Peoria Personal Injury Frequently Asked Questions
The Peoria serious injury attorneys at the Breyer Law Offices, P.C. have assembled the answers to some commonly asked questions as a service to their readers. If you have suffered a personal injury in Peoria and believe it was due to the negligence of another, contact our offices today at (623) 930-8064 for a consultation of your situation. We are here to help.
How much is a car accident case worth?
Car accident victims often ask this question. In fact, it's a question any experienced personal injury lawyer in Arizona is asked on a regular basis. Unfortunately, it's not an easy question to answer definitively. We understand that injured persons want to know whether or not will be worthwhile to pursue a claim, and it follows that they'd like to get an idea as to what a personal injury case in Arizona is worth.
The reason this is so difficult to answer is that the value of an auto accident claim is always case-specific. To oversimplify the matter, the value of a personal injury case in Arizona is based upon what a Maricopa County jury would say the car accident victim is entitled to.
There are only two ways that cases conclude in almost any personal injury situation. The first, and by far most common, way is by reaching a settlement wherein an insurance company or corporate defendant responsible for the accident comes to an agreement with the plaintiff as to the amount for which the case should be settled. The second way is by jury. If a settlement cannot be reached, a jury will decide how much money constitutes fair compensation for the plaintiff. This means that even every settlement is basically dependent upon what each party believes a jury in Maricopa County would decide in the case if it were to go to trial.
Quite often victims of negligence get are consumed with the question of what is fair. A better question to ask would be "How much compensation will a jury award if this case does not settle?"
Under Arizona law, a victim is entitled to be compensated for all damages that were suffered as a result of the negligence of the other party. This includes current and future wage loss, current and future medical bills, pain, suffering, anxiety, loss of enjoyment of life, inability to engage in everyday activities, and all other aspects of the victim's life that have been affected because somebody else was negligent.
Determining the precise value of a case absolutely depends on the injury that has been suffered. A victim who sustains a torn rotator cuff in a car accident and is unable to lift their arm has a very different case than one who suffered a relatively minor injury. A victim with a brain injury who is unable to return to work is entitled to much more compensation by law than one who has recurring headaches.
The reality is that each case must be judged on its own merit.
We have been exposed to situations in which personal injury lawyers tell injury victims what their case is worth when they first make the victim's acquaintance as a potential client. We refuse to do this. We do not believe anybody can honestly tell an injured party what their case is worth before seeing the very first document in the case. Until medical treatment has concluded and an honest, thorough assessment has been done, any attempt to tell somebody how much their case is worth after a car accident is mere guesswork. Sometimes, unfortunately, it may even be salesmanship. That's not fair to the client.
We strongly believe in telling clients and potential clients the plain truth. Anyone can tell a victim what they want to hear in their time of need. Anybody can tell a victim that their personal injury case is worth a lot of money. However, potential clients who call our office deserve honesty. They deserve to know the strengths of their case as well as the weaknesses. They deserve to know what evidence needs to be compiled and what has to be done in order to determine an approximate value the case should settle for. No two cases have an exactly identical fact pattern. Every case has different issues that could affect liability, damages, and other things that play a part in the settlement value of the case.
How do I file an insurance claim after a car accident?
As personal injury attorneys who help people in Peoria car accidents, we are always happy to hear this question asked. We like to hear this question so much because it usually indicates that the person who is injured has not yet filed an insurance claim. Of course, filing an insurance claim with one's own insurance company should be done as soon as is practical. However, if somebody has been seriously hurt or lost a loved one and is planning to file an insurance claim, that person should first consider whether or not it would be better to hire a lawyer first.
As a practical matter, filing an insurance claim is not a very complicated process. In most cases, the course of action is as simple as making a phone call and speaking with an agent to set up the claim. The problem is that some insurance companies take advantage of situations in which they have the opportunity to talk to the person that was injured. What the injured person does not know-and the agent does-- is that their injury may have been caused as a result of the negligence of a person who is also covered by the same insurance company. Thus the agent will try to gather information before the injured person hires an attorney. So although setting up an insurance claim is not complicated, it can be a mistake to set one up without first talking to the best Peoria, AZ auto accident lawyer that you can find.
A top personal injury lawyer will usually prevent the negligent party's insurance company from taking any statements that can later be manipulated and used against the person who is injured. An experienced injury lawyer will often try to limit even the statements that are taken by the injured party's own insurance company. In addition, having a lawyer involved will sometimes decrease the amount of gamesmanship between insurance companies when they believe a victim has no legal representation and can easily be bested in court or at the negotiating table.
Should I sign the paperwork the insurance company sent me after a car accident?
Before signing anything received from an insurance company following an accident, be warned: the insurance industry is not on your side. It is not consistent with the goals of the insurance company to act in your best interests. In the end, insurance providers are not paid to advocate for you. Most insurance companies are publicly traded, which means they have an obligation to their shareholders to make a profit. The employees of each insurance company have a job to do themselves. In fact, if you invest in an insurance company on the stock market, naturally you expect them to do everything within the law to make a profit so that, in turn, as a shareholder you will profit. You would not want the company you invested in to make payments to someone they did not have to pay if affects their-and your -- bottom line.
Therefore, insurance documents that you may receive following a car accident are probably not ultimately meant to help you recover fair compensation. Those documents probably were not sent to make sure that your claim is protected. This does not mean that the insurance company is inherently evil, nor does it mean that the documents you have been presented with after a serious injury claim should never be filled out. However, filling out any documents without consulting a top Peoria auto accident lawyer to review them and make absolutely sure that they are not to your detriment can be a costly mistake.
At Breyer Law Offices, P.C. we have reviewed documents from nearly every insurance company that handles auto accident claims in the state of Arizona. This valuable experience enables us to recognize the difference between legitimate questions and questions that are purposely made to appear legitimate when they are in fact intended to lure you into making statements that could undercut your case in court.
Most importantly, we know the difference between documents that you are required to sign and those which you are not. It is critical to you protect your rights, and this includes understanding the real aim of insurance documentation. You can count on the fact that the insurance company is well trained to process claims in a way that increases their profits; insurance is a multibillion dollar industry in America. By the same token, after a serious injury or wrongful death occurs, it is important to find the best Arizona personal injury lawyer that you can. An attorney who is the right fit for you and your family will ensure that your rights are equally protected by someone who understands how insurance companies work and is equipped to defend you successfully in personal injury litigation.
What is a contingency fee?
A contingency fee allows a client to retain the best personal injury lawyer in the Peoria area with no money up front. A contingency fee system is the best way to retain a lawyer for those who do not have tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to spend on hiring a Peoria Arizona accident lawyer.
It is important to understand how a contingency fee system works. With a typical fee agreement (not a contingency agreement), a client must pay for every hour that his or her lawyer works. The client also has to pay for every hour the lawyer's staff and paralegals put into the case. A complicated serious personal injury matter in Peoria can take thousands of hours of a lawyer's time, not counting time spent by his or her staff. Realistically, even the most seriously injured people would never be able to retain the type of lawyers they needed were it not for the contingency fee arrangement used by some of Arizona's best attorneys.
At Breyer Law Offices, P.C., we only work on a contingency fee basis. In fact, in spite of everything we have accomplished, no client we have the honor of helping has paid us a single dollar out of their own pocket at the start of the case. Instead, every cent we have ever been paid has been earned with a successful outcome in our client's case.
One of the main advantages to hiring the best injury lawyer in Peoria on a contingency fee basis is that the lawyer is thus has just as significant an interest in the settlement amount as the client does. The contingency fee system is not perfect. There are still lawyers who try to settle cases without getting the greatest monetary value possible. There are lawyers who are not willing to fight insurance companies all the way to trial and beyond, if necessary. However, once you have confirmed that your lawyer understands personal injury law, is competent, and has a track record of fighting insurance companies to the end, a contingency fee usually is to the benefit the client. It insures that the lawyer not only cares about getting the best settlement because it's his job, but because his pay depends directly on the recovery he wins for the client.
So how does a lawyer get paid out of a contingency fee?
If the case is lost, the lawyer gets nothing. If the case is won, the lawyer receives a percentage of the recovery. In most cases, the contingency fee is 1/3rd (33%) of the total amount recovered.
Are you a discount injury lawyer and can i get a reduced percentage off the contingency fee?
We take great pride in our track record at Breyer Law Offices, P.C. We have spent years building up our reputation with repeated successes. There are many other excellent lawyers out there, and we almost never criticize other lawyers for their practices. There are some lawyers who are willing to bill themselves as discount lawyers. We are not. We are very proud of the work we do, and we fight as hard for our clients as any lawyer in the Southwest. We do not sell anyone short. We do not lack in dedication, experience, or proven results. We are a full service personal injury firm in every sense of the word.
Personally, we would not consider going to a discount brain surgeon or a discount back surgeon. Instead, we would try to find the best. Nevertheless, we would not suggest anybody is "wrong" for hiring a discount lawyer, but that is absolutely not the type of firm we run.
We do not get paid for effort. We can work on a case for years, but we don't get a dime until we recover money for our clients.
If you seek the best injury lawyer to fit you and your case, we strongly encourage you to give The Husband & Wife Law Team a call. We get paid only if and when we secure a recovery of cash for you. We will earn our fee. Remember, we get paid based upon the amount of money we earn for you - the same way we have been earning from the day our practice started.
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During a free consultation, we will look at the important aspects of your case, answer your questions, and explain your legal rights and options clearly. All submissions are confidentially reviewed by Mark Breyer.
Confidentially reviewed by Attorney Mark Breyer