Tucson Personal Injury Attorneys
Accident and Injury FAQs
The personal 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 Tucson and believe it was due to the negligence of another, contact our offices at (520) 624-4228 for a consultation of your situation. We are here to help.
Can I settle my Tucson personal injury case now and still get money later for medical bills and lost wages I incur after I settle?
What is a personal injury attorney and what can he do for you?
We hear the term "personal injury attorney" thrown about in regular conversation. However, understanding what a personal injury can do for somebody in Tucson is something not everybody understands. That is in part because personal injury lawyers do more than one thing. It is true that the personal injury aspect of the law deals with helping people who have suffered physical injury. This is where the term "personal injury" likely originates. It is about helping people receive compensation for the injuries they have suffered as a result of the negligence of another person. However, people are injured in all sorts of ways.
A personal injury lawyer helps people who have been injured in car accidents. An accident injury attorney may help people due to a defective product that caused an injury, a dog bite, a slip-and-fall, or any other type of injury situation.
Even the best Tucson personal injury lawyer cannot help everybody who has been injured. One of the many misconceptions within the law is that there is always a right to a recovery after somebody has been hurt. The reality is that under state personal injury law, the only time somebody has a right to compensation for an injury they suffered is where somebody else caused that injury. In addition, the injury they caused had to have been due to negligence or intentional acts on the part of the person who caused the injury.
It may seem as though finding a top personal injury lawyer is not necessary because it is obvious when somebody has been hurt and when they are entitled to compensation. The reality is that it is much more complicated. First of all, there are four different aspects to a personal injury case in our opinion. This type of analysis exists in almost any personal injury case.
First, there is a question as to whether or not there is negligence. Second, there is a question of whether "causation" can be proven. Third, there is the issue of damages. Fourth, there is the issue of "money."
The first aspect that a personal injury lawyer addresses is negligence. This is not just a question as to whether somebody was negligent and that led to an injury. More importantly, the question as to whether there is enough evidence to prove that somebody was negligent and therefore caused an injury. There is an old saying that "it is not what you know, it is what you can prove." This is true in the law and it is very true in personal injury litigation. Being able to prove that somebody else was negligent is a must in order to be able to receive compensation. This is where a personal injury lawyer often becomes vital in a claim. Even when the person who is injured knows that somebody else was negligent, they may not be able to prove it without any help.
The next issue to address is always causation. This means that once you have proven that somebody else is negligent, the question is whether you can prove that person, corporation, or company's negligence caused an injury. The fact that somebody is negligent is not enough to have a valid personal injury law suit against them. It is necessary to receive compensation that the negligence that was proven can also be shown to have caused an injury. Many personal injury cases fail because the injury somebody believes they suffered as a result of the negligence cannot be proven. Being able to find a way to gather the evidence in an authoritative way that demonstrates the injury resulted from the negligence of another person is a vital and necessary aspect in any personal injury recovery.
Third, there is a question of damages. Damages is a very general issue. It is one that is not easily addressed in almost any case. That is because damages relates to how a personal injury attorney can help somebody receive money compensation for something money cannot fix. In other words, almost every personal injury case resolves around things such as medical bills, lost wages, or other out-of-pocket expenses. These are actual dollar amounts that can be compensated for. However, the law also allows for compensation for what many people call "pain and suffering." Now, the term pain and suffering has come to sometimes be associated with "frivolous law suits." The reality is that compensation has to be paid for much more than just pain and suffering. Compensation is owed by the negligent person who caused an injury for pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, anxiety, frustration, and inability to do normal activities of daily living that could done prior to the injury. In other words, the law does not allow someone who is negligent and greatly impacted somebody else's life to get off the hook by just paying medical bills while the other person is forced to suffer a life changing situation. They are entitled to monetary compensation.
However, even if everybody agrees that the person who caused the injury - the defendant - was negligent, and everyone agrees that negligence caused an injury, there is almost always a big disagreement over the damages. Even if everybody agreed as to what impact a serious injury had on somebody's life, the amount of money that should fairly compensate that person varies greatly depending upon whom you ask. For this reason, a top Tucson accident lawyer is in a much better position to help somebody determine that amount and is more likely to be able to help a jury come to a fair resolution and conclusion (or an insurance company, corporation, or whomever it is that is being negotiated with or is making the decision at that time) in that case. It is for this reason that the question of damages is almost always one where a personal injury lawyer has real value in any serious injury or wrongful death case.
Now, the first three aspects that were discussed - negligence, causation, damages - can be found in any law school text book. Certainly there are far more complicated than what has been discussed here. Years of experience and training are required to truly be able to have a real expertise even in those first three elements. However, it is our view that there is a fourth element to any personal injury claim. It is our view that simply discussing those three elements alone will not give somebody the full picture of their case. The last aspect - one we call "money" - is just as important. That question relates to whether or not there is any compensation available even if all three of the first items are proven.
There are many times where the person who causes an injury has absolutely no money. They have no insurance. They have no assets. In other words, you could get a $1 million judgment against most people and that judgment is not worth the paper it's printed on. It is important to be able to find out what insurance policies may apply to that particular situation. There have been many cases where somebody has proven all of the first three elements of a case and they have not collected a single dollar. Sometimes, the failure to collect any money is a result of a lack of initial investigation by the personal injury lawyer or the person who was hurt to make sure that if the case is proven there is money that can be paid.
However, something that is often missed by inexperienced attorneys or by people who try to handle personal injury claims on their own is the fact that there may be insurance policies available that are not readily apparent. There may be assets available to pay a judgment that have not been considered. There may be defendants who contributed to the harm who are also responsible for paying any judgment that must also be pursued. For this reason, it is important prior to embarking on the journey (sometimes) of a personal injury case to make sure that if the person who has been injured is successful that they can actually receive the compensation that they are entitled to.
Can I settle my Tucson personal injury case now and still get money later for medical bills and lost wages I incur after I settle?
In almost every case, the answer to this question is no. Settlement in personal injury cases are almost always a one time, one shot deal. The reason for that is that the insurance company has an obligation to its insured. The person who caused the serious injury accident doesn't want to get sued a second time. They want to make sure that their insurance company pays everything that is required to be paid without leaving them in a position of owing money in the future. This works both ways. If you were ever to cause an accident and you had insurance, the reason you had that insurance was to protect you. You would expect your insurance company to do everything possible to get the case settled in a way that you would be protected and you would not owe money. If your insurance company simply paid the person who was hurt everything they wanted and still left you in a position where you could be sued without the benefit of having that insurance, you would have a very valid disagreement with your insurance company. In fact, in many situations that would be "bad faith" that would open the insurance company up to serious liability for failing to do their job. The purpose of insurance is to protect you from financial loss if you are ever negligent.
Now, coming back to being the injury victim, you can expect that the insurance company will almost always do everything possible to make sure that you sign a "release" before they give you any money. In other words, before the insurance company will pay you money they want to make sure that you have signed off any right to ever get more money in the future.
This obviously creates a problem for somebody with a severe or permanent injury. People who have been seriously hurt in a car accident in Tucson may want to settle their case within the first year or two but will not be done with all their medical care at that time. Somebody who has suffered a serious injury may never be able to return to work.
Therefore, it is important to make sure that any settlement includes money for anticipated future medical care and future lost wages. This often requires the help of a skilled Tucson car accident lawyer who can help an accident victim obtain an honest assessment from expert witnesses who can help determine both the cost of future medical care, the likelihood of future medical care, and the anticipated wage loss into the future as a result of the injury that was suffered.
It is a huge risk to sign any document after a car accident without making sure that a lawyer has reviewed it. Even documents that may appear to not be waiving any future rights could cause serious and unfair ramifications to you in the future. Certainly, it is vital to not sign a "release" agreeing to accept money without making sure a lawyer has reviewed the case and the document first. It would be a horrible and unjust result if somebody who is seriously injured accepted money and signed a release early in the case not realizing that they had lost their rights to get payment for future medical care that was directly caused in the car accident.
How much does it cost to hire a Tucson Personal Injury Lawyer?
Hiring a Tucson personal injury lawyer is very different from hiring most types of professionals to work for you. In most situations, if you need the best possible company or person available to you, you will have to pay them a lot of money out of your own pocket. In other words, hiring the best accountant is extremely expensive, therefore even somebody who has a need for a top level accountant will not be able to get one unless they have a lot of money that they can spend up front. The same holds true for getting a doctor that needs to be paid out of pocket for any other type of service or professional.
However, with all of our accolades, we still are hired on a contingency fee basis just as we always were. In other words, unlike hiring other professionals, you can hire top lawyers on a contingency fee basis.
What is a contingency fee?
A contingency fee allows you to retain the best personal injury lawyer in Tucson you can find with no money out of your own pocket. Now it is important to understand how a contingency fee works. Contingency fees are better if you do not have tens of thousands of dollars, or hundreds of thousands of dollars, to spend on hiring an accident lawyer. With a typical fee agreement that is not a contingency fee, you have to pay for every hour that the lawyer works. You have to pay for every hour that the lawyer staffs such as paralegals put into your case. A complicated serious personal injury matter can take thousands of hours of a lawyer's time, along with the time of his 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 offering of contingency fees by some of Arizona's best lawyers.
At Breyer Law Offices, P.C., we only work with clients on a contingency fee basis. In fact, in spite of everything we have accomplished, all of the people we have been able to work with and have the honor of helping, we have never had a single client pay us a single dollar out of their own pocket. Instead, every dollar that we have ever been paid we have earned through a successful conclusion to our clients' cases.
One of the main advantages to hiring the best injury lawyer that you can find on a contingency fee basis is that they are just as tied to the settlement amount as the client. Now, contingency fees are not perfect. You can still have lawyers who would try to settle their cases without getting the most out of them. There are lawyers that are not willing to fight the insurance companies all the way to trial and beyond if necessary. However, once you have confirmed that you have a lawyer who understands personal injury law, is good at what they do, has a history and track record of fighting insurance companies all the way 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 that's what they are supposed to do, but because they are paid directly depending on what is recovered for the client.
So how does a Tucson injury lawyer get paid out of a contingency fee?
If the case is lost the lawyer gets nothing. However, if the case is won the lawyer gets 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 what we have done at Breyer Law Offices, P.C. We have spent years building up our reputation, our track record, and our successes. We almost never criticize other lawyers for what they do. There are many excellent lawyers. There are some lawyers that are willing to be discount lawyers. We are not discount lawyers. We are very proud of the work we do and we believe we fight as hard as any lawyer around for our clients. We do not sell them short. We do not lack in dedication, experience, or 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.
Similarly, while we would not suggest anybody is "wrong" for hiring a discount lawyer, that is absolutely not the type of firm we are. If you are looking for the best possible injury lawyer that is a fit for you and your case, we strongly encourage you to give The Husband & Wife Law Team a call at (520) 624-4228. We will get paid only when and if you have a recovery. We will earn our fee and get paid based upon the amount of money we earn for you, in the same way we have been earning our money from the day we started our practice.
We do not get paid just for "trying hard." We can work on a case for years but will not get paid a single penny until we have recovered money for our client.
Visit Our Tucson Office today for a free consultation of your case.
2 East Congress Street
Tucson AZ 85701
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