HOW SOON SHOULD I CONTACT AN ATTORNEY?
As soon as possible. Being injured in any type of accident is a traumatic experience, and contacting an attorney may not be something on your mind at first. However, the first few days after an accident are often the most important. Critical evidence must be preserved, key witnesses must be interviewed, and timely court procedures must be conducted to ensure that you will have all the necessary evidence to present the best case possible.
SHOULD I TALK TO THE INSURANCE COMPANY?
You should not speak with any insurance company, including your own, until you first speak with your attorney. Insurance companies can use your statements against you later. Often times statements are made with honest intentions, but might be twisted around later by the insurance company to suggest something that was not intended, or to possibly take advantage of confusion. It is best to allow your attorney to take over communication with the insurance company.
SHOULD I GET MEDICAL ATTENTION?
Yes. If you are feeling pain or discomfort after an accident, it is important to get medical attention right away. Don’t minimize or downplay your pain and think it will go away. The pain and functional limitations after an accident can remain and may even get worse. Getting examined in the emergency room, or as soon as possible after the day of accident, will allow doctors to properly identify the problem and create the appropriate treatment plan. Make sure you tell the doctors that you were in an accident, and make sure you tell them all the pain and limitations you are experiencing, even if it seems minor.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO HIRE SHAMMAS LAW OFFICE?
You pay nothing out-of-pocket! Shammas Law Office only gets paid after you receive money for your injuries. There are no out-of-pocket costs to you.
WHAT IS MY PERSONAL INJURY CASE WORTH?
Many clients ask this question during the initial consultation. The value of a personal injury case depends on many different factors. The most common factors that determine the value of an injury case are the following:
- The nature and extent of your injuries
- Whether your injuries are permanent or will require future medical care
- Past and future wage loss
- The total amount of your medical bills
- Non-economic injuries such as:
a. pain and suffering
c. loss of your normal enjoyment of life
e. emotional damage
These are just the most common factors driving the value of an injury case.
Another factor that might play into case value is whether the injured party can be partially to blame. Illinois is a “comparative negligence” state. This means that an injured person’s recovery can be reduced if a jury finds them to be partially to blame. Consider the following example:
A shopper trips over a piece of merchandise that was on the floor. The jury awards $100,000.00, but finds the injured person to be 25% at fault for not paying attention while walking. The award will be reduced to $75,000.00 ($100,000.00 – $25,000.00 (25%)). However, if a jury finds the injured person to be more than 50% at fault there can be no recovery at all.
For more information or to discuss whether you may have an injury claim, feel free to contact Shammas Law Office for a free consultation at 312-971-5959, or email at [email protected].
HOW LONG WILL MY INJURY CASE TAKE?
Clients often ask me “how long will my case take?” Shammas Law Office prides itself on achieving maximum compensation without unnecessary delay. However, there are certain things that factor into the timeline of a case from start to finish. The most common factors are the following:
- FINISHING MEDICAL TREATMENT
Once a case settles, you cannot come back later and ask for more. This is why you never want to begin settlement negotiations while you are still undergoing medical treatment. In order to get maximum results, it is important to make sure that you are either finished with your medical treatment and have returned back to normal, or that you have exhausted all your treatment options and there is nothing left to do. Sometimes injuries are permanent. Understanding the full nature and extent of your injuries, and whether you will need future medical treatment or have future injuries plays a part in the timeline of the case.
- THE COMPLEXITY OF A CASE
Many cases are straightforward, such as a rear-end car accidents where fault is usually not an issue. Car accidents are typically the fastest to complete because they do not have many legal issues to argue, and typically there are only two parties involved.
Some cases are more complex, like those involving medical malpractice, construction injuries, or truck accident cases. These cases usually take a bit longer to complete because they involve more complex issues, more parties, and sometimes several layers of insurance coverages and other scenarios. These cases also typically require expert witnesses to help strengthen the case, and often times, require expert testimony in order to win.
For example, Suppose an electrician was at a job site performing work on a scaffold. Assume company A improperly built a scaffold, and Company B was the general contractor who knew the scaffold was probably unsafe and allowed the work to go on anyway. Here you have at least two potential parties at fault, possibly more depending on the scenario. These types of cases require identifying the proper parties, investigating insurance coverages, and dealing with multiple other issues at the same time.
Another example would be a trucking case, where somebody hit his head by a tractor trailer that crossed. Obviously the driver would be somebody at fault, but there may also be fault against the motor carrier company, the shipper time off and the broker company who arranged this shipment. Investigation is required to explore all possible parties who may be at fault, and all available insurance coverages.
- DISPUTED FAULT OR DISPUTED INJURIES
Sometimes fault will not be an issue in the case. A perfect example would be a rear-end accident where somebody is struck from behind while waiting at a traffic light. Sometimes even on a case where fault is not disputed, an insurance company may try to dispute or minimize a client’s injuries, or suggest that the injuries were caused by something else. For example, they may try to suggest that an injury that happened 10 years before the accident is responsible for the current pain and limitations, rather than the accident that recently happened. As crazy as it sounds, sometimes they become desperate and try to argue this point.
Other times, an injury may be obvious, but fault will be disputed. For example, suppose two cars crash in the middle of the intersection, and somebody breaks a leg as a result. It would be nearly impossible for insurance company to argue that the broken leg happened in any other way other than the accident. However, the dispute in that case may be who had the green light or the right of way. That would be a scenario where a case may take longer because it requires more proof to establish fault on the other party.
Regardless of the type of claim, Shammas Law Office has consistently achieved maximum results without dragging a case along for extended periods of time.