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after an accident

Personal Injury Lawyer Dropped Your Case? Now What?

It happens all too often. A person hires a lawyer right after an accident, then months later when the medical treatment is all done, the lawyer they hired decides they no longer want the case. Don’t read into it too much. Some lawyers only handle cases if they are of a certain value or above. So unless your lawyer has ceased communicating with you, there are a few steps you can take to make sure your case can be smoothly transitioned over to a new attorney. However, if your lawyer has ceased communicating with you, it might be a good idea to get a new lawyer, and have your new lawyer attempt to connect with the old lawyer. On rare occasion, lawyers get sick, die, or just plainly go missing without warning, just like any other human being. The most important thing is to find out your statute of limitations date, because if you don’t file a lawsuit by that date, your claim will expire. 1. Ask Your Old Attorney to Delay Withdrawing Until You Find a New Attorney Attorneys will often recommend that you find a new attorney before they formally withdraw from representation, even when there has been a breakdown in the attorney-client relationship involving anger and animosity. Attorneys are generally agreeable to this arrangement because it will avoid injuring a client’s case. If you are firing your attorney, however, this request will likely not go over well. 2. Figure Out Your Lien Situation Personal injury cases, if handled on a contingency basis (which they typically are), may have lien provisions included in the attorney fee agreement. When an attorney drops your case, if your contract had one of these provisions, you need to get a letter from the attorney clearly stating whether they have a lien, or not, and if so, for how much. A lien is a typical contract term in a contingency fee contract that allows an attorney to place a claim for payment on your case, and requiring that they be paid from any eventual settlement or judgment issued in the case for the work they did on your case. When an attorney drops a case, they usually do not assert a lien, unless they have expended a significant amount of money or time on the case. Even then, some attorneys will release their liens in order to make it easier for a client to retain a new attorney, as a second attorney may be hesitant to take a case that has a lien attached to it. However, any new attorney will likely ask and want to know about liens before formally accepting representation. 3. Find and Hire a New Attorney Don’t delay. The longer you wait to find a new attorney, the less time the new attorney will have to prepare your case. FindLaw has a personal injury lawyer directory that you can browse for free to find an experienced injury attorney in your area. Related Resources: Injured in an accident? Get your claim reviewed by an attorney for free. (Consumer Injury) 5 Controversial Medical Treatments Still Used Today (FindLaw’s Injured) Chemical Spill in Kansas Hospitalizes Over 100 People (FindLaw’s Injured) Is Apple Liable for Distracted Driving Accidents? (FindLaw’s Injured)
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How Do You Prove Soft Tissue Injury?

This is another in our series on car accident claims. So many of us experience an accident, but do we really know what do to, how to get help, or what our rights are? This series can help. Soft tissue injuries are like feelings — they’re real and they hurt but they can be invisible and not everyone believes in them. For these reasons, proving this kind of injury can be difficult, or more difficult than a more obvious type of harm, like a broken leg. Still, people do recover legal remedies for soft tissue injuries every day, so it is not at all impossible to get compensation for your damages after an accident. Let’s look at proving negligence in the context of this type of claim. Soft Tissue Injury Soft tissue injury refers to damage to soft areas of the body, like ligaments, muscles, and tendons. A hard tissue injury, by contrast, refers to a broken bone or damage to a hard area of the body. While a soft tissue injury can seem less traumatic on the surface — who wouldn’t prefer a strain to a break? — this kind of harm can last a long time and cause discomfort and make everyday duties difficult. Sprains, strains, and contusions in soft tissue do not always manifest immediately after an accident but the pain can last for years, which is why people seek to recover damages for their invisible injuries. Proving Negligence In brief, negligence is proven by showing that a person who owed you a duty of care fell below the standard required and breached that duty. If this breach is the cause of your injury and you suffer compensable damages, then you can recover for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and more. But how do you prove you are truly sore if your injury is invisible? You will need to show medical records, evidence of having sought treatment and received a diagnosis. You can also support the claim with testimony, or affidavits. You may ask people who know you to speak about your limited mobility since the accident. You may also seek expert testimony to support your claim and explain to jurors the significance of your injury. A medical expert may testify about soft tissue injuries at trial, so that the jury better understands the harm in the way the medical community does. Although proving soft tissue injury may be more difficult than proving a broken leg, these types of claims are very common after car accidents. The force a vehicle exerts during a crash can cause a lot of damage to the human body, some of which may not register immediately. Whiplash The most common soft tissue injury is whiplash, officially known as cervical strain or sprain, or hyper-extension injury. As the official names indicate, whiplash happens when the body is strained or overextended in some way, causing damage. Whiplash is interesting because it illustrates the mysterious nature of soft tissue injury, and how dangerous this damage can be. Sometimes whiplash isn’t felt immediately after the accident but over time can manifest in stiffness, neck pain, back problems, and most alarmingly, cognitive issues. Injured? If you have been in a car accident and experienced an injury of any kind, speak to a lawyer. Many personal injury attorneys consult for free or a minimal fee and will be happy to assess your case. Related Resources: Injured in a car accident? Get your claim reviewed by an attorney for free. (Consumer Injury) Types of Brain Injury (FindLaw’s Learn About the Law) Can I Get Compensation for Whiplash? (FindLaw’s Injured) Types of Car Accident Injuries (FindLaw’s Learn About the Law)
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My Car Accident Insurance Claim Was Denied

This is another in our series on car accident claims. So many of us experience an accident, but do we really know what do to, how to get help, or what our rights are? This series can help. Most insurance companies only make money when they can take payments on customer policies and don't have to make payments on customer claims. And the less scrupulous insurance companies will find any reason not to pay claims. So it's not all that surprising if your car accident insurance claim was denied. What may be surprising to some, however, is that the denial doesn't mean you're out of options. Here's what you can do if your car insurance company has denied your accident claim. Additional Insurance Claims If you're involved in a multi-car accident and your insurance company denies your claim, you could file a claim with the other driver's insurance company. The law requires every driver to have automobile insurance, and most policies cover damage to another person, their property, or vehicle. If another driver was at fault in your accident, you may be able to recover from his or her insurance company. Make sure to always exchange insurance information after an accident, and you can use police reports and your own evidence to prove who was responsible for the accident. Additional Legal Claims Insurance companies aren't your only source of compensation for vehicle damage or injuries -- you can also file a lawsuit. And you have options when it comes to suing for your injuries. If the accident wasn't serious, you could file a suit in small claims court. Generally, small claims courts only hear cases involving damages of $5,000 or less, although that cap can vary by state. And some small claims courts may request the parties attend mediation rather than litigate the issue. For more severe car accidents, you may have to file a personal injury lawsuit in civil court. You may be able to recover more in damages in civil court, and you may be able to sue more parties as well. If another driver was negligent and caused the accident, you can sue the driver, and possibly their insurance company. Additionally, you could sue your car insurance company as well, if you believe they denied your claim in bad faith. Car accident lawsuits can be complicated, so you'll want someone with knowledge and experience on your side. If you've been injured in a car accident and your insurance company denied your claim, contact a personal injury attorney in your area to discuss your case. Related Resources: Injured in a car accident? Get your claim reviewed by an attorney for free. (Consumer Injury) After an Accident: Insurance Claim or Lawsuit? (FindLaw's Injured) When Insurance Isn't Enough: Car Accident Lawsuits (FindLaw's Injured) Coverage for Car Accidents With Uninsured Motorists (FindLaw's Injured)
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Santa Claus Sideswiped My Car! Accidents With Delivery Vehicles

It’s not easy delivering toys to children worldwide in a single night. So maybe Santa’s sleigh rolled a stop sign trying to save some time, and caught your car right on the rear fender. Did he stay long enough to give his insurance information? And since Santa was driving a delivery vehicle for work, how does that affect your injury claim? Here’s what you need to know if Kris Kringle crumpled your bumper: Frozen First Steps An accident with Santa, or any other delivery vehicle, is much like any other car accident. And your first steps after an accident are always crucial: Stay on the Scene: You’re probably in a rush yourself, but leaving the scene of an accident can be a crime. Inquire About Injuries: Check on the reindeer and Santa himself — make sure everyone is OK and call for medical attention if needed. Exchange Information: Make sure you get Santa’s insurance info and other relevant details like license and sleigh plate number, and provide your own. Gather Data: Get as much information about the accident as possible, including eyewitness statements from elves or anyone else who saw the accident, and document the scene with photos and notes. Make Contact: Santa may tell you he can take care of the damage and that there’s no need to get insurance companies involved, but not reporting the accident could revoke your insurance and, if the accident is serious, you should also contact the police so they can file a report. Deep Delivery Pockets Being hit by a delivery vehicle can offer different legal remedies if you’re injured. Not only is Santa’s insurance on the hook, employers can be held liable for their employees’ negligent acts. So, if one of the elves was behind the reins or Rudolph was making a delivery run, Santa and Santa Industries could be at fault. Even if the sleigh wasn’t on a delivery run, if it was being used “in the course of employment,” the company or employer can be sued along with the driver. Stay safe on the roads out there this holiday season. And if Santa runs into your Chevy instead of sliding down your chimney, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced car accident attorney. Related Resources: Injured in a car accident? Get your claim reviewed by an attorney for free. (Consumer Injury) What Kinds of Damages May I Claim for Car Accident Injuries? (FindLaw) FedEx Truck Crashes Into Bus in Calif.; 10 Killed (FindLaw’s Injured) 5 Car Accident Myths (FindLaw’s Injured)
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When Can You Sue for Loss of Consortium?

Loss of consortium is a personal injury claim that can lead to damages for loss of affection and normal marital relations. In some cases, loss of consortium can also apply to a relationship between parents and children. So when can a loss of consortium claim be made, and what will you have to prove in order to prevail in court? Here are some general guidelines: Who Can Sue? Loss of consortium is usually limited to the loss of love, sexual relations, and services of a spouse. The loss of these services can result from another person's negligence, medical malpractice, assault, battery, wrongful death, or other forms of actionable personal injury claims. Loss of consortium claims are usually initiated by the uninjured spouse, who may be able to join the injured spouse's lawsuit. However, the injured spouse may also be able to sue for loss of consortium. For example, a man whose genitals were burned while using a urinal at a fast-food restaurant sued the chain for failing to make sure the premises were safe. His wife joined the lawsuit claiming loss of consortium because her husband's burned genitals prevented them from having sex. In some cases, parents can sue for loss of consortium with their child. This damage is usually limited to circumstances in which minor children are severely injured. Generally speaking, the injuries must be serious enough to interfere with the normal relationship between parents and their kids. Proving Loss of Consortium To prove loss of consortium for married couples, the court will consider the "value" of the loss by considering several factors including: How stable the marriage is, The couple's individual life expectancy, and The extent to which the benefits of married life were actually lost. For example, a spouse who's in a coma after an accident will likely be seen as losing a greater amount of marital benefits than a spouse who suffered a broken leg. Depending on the type personal injury case, the damages awarded for loss of consortium may differ. Loss of consortium is a form of non-economic damage. Unlike calculable costs like hospital bills, non-economic damages are more abstract and usually account for one's pain and suffering. Although it depends on your state's laws, there may be a cap on personal injury actions for non-economic damages in certain types of cases. But these laws can potentially be challenged. In Florida, for example, a $1 million cap on non-economic damages for medical malpractice wrongful-death claims was recently struck down by the state's Supreme Court. As the amount of damages awarded for loss of consortium is determined on a case-by-case basis, an experienced personal injury attorney can give you a better idea of what to expect in your case. Related Resources: Accident & Injury Law (FindLaw) Walmart Dress Caused Sexless Marriage, Lawsuit Claims (FindLaw's Legally Weird) NYC Citi Bike Injury Lawsuit Seeks $15M (FindLaw's Injured) Kentucky Court Expands Spousal Right to Sue for Loss of Consortium (FindLaw's Knowledgebase)
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10 Things to Do After a Big Rig Crash

Big rig crashes can be unsettling for even seasoned drivers, so it's best to have a plan just in case. Here are 10 helpful reminders for what to do following a big rig crash: Check to see if everyone is OK. Just like you would in a regular car accident, check to see that all passengers and drivers are uninjured. If someone is injured, the first thing you should do is call 911. Document your injuries. If you are injured -- and the odds are in favor of truck accident injuries -- make sure that you take pictures and retain medical records of your crash-related injuries. Contact your insurance company. Even if you believe that you were following too closely before the accident, notify your insurance company of the crash. Speak with witnesses. Often truck accidents involve multiple cars or even pedestrians. Make sure to speak with these and any other witnesses about the crash, including onlookers who may have observed something important. Don't admit fault. Yes, there are many ways to avoid truck accidents, but now is not the time to verbalize the things you could have done or didn't do. Consult an attorney experienced in dealing with truck accident cases. You'll likely have lots of questions to ask before you find an experienced truck accident lawyer who can properly represent you in your big rig crash case, and you should find one that answers all of them. Come clean to your attorney. Admitting fault at the scene of the crash: no. Being earnest about your driving mistakes to your truck accident attorney: yes. You don't have to be blameless to have a proper truck accident claim. Investigate the cause(s) of your accident. There are many ways a big rig crash can happen, and you and your attorney can discuss how to go about investigating it. Assess total damages. After reviewing your property damages, medical expenses, lost wages, and other losses, your attorney can explain how your total damages will compare to your chances of collecting from other parties. Discuss whom to potentially sue. Big rig accident cases typically involve multiple defendants: the driver, the trucking company, or even a bar who served the trucker. Pursuing the right party can increase your chances of recovering for your injuries. To learn more about big rig accidents and the unique legal challenges that can arise in truck-crash lawsuits, check out FindLaw's comprehensive section on Truck Accidents. Related Resources: Proving Fault in a Truck Accident Checklist (FindLaw) Top 10 States for Fatal Truck Crashes (FindLaw's Injured) 3 Common Truck Collisions and How to Sue (FindLaw's Atlanta Injury News Blog) Who's Liable for Drunk Truck Drivers? (FindLaw's Atlanta Injury News Blog)
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