Q. What is the personal injury claim process?
A. When one is injured as a result of another's negligence, the negligent party's insurance is contacted. If you do not have an attorney during this process, the adjustor often will attempt to settle the injury claim quickly before any lasting effects of the injury are known. If this occurs, then the case is over even if you later determine that your injury has worsened. This is the importance of consulting an attorney as early as possible in the process.
Q. What should I immediately do after a personal injury accident?
A. You should make notes. With technology, most everyone has a cellular device. I recommend making notes of: date and time of the incident; weather conditions; conditions that caused the accident (speeding; running a stop sign; etc); and names of witnesses. Thereafter, one should keep notes on their treatment status; medical appointments; the negative impact of injury on their daily routine; activities that one is unable to do as a result of the injury; and any days of work that were missed.
Q. Will my personal injury case go to trial?
A. Although most cases settle before trial, approximately 95%, we will go to trial if needed. However, we will work diligently to get our clients cases settled without the need of going to trial.
Q. What happens if I am partially at fault for the accident?
A. In West Virginia, one's partial fault in an accident does not preclude the injured party from a partial recovery. We must prove that our client's negligence was less (49%) than the negligence of the responsible party (51%).
Q. How long does a personal injury lawsuit take to get a settlement?
A. It depends on one's recovery from their injury. We want to ensure that our clients are back to their pre-injury status before trying to settle their claim. We don't want to settle the claim too quickly and later determine that our client still needs medical treatment; so, our main concern is the wellbeing of our clients.
Q. How long do I have to file a personal injury claim after the accident?
A. In West Virginia, most injury actions MUST be filed within two (2) years of the injury. However, some actions have shorter limitations periods and some circumstances can extend the limitation periods.
Q. How can an attorney help?
A. An attorney can help in an injury claim by obtaining medical records and medical bills, evaluating the claim based upon the injuries and damages, and provide the client with a reasonable value of their claim. Studies show that injured persons who are represented by attorneys do much better than injured persons trying to settle their claim on their own.
Q. What is considered a personal injury?
A. Any injury claim that results from another's negligence - car crashes; slip-and-falls; etc.
Q. Is filing a lawsuit always necessary?
A. No. Often times, when properly represented, cases can be resolved prior to any lawsuit being filed.
Q. Who can be held responsible for my injuries?
A. Anyone who's negligent actions directly or proximately caused another's injuries.
Q. What should I do if an insurance company approaches me to settle the claim?
A. If you are being represented by an attorney, the insurance adjustor should not be contacting you. However, if you have not yet retained an attorney and you are contacted by an insurance adjustor, you should contact an attorney to obtain an evaluation of your claim.
Q. What will I be responsible for if I lose my case?
A. At Kuenzel Law, if we do not win your injury case you do not owe us anything. We represent clients in injury claims on a contingent basis. This means we pay all the costs up front and only collect a fee if we win your case.