The majority of all auto accidents with injuries involve only what are called "soft tissue injuries." Stated simply, soft tissue injuries involve damage only to muscles, tendons or ligaments and they are injuries that do not show up on x-rays or most other medical imaging.
Soft tissue injuries are most commonly treated by visiting a primary care physician and being prescribed certain medications like muscle relaxers. Additionally, soft tissue injuries are often treated by chiropractors.
Not surprisingly, insurance companies of at-fault drivers are notorious for offering very minimal payouts to accident victims who have suffered only soft tissue injuries. With this being the case, an important question an injured person might ask is "Do I Need a Lawyer to Handle My Injury Case?"
WHAT WILL A LAWYER DO FOR ME?
Hiring a Mesa AZ personal injury lawyer to assist you after you have been injured in an auto accident can provide a number of benefits.
First, in our practice, we always deal with the insurance companies directly on behalf of our injured clients. We assist our clients in handling the repairs to their vehicle and in dealing with all aspects of their property damage claim.
Additionally, we assist our injured clients in helping them seek medical care and we can advise them on which medical providers to see so that they get the best treatment available. We will also handle a lot of billing issues with these medical professionals as such issues pertain to an injured client's case.
BUT PAYING A LAWYER WILL BE EXPENSIVE AND WILL CUT INTO MY SETTLEMENT
In addition to the assistance described above, we are dedicated to maximizing the value of our injured client's case and in maximizing the payout from the at-fault party's insurer or the injured party's own insurer (via underinsured or uninsured coverage).
Let's assume a very typical car accident case involving only soft tissue injuries.
- The injured person was not at-fault in the accident and is experiencing back and neck pain. The injured person has seen her primary care physician and a chiropractor and has medical bills equal to $3,000. In addition, it is going to cost $2,000 to repair the injured person's vehicle.
- It is not uncommon in a case like this, where the injured person is not represented by an attorney, for the at-fault insurer to nickel-and-dime on the vehicle repairs to settle the property damage portion of the claim. It is also not uncommon for the at-fault party's insurer to offer the injured person a fraction of her medical expenses to settle the bodily injury portion of her claim. In such a situation, the at-fault party's insurer may offer an amount far less than the injured person's actual medical expenses. Even still, with this minimal payout the injured person may be responsible to pay all or most of the payout to her medical providers who may have filed liens against her insurance settlement pursuant to Arizona law.
Let's assume the same scenario however, but the injured person hired a lawyer to assist her in all aspects of her case involving only soft tissue injuries.
- The personal injury lawyer mesa az or his staff will assist the injured client to maximize her property damage claim and make sure her vehicle is adequately repaired. Typically, the lawyer will not charge a fee for the handling the property damage portion of the claim. The lawyer will also demand full compensation for all medical expenses and out-of-pocket costs (i.e., lost wages, medications, loss of use to her vehicle, etc.). Importantly, the lawyer will demand the full amounts that were billed by all medical providers regardless of any deductible and regardless of the amounts any health insurer paid directly to the medical providers. These types of damages are called special damages and are more easy to quantify.
- Additionally, the lawyer will also demand compensation for what are called the injured client's general damages. These general damages are less easy to quantify and are for things like "pain and suffering", "diminished quality of life", "loss of consortium", etc.
- In this situation, the lawyer may demand and receive a bodily injury settlement on behalf of the injured client in the amount of $8,000. The lawyer may be paid a contingency fee of about $2,400 and will then make sure the medical providers bills are taken care of. Often, the lawyer may be able to reduce the medical bills (which again may act as a lien against the injured party's settlement). In our fact scenario, the lawyer may have settled with the medical providers for only $2,500 to satisfy their $3,000 medical liens. In this situation, this would leave approximately $3,000 left for the injured client, putting her in a much better position than had she handled the claim herself.
As you can see from this very typical fact scenario, not only will hiring a lawyer alleviate a lot of stress and hassle, but hiring a lawyer to handle your soft-tissue injury case can mean more money in your pocket once the case is settled. If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident - no matter how minor the accident may seem - give us a call to set up a free consultation.