Frequently Asked Questions
Most frequent questions and answers
What is considered personal injury?
A personal injury is simply an injury to the person. There are a wide variety of injuries that can happen in an accident. Some are obvious, others only manifest themselves over time. This is why it is important to hire an attorney who will actually read your medical records, is familiar with medical terminology, and can help you navigate through the process of healing. This puts you in the best possible position when it is time to negotiate and settle your claim.
What is the first thing I do after a personal injury accident?
This is a difficult question to answer because it depends on the circumstances that surround the injury. A few principles will come in handy. First, seek medical treatment right away. A delay in treatment will make the case more difficult as the insurance companies and large corporations will use the delay against you as proof you weren’t injured or injured as bad as you claim you are. Second, document everything by calling the police (if appropriate), taking pictures, keeping notes of people’s names and conversations, and holding onto any paperwork handed and/or mailed to you.
How will I know if my case will go to trial?
This is where a crystal ball would come in handy. This is another tough question to answer. It is my experience that a small percentage of my cases actually reach trial. Usually the cases that head to trial are ones where the defense has woefully undervalued the claim or liability (who is at fault) is in dispute.
How long do personal injury lawsuits take to get a settlement?
This question is difficult to answer because there are so many variables involved. I have, on one hand, settled a case for over $1.2 million within months of the accident and, on the other hand, taken a minor impact soft tissue case to trial and my client was only paid after a jury verdict several years later. There is simply no way to know.
How do I collect evidence to build my case?
Clients can assist their attorneys in collecting evidence by taking pictures at the scene of the accident, and keeping a log of names and summaries of conversations, a list treating doctors, and/or anything they might think is important in their case.
How much does a personal injury lawyer cost, on average?
Most, if not all, personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee agreement. The attorney is paid based on their performance, usually a percentage of the recovery. A typical fee agreement calls for 33⅓% if settled without a suit filed and 40% if the case proceeds to litigation. This arrangement motivates the attorney to work as hard as possible as their fee is based on the outcome of the case.
What do I do if an insurance adjuster calls me?
If you have an attorney and an adjuster calls you inform them that you are represented and they need to call your attorney. If you are not represented by an attorney carefully listen to what the adjuster is asking you and do not provide any more information than what is being requested as long as the request is directly related to the claim. Remember it is their job to save the insurance company money and they will use anything you say against you if given the opportunity.
How do I know if I have a case?
The best way to know the viability of your case is to consult with an experienced injury attorney. Most of the time I can evaluate the merits of a case after a quick conversation about the facts of the loss. Most of my clients come to me with great cases with a good potential for a recovery. However, sometimes clients come to me with a case that lacks merit. If this happens, I won’t just tell you what you want to hear. It is my experience that clients appreciate an honest upfront evaluation of the merits of their case before significant time and resources are spent on a likely poor outcome.
How do I file a claim for a personal injury?
A claim is initiated by contacting the insurance company that insured the person or business that caused the injury and reporting the loss. Sometimes the insurance company is difficult to ascertain, but an experienced injury attorney has tools at their disposal to figure this information out.
What if I am partially to blame for the accident?
Idaho is a modified comparative negligence state. If the percentage of fault for the accident by the defendant outweighs that of the plaintiff then the Plaintiff recovers. However, the recovery will be reduced by the percentage the Plaintiff contributed to the accident.
What is a statute of limitations?
The statute of limitations are statutes that limit the timeframe a claimant has to file a lawsuit over a personal injury. There are different statutes for different types of accidents and/or claims. It is best to consult with an attorney soon after the injury to make sure you bring your claims timely and are not time barred in your recovery.
What do I do after I’ve filed my case?
After a lawsuit is filed there is a lot of what I call “hurry up and wait”. After a suit is filed the Plaintiff has 182 days to serve the Complaint on the Defendant. After having received the Complaint the Defendant has 21 days to file an Answer. The next phase is called discovery which can last from a few months to over a year. There are rules that govern the manner in which evidence is obtained during discovery. After the evidence is obtained the parties are at the mercy of the judge finding an opening on the court’s calendar for the trial. Currently, because of the COVID pandemic, the court calendars are slammed and trials dates can be over a year out
What if I’ve experienced an auto accident where the other party does not have insurance?
Unfortunately, many drivers are uninsured. This is contrary to Idaho statutes, but there is no mechanism in place to keep these drivers off the road. You may be out of luck as most uninsured drivers are judgment proof because they have no unexempted assets a judgment can attach to. It is important to carry uninsured motorist coverage on your auto policy to protect you if you find yourself in this situation.
How long will it take to get my check after settlement?
In most cases a settlement check is received by the attorney within a week or two after the settlement papers have been finalized and executed. Once the attorney receives the check it is deposited into an IOLTA trust account and the attorney can start cutting checks against it after the check clears and the funds are sitting in the IOLTA account.