accident.

What can I expect from the personal injury process?

Depending on the amount of damages you have, you can expect that your case will take anywhere from a year to three years to resolve. That sounds like a lot of time but personal injury cases are complex. If an attorney tells you that you can get your claim settled in thirty days, he or she is doing you a disservice.

My firm does not settle cases until you've reached maximum medical recovery. What that means is, other than continuing with things like physical therapy, there are no other medical issues that need to be treated. That way we know that we can settle your case and we have resolved what your injury is and how it's going to affect your life.

Again, depending on the damages and the injury to the person, it could take anywhere from a year to three years to resolve a personal injury case. That is troublesome for many people, but in the end, that's the best way to approach it. You can also expect insurance companies contacting you, asking you to resolve your case. You can expect medical providers wanting you to pay bills. And all of the processes sometimes gets complicated and frustrating.

This is why it's best to have someone help you through the process so that 1) you're not affecting your ability to get compensation, and 2) you're not being taken advantage of.

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