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Law Offices of John Morelli
A Personal Injury Firm Serving All Of South Jersey

10 Things You Should Know Before Filing A Claim

All potential clients should be aware of the following information about personal injury law before they go to file their claim. There are a variety of issues which you may be unfamiliar with.

#10 Only Claim an Injury If It Is Related to Your Accident

When you file a claim, doctors will assess your body as a whole. In looking at your injuries, you can only claim those that were directly a result of the accident. If you had a preexisting injury that was then reinjured, that is a viable claim. But, for example, if you had a lifetime of back pain, visiting chiropractor after chiropractor before an accident that injured your arm, not affecting your back at all, you CANNOT claim the back injury as being a result of your accident. Injuries claimed must be sustained directly or indirectly as a result of the incident that you are claiming them for.

#9 Defense Attorneys Will Probe Your Medical History

Claiming an injury means that you are making an accusation against another party for permanently altering the function of your body. In doing so, you must be able to establish how your body functioned previously, before you were injured. Doing so will allow your attorney to effectively demonstrate the ways that the injury adversely affected your life. But, that also means that defense attorneys will have the right to look at your medical history as well.

#8 Defense Attorneys Will Probe Your Employment History

Often times when making a claim, the victim will have to miss time from work as a result of their injury. Or, they may be unable to work at all as a result of their injury. In these cases where a wage loss claim is made, their attorney must establish the nature of their employment prior to the incident and the ways that the injury affected it. But, in doing so, defense attorneys will be able to examine past employment as well. In making a lost wage claim, topics such as past and current salaries are fair game for either side.

#7 Cases Shouldn't Be Settled Before You Reached the Point of Maximum Medical Improvement

When you make an injury claim, a major component of that claim is the medical costs incurred as a result of your injury. In order to fully evaluate the long-term effects and their related costs, it is important to wait until the point of Maximum Medical Improvement. This is when you have come to an end of your treatment for your injury, after any medical procedures have been completed and have recovered to the fullest extent possible. Doing so will allow your attorney to fully demonstrate the overall effects of the injury in reaching a settlement agreement.

#6 It Can Take Several Years to Settle Your Case

Because it's crucial to wait until the point of maximum medical improvement, personal injury cases usually last at least two years from the time of the accident. Depending on what type of injury you have, cases can be completed longer or shorter, but it is usually smart to plan for a fight that will last several years. The legal process can be arduous during this time frame, but your goal should be focused on getting better. Let your attorney handle your legal issues.

#5 Your Lawyer Will Request No Upfront Money and Will Be Paid on a Contingency Fee Basis

New Jersey law allows that personal injury lawyers can handle cases on a contingency fee basis. Prior to your case settling, your attorney will request no upfront money in exchange for their services. Instead, when the case is settled, they will be entitled to a limited-portion of the settlement known as a contingency fee. During the case, your attorney will incur costs in handling your claim for a multitude of things, such as depositions or court fees. When your case is settled, they will also have the right to claim these costs in addition to their contingency fee. What is important to know, though, is that if your claim is denied, your attorney will not get paid for the time spent on your case. That's why personal injury lawyers will only take on a case if they truly believe a settlement is possible.

#4 You May Be Called to Give a Deposition Testimony

Deposition testimonies carry the same weight as if you were in front of a judge and jury, but are usually done in the setting of a law office of one of the attorneys involved in the case. They can be filmed by a videographer, but are not always done so. In giving a deposition, you must be truthful in your answers. You most likely will be queried about the nature of your accident, your medical history, and the injuries sustained by the defense attorney handling the case.

#3 Credit Agencies Will Target You With Upfront Cash in Exchange for a Piece of Your Settlement

There are many credit agencies out there who operate in the field of "legal finance", but what this really means is that they are willing to give you a paltry bit of upfront cash in exchange for a disproportionate percentage of your settlement. It can be difficult being injured and waiting a long time for your case to settle, and these companies prey upon people in such a situation. It's highly recommended, if you can, to stay away from companies like this.

#2 A Monetary Settlement Will Not Cure Your Injuries

A settlement is given to compensate the victim by the legal system, but it will not do anything to ease your pain or suffering. Physical, permanent injuries can be life-altering and traumatic. Receiving a monetary settlement may be helpful, but doing so will not magically bring you back to where you were before the injury. Many people still have issues after reaching their point of maximum medical improvement, and while the legal system can offer a monetary compensation, they will not solve your problems. While your care will have been paid for, the physical and emotional issues you have can last for life.

#1 There is Light at the End of the Tunnel

Being hurt can be a confusing, frustrating experience. But, it's good to remember that there is an outlet built into the legal system for people like you. A skilled personal injury lawyer can help get your medical care paid for and make sure that insurance keeps you covered. If you've been injured, try calling an attorney to see what your legal options may be.

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