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Personal Injury FAQ
Suffering a personal injury due to someone else’s negligence or careless behavior can be incredibly frustrating, especially when it forces you to address mounting medical bills, miss work and miss out on activities you once enjoyed. At Scardina Law, we provide sound legal guidance if you are dealing with injuries related to the following:
- CAR ACCIDENTS
- PREMISES LIABILITY
- BRAIN INJURY
- PRODUCT LIABILITY
- GOVERNMENT LIABILITY
- PEDESTRIAN INJURY
- TRUCKING ACCIDENT
- DOG BITE
Choosing The Right Attorney
If you have been injured by another persons’ negligence, choosing the right attorney to protect and fight for your rights is an important decision. There are hundreds of personal injury attorneys in Denver, so the choice is not easy.
Some injured victims may be drawn to firms they see on TV or attorneys who promise massive verdicts. It’s understandable. But, others see these firms and realize that working with them can often come at a price. They feel like they will be treated as a commodity.
They know that they won’t get many opportunities to discuss their case with their attorneys. And they worry that they won’t have any control over how their claim gets resolved. If you are one of those people, then we are the right law firm for you. But don’t take our word for it. Come and speak with us.
Scardina Law is made up of young, experienced and passionate attorneys. What our clients love about us is that we build friendships with our clients, make them like a feel part of our family and always do what’s in their best interest, not ours. We are proud that our clients feel like we listen to their concerns, counsel them through their difficulties and can always trust us to do what’s best for them.
We are confident that after meeting with us to discuss your case, you will know exactly why our clients keep coming back or recommending us to their friends and family.
Even though our clients love working with us, in an adversarial legal system, having a “really nice” attorney is not the only thing that matters. Results matter too. At Scardina Law, we have experience in successfully bringing and defending personal injury claims. Having experience on both sides of a personal injury claim is quite rare in the law. It’s also incredibly valuable to successfully and efficiently navigate a personal injury claim. At Scardina Law, we understand the bias, the concerns and the tricks of insurance adjusters and defense attorneys — because we used to see it firsthand! This allows us to efficiently position our clients and their claims to maximize recovery and minimize delay.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you have been injured in a serious accident or by someone else’s negligence, there are probably a lot of questions that are going through your mind. To help you through this, Scardina Law has created a list of frequently asked questions about personal injury claims and lawsuits. For more information on each of the topics or questions below, contact us for a free consultation . Sometimes just speaking to a knowledgeable attorney can put your mind at ease and put you on a path to protect your rights.
WHEN DO I HAVE A PERSONAL INJURY CLAIM?
In short, when someone’s negligence caused you to suffer a loss (physical, financial or emotional).
A personal injury is any physical or mental injury that you have suffered as a result of someone else’s negligent or harmful act. The negligent or harmful act that caused your injuries does not have to be intentional. In a case where you were also negligent, it will be necessary to show that the other person or party was more at fault (51 percent) for the injury that you suffered. Personal injury claims can arise as a result of many different incidents, including, but not limited to, the following:
- Auto collisions
- Motorcycle collisions
- Pedestrian collisions
- You are hurt on someone else’s property (premises liability)
- Dog bites
- Unsafe products
- Unsafe equipment
- Construction accidents
To bring a personal injury claim, however, you must have suffered a loss — either economic damages or noneconomic damages. Personal injury victims are entitled to recoup monetary damages for any expense or damages they incurred as a result of someone else’s negligence. The amount of damages you are entitled to will depend on your medical expenses, your physical and mental pain and suffering, any economic hardship or financial loss you suffered as a result of the negligence, a loss in your earning potential, physical impairment and, possible, punitive damages (money that is awarded by a judge or jury to punish and deter similar conduct in the future).
IN A PERSONAL INJURY CLAIM, WHAT DAMAGES CAN I RECOVER?
Generally, a person who is injured by another person or entity’s negligence is entitled to be compensated for any of the following categories of damages that are applicable to their specific case or circumstances:
- Past and future medical bills
- Aggravation of a preexisting condition
- Lost wages and/or loss of earning capacity
- Property damage to your vehicle
- Pain and suffering
- Physical disability
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Emotional distress or trauma
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of love and affection
- If you are married, your spouse may be entitled to compensation for their loss of consortium.
I THINK I HAVE A PERSONAL INJURY CLAIM. WHAT DO I DO NOW?
It is critical that you at least talk with a competent personal injury lawyer as early as possible to determine if you have a valid personal injury claim. A lawyer will be able to put together a road map that will protect your claim and allow you to focus on the most important part of your case: getting the medical treatment that you need to fully recover. Insurance adjusters are trained to pay as little as possible to resolve your claim. That is why you should always have an experienced attorney on your side. An attorney will take a good look at your case, tell you what to expect from any insurance company, walk you through the claims process and assess your damages.
HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO BRING A CLAIM?
Every state has set a time limit within which a person must file a personal injury lawsuit. This time limit is known as the “statute of limitations.” It is important to remember that an injured party must file a lawsuit against the responsible party within two years or be forever barred from collecting compensation. This means that once the statute of limitations has passed, insurance companies no longer have any obligation to pay your damages — even if you never intended to file a lawsuit. The reason for this is that if and when they refuse to pay, if your statute of limitations has passed, you will essentially have no legal recourse against the negligent party or their insurer. The statute of limitations for personal injury differs from state to state and differs depending on the circumstances surrounding your accident or injury. It is always best to consult an experienced attorney to advise you on your applicable statute of limitations.
In Colorado, the following statutes of limitations apply:
- Personal injury involving a motor vehicle — three years
- Any other personal injury claim — two years
CAN I HANDLE A CLAIM MYSELF? SHOULD I TALK TO AN INSURANCE ADJUSTER?
You can, but the real question is: why would you? Insurance adjusters are far more experienced at handling personal injury claims than you are. They are not evil people, but as we stated above, insurance adjusters are trained to pay as little as possible to resolve your claim. They are trained to be skeptical of your motivations. This is especially the case when you are making a claim to a third-party insurance company (rather than your own insurance company).
WHAT CAN I EXPECT IF I DEAL WITH AN INSURANCE COMPANY ON MY OWN?
Insurance companies minimize their financial exposure in a number of ways that often seem perfectly reasonable to most people. For example, insurance adjusters will usually be very friendly and act in a way that makes them seem like they genuinely care about your injuries and your financial concerns. They may also make statements that suggest they will pay all your damages. It is not uncommon for adjusters to tell you that they will “take care of everything.” Be warned, they typically don’t! Once they have cultivated a sense of trust, adjusters will often engage in a number of misleading acts that operate to undermine the value of your claim. For example, an adjuster may ask you to sign a medical release form. In reality, these are usually ‘unlimited medical releases’ that give the adjuster access to your entire medical history. Unlimited access to your complete medical history allows them to trawl through records in an attempt to blame your injuries on a preexisting condition. They then use this as a basis to refuse to pay. An adjuster may also request what’s called a “recorded statement,” representing to you that they need it to complete their investigation. Remember, adjusters know exactly what questions to ask and, more importantly, how to ask them. Often clients who voluntarily give a recorded statement do significant damage to their claim without even realizing it. These are just a few things you can expect to encounter if you wish to handle a claim without an attorney. If you intend to consult with an attorney and an adjuster contacts you before you do so, be polite, but simply decline to talk to them about your claim until you have consulted with an attorney.
Although you may be a highly competent person, it is always best to hire an attorney to take back control of your claim. At the very least, it is worth your while to come into Scardina Law for a free consultation. Given that we don’t charge for consultations and work on contingency (we take a percent of what we recover for you), there is no downside in exploring if we can help you.
HOW DO I CHOOSE THE RIGHT LAWYER?
Choosing the right lawyer is very often a matter of personal preference. While some people may prefer working with a law firm they have seen on TV, this often means that they are just one of hundreds of clients. It is not uncommon for our clients to come to us from these law firms after they feel like their concerns are ignored or because they never had access to their attorney. At Scardina Law, we employ a direct access model that ensures you always have access to your attorney. We are proud of the fact that each of our clients feels like they are part of our family and can talk to us anytime. As a firm we also believe that clients are better served choosing attorneys with actual courtroom and trial experience. Many prospective clients will be surprised to learn that many attorneys never see the inside of a courtroom. While our goal is always to avoid the courtroom, we are not afraid to vigorously litigate your claim — and insurance adjusters know this. Each of our attorneys has significant courtroom and trial experience. In fact, two of our attorneys have also worked at defense firms — so we know how to position cases to ensure our clients recover the full value of their claims.
No matter what law firm you decide to go with, remember that your initial consultation is as much about interviewing the law firm as it is about the law firm assessing the merits of your case.
HOW MUCH IS MY CASE WORTH?
Don’t be fooled by TV commercials promising millions of dollars for injured victims. In reality, each accident and injury is different, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach for determining the true value of your claim. The value of your claim is dependent on a number of factors such as: (1) the amount of medical expenses you incurred, (2) the severity (and permanency) of your injuries, (3) the amount of work you missed, (4) the severity of your pain and suffering, (5) whether the liability of the at-fault party is clear, (6) whether your case is settled or tried before a jury and (7) the ability of the at-fault party to pay your damages. There are a number of other factors that can change the value of any case, so this is why it is important to consult with an attorney.
WHAT IF THE AT-FAULT PARTY IS UNINSURED? DO I STILL HAVE A CLAIM?
Yes! Most states, including Colorado, require a vehicle owner to carry a minimum amount of liability insurance to cover injuries and damages caused by their negligence. In Colorado, the state minimum is $25,000. But, of course, sometimes people don’t follow the law and have no insurance (uninsured motorists). Other times, they don’t have enough insurance to cover your damages (underinsured motorist). When either one of these situations comes into play, if you have uninsured motorist coverage (UIM) on your automobile policy, you should immediately make a claim under your own insurance to cover your damages. Be sure to check your policy to find out how much UIM insurance coverage you have and when it applies. But, generally speaking, any damages that are not covered by an at-fault driver or his insurance company can be submitted to your own UM/UIM insurance for coverage. UM/UIM coverage can also usually be used when you are a bicyclist or a pedestrian. If you believe you have a UM/UIM claim, it is always important to consult with an attorney because, although you will be dealing with your own insurance company, like other insurance companies, their interest lies in minimizing the amount they have to pay you. Dealing with your own insurance company can also be complicated by the fact that your UIM policy will include specific requirements in order to make a claim and recover damages. In some ways, dealing with your own insurance company can be more complicated than dealing with someone else’s insurance company.
DO I HAVE TO PAY SCARDINA LAW TO EVALUATE MY CLAIM?
Never. All our initial consultations are free of charge.
HOW DO I PAY SCARDINA LAW IF THEY TAKE MY CASE?
Scardina Law takes all personal injury claims on what’s called a contingent-fee basis. A contingency fee is simply a percentage of the amount recovered on your behalf. In other words, you don’t pay us unless we actually recover money for you.
Contact Us For More Answers
Disclaimer: The information you obtained on this page is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until an attorney-client relationship has been established.