Interviewer: How soon should someone contact their attorney after an injury?
Robert Cummings: I think that you should contact somebody relatively quickly. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to choose the first attorney you talk to. In fact, I would stress that people contact more than one person, because if you’re getting into negotiations with an insurance company, and ultimately have to file a law suit, it could be a long process. Some cases are filed in 2009 and 2010 and they’re just resolving today. If you consider appeals and stuff of that nature, it can be a very long road to haul.
An Attorney Can Guide and Advise A Person on How to Proceed After They Have Suffered an Injury
You should contact an attorney as soon as possible; find out what your rights are, find out what you need to start doing immediately, but then also call other attorneys and see which one you feel comfortable with. Aside from contacting an attorney as soon as possible, people need to … A person that’s been injured needs to consider contacting their insurance company. They need to take notes of everything that’s gone on. Take pictures of the accident; if you got in a car wreck at a 4-way stop, have somebody take pictures of skid marks, of the debris, of the state of the car. You want to preserve all that stuff, so that if it does go to trial, you can prove your case.
It is Beneficial for the Injured Party to Document as Much of the Evidence as Possible
Skid marks, I think, are very important in car accident cases, and skid marks, If you don’t have picture relatively close to the accident, if not the day of, there can be an issue with whether pictures taken a week later are even relevant, because skid marks wash away, or new skid marks could come, and what have you. I think it’s very important to document early on, everything going on, including pain that you’re suffering. Jot down notes. If you’re waking up in the middle of the night with tremors because you know you’re reliving what you had to go through, write that down. That stuff becomes very crucial in explaining your story to the insurance company, but also potentially explaining your story to a judge or jury down the road. The more notes that you can take, and the more that you can document as soon as possible, the better off you’ll be.
The Things that a Person is Entitled to After a Successful Personal Injury Claim
Interviewer: What are things that someone would be entitled to, if they were to win the case?
Robert Cummings: Generally, I think it’s important with personal injury, to realize that you’re generally working with insurance companies. If you’re not working with insurance companies, and you’re going after somebody directly, you want to look at them and see what their ability to pay is. Some people can be what’s called judgment-proof; even if you get a judgment from a court against the person, they don’t have any assets, they don’t have any money, so you’re not going to be compensated whatsoever. If you’re dealing with insurance companies, you’ve got to remember that it comes down to money. The insurance company realizes that you’ve been harmed, and there’s a certain amount of money that will cover your expenses and will, under the eyes of the law, make you “whole” again.
It is Not Helpful To Have a Vindictive Mindset When Pursuing a Personal Injury Claim
The biggest thing I think that when you’re talking to a personal injury attorney, you need to kind of have the mindset that you’re seeking compensation for your injuries. Some people want to make the other side pay. They want to make the defendant suffer. They have animosity towards the defendant, and generally a personal injury attorney is not going to be able to get that type of punishment, except for the payment of money. You can get punitive damages if somebody acted intentionally, wantonly or recklessly. You can get punitive damages, which means that they’re paying you money above and beyond what it takes to make you whole again, as a means of punishing the defendant.
A Person Can Hope to be Compensated for Medical Expenses, for Lost Wages and for Pain and Suffering in a Personal Injury Claim
If they can establish liability, and they can establish the defendant caused the damage to them A person can expect to have their expenses covered, meaning any payments or any medical expenses, prescriptions, procedures, stuff of that nature. You can expect to have compensation for additional costs that were necessary because of the injuries, such as day care, or if you had to get a wheelchair, or stuff along those lines. You can also receive compensation for lost wages, so if you were out of work due to recovering from a surgery, or just recovering from the accident in general, you can go after those wages. Above and beyond that, you can go after general damages of pain and suffering.