Personal Injury FAQ
Q: What is personal injury?
A: The term "personal injury" is defined as an injury to a person's body, mind or emotions. In other words, it's an injury to the person, as opposed to an injury to property. Personal injury law is an area of law that seeks to compensate the victims of personal injury and punish the offenders through monetary awards, known as compensatory and punitive damages. One of the areas that the Broderick Law Firm concentrates on is personal injury law and winning compensation for its clients.
Q. What type of personal injury claims do you handle?
A. Broderick Law Firm handles auto accidents, slip-and-falls, motorcycle accidents, construction site accidents, scarring and disfigurement, brain injury, spinal injury, neck and back injury, shoulder and rotator cuff injuries, knee injuries, hand and wrist injuries, foot and ankle injuries. The firm handles cases for clients from Lowell, Nashua, Andover and the surrounding areas.
Q: How do I know if I have a personal injury case?
A: First, you must have suffered an injury to your person. Second, you should consider whether your injury was a third party's fault. Third, you must be able to prove that the third party was responsible or caused the injury and resulting damages.
Q. What is negligence?
A. The critical issue in many personal injury cases is just how a "reasonable person" was expected to act in the particular situation that caused the injury. A person is negligent when he or she fails to act like an "ordinary reasonable person" would have acted. The determination of whether a given person has met such a standard is often a matter that is resolved by a jury after presentation of evidence and argument at trial or through negotiations with an insurance company.
Q: What should I bring with me for my meeting with a lawyer?
A: You should provide a lawyer with any documents that might be relevant to your case. Police Reports and Operator's Reports, for example, contain eyewitness information and details about the conditions surrounding auto accidents, etc. Copies of medical reports and bills from doctors and hospitals will help demonstrate the extent and nature of your injuries. Information about the insurer of the person who caused your injury is extremely helpful, as are any photographs you have of the accident scene, your property damage, and your injury.
The more information you are able to give your lawyer, the easier it will be for him or her to determine if your claim will be successful. If you haven't collected any documents at the time of your first meeting, however, don't worry; your lawyer will be able to obtain them in his or her investigation of your claim.
Q. If I make a claim, will the cost of my insurance increase?
A. You pay for your insurance. So, when the need arises, you are entitled to all of the coverages set forth in the policy. In most instances, this will not affect your future costs as long as you were not at fault in the occurrence of the incident. It is extremely important that this office be contacted immediately so that all coverages can be identified and preserved.
Q. How much is my personal injury case worth?
A. A number of factors contribute into the monetary value of your personal injury claim. For example, the value of your case is determined by the nature and extent of your personal injuries; the amount of your medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and other financial losses; pain and suffering; and present and future disability. Even considering those factors, there can be significant variations in the value of a personal injury claim based on the assets of the defendant, the amount of insurance involved, your contributory fault, your willingness/ability to invest a long period of time in the claim as opposed to the need for a relatively quick settlement, etc. Assessing your claim is not an exact science, but we can weigh the factors to give you an overall idea of the strengths and weaknesses of your case.
Q: How much money do I have to pay you to take my case?
A. Nothing. We work on a contingency basis, which means we only receive a percentage of the money that we collect for you. All of our contingency arrangements are in writing and I will explain exactly how this works so you fully understand.
Q. The other driver's insurance company offered me money. I haven't even hired an attorney, but I could really use the cash. Should I take it?
A. No. Tell the insurance company that you'll get back to them. In the meantime, contact an attorney immediately. Oftentimes an insurance company will offer a minimal amount of money in return for your signature stating that you won't sue them. Never take an insurance check without first consulting an attorney and properly evaluating your claim.
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