Pensacola Personal Injury Attorneys Answer Frequently Asked Questions About Car Accidents and Recovery for Negligence
The Pensacola personal injury attorneys at Whibbs Stone Barnett frequently advise people who have been hurt in a car accident or experienced some other injury due to the negligence or misconduct of another. Below are answers to some of the question our lawyers encounter most often. If you have other questions, or if you have been injured and need help recovering compensation from the responsible party, please call Whibbs Stone Barnett at 1-888-219-4561 for a free consultation with a knowledgeable and experienced personal injury attorney.
How do you determine how much money I can receive in a personal injury lawsuit?
If the case goes to trial, typically it will be the jury who decides how much money to award. Your attorney will present the costs of your injury to the jury and persuade them why this amount is justified. These costs are known as damages. Damages typically awarded in a personal injury lawsuit can include all of the following:
- Present medical expenses
- Future medical expenses, including rehabilitation, future surgeries, medication and medical equipment
- Lost wages for the time you missed from work due to the accident
- Future lost income if you are disabled from working or cannot work at the same job and earn as much as before
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages, meant to punish defendants when their conduct was particularly outrageous, reckless or intentional
At Whibbs Stone Barnett, we work with your doctors and other medical experts, as well as economists and life care planners when necessary, to develop a complete picture of the total costs associated with your injury. Our goal is to make sure you get the compensation you need and deserve, and that the responsible parties are held accountable for all of the damage they have caused.
The insurance company says that the reason I was injured was because I wasn’t wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident. That may be partially true, but the other driver still ran into me because she was texting on her cell phone and not watching where she was going. Will I be able to recover compensation or not?
When you are considered partly to blame in causing the accident, for instance if you were speeding, or if your injuries are worse because you weren’t wearing your seat belt, the insurance company or the jury can attribute a portion of the fault to you. This is called comparative negligence, and it means that any recovery you receive will be reduced according to the percentage or proportion of negligence assigned to you. In addition, if more than 50% of the blame is allocated to you, then you will not be able to recover anything at all.
Our job as trial attorneys is not only to establish the defendant’s fault in causing your injuries and seek full compensation for the damages caused, but also to make sure you are not unfairly assigned any of the blame for the accident or injuries. Our lawyers know how to deal with the seat belt defense and other accusations typically alleged by the insurance companies to try to minimize the liability of their insured.
I understand that my personal injury lawsuit may take several months or more to complete, but what do I do about all these doctor and hospital bills in the meantime? Are they going to wait until I get my settlement check?
You may have several sources of income available to you to help you pay your medical bills while your lawsuit is pending. For instance, your health insurance should cover much of your expenses after your deductible and co-pays have been met. If you have a lot of claims, they may take some time to process, and usually the doctors do not bill you for your share until the insurance claims have been processed. You may also have medical payments coverage (commonly called “med pay”) on your automobile insurance or even on another insurance policy, such as home or an umbrella policy, which may apply. Depending upon the accident or injury, you may also be entitled to payments from disability insurance, workers’ compensation or social security. And, yes, in some cases, your doctor might wait until you get your settlement check to bill you. If necessary and appropriate, we may be able to negotiate what is known as a letter of protection, where your doctor agrees to hold off on billing until your case settles and then receive payment from the settlement. The lawyers at Whibbs Stone Barnett are understanding about your situation and will take the time to work with you and help you access all the sources of compensation which may be available.