Personal Injury refers to the Practice Area in Law that helps a victim of an accident whom suffered injuries, file a lawsuit and receive compensation for their injuries when not considered at fault for the accident. Many Personal Injury law firms, only help the plaintiff that suffered damages due to another person’s negligence.
What type of cases fall into Personal Injury?
Personal Injury law firms handle very broad practices areas, which include and are not limited to the following:
Slip and Fall
Motor Vehicle Accident
Bicycle and Scooter Accidents
How much time after the accident do I have to file a lawsuit?
This depends on the state where the accident occurred. All states have specific deadlines for filing lawsuits which is legally known as the Statute of Limitations. The statute of limitations is a very strict deadline, which when not met it will most likely result in your lawsuit being dismissed.
The Statute of Limitation varies for different states. Here at Malloy Law Offices, we handle cases in the state of Maryland and Virginia, as well as District of Columbia. The following are the Statute of Limitations for the states mentioned above:
In Virginia the SL is for 2 years, from the date of the accident
In Maryland the SL is 3 years, from the date of the accident
In District of Columbia the SL is 3 years, from the date of the accident
Keep in mind that if the victim was underage, the law allows them up to three years after turning 18 years of age (legally known as an adult).
How much compensation can I receive for my case?
Our fees are based off on Contingency fees. This means, that we only get paid if your case gets settled. Once settled, our team takes a percentage of the total amount recovered for the accident. The remaining balance, will be for the plaintiff to keep as well as pay for their medical bills (if any).
How much does the law firm charge for my case?
The answer varies, as it all depends on the total amount settled from the case. The total amount we aim to recover based on the accident, and the percentage we will charge will all be discussed during the initial meeting. Our team is always very open to discussing settlements, expectations, and pricing as we prioritize the individual.
Do I always have to go to trial?
No, there are some instances where the case may settle during Litigation,
How long since I file a lawsuit until I receive a settlement offer?
The time it takes from filing suit to receiving a settlement offer depends on many factors such as the extent of your injury.
How long after I accept my settlement offer, do I receive my check?
Medicare and Medicaid take 4 weeks or more while private insurance takes roughly 3-4 weeks
Who pays for the medical bills?
The amount of compensation our team will request from the insurance company is projected based on medical bills, compensation for the damages, our lawyer fees, and any other type of expenses. With that being said, our team is not responsible for paying the plaintiffs medical bills, however, we always aim for negotiating the most compensation possible to pay off medical debt.
Where did the accident have to happen in order for the law firm to take my case?
Our team handles cases that happened in the states of Maryland and Virginia. We also take cases that occurred at our nation’s capital, Washington DC.
Should I go seek medical treatment?
Yes, most of the time clients underestimate seeking medical treatment. Our team always recommends seeking medical treatment as soon as possible.
What should I do immediately after the accident?
Always make sure to call 911 and if injured, seek medical treatment as soon as possible. Once you file a police report, and doctors give you the okay to proceed with your daily activities you should seek legal counsel. After seeking medical attention (and in the case that it is not needed) make sure to take pictures with your mobile device of the accident, any injuries that can be identified via pictures as well as scene of the accident. Filing a police report is always a MUST, as well as getting the contact information of the other individual involved.
What are the first steps to take after the accident?
As mentioned previously, the first and most important steps are always to call 911 and seek medical treatment immediately. It is also very important that at the time of the accident, you file a police report, and gather witnesses to the accident that may help your case. Take pictures if necessary, as pictures are a powerful form of evidence. Please note, your health has priority over anything else, if your accident caused you to need medical treatment right away please make sure you seek a Hospital ASAP.
What evidence do I need to provide?
Please refer to this infographic for a checklist of items you need to bring as evidence when meeting with your lawyer for the first time.
What determines if the person is at fault?
The answer varies, as it depends on the type of Personal Injury case. The plaintiff has the burden of proof in any PI case, to prove all the elements of their claim.
The elements would at a minimum include duty, breach, causation, and damages. The standard of proof in any civil case (including PI cases) is that the plaintiff must prove all the elements by a Preponderance of the Elements (this is to prove something is more likely than not).
What are “no fault” states?
“No fault” states, refers to those that drivers have insurance to cover their own injuries and damages rather than insuring to pay out to the other person. The reason they are called “no fault” is precisely because it does not matter who caused the accident or who acted with negligence. Each person submits a claim to their own PIP coverage to help pay for medical bills and other expenses that the incident causes. Virginia and Maryland both are not “no fault” states.
Maryland, Virginia, Alabama, North Carolina, and our nation’s capital practice Contributory Negligence, this means that if the individuals that were involved in the accident have failed to act prudently (are considered even a little percent guilty), they are considered at fault as well which can essentially impact the amount recovered from the accident. Please refer to our blog on Contributory Negligence for more information.
Does the law firm handle property damage?
The law firm does communicate with insurance company regarding costs but your insurance is what “handles” the property damage. In a word, both.
What if I was also considered at fault for the accident?
If you are considered at fault then depending on the state you will not be awarded any damages. In Maryland the party at fault pays for medical and property expenses whether it be from your insurance or not. Some states use a partial fault system where the portion of fault equals the amount you pay for property damages. Since Maryland state enforces Contributory Negligence, if the plaintiff is considered even 1% at fault, they may not receive compensation.
How bad does an injury have to be to constitute a claim?
A claim can and should be filed if the injury has had any noticeable negative affect on your life like lost income, medical bills, pain/suffering/anxiety.
What determines the value of my compensation?
The value of medical bills and repair costs can be added up easily but when it comes to compensating a victim for their pain and suffering it becomes a little more complicated. Depending on the severity of the injuries, there is a multiplier added to medical bills total amount and lost income total amounts which multiplies that number times anywhere fro 1.5 – 10.
What is the process for changing lawyers in the middle of my suit?
In a personal injury case, you always have the right to change lawyers at any point. Depending where you are in the process it could cost a fee to change. The first step in changing lawyers is to find a new one that will take on your case. After you have found a suitable new lawyer you must discuss with your current lawyer about the terms of terminating him or her. Once the contract is terminated you may resign with anyone else. The new lawyer may offer help in finding a suitable fee for the terminated attorney if the situation requires a payment. Please note, once the lawsuit is filed, replacing the attorney is a much more complicated process and not highly recommended.
Can you fire a lawyer if you are not happy, and hire a new one even if the lawyer already started your case?
Yes, you can. All you must do is talk to your current firm about dropping your case and terminating your contract with them. Just make sure the new lawyer you are interested in, can and will take your case.
Can an assault case be a personal injury?
Yes, an assault case may be considered a PI case, but only if it occurred in a commercial property that has insurance. If an assault happened in your house or public property it is likely to be considered a Criminal Defense case.
Should I always file a police report, even if the crash injury was minor?
Yes, the more information you have about an incident the easier it is to prove fault and ultimately win your case.
Why do I need a lawyer?
A lawyer is not required to enter a courtroom, however, the years of experience and schooling that one can bring is very important because they will ensure your rights are protected and won’t miss a deadline. The court system can be very confusing for the average person which is why someone who knows all the rules and the laws of the land is very helpful when dealing with legal matters.