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What Is the Average Workers’ Compensation Back Injury Settlement?

If you settle your workplace back injury, will the Washington Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) pay you what they pay everyone else? That’s a reasonable question to ask. The state controls every aspect of the worker’s compensation system. It makes sense to have concerns about claim fairness and equity.

If you want to know for sure, you must compare your potential settlement to L&I’s average workers’ comp. back injury settlement. Unfortunately, that’s not that easy to do. While you’ll find a great deal of data on paid claims, the L&I website provides mostly settlement rates, disability percentages, and disability guidelines. When you need straight answers about claims procedures, disability requirements, and average settlements, a worker’s compensation lawyer is your best resource.

L&I Injury Data

L&I produces and maintains meticulous online resources. But because they release data in compliance with federal and state privacy laws, you might not have access to all the information you want. Their injury data page provides links to years of statistics and decades of reports.

When you search their files, you’ll find details about types of injuries and body parts, industries involved, injured workers’ occupations, and other information. You’ll also find comprehensive information about state-funded back injury claims paid during the last fiscal year.

Back injuries are the second most frequent workplace injury. With 13,453 accepted claims, only finger and fingernail injuries occur more frequently. Available claim data includes totals paid on closed claims and estimated costs for open claims.

The data from the most recent year is:

  • Total accepted back injury claims: 11,358. These include traumatic back and spinal injuries, strains, surface wounds, open wounds, burns, multiple traumas, and other categories.
  • Total paid on back injury claims: $115,689,721.
  • Average incurred cost per back injury claim: $10,186.

What Settlements Does L&I Pay?

Not every injured worker qualifies for a back injury settlement. It’s often up to you to explore the possibilities. Whether you temporarily cannot work or you may never go back to work, you may pursue three different types of settlements.

Claim Resolution Structured Settlement Agreements

Washington Administrative Code gives L&I the authority to negotiate a structured settlement agreement with you. Their ideal structured settlement candidate is a 50-year-old worker with an accepted claim lasting 180 days or more.

They suggest that you might also be a candidate if you have:

  • An open lost-time claim;
  • A supplemental income (Social Security, retirement, etc.);
  • A desire to return to work; and
  • No interest in retraining.

A structured settlement is a negotiated arrangement that allows you to exchange your current benefits for future lump sum payments. You, your employer, or L&I have the right to initiate the process. If you have a legal representative, you should discuss the benefits and drawbacks before you complete the settlement process.

Once you negotiate the payment terms, you sign a contract that describes all the terms of your agreement. In some cases, when you accept a structured settlement, you give up your right to recover additional medical benefits for your injury.

Permanent Partial Disability Awards

When you’ve reached maximum medical improvement, you may qualify to receive a payment based on any permanent partial disabilities (PPD) you sustained. L&I pays PPD benefits based on your injury, its severity, and a physician-assigned PPD rating.

A physician who wasn’t involved in your treatment usually conducts an independent medical examination and issues a disability rating. Each rating corresponds with a total body impairment percentage. Cervical, lumbar, and dorsal back injuries have separate rating categories.

Under the PPD award system, the independent physician is solely responsible for rating your disability. As these ratings determine how much money you receive, Washington Administrative Code, WAC §296-20-2010, provides statutory rating guidance for medical care professionals. L&I chooses the doctor and that doctor’s disability rating controls your PPD payment amount. The potential conflict of interests does little to inspire confidence in the overall process.

L&I uses your disability rating and a Disability Category Awards schedule to calculate your PPD settlement.

They apply a formula that includes:

  • Back injury category (cervical, lumbar, dorsal);
  • Category impairment ratings from 2 to 8;
  • Brain and back impairment percentages from 10 percent to 75 percent; and
  • Whole-body impairment value, currently $214,222.98.

You receive your PPD settlement in monthly installments. You may also qualify to receive a PPD down payment.

Your Right to Protest or Appeal a PPD Decision

If you, your doctor, or your employer disagree with L&I’s PPD findings, you have the right to protest or appeal. You must file your protest or appeal within 60 days of the decision. You may write a protest letter and send it to your L&I claim manager, or you may file an online appeal with the Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals. Until the end of June 2021, the Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals will hold all hearings via Zoom.

Pensions

An L&I pension provides a lifetime income when you can’t work due to a permanent total disability. You automatically qualify for a pension if you have one of the following disabilities: loss of use of both arms, both legs, or one arm and one leg, or total vision loss. When you qualify for a pension, you receive an amount that’s equal to your lost-time benefit. The amount you receive depends on your salary, marital status, your average wage when you sustained an on-the-job injury, and other factors.

You must certify your disability annually unless you have a specified disability, and you may receive periodic cost of living adjustments. Depending on the payment option you select, your family may receive survivor’s pension benefits after your death.

Contact a Worker’s Compensation Attorney

If you believe you qualify for a worker’s compensation settlement, consult with a workers’ compensation attorney before you begin negotiations. Attorneys negotiate with the Department of Labor & Industries on your behalf. If you have already received a low offer, a workers’ compensation attorney can help you through the appeal process. Most attorneys offer a free initial consultation where you have an opportunity to discuss your case and get the help you need.

What Is a TBI?

It’s easy to tune out a doctor who starts tossing out medical jargon. However, if your physician tells you that you have a TBI, you must pay attention, ask questions, and insist on getting answers. Physicians realize that patients don’t always ask the questions they should. They tell you the basics, and if you don’t ask for more information, they often leave it at that.

Healthcare providers don’t always have time for a Q&A so they simplify their protocols. They provide a diagnosis, give you at-home care instructions, and prescribe medication. If you don’t require hospitalization, they send you home and schedule you for follow-up care. When a doctor says you have a TBI, what they say next is likely critical to your recovery.

A TBI Is a Brain Injury

TBI is the traditional abbreviation for traumatic brain injury. This condition occurs when your brain sustains damage during a traumatic event. Brain injuries don’t always happen the way you think they do. They don’t always require a direct blow to the head.

They don’t always bleed, and they occur because of:

  • A head bump or blow;
  • A penetrating or crushing head wound; or
  • A severe jolt or body trauma.

Penetrating wounds open up the skull, causing direct, highly-visible brain damage. Severe jolts, bumps, and blows may cause closed head wounds. They leave the skull intact but damage your brain by twisting it and slamming it within the skull’s interior. These brain traumas are common during vehicle crashes, contact sports, falls, workplace incidents, and other accidents. Traumatic Brain Injury Data Systems found that vehicular crashes caused 50 percent of the brain injuries in their database. Falls caused 28 percent of TBI injuries and violence caused 11 percent.

Types of Traumatic Brain Injuries

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cite TBI as a “serious public health concern.” They estimate that 150 people die each day from TBI-related injuries. Doctors generally diagnose traumatic brain injuries as mild, moderate, or severe.

All three types manifest four categories of symptoms:

  • Physical: Blurred vision, nausea, balance difficulties, and other physical disturbances.
  • Thinking/Cognitive: Problems with thinking, concentration, memory, and other cognitive issues.
  • Sleep Issues: Changes in sleeping habits, either less sleep or more than usual.
  • Emotional Issues: Irritability, sadness, anxiety, nervousness, and other emotional disturbances.

Mild Brain Injuries

The CDC and healthcare professionals have only recently begun acknowledging that a concussion is, in fact, a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI.) When you sustain a mild brain injury, you have the potential to make a full recovery. Your progress depends on getting the treatment you need and following your doctor’s instructions. But some mild traumatic brain injuries have lasting consequences. In particular, multiple unresolved concussions sometimes cause cumulative damage.

Concussion treatment requires that you withdraw from routine activities and rest. Often, that’s all it takes to return to regular activities within a few weeks. If you try to bounce back too quickly, you don’t always complete the healing process. If you sustain another concussion before the initial brain injury heals, you subject your brain to additional damage. This dynamic often occurs in organized sports. It also happens with vehicle accidents, falls, and other physical activities.

Patients suffering from a mild brain injury sometimes develop related conditions, such as:

  • Post concussion syndrome: A condition where symptoms last for several months beyond the estimated recovery time.
  • Second impact syndrome: A rare, sometimes fatal condition where the brain swells when an injured person resumes normal activities too soon.
  • PTSD: A disorder that produces continuing pain, anxiety, sleep disturbances, and other symptoms.
  • Chronic traumatic encephalopathy: A condition where the brain structure gradually changes in response to multiple, unresolved concussions or microtraumas.

Moderate to Severe Brain Injury

When you sustain a moderate to severe brain injury, the symptoms are usually more disruptive. You won’t necessarily lose consciousness if you have a mild TBI, but it’s more likely when you sustain moderate to severe brain damage.

Every brain injury requires timely treatment.

The CDC emphasizes that these and other advanced symptoms are “danger signs“ that a brain injury requires immediate intervention:

  • Worsening, continuous headache;
  • Vomiting or nausea;
  • Loss of strength or numbness;
  • Slurred speech;
  • One pupil dilated;
  • Convulsions; and
  • Difficulty recognizing people or places.

Observable Symptoms

If you have a moderate to severe brain injury, you might not recognize the symptoms. If you lose consciousness or sustain an open wound, it’s easier for others to recognize your need for medical attention.

If you remain conscious, but can’t recognize or explain your symptoms, those around you should ask and answer these questions:

  • Does the injured person appear dazed?
  • Do they readily respond when you ask a question?
  • Do they remember the circumstances?
  • Do you observe any personality changes?
  • Does the person easily forget what you tell them?

When young children sustain head injuries, they don’t always have the vocabulary to explain what they’re feeling.

You must remain watchful for these symptoms:

  • Any of the danger signs listed above.
  • The child can’t stop crying.
  • The child doesn’t want to eat or nurse.

Living With a Moderate to Severe TBI

When you sustain a moderate to severe brain injury, you may require inpatient care and rehabilitation. Brain injury victims often deal with a range of complications, from a temporary loss of consciousness to vegetative states. Moderate to severe brain injury patients sometimes deal with physical, emotional, cognitive, and other issues. While some return to driving, working, and other activities, others deal with lifelong impairments and lifestyle changes.

The National Institute for Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research monitors thousands of patients with moderate to severe brain injuries. They have determined that recovering patients were 50 times more likely to have seizures and 11 times more likely to suffer from an accidental drug overdose. They were also six times more likely to contract pneumonia.

The organization also found these five-year patient trends:

  • Patients’ medical conditions worsened: 30 percent
  • Conditions remained the same: 22 percent
  • Conditions improved: 26 percent
  • Patients died: 22 percent

The Brain Injury Association of America recognizes that severe TBI is a progressive disease that often leads to other conditions. Some TBI patients deal with cognitive decline, seizures, Parkinson’s disease, dementia, and other chronic conditions.

Contact a Brain Injury Attorney for More Information

When you sustain a brain injury, it often turns your life upside down. Whether you’re dealing with the Department of Labor & Industries or a liability insurance carrier, never handle a claim on your own. When you choose to work with a brain injury attorney, they can use their resources to protect your legal interests. They work hard to produce the best claim outcomes possible for each client they take on. Contact Boohoff Law for a free initial consultation.

How Long After an Accident Can You Make an Insurance Claim?

When someone sustains serious injuries in an accident, they often head straight to the emergency room. Generally, both drivers also report any injuries to the appropriate insurance carriers. The insurance companies investigate the accident, evaluate any injuries, and eventually settle any insurance claims. But, of course, it doesn’t always go exactly like this.

Sometimes you’re hurt, but you have no visible signs of trauma. When you do seek treatment it’s sometimes a day, a week, or a month later. You only realize you have a legitimate claim well after the accident, when you understand the connection between your current symptoms and your accident.

That makes sense, and it’s often the reason behind injury claim reporting delays. Unfortunately, your delayed report may generate suspicion. That’s particularly true if you’ve already told everyone involved that you’re okay.

When your body endures a severe jolt or a traumatic impact, you might not be as okay as you believe. Some injury symptoms don’t show up until days or weeks after an accident. You make a report when you realize what’s causing your pain. Even if you delay reporting your injuries, you still have a right to make a claim.

Delayed Symptoms and Serious Injuries

Delayed symptoms are common after a serious accident. There’s so much going on, you simply may not notice. Besides, after a major crash, it usually feels like a victory if you can stand up and walk away. The body doesn’t always immediately respond to trauma, and sometimes symptoms take a while to appear. This often occurs with soft-tissue injuries that eventually go away, even without treatment.

It also happens with more serious injuries, such as:

  • Whiplash: As the National Institutes of Health Whiplash Information Page explains, whiplash symptoms “may be delayed for several days.” The condition often involves neck, back, joint, and soft-tissue pain. It can worsen with time, sometimes causing chronic injuries that require increasingly intense treatment strategies.
  • Traumatic brain injury: A mild TBI (concussion) is a brain injury. The CDC explains that an injured person might not notice any symptoms until “days or months“ after the injury.
  • Internal damage: When trauma causes internal damage, sometimes the injured person feels only minimal discomfort. In cases with slow internal bleeding, symptoms such as vomiting and anemia often seem unrelated to a physical injury.

What if You Just Didn’t Report Your Claim?

Sometimes when an injured person waits to make an injury claim, it has nothing to do with delayed symptoms or treatment. Sometimes people just take a long time before reporting their claim.

This occurs for many reasons, including:

  • They didn’t intend to make a claim, but they changed their mind.
  • They intended to make a claim, but they forgot about it in the aftermath of the accident.
  • Their health insurer paid their medical bills. That was all they wanted at first, but now they want a settlement.
  • They didn’t think their injury was serious enough at first.

If you’re dealing with a liability carrier, they have no choice. To protect their insured, they must investigate your claim. Regardless of your reporting delay, they must decide to either pay you or not. They have the right to deny their insured’s liability for your injuries, but if you file a lawsuit against their insured, they must defend it.

You will have a different experience with your own insurance carrier. Your auto policy is a contract that spells out your rights and responsibilities. When you delay an injury claim report, it may violate your insurance policy terms. Insurers sometimes pay delayed claims to avoid the hassle. Depending on the delay and the potential dollar value of the claim, they might also exercise their right to decline your coverage.

A lawyer can enforce your legal rights for you and make sure the insurance company—whether your own or someone else’s—pays you what you deserve.

The Statute of Limitations Establishes a Legal Timeframe

The Revised Code of Washington §4.16.080 establishes your legal right to file a claim against a negligent party. You have three years from your accident date to settle your claim or file a lawsuit. If you wait until this deadline has passed, you lose your right to recover your damages.

You should take action long before the statute of limitations becomes a problem. It takes time for insurance companies, attorneys, and others to assess liability issues, evaluate your claim, and determine if they will pay you. When you wait too long before making a claim, filing a lawsuit is usually your only option.

The Injury Claim Credibility Gap

You can’t file a claim until you know you’ve sustained an injury. Insurance claim representatives understand this, but when you delay making a claim, it still creates a “credibility gap,” meaning that the insurer can dispute whether your injury was actually caused by the accident. The extent of the credibility gap usually depends on your previous interactions during the moments, days, and weeks following your accident.

If you told the other driver, a police officer, emergency personnel, or an insurance claim representative that you didn’t sustain an injury, they likely documented what you said and it became a part of their permanent records.

As your case moves forward, you may hear your words repeated. The claim negotiator might mention it during settlement negotiations. If you file a lawsuit, the defense attorney may quote you in their filings and ask you about your post-accident statements at your deposition.

A reporting delay can complicate your claim handling process, but that doesn’t take away your right to make a claim.

Insurance Companies Don’t Like Delayed Claims

Insurance personnel often become rather sanctimonious when they receive delayed injury claim reports. They can’t investigate, evaluate, and reserve their claim files the way they want. And when insurance companies don’t conduct timely investigations or make timely decisions, their actions potentially violate the state’s unfair claim settlement practices codes.

A delayed claim report also triggers an insurance investigator’s fraud alarm. When everything in their file says that you didn’t sustain an injury, they become suspicious when the situation changes. Some claim handlers use their authority to resolve claims as they see fit. When a claim generates suspicion, supervisors and managers often get involved.

You Have Legal Options

In theory, you can delay making an injury claim as long as you settle or sue before the statute of limitations runs out. But in reality, when you delay reporting a claim, you are often forced to spend a lot of time explaining and defending your actions. The process often gets overly complicated and there’s a possibility that the liability carrier will refuse to pay you no matter what you say or do. Sometimes a lawsuit is your only solution. A lawsuit forces the liability insurer to cooperate and you can get all the legal and damage issues out on the table.

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney

When you set up a free initial consultation with a personal injury attorney, you have an opportunity to discuss your case and learn more about your legal rights. Once you know more about your options, you can make informed decisions about pursuing your injury claim.

What Is Considered Pain and Suffering in a Semi-Truck Accident?

Semi-truck collisions are catastrophic accidents that result in devastating and debilitating harm. Not only are the injuries often horrific and extremely painful, but the emotional struggle and turmoil that victims have to endure are grueling. What makes matters worse is that these individuals often do not know whether they can recover compensation for their extensive pain and suffering.

To help clear up some of this confusion. This post will delve into the subject of pain and suffering and explain what these damages can mean for you following a semi-truck crash.

Two Types of Damages

Typically, following a semi-truck accident, victims are often entitled to both economic and non-economic damages.

Economic damages: These damages are actual, verifiable, easy to quantify losses the accident caused.

They can include:

  • Medical bills including past, current, and future medical expenses such as doctor visits, prescription medications, surgeries, and hospital stays.
  • Lost wages, including past and current lost wages.
  • Lost earning capacity.
  • At-home nursing care.
  • Personal property damages.
  • Other out-of-pocket expenses.

Non-economic damages: These damages are rather subjective losses that result from the accident and are not easily quantified.

They can include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of a limb
  • Loss of reputation
  • Scarring
  • Disfigurement

Because these non-economic damages are hard to verify, calculating pain and suffering damages can get rather tedious and complicated.

What Is Pain and Suffering?

Pain and suffering is the legal term for the emotional and physical stress caused by an injury after an accident.

Many times the damages that come under this category include:

  • Chronic pain injuries such as spinal cord damages that result in significant and frequent back pain.
  • Injuries that have painful treatment plans such as severe burn injuries.
  • Permanent or temporary limitations that result from a debilitating injury that prevents the victim from participating in their daily activities.
  • Depression or emotional pain because of the victim’s new relationship with their loved ones after suffering their injury.

As you can see, pain and suffering damages encompass not only physical pain but also emotional and mental injuries, including insomnia, grief, worry, inconvenience, and losing the ability to enjoy life.

Calculating Pain and Suffering

What makes these damages so difficult to calculate is no two people experience pain the same way. Consequently, it is very challenging to determine the value of a victim’s pain and suffering. Several variables can affect the amount of compensation someone can receive for their pain and suffering.

These factors include:

  • The injury’s severity: The more severe the injury, the higher the pain and suffering damages a victim deserves. For instance, those individuals who suffer a traumatic brain injury will experience more lasting emotional and physical limitations than a person that suffers a broken leg.
  • The degree of a victim’s suffering: It is normal to experience pain after suffering an injury due to a semi-truck accident. However, the level or degree of this pain will play a significant factor when determining pain and suffering damages. For example, a severe burn can lead to numerous health and emotional issues even if the skin eventually heals. In comparison, a laceration on the arm may be painful, but this pain should subside over time.
  • Victim’s age: Usually, when an individual gets hurt in an accident, the younger the victim, the larger their pain and suffering damages tend to be. This is often because of the perception that a life-changing injury will affect a younger victim for a more extended time.

Only a few factors can determine the value of your pain and suffering. However, many additional elements can affect the amount of compensation you receive. That is why following a semi-truck collision, it is in your best interest to work with an experienced truck accident attorney who can review your case, determine which of these factors influence the value of your claim, and fight for maximum compensation on your behalf.

Proving Pain and Suffering

Generally, pain and suffering damages are more challenging to prove than other damages. This is because you will not have a receipt indicating the value of your pain and suffering. Instead, you will need to provide additional forms of evidence that can help prove the extent of your suffering.

Working with a skilled truck accident lawyer can help you gather this critical evidence, which often includes:

  • Personal statements: When it comes to your life, nobody knows it better than you and your family. That is why having your family or close friends attest to any changes they have seen in your quality of life, your mood, or your personality can be vital for your claim’s overall success.
  • Journal statements: It is an excellent idea to record your feelings and what you are going through after your accident. Make sure you keep detailed accounts of how the semi-truck accident impacted you and your life.
  • Medical records: Medical records can provide a comprehensive look at everything that you endured. These records will disclose your specific injuries, the treatments that you now require, how these injuries have impacted your life, and how your mental health has suffered.
  • Photos and videos: Try to take as many pictures as you can of the accident and your injuries. These photos can show the severity of the collision and what happened to you.
  • Expert witnesses: To help substantiate your claims and prove damages, your attorney can bring in expert witnesses to testify, such as accident reconstructionists, doctors, or physical therapists.

A successful claim for your pain and suffering damages requires more than just physical evidence. In truth, you need sound legal arguments to prove the extent of your pain and the impact the accident has had on you—physically and emotionally. For these reasons, if a semi-truck crash harmed you or a loved one, do not wait any longer. Contact an experienced truck accident attorney today and let these lawyers fight for the damages and justice you deserve.

What Is a Contingency Fee and How Does it Affect You and Your Case?

If you turn on the TV, you are flooded with legal ads and personal injury lawyers promising you that they will not get paid unless you do. For those facing legal issues, this “contingency” basis may seem like the ideal solution they need. Yet, no matter how promising this arrangement may be, very few people actually understand what these fees mean or how they work on an individual case basis.

To help you better grasp the concept of contingency fee agreements, we have created the following blog to try to help explain what contingency agreements are, how they work, and whether they are right for you and your case.

Contingency Fees – What Are They and How Do They Work?

A contingency fee is a type of payment that a personal injury lawyer receives if you obtain some compensation for the harm you endured. Instead of charging an hourly rate for their services, the attorney receives a percentage of any monetary recovery they help you recover. Consequently, their payment is “contingent” on you receiving some compensation.

Typically, you and your lawyer will agree to a recovery percentage.

The precise amount of compensation your attorney can receive may depend on:

  • Who will pay for the litigation costs, and when?
  • How complex is the case and what risks are involved with it?

Case Complexities and Contingency Fees

Generally, in a more risky or complicated case, a personal injury attorney can charge a higher contingency fee percentage as long as it is not unreasonable or excessive. In comparison, the lawyer can lower the contingency fee if the case appears relatively straightforward or likely to end in recovery.

When Are Contingency Fees Used?

Contingency fees are especially beneficial in complex or costly cases, and when the client is short on funds. However, because a personal injury lawyer would not get paid until their client receives compensation—and even then, would only collect a percentage of that compensation—and—most personal injury attorneys do not accept cases unless they find a means to collect a settlement or judgment, such as an insurance policy or a clear and present liability.

Lawyers often work for contingency fees in civil cases such as workers’ compensation claims or personal injury cases.

But some lawyers may use them in:

  • Sexual harassment cases
  • Professional malpractice cases
  • Wage dispute cases
  • Employment discrimination cases
  • Class action lawsuits
  • Debt collection cases
  • Bankruptcy cases

Contingency fees are not allowed in criminal or divorce cases where the fee is contingent upon securing a divorce, alimony support, or a property settlement.

What Happens to the Litigation Costs – Do You Still Have to Pay?

In most situations, even if a lawyer will work for a contingency fee, the client may still need to pay for individual administrative costs—unless the contingency fee contract states explicitly the client is exempt from these fees.

These litigation costs can include:

  • Filing Fees and Court Fees
  • Expert Witnesses
  • Discovery Costs which can consist of deposition expenses
  • Mediation Costs
  • The cost of obtaining specific evidence such as medical records or public documents
  • Investigator Costs
  • Telephone Costs
  • Travel Costs
  • Messenger Costs
  • Incidental charges, including postage costs or making copies

Before agreeing to any contingency fee arrangement, it is vital to review your contract and clarify with the attorney what expenses you will must pay, even if you lose your case.

Contingency Fee Advantages

The numerous advantages to contingency fee agreements include:

  • No fees you need to pay upfront: The most significant benefit of a contingency fee arrangement is that you do not have to deal with legal bills as your case is ongoing. Many individuals believe this helps those with lower incomes have better access to get the legal assistance they need.
  • Attorney incentive: When your attorney only gets paid if you receive some sort of compensation, your attorney will be highly motivated to do everything they can to fight for maximum damages on your behalf.
  • Paying attorney fees: Another significant advantage of a contingency fee is that if you lose your case, you will not pay the attorney any fees (although you may still need to pay administrative expenses).
  • Increased compensation: People who hire personal injury lawyers on contingency tend to recover more money than they would if they had brought the case on their own—even after their attorneys deduct fees and expenses.

What to Consider When Creating a Contingency Fee Agreement

Contingency fee agreement contracts need to be in writing, signed by the client, and any lawyer paid under the contract. These agreements must also state the percentage of the recovery the attorney can keep, the expenses the attorney will deduct from the award, and how the attorney will deduct these expenses.

Check the state’s laws, because many times, they cap the contingency fees a lawyer may charge.

Should You Be Represented on a Contingency Fee Basis?

Lawyer fees can be complicated and hard to understand. However, they should not stop you from bringing a claim for the harm you endured. If you are looking for a more detailed explanation regarding contingency fees, you need to discuss your case with a trusted and experienced attorney who can take the time to explain everything you need to know about the legal process and how these contingency fee agreements work.

That is why if a personal injury accident injured you or a loved one, do not wait. Contact a skilled personal injury lawyer today, and let these lawyers provide you the answers you want, the clarification you need, and fight for the justice that you deserve.

How to Get the Most Money From a Car Accident

How to Get the Most Money From a Car AccidentA car accident is expensive, especially if you suffer injuries. In addition to medical expenses, injuries could limit your income by keeping you out of work for an extended period. You may also need to modify your home to accommodate a new disability, or hire someone to help out with your day-to-day needs while you heal.

Taking legal action against the parties at fault for the car accident can get you the money you need to pay for those unplanned-for expenses. Here are some steps to take that can help you get the most money possible.

Seek Prompt Medical Treatment

Always seek medical treatment as soon as possible after getting into a car accident, even if you think you only suffered only minor injuries. Sometimes, severe injuries do not hurt or show symptoms right away, but still must be diagnosed and treated immediately to avoid serious, and even fatal, complications.

A trained doctor can spot these potentially-hidden injuries and put you on the path to healing right away. In diagnosing and treating you, the doctor will create medical records that your lawyer can eventually use to prove the connection between the accident and your injuries, to calculate your past medical expenses, and to predict the cost of your future medical needs.

Finally, in some states, you may also have an obligation to seek medical treatment right away to preserve your legal rights to collect insurance benefits from your own insurance policy.

Report the Accident to Your Own Insurance Company

If you carry auto insurance or other types of insurance that may cover your accident-related expenses, you may have an obligation to report the accident to your insurance company. Check your insurance policy or speak with an experienced car accident lawyer to learn what you need to tell your own insurance company to make sure you get the full benefit of the insurance you have already paid for.

Remember, however, that insurance companies always look for ways to avoid paying you, even when you are their customer. Saying the wrong thing can cost you real money. So, stick to the facts, and do not get into a discussion with your insurance adjuster about who caused the accident. Refer any questions you are unsure of how to answer to your lawyer.

Do Not Speak With, or Take Money From, Anyone Else’s Insurance Company

It’s ok to speak with your own insurance company, but try not to speak with anyone else’s. Never agree to a settlement offered by someone else’s insurance company without first speaking with an experienced lawyer. Here’s why.

As we said, insurance companies always look for ways to avoid paying benefits. If someone else’s insurance company contacts you, the company thinks its policyholder has a legal liability to you for the damages you suffered in the car accident, and that the company wants to find a way to get out of paying you.

Anything you say to an insurance adjuster from someone else’s insurance company, in other words, will probably be used against you. Adjusters have a reputation for asking confusing questions designed to trick you into saying something that gets their policyholder, and them, off-the-hook for your damages.

Likewise, if someone else’s insurance company offers you a settlement, it’s virtually guaranteed the amount of that settlement will not come close to paying you what you deserve.

Do not take unnecessary risks by speaking with someone else’s insurance company or agreeing to a lowball settlement. Instead, if an insurer who you don’t recognize calls or contacts you, refer them to your lawyer.

Keep Records of All Expenses, No Matter How Small

The party who caused your accident, and/or that party’s insurance company, may well have a legal obligation to pay for virtually all the extra expenses caused by your car accident—but only if your lawyer can prove them.

To make sure you have a chance to get repaid for every dollar a car accident costs you, keep records of every expense you have because of it, no matter how small. Keep medical bills. Keep insurance statements. Keep receipts from the pharmacy, repair invoices for your car, Venmo records for the money you paid to an in-home nurse, and text receipts from Ubers you take to-and-from a doctor’s appointment.

No expense is too small to request as damages, so long as you can prove it. So, keep everything and give it to your lawyer.

Consider Keeping an Injury Journal

People who suffer injuries in car accidents often want to heal and put the injury behind them as soon as possible, and to forget the discomfort and difficulty they suffered. That’s understandable, but it can complicate the process of seeking damages when it comes time for your lawyer to prove the pain and suffering you endured.

One way to preserve the recollections of your injuries is to keep an injury journal, which notes the symptoms, pain levels, emotional effects, and personal consequences of your injuries for you and others. Jotting down a note or two about how an injury interferes with your personal relationships or prevents you from enjoying an activity or event can help you remember those difficulties later-on.

Keeping a journal isn’t for everyone, and it can help to have a lawyer’s input to know what sort of information to track. But it can often serve as a useful tool to preserve memories of difficult times so that you do not have to struggle to remember them when the time comes.

Stick to Your Medical Treatment Plan

Do as your doctor tells you until you have reached what your doctor considers maximum recovery. That means keeping appointments, going to physical therapy, doing rehab exercises at home, filling prescriptions, and taking your medicine.

Follow your doctor’s orders for three key reasons. First, it keeps you on the path to healing. Second, it keeps your medical records up-to-date and available for your lawyer to use. Third, it prevents defense lawyers and insurance companies from arguing that you made your own injuries worse by not taking care of yourself.

Contact an Experienced Lawyer Right Away

car accident attorneyThe sooner you have an experienced car accident lawyer on your side after suffering injuries in an accident, the better your chances of protecting your legal rights and getting the most money possible from the accident.

Car accident lawyers work on contingency, which means they only get paid if you get paid. You have nothing to lose, and potentially lots to gain. Contact a skilled car accident attorney today to learn more about your rights.