Common Questions About Personal Injury

Get Advice from Our Washington DC Personal Injury Attorneys

To help you better understand what we do at Simeone & Miller, LLP and how we can help you, we've compiled answers to some of the questions we are frequently asked. Our personal injury lawyers are happy to clarify any uncertainties you may have about our services or your case. Please let us know if you have questions or concerns not addressed here.

Simply contact our office for a free consultation using our online case form.

FAQ About Personal Injury

Why do I need an attorney?

Three reasons: First, you are far more likely to obtain full compensation with a lawyer than if you faced insurance companies or negligent parties on your own. Based on our knowledge of personal injury law and our ability to file a lawsuit on your behalf, we can obtain better settlement offers.

Second, it is much easier to have an attorney handle all the legal paperwork and details. We can identify all of the responsible parties and their insurance companies, set up the necessary claims, monitor the deadlines for each claim, order and follow up on a complete set of medical bills and records for your treatment, locate and contact witnesses, order police reports, and negotiate on your behalf.

Third, we are better equipped to determine if the insurance company is making a fair offer. If you have no experience with the law surrounding the damages to which you are entitled, making decisions yourself would be equivalent to guessing - and well-meaning advice from friends and family can sometimes make matters worse by guiding you in the wrong direction.

What if I've already taken steps independently?

We can still assist people who have started a claim themselves. If we determine that a compensation offer you've received is neither fair nor reasonable, we are able to file suit and continue to pursue the recovery to which you are entitled. Accordingly, retaining a good Washington DC personal injury attorney ensures you have the best possible chance of obtaining the maximum recovery.

If, however, an offer you have received is fair, we will advise you that you do not need an attorney.

The insurance company said I don't need an attorney - is that true?

Insurance companies often tell people who are making a claim that they don't need an attorney, that the insurance company is on their side and will be fair to them. Don't forget whom they represent - the person who injured you. The insurance company has only one goal: paying out as little money as possible in every claim, and preferably nothing.

Therefore, insurance companies tell you that you don't need a lawyer because they know it is to their advantage for you not to have one. The best thing to do if you are in doubt as to whether or not you need an attorney is to contact one who will consult with you for free and without any obligation. You can then make an informed decision. Simeone & Miller, LLP offers free consultations and, if you do not need an attorney, we will advise you of that. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by calling.

Do I have to pay the attorney's fee up front?

We generally operate on a contingency fee policy - meaning nothing is charged upfront and you only pay if your case is successful. In other words, if there is no recovery in your case, there will be no charge either. Learn more about contingency fees.

What damages am I entitled to recover?

In a personal injury case you are generally entitled to the following damages: (i) past and future medical bills, (ii) past and future lost wages, (iii) compensation for past and future pain, suffering, and inconvenience, (iv) compensation for mental anguish, and (v) compensation for any other expenses proximately caused by the accident or incident that injured you.

Every case is different, however, and you may be entitled to other damages as well, including punitive damages, loss of consortium, and damages for emotional distress.

Is my case big enough for a lawyer to handle?

This is a decision that is best made in consultation with an attorney. Regardless of whether your case involves personal injury, negligence, product liability, or any other matter, we provide a free initial consultation for prospective clients at Simeone & Miller, LLP. Once we discuss the merits of your case with you, we can help you decide whether or not you need a lawyer.

Do I still have a claim if my health insurance paid my medical bills?

Even if your health insurance paid your medical bills you can still make a claim for the full amount of your medical bills. The responsible party is not entitled to pay less simply because you or your employer paid for your health insurance. Instead, the responsible party is liable for your full damages. Your insurance company may or may not be entitled to recover the amounts it paid on your behalf.

Can my health insurer file a lien against my case?

Very often the terms of your health insurance contract or state or federal law allow for a health insurer to recover its payments to your medical providers from your recovery in a personal injury case. However, this is a complicated area of law and there are several limitations to an insurance company's rights. Moreover, the health insurer is often required to reduce the amount it receives to account for the attorney's fee you paid in your case. There are some insurers who actually have "super liens." These are liens that can be enforced at any time regardless of whether the insurer put you on notice. Some states, including Virginia, have what are known as "anti-subrogation" statutes that limit or prohibit health insurance liens. However, many health insurers claim exemption from this statute under federal laws. Again, this is a complicated area of law and is one of the reasons why having a personal injury attorney is a good idea. You could lose your insurance coverage or face a lawsuit if you fail to comply with health insurance lien laws.

How do you determine the value of my claim?

We determine the value of your claim after you have consulted with a medical professional for your injuries. At that point, a physician can forecast your need for future care, the cost and nature of that future care, and the nature and extent of any permanent injury.

At this stage we also have a complete picture of your past medical treatment; lost wages; and the pain, suffering, and inconvenience you suffered and may continue to suffer. All of these factors are used in the valuation of your case. We can review the strengths and weaknesses of your case, consider the effect of the case on you and your life, your comfort with pursuing litigation, verdicts and settlements in similar cases, and our experiences in the jurisdiction in which your case is located.

Our pre-litigation team can also bring their input on these matters as we develop our strategy. Based on all of this information, we will arrive at a determination as to the fair value of your case and then consult with you on the ideal course of action toward a good recovery.

I don't want to go to court. Can you still help me?

Definitely. The vast majority of our clients settle their cases without having to go to court. So, even if you do not wish to go to court, you can still pursue a claim. Plus, many cases that are filed in court settle outside of court without our clients ever having to step foot in the courtroom.

Who brings a claim on behalf of children who are hurt?

Generally the claims of a child are brought by a legal guardian of the child - usually the mother, father, grandparent or aunt or uncle. In these cases, the guardian usually signs a retainer on their own behalf as well because they are likely responsible for the medical bills of the child. Because a child is not of legal age to contract with medical providers for the provision of services, the parent or next of kin is generally liable for these bills.

Is it possible to sue the government?

Yes. While governments may have sovereign immunity from suit, this immunity is waived - at least partially - in many instances. Different rules often apply to claims against a government. For example, a claim against a government may require that the government be placed on notice of the claim within a certain period of time after the accident or incident. The rationale behind this is that it allows the government's employee's time to properly investigate the matter. The failure to provide notice of a claim may result in you being barred from recovering for the injuries you suffered.

So, if you believe you may have a claim against a government - federal, state, or local - it is imperative that you consult with an attorney as soon as possible.

Is it possible to sue a county or city?

Yes. Much like states and the federal government, however, counties and cities can also be immune from certain types of lawsuits. In some circumstances these immunities have been waived to allow for personal injury claims. However, just as with other governments, you generally must place the county or city on notice of your claim within a specified deadline in order to bring an action.

My loved one was killed due to negligence. What can you do to help?

There are many roadblocks to overcome in a wrongful death situation and only someone who has been through it before can anticipate the issues that may arise. Different rules and deadlines may apply and the evidence required may also be different. An experienced advocate will obtain a recovery that not only compensates the victim's estate, but which also serves the interests of justice. Learn more about how we can help you receive compensation for a wrongful death.

My baby was born with a serious injury. Do I have a case?

You may. In these highly complex cases, you can achieve an equitable outcome by retaining an advocate who fully understands this field and who has the experiences and resources necessary to pursue a case to a successful resolution. Our birth injury attorneys develop strong cases on the basis of medical facts and realistic economic factors. Learn more about what steps you can take to pursue a case involving a birth injury.

I was hurt by taking a prescription drug, what should I do?

Pharmaceutical companies often have a vested interest in maintaining a positive perception of their brand. Sadly, there are companies who care more about sales than public safety. With pharmaceutical companies, you need a tough attorney who is willing to go against these deep-pocketed corporations.

An experienced advocate from our team can help you obtain a recovery that not only compensates you, the victim, but also encourages manufacturers to avoid injuring other people - making future drugs safer for all of us. See how we can help with your product liability case.

I injured my spine when I fell down slippery steps, can you help?

If you've been injured as a result of slipping and falling - and you believe that negligence, carelessness or other circumstances were contributing factors - you may have a case. If so, then there are several things you can do immediately, not only to protect your rights, but also to lay evidentiary groundwork in order to help us review and evaluate your case. Click here to learn more about how we can help you receive compensation for injuries resulting from a slip and fall.

I was injured through someone else's carelessness, what should I do?

The first and most important step is to contact us. Simeone & Miller, LLP has an aggressive team of advocates who are prepared to fight for your rights and see to it that you get justice. Just because your case may be unusual, doesn't mean you should not call us for a free consultation.

We can thoroughly review the circumstances of your injury in order to determine if you have any potential claims. If we find that you do have a case, we are prepared to put the resources of the entire firm behind you.