Personal Injury FAQs
Personal Injury FAQs
How Do Personal Injury Cases Work?
In order to recover compensation in a personal injury case, the first step usually involves contacting the at-fault party or their insurance company and making a claim for compensation. This step will begin a process of negotiation between you and the at-fault party or their representatives. You will also begin to negotiate over the amount of compensation you will receive.
If both sides can agree on a compensation amount, they will execute a settlement agreement of your personal injury claim. If the parties cannot reach a settlement, the injured party may have to file a lawsuit in court.
The litigation process involves a period of “discovery.” During that process, both sides exchange evidence and information. The claim will be heard in a trial before a jury or a judge. The judge or jury will reach a verdict that decides the case. The verdict may find that the injured party is entitled to compensation. If so, the court will render a judgment that sets out the amount of money the at-fault party must pay.
When Should You Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer?
You should contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible following your injury. Depending on the circumstances of your accident, you may be contacted by the insurance company or attorneys for the at-fault party. They may offer you quick compensation in exchange for settlement and release of your claim.
However, be aware that these offers are often far less than your total damages. A personal injury attorney can help you evaluate any settlement offers you receive. The attorney can negotiate with the at-fault party or their insurers or representatives. The goal is to get you a fair and full settlement of your damages.
An attorney can also investigate your claim to determine what and who caused your personal injury. This investigation could be crucial if the party you believe to be at fault for your injuries tries to deny liability.
How Are Personal Injury Settlements Paid Out?
Once you and the party responsible for your injuries (or the party’s insurance company) have agreed on the amount of compensation, you both will execute a settlement and release agreement. The compensation amount will often be held in escrow by a neutral third-party. The funds will be released once the settlement agreement is executed and legally binding.
In many personal injury cases, the settlement funds are paid to your attorney. If you have a contingency fee agreement with your attorney, he or she will deduct any fees and costs and then pay the remaining amount to you.
Is a Personal Injury Settlement Taxable?
As a general rule, the compensation received in a personal injury claim is not taxable. No taxes are owed as long as the money is for a personal injury or illness caused by someone’s negligent, reckless, or intentional acts.
However, any money you receive that is not strictly part of the personal injury settlement may be taxable. For example, some states impose tax on any interest that accrues on your personal injury award.
Any punitive damages that you are awarded are also taxable. In addition, compensation for emotional distress is fully taxable unless you can show that the emotional injury was accompanied by physical harm or distress.
Do I Need a Lawyer for a Property Damage Claim?
In many cases it is advisable to have an attorney for a property damage claim. You may not realize what property is part of your claim. A lawyer may seek compensation for you laptop computer or smartphone that was damaged or destroyed in the accident.
A dispute may arise over the amount of compensation you are entitled to for the property damage. For instance, the at-fault party may dispute the value of the car that was totaled in the accident. An attorney can negotiate on your behalf to maximize the amount of compensation you will receive.
Can You Change Personal Injury Lawyers?
Yes. Generally speaking, you have the right to choose which attorney will represent you in your personal injury case. If you become dissatisfied with the job your current personal injury attorney is doing — or change your mind about your attorney for any reason — you have the right to hire another lawyer.
However, the process of changing lawyers depends on the status of your personal injury case. If your case is already in court, you and your new attorney will need to file a substitution of counsel, which formally notifies the court and the other parties that you are replacing your attorney.
Under certain circumstances, the court may decline to allow you to switch lawyers. For instance, a judge may decline the switch if he or she believes you are simply trying to delay your case. The court may also decline the request if a conflict of interest would arise. For example, the judge may find that the attorney you want previously represented another party in the case.
Car Accidents FAQs
Car Accident FAQs
Should I Go to the Hospital After My Accident?
If you’ve been in a car accident it’s important that you go to the hospital or your medical care provider as soon as possible, it’s the longer you wait I guess the insurance company is more time to poke holes in your case and say you must not have been that injured if you waited four days a week or two weeks, now it’s not to say that it’s impossible to overcome but have you been injured go get checked out immediately it’s just good practice because you never know when those bumps and bruises could be something more.
The doctors there they can give you an MRI check you out and make sure that it’s just a bump and bruise or not something more serious like a torn rotator cuff or other serious injuries that could take two or three weeks to actually come out for you.
What Is The Worst Insurance Company?
A question we frequently get asked is what is the best insurance company and was the worst insurance company now, there’s a lot of good ones out there but there’s a clear-cut winner for being the worst insurance company out there not be Allstate Insurance Company.
They systematically minimized everybody’s bills without any specific rationale or reasoning, they also will never give you Full Faith and Credit for your medical bills that are outstanding, there have been many times where there are five thousand dollars in medical bills and Allstate simply refuses to pay any more than three thousand without any reason.
The first things we tell clients when we found out Allstate Insurance is involved is that it’s going to take a lot longer for their case then it was someone more reasonable like progressive country one or any other insurance company really besides all states, they have a systematic approach to delay everything make it as miserable as possible and run every single case out as long as they can without paying the full amount that a case is worth, so when that happens we have to file a lawsuit and go through the litigation process in order to get your case claim in front of a jury and get you paid for the full amount of your medical bills and flex your claim is actually work.
If you have Allstate and you’re involved in an accident and got forbid you’re at fault for it the odds are very high that you’re probably going to get a suit, why is that? because all state’s not going to give them the full amount of their bills even if you wanted to they’re not going to do it, they have ten thousand dollars in medical bills all say it’s going to give them five and, what does that lead to? lawsuits because the only way for that person to get the full compensation that they deserve for their outstanding medical bills and pain and suffering is to fall lawsuit and get their case in front of a jury so that they can show a jury the demand and then they’ll get something reasonable so if you have Allstate not telling you to get rid of them but I don’t have Allstate.
What Should I Do If I Get Into An Accident?
- The first thing to do is to stop and make sure everyone is okay, once you’ve done that get out the car and examine the damage and make sure all the people involved in the collision are also okay.
- The second step is to call the cops because If you don’t have a place report you need to have an accident that need to assign blame, also if someone has been injured when you call 911 deals to the ambulance to transfer people to the hospitals an get all the medical care necessary.
- Exchange information with other drivers, make sure you get all the information including policy, number, group number and anything you need to make sure you can get their insurance coverage.
- Do not admit fault, just make sure to tell them how the collision occurred exactly and precisely so they can assign blame.
- If you have been injured, go to the doctor as soon as possible, you may feel fine after the collision but you want to make sure you have the documents of all of your injuries, you got to be able to prove all of your injuries, and how do we prove it? With medical records and doctor testimonies.
If you have been in a collision, follow these 5 steps and If you have any questions, call Stokes Stemle at 334.316.4123
What is an Insurance Coverage Limit?
Every insurance policy sold in Alabama is a contract and every contract has terms. Policy limits are the max amount of money that the insurance company is going to have to pay out on your behalf if you injure somebody in an auto accident.
In Alabama, we have what’s called a minimum policy whereby any insurance policy sold in Alabama has to cover at least $25,000 to $50,000. That first number, $25,000, is the max amount of money the insurance company is going to have to pay out on your behalf if you injure someone no matter how badly injured they are or even if you killed them. If you have a minimum policy your insurance company is only going to pay out twenty-five thousand dollars to that person. The second number, $50,000, is the amount of money your insurance company will have to pay out on your behalf on any one accident regardless of how many people are injured so let’s say you hit a school bus full of children and ten of those children on that bus are seriously injured, the max your insurance company is going to pay out between all ten of those children is fifty thousand dollars. So if you’re riding around with a minimum policy in Alabama you might want to consider bumping it up to something a little bit higher because $25,000 is not a lot of money if you’ve seriously injured yourself.
What Is My Case Worth?
Probably the most frequent question we get here is what is my case worth, well there’s no hard-fast rule to determining what someone’s case is worth, basically what the insurance adjuster is going to look at is three primary things:
1) What are your injuries
2) What are your medical bills
3) Where did the accident occur
And by that I mean which county in the state of Alabama or Georgia or floor or wherever you got injured.
The first thing that adjusters look at is your injuries, now, if you have a broken bone obviously that’s gonna be worth more than a strain in your back but that’s not all they’re looking at, they’re also looking at what your medical bills are, Alabama is a subrogation state which means basically at trough we have to sue the person that injured you instead of getting to show what the actual medical bills are we only get to show what your health insurance paid for those medical bills, so obviously if you get injured in Dothan Alabama and you go to flowers hospital and you have Blue Cross Blue Shield, flowers Hospital may say your bill is $9,000 but Blue Cross Blue Shield may only pay about $1500 to cover that whole bill so thus if we have to sue the person at fault, well at a trial we’re only going to be able to show the jury what Blue Cross Blue should pay so that $1500 and not the $9,000 the flowers hospital says their bill is worth.
Now, the third thing is what county really entered in and that’s important because there are some counties out there where if you file a lawsuit like in Macon County you’re going to get more money than if you file a lawsuit in Dothan Alabama.
Our Firm FAQs
Who Will Be Handling My Case?
One of the questions we get a lot of is who’s exactly going to be working on my case, well that’s simple it’s either going to be myself John Stokes, or my law partner Josh.
All of our clients have our cell phone numbers our personal email addresses we text also, and so you can reach out to us any time of the day or night.
We will assist you throughout the legal process and keep you updated on the status of your case, so if you’ve been in an injury give us a call at 334.316.4123
Why Should I Choose Stokes Stemle?
You should choose Stoke Stemle because we’re competitive with our rates, we’re accessible 24/7, and we actually care about our clients, because we need to call Stokes Stemle you’re actually going to talk to a real attorney, you can talk to me myself John Stokes or Josh Stemle. You call us 24/7 every time a week, if you’ve already contacted another law firm give us a chance to beat the rates call us at 334.316.4123
What Kind Of Cases Do We Take On?
We take all cases no matter big or small they all get the same amount of attention, and who will handle your case? The answer of that is either myself or my law partner Johnathan Stokes, we personally attend to every single case that we get and we believe in open and honest communication with our clients have our cellphone numbers and we’re easily and accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so If you have been injured you may actually want to speak to our attorneys. Call Stokes Stemle at 334.316.4123