Personal Injury - Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is a Personal Injury?
  2. What financial compensation can I recover in a personal injury claim?
  3. How do I know if I have an actionable personal injury claim?
  4. What if the accident is partly my fault: do I still have a claim?
  5. How do I know if I need an attorney?
  6. Why consult an attorney first?
  7. What is a Contingency Fee?
  8. If I have a personal injury claim do I have to go to court?
  9. How long do I have to make a claim for personal injuries?
  10. How long will it take to settle my claim?

What is a Personal Injury?
A Personal Injury is any physical or mental injury to a person as a result of someone's negligence or harmful act. Sometimes personal injury may be referred to as bodily injury. Personal injuries can occur in a wide variety of ways. The following are some of the most common accidents resulting in personal injury:

  • Animal Attacks
  • Automobile Accidents
  • Building Defects
  • Bus Accidents
  • Car Crashes
  • Disfigurement
  • Dog Bites
  • Fires and Explosions
  • Medications and Drug Injuries
  • Medical Negligence / Malpractice
  • Motorcycle Accidents
  • Neck / Back Injury
  • Paraplegic Injury
  • Premises Liability
  • Products Liability
  • Quadriplegic Injury
  • Railroad Crossing Injuries
  • Railroad Negligence
  • Train Accidents
  • Work Related Injuries

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What financial compensation can I recover in a personal injury claim?
Personal Injury victims are entitled to recover money damages for all losses and expenses they incur as a result of an accident. The damages may include the following:

  • Medical Bills
  • Lost Wages
  • Pain and Suffering
  • Physical Disability
  • Disfigurement
  • Permanent Scars
  • Emotional Trauma
  • Mental Anguish
  • Loss of Enjoyment
  • Loss of Consortium, Love, and Affection
  • Embarrassment
  • Mental Disability
  • Property Damage
  • Out of Pocket Expenses

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How do I know if I have an actionable personal injury claim?
To have a personal injury case, you must be able to show that you have been injured. In addition, you must be able to show that your injuries were caused by somebody else.

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What if the accident is partly my fault: do I still have a claim?
The term "contributory negligence" is used to describe the actions of an injured person that may have also caused that person's own injuries. For example, a person who ignores a "Caution - Wet Floor" sign and slips and falls in the supermarket may be found to have been careless and at fault for any injuries suffered. "Contributory negligence" can prevent a person from collecting any monies to compensate for injuries suffered, even if that person's carelessness was minor. In some cases, contributory negligence may prevent recovery. We can only evaluate this possibility with in-depth discussion regarding your accident. If you're injured by the negligent action of another, but you contributed to the accident by your failure to exercise reasonably prudent care, you may be guilty of contributory negligence. You may also be guilty of a form of contributory negligence if you voluntarily expose yourself to danger - by riding a roller coaster without wearing a seat belt, or working with a neighbor's power saw or other dangerous tool if you're inexperienced or fail to use a safety guard.

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How do I know if I need an attorney?
If you have been seriously injured or are unsure as to the outcome of your injury, then an experienced personal injury attorney should always be consulted before you give any statements or sign any papers of any kind and as soon after your injury as possible. In a serious injury case, you are better off hiring an attorney as soon as possible. Most firms, including the Law Offices of Rees & Levy, offer a free consultation, with no obligation; therefore, you have nothing to lose by consulting an attorney before you accept the insurance company offer.

Injured individuals also need to know that Arizona has laws called statutes of limitations that require injured parties to file suit within a specific period of time, depending upon the circumstances of a case. If you have been injured, you should contact an attorney immediately to discuss your case and preserve your claim within the statute of limitations.

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Why Consult an Attorney First?
Any information which you provide to an insurance company may be used against you. You are not required to make any statement to an insurance adjuster. It is advisable to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney before giving a statement to the insurance adjuster, as a qualified attorney knows how to present the facts to the insurance company in order to represent your best interest. Read your own insurance policy and make a copy available for your attorney to read. Even if you decide to handle your own case, a short conference with an experienced attorney can save you considerable trouble in the long run. If meeting with an attorney is impossible or inconvenient for you, be as reserved in your answers as possible. Be careful not to volunteer information unless asked. Be informed about the insurance benefits you have purchased.

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What is a Contingency Fee?
A contingency fee is a fee that is used by lawyers in most personal injury cases. It is contingent when the fee is conditioned upon your attorney's successfully resolution of your case. A contingent fee is paid as a percentage of your monetary recovery. A contingent fee is what is meant when you hear "there is no fee unless there is recovery". The client is generally responsible for the out-of-pocket costs of litigation. Contingency fees are usually one third of what you win from the case.

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If I have a personal injury claim do I have to go to court?
Most personal injury cases are settled out of court between opposing lawyers or by the insurance company. If a case does go to trial you most likely will have to appear so that your testimony can be heard. However, whether to go to trial or not is always your decision.

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How long do I have to make a claim for personal injuries?
As noted above, every state has certain time limits, called "statutes of limitations," that govern the period during which you must file a personal injury lawsuit. In some states, for example, you may have as little as one, two, or three years to file a lawsuit from an automobile accident. If you miss the statutory deadline for filing a case, your case may be thrown out of court.

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How long will it take to settle my claim?
The time it takes to settle a personal injury case depends on the circumstances surrounding the case. The more complex the case the longer it may take to settle. Many cases can take anywhere from three to eighteen months to resolve depending on its complexity.

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