Individuals undertaking a personal injury suit often have many questions. In this article, we provide answers to some of those most commonly asked.
Q: How much is my case worth?
A: Be wary of anyone promising amounts. Any credible attorney will tell you that the amount of an award depends on the impact of the injury on your life or family and a host of other factors.
Q: How long will my case take?
A: From the time you contract with your attorney, generally no more than two-and-a-half years for cases in State Court and usually less for cases in Federal Court. Good settlements are not achieved unless the insurance company knows you're ready to go all the way to trial, so all cases are prepared for trial, and most are settled beforehand.
Q: I was hurt on the job. Can I sue?
A: Sometimes. Whether or not you can collect damages for an injury sustained on the job is determined on a case-by-case basis. Only a qualified attorney with the facts of the specific case can tell you if you're able to sue.
Q: Do I have to sue my friend, or just his/her insurance company?
A: An insurance company can't be named in a law suit, so you will have to name your friend. Your friend will have to accept that you mean him/her no personal harm in the law suit.
Q: If I sue, am I part of the national litigation explosion? I've never sued anyone before, and I'm not that kind of person.
A: The number of suits now is actually less than it has been at other points in history. Unfortunately, the insurance industry would have you believe that your right to seek compensation through the courts for damages incurred contributes to a national problem. There is nothing more important or valuable than your health. The ability to sue for damages which have impaired your health and caused a loss of enjoyment of life is your right. Insurance companies like to collect premiums; they don't like to pay claims, no matter how justified.
Q: Is my settlement taxable?
A: Generally, no. Think of your good health as capital. An injury then is a loss of capital. Any settlement is simply restoration of lost capital.