Saturday, January 24, 2009

Are you Stressed Out over Injuries from an Accident?

If you suffer serious personal injury as the result of an automobile accident, whether you are driver, passenger or pedestrian, life can become very difficult. Physical injuries affect your ability to work, take care of your family, and pay your bills. If you were involved in an automobile accident and it was not your fault, you may need to consult with a personal injury attorney. You may want an experienced personal injury attorney to help you get all the compensation you are entitled to such as medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering resulting from the accident. A personal injury attorney can help give you an idea of how much your case is worth and the steps involved in filing a lawsuit, if your case can’t be settled for a reasonable able sum based on your medical bills, lost wages, lasting bodily injuries.

Dealing with insurance companies can be overwhelming and a bit frightening for most people. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you deal with these issues and help you make the best decisions for you and your family. A good attorney can also help you determine if a settlement offer made by an insurance adjuster is fair to you. There are a lot of legal issues to consider regarding automobile accidents. It may help to have someone on your side to advise you of your rights, deal with the insurance company and court system, and help you get your life back on track.

Things you should do if you are ever involved in an accident include, getting a copy of your accident report and getting the contact information for all witnesses; getting copies of your medical bills and photos of the injuries and vehicle; and follow the instructions of your doctors. When you meet with a personal injury attorney provide the attorney with all of your information. And most importantly, talk to an attorney before you sign any releases. If you need the services of an attorney, the sooner you hire one the more likely you are to properly protect your legal interests.

Most attorneys who represent victims of automobile accidents do not charge any consultation fee and work on a contingency fee basis, which means the attorney will only get paid if you get a financial settlement. So it should not cost you anything to see if an attorney can benefit you and whether you need legal representation regarding your case. So if you are involved in an automobile, truck, motorcycle, dog bite, or any other type of accident, suffered injuries, and it was not your fault, call a personal injury attorney today. You may be happy you did. Let your attorney worry about the court process. While you may be entitled to financial compensation, there is no guarantee that you will be offered the compensation you deserve for your damages. Your attorney can help you understand how the legal process of settling an accident case, both the good and the bad.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Serious Personal Injury: South Carolina Workers Comp, Disability, and Auto Accidents

If you can no longer work due to and serious personal injury or medical condition, you may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits (SSDI). SSDI is a government run tax-funded program that provides qualifying individuals and their family members with income in the form of monthly disability payments. To qualify for SSDI you must fit all of the following criteria: 1) have a physical or mental condition that prevents you from engaging in any “substantial gainful activity”, and 2) the condition must be expected to last at least twelve months, and 3) must be under the age of sixty-five, and 4) must have worked five out of the last ten years unless under the age of 22. The current time frame for these claims in South Carolina is approximately 24 months, which includes the initial application, reconsideration, and hearing stages of a claim.

Recovering from a serious personal injury is often a long and difficult process. Added to the physical and emotional stress brought on by any major injury are the legal and monetary problems that come after an accident. Long periods off work or of reduced productivity place pressure on your finances. You may face loss of income and fall behind on your bills. If you do not have adequate health insurance, you will face a mounting pile of medical bills as well, resulting in debt collection and impaired credit. Or worse, limited or no access to necessary medical treatment. Knowing your options will help you get your life back on track and provide peace of mind for you and your family.

If your personal injury is work related, you may be eligible to receive Workers Compensation insurance payments. Your employer, in exchange for you not suing them because of your injury, pays your medical expenses, and may be required to pay weekly compensation benefits and compensation for permanent injury or impairment. Most employers in South Carolina are required to carry Workers Compensation insurance on their employees, with a few exceptions. It was designed as a way to reduce litigation while providing the employee with an avenue for compensation and limtiting the employer's liability exposure. There are time limits to notify your employer of the injury as well as filing a claim, so consult with an attorney immediately.

When you suffer personal injury because of an auto accident, your compensation usually comes from the auto insurance company of the driver at fault, and possibly your insurance company if the other driver has insufficient or no insurance to compensate you. As with an injury at work, after a serious auto accident, if you fit the qualifications for SSDI you may still collect this as well. It will cost you nothing for our law firm to evaluate your case to determine your legal needs. In fact, in many small or minor impact accidents, you may be able to handle the negotiation with the adjuster on your own and save yourself money. The same usually does not apply for serious injuries.

Recovering from a major personal injury is difficult. With time and patience, you will regain a life that you can enjoy. It is important for you get started on the application processes for aide as soon as possible. By taking care of the legal and monetary aspects early, you can free yourself to concentrate on getting better. As always, consult with an attorney when deciding on any legal actions. A good attorney can lead you through the lengthy SSDI application process and insure that you are receiving the correct compensation from both Workers Comp and auto insurance companies.

Most attorneys work on a contingency fee basis for most personal injury claims, which means you will not have pay anything if you do not get any compensation. One of the most important things to remember regarding an injury claim, whether it is disability, workers compensation or an accident is medical documentation. Quite often a claim is denied or underpaid because the claimant can't document their medical condition or injuries. Many times the injuried associated with a work related accident or serious automobile accident may qualify the claimant for disability benfits in addition to any other benefits. As many times the injuried associated with a work related accident or serious automobile accident may qualify the claimant for disability benfits in addition to any other benefits, it is extremely important to seek legal advice.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Should You Settle Your Injury Claim without a Lawyer?

You definitely do not need an attorney for every small accident case. What is a small accident case? There are no hard and fast rules, but usually a small case involves an accident with no damage, or little damage to the vehicle and the treatment for any injury lasts no more than a few weeks. In a small case, the medical bills usually will not exceed a few thousand dollars and the injuries will not be permanent. These are cases that can often be settled without the assistance of a lawyer. In my practice, I tell clients that it may not be cost effective to use an attorney for small case because most of the recovery may go to pay the attorney. Someone may have just as good a chance of recovering a settlement near or equal to one that an attorney could get in a small case. Consumers may be well served by handling the case on their own without an attorney. But even if someone has small case, this book can help in understanding the issues which must be considered. There are some considerations consumers should be aware of before simply accepting an offer from an insurance company.

First, in accepting an offer to settle an injury claim the consumer is assuming they know clearly the nature and extent of their injuries and whether any further medical treatment may be necessary. Accepting the insurance company's offer will require providing a release. As mentioned before, the purpose of a release is to forever bar any further payment, even should the injured party's medical condition become worse or be far more serious than originally believed by them at the time the release was signed. Therefore, consumers must be absolutely certain they will not require further medical care. The amount received must fully compensate them for physical and emotional pain, suffering, scarring, disfigurement, emotional distress and loss of the enjoyment of life, as well as any out-of-pocket expenses incurred. They must be confident the amount will cover expenses likely to be incurred in the future as a direct result of treatment related to the injuries received in the accident.

Second, many general releases prepared by insurance companies are broadly worded. They include language releasing, not only the insurance company and party directly involved, but other potential parties whether named in the release or not. Signing such a broadly worded general release has the potential of unintentionally releasing claims against the injured party's uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) motorist carrier, as well as potential claims, such as for medical malpractice resulting from treatment received in the accident.

Additionally, in cases involving more significant damages, particularly when there is a relatively small bodily injury policy covering the defendant, consumers sometimes attempt to avoid hiring a lawyer and work out a settlement with the defendant's insurance company accepting their policy limits. Often they do this with the intention of seeking further compensation for their injury from their own UM/UIM policy. This has the potential for actually preventing them from being able to seek such damages. Florida statutes require that notice be given to the UM/UIM motorist carrier before settling with the at-fault party and giving them a release of liability. The injured party must obtain the written consent of their own UM/UIM carrier before such a settlement occurs in order to preserve their right to seek further damages under their own policy of insurance. The failure to obtain such written consent may result in the UM/UIM carrier claiming prejudice against their interest and denying coverage altogether.

Finally, most consumers have virtually no experience in evaluating what an injury claim is worth. They should be very wary of relying on any representations of value argued by the opposing claims adjuster. That adjuster's one goal is to settle it for as little money as possible. They are trained in this process and are evaluated constantly by their company. Consequently, a consumer may feel comfortable negotiating a small case, as I've discussed above, howeve they should be very careful about undertaking the evaluation and negotiation of any accident with more significant injuries.

About the author
Attorney James W. Dodson is a Clearwater, Florida personal injury trial lawyer with over 20 years experience representing clients in all types of injury claims including vehicle accidents, fall cases and wrongful death. He is the author of three books offered FREE to consumers as a guide to dealing with accidents and insurance. Visit his website at for FREE copies of these books, other articles, videos, news and commentary.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Hurt on the Job?

Worker’s Compensation protects businesses if an employee is hurt on the job. In most instances if an employee is injured at work, the employer is responsible for paying medical expenses, temporary weekly compensation benefits, and compensation for permanent impairment. In most situations, Workers Compensation is the exclusive legal remedy for the employee. In the event of a work related injury, whether driving to a meeting, a slip and fall, sprained back, etc., the assistance of an experienced Worker’s Compensation attorney can help you get the benefits and financial compensation you are entitled to.

Worker’s Compensation attorneys are an important and critical investment for job related injury claims, for both employers and employees. For employers, a lawyer can help insure that the claim is legitimate and that fair compensation is given. For employes, an experienced worker’s compensation lawyer can help get the maximum benefits and financial compensation the employee is entitled to. The laws involving Worker's Compensation can be complicated and difficult to interpret, so it is important to find an attorney that you feel can give you what you need, i.e. legal advise, a shoulder to lean on, someone who cares about the outcome of your case, paying attention to detail, high level of dedication, years of experience, etc. Decide the qualities that are important to you.

The information is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation.