Legal FAQ

Frequently Asked Legal Questions

Q.      I've been injured and have been contacted by an insurance adjuster assigned to the claim. He seems nice and wants to help. Do I really need a lawyer?
A.

     In almost every case, yes. If you've been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you want to be fairly compensated for your damages, your harms and losses. The insurance adjuster’s job is to seek cooperation from you to enable him to deny your claim if possible, and if not, to minimize the value of your claim. An experienced insurance adjuster will attempt to quickly earn your trust in the hopes you will not hire an attorney and thus allow her to assert control over the handling of the claim. That is not a good idea.
However, if your injuries were minor and are now entirely resolved, and if the "other guy’s" fault is clear, it may be you can reach a small money settlement with the insurance company that would result in more money in your pocket than after hiring a lawyer and agreeing to pay a portion of your recovery as a fee. However, it is very unusual that hiring a lawyer is not in your best interest in the handling of a personal injury claim. And still, whether you hire a lawyer or not, you should still speak with an attorney if you believe someone else is at fault for your injuries. Most lawyers practicing in the field of personal injury will be happy to provide free consultation to answer your questions.

Q.      My back hurts after the accident, but it’s not terrible. Should I go to the doctor or wait to see if it gets better?
A.

     You are in the best position to know whether your condition warrants medical attention, but you should keep a few things in mind. Oftentimes the options for medical treatment are reduced as time passes from the initial injury. Also, the law requires all people to act reasonably in treating their own injuries, and persons that fail this duty may be prevented from recovering monetary damages for their harms and losses. If you decide to go to a doctor or hospital, remember this one simple rule. Simply tell the truth about your complaints. Do not exaggerate or understate the severity of your injuries. Competent physicians require accurate information to form appropriate treatment plans, thus if you complain excessively or don't complain at all (like many "tough guys" are prone), your doctor will be handicapped in offering treatment. Just tell it like it is.

Q.      My car is in the shop and I need a rental. What do I do?
A.

     If your automobile insurance policy covers a rental, you should contact your insurance agent and let that person know you need a rental. It is not common that the other driver’s insurance company will pay for your rental except as part of a final settlement or judgment of the court.

Q.      I don't have health insurance. How will I pay for a doctor?
A.

     This is frequently a very difficult problem. You should speak to a lawyer about this as soon as possible.

Q.      I can't work and my employer has told me I must return to work by a certain date or I will be fired. Can they do that?
A.

     Unfortunately, yes. However, certain employers (generally, those which employ 50 or more people) are required to provide up to twelve weeks of unpaid leave (but it may be combined with accrued paid leave such as vacation or sick leave) to certain employees, and for only certain specific reasons. But remember this, employers cannot fire an injured worker in retaliation for the worker filing a workers’ compensation claim. If your employer threatens to fire you if you file a workers’ compensation claim, make a record of that threat.