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Common Questions About Personal Injury

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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 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.

  • 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 is the difference between a claim and a lawsuit?

    A claim is generally made with an insurance company for reasonable compensation for injuries sustained as a result of an insured's negligence. A lawsuit is a legal action filed in court against an individual, an insurance company, a corporation, or a government entity to recover compensation for injuries. Your attorneys will help you determine the best course of action to take in your case.

  • 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 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 an 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.

  • 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.

  • I've been hurt in an accident and I want to file a claim for my injuries. What's the first thing I should do?

    The first few hours can be critical to the eventual outcome of a personal injury case, because it may be your only opportunity to gather important visual evidence. If possible, if you have a digital camera or a cell phone with a built-in camera, use it to take photographs of everything connected with the accident and your injury. Then, contact Simeone & Miller, LLP immediately so we can arrange to meet with you and get to work on your case.

    Prior to meeting with us, take the following steps (the more of these suggestions you can follow, the more smoothly your claim process is likely to flow):

    • Seek immediate medical care, if necessary
    • Write down as much as you can about the accident itself, including any witnesses.
    • Document your injuries, including all relevant details.
    • Note any losses (such as wages) you've suffered or will suffer as a result of the accident.
    • Make notes of conversations you may have had with anyone relating to the accident, including police officers, insurance companies, any representatives, witnesses and other drivers
  • Should I notify people myself about my intention to file a claim for my accident injuries?
    It is best practice to keep your intention to file a claim between you and your attorney. It is wise to keep the case between yourself and your lawyer in order to preserve your rights and prevent others from declaring that your claim is unfair. By notifying a slip and fall accident attorney about your case immediately, the chances of receiving a fast and fair resolution will increase. In addition, your lawyer can begin forming a strong and effective claim for your injury.
  • I was injured while traveling, what should I do?
    If an accident occurred somewhere other than in your home, be sure to locate and photograph any evidence or conditions you believe may have caused or contributed to the accident. You may be surprised to discover something you were not aware of when the accident occurred, but which may help explain what happened: a defect on the spot where you fell, a traffic light that isn't working, or a pertinent object that you previously did not see. Do not break any laws by removing things that do not belong to you, but remember to take photographs before and after removing any physical evidence.
  • Can I make an accident injury claim against a government entity?

    Yes. If your accident might have been wholly or partially caused by a government entity or employee of a city, county, state, or federal government, or any public agency or division (a city bus or a school district, for example), your attorneys must file a formal claim within a short time after your accident. This period of time usually ranges between 30 days and one year, depending on the government involved.

    Note that failure to file a claim within the time limit or failure to include required information in your claim may result in losing your right to collect compensation. Do not delay - contact Simeone & Miller, LLP today.

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