We believe people need to be informed and know their rights. When someone is injured, it can be the worst time of their life. Losing a loved one, missing work and losing your financial independence, losing your way of life and being in pain are not things that should ever be taken lightly. We have resources here online for you to find out about everything there is about your personal injury case and everything you should expect from a personal injury lawyer. If you have any questions, or you would like a free case evaluation, with absolutely no strings attached, call us or fill out our contact form and we will do everything in our power to help you through what we know to be a tough time in your life.
Personal Injury occurs when a person’s mind or body is damaged. It is separate from damage to property. The most common types of personal injury cases are car accidents, motorcycle accidents, tractor-trailer accidents, slip-and-fall accidents, dog bites, accidents at work (known as workers’ compensation), or other accidents that occur in other parts of life (at home, during social hours etc.). Many of these accidents may involve defective products or equipment, and these cases are known as product liability cases. There are also intentional acts that constitute personal injury cases such as assault. Please click here to view the types of cases our attorneys represent injured individuals in.
Personal injury attorneys have a tough job of getting an injured person’s life back to where it was before they were hurt. Of course in some situations this is entirely impossible, so we have to do our best to get as close to that goal as possible. We do this by recovering losses the person has had such as:
- Medical Bills
- Lost Wages
- Pain and Suffering
- Loss of Consortium
In a case where you have both a workers compensation claim and a personal injury claim the workers compensation claim will normally settle faster than the personal injury claim will. This is not true in every case however, but rather depends on the particular facts of the case.
The stages of a personal injury case are as follows:
- Injury and report
If your injury occurred at work you will most likely report it to the company you work for. If the injury was a car accident, motorcycle accident or tractor-trailer accident the police will likely be involved and make a report of the accident. If you were involved in an automobile, tractor-trailer or motorcycle accident know that you need to report it to your insurance company as soon as you can. If a slip-and-fall accident occurs you will likely report it to the owner/manager of the place where it happened.
- Speak with an attorney
The next step SHOULD be to speak with an attorney. Many of our past clients were unsure about whether or not they should take this step, and were afraid that an attorney would charge them just to ask if their case was worth pursuing. You have nothing to be afraid of. We offer a free initial consultation and free case review to give you the resources you need to decide if you want to pursue your case. There is no obligation and no forms to sign to take this step.
- Meeting with and signing an attorney
If you decide that you want an attorney to represent your claim, you’ll sign with the attorney and meet with them to discuss the details of your case. This also comes with no charge to you. Our firm works on a contingency basis which means that we do not get any money unless you win your case. We have several highly accredited and well experienced personal injury attorneys on staff who have been winning cases like yours for years.
- Negotiating with the insurance company for a pre-suit settlement
In many cases you may be able to recover for your injury without even having to go to court. If a settlement agreement can be made with the insurance company that you, your attorney and the insurance company agree on, you can skip the entire court process and get your settlement sooner.
- Starting the case: initial court papers
If a pre-suit settlement cannot be reached, our experienced personal injury staff will file the initial court papers for you, and will help you through each step of the case. If you have questions you can speak with your paralegal or you can schedule a phone call with your attorney at any stage of your claim.
This stage of the process is when opponents in a lawsuit get information from each other so each party has the facts. The minute you are signed as our client the opposing party and your insurance company are not allowed to have ANY contact with you. If they attempt to contact you, let your lawyer know immediately.
- Motions before trial
Your attorney and the opposing party may make several motions before the trial. A motion is when your attorney or the opposing party asks the court for a ruling on a particular matter. A common motion that the opposing party may make would be a motion to dismiss, in which they will ask the court to dismiss the case altogether. If this motion is approved there is no cost to you for your case. This rarely happens in our cases.
A large majority of cases also settle after a suit has been filed, before it goes to trial. A settlement is when the opposing party pays you an amount of money that you agree to in order for you to give up your right to take the case to court. Your attorney will help you decide if the settlement is worth it, or if you should pursue it in court. If you settle the case you will receive the amount of money agreed upon and your case is now closed.
If you do not settle your case will go to trial. Trials are not what most people believe them to be from watching movies. Most cases do not make it this far, but if yours does, your attorney will do everything to make sure you win the case. You will be prepared and you will know what to do in the courtroom.
- Receiving the money
After reaching a settlement or winning a trial you will receive your compensation. Sometimes this takes even more work but you are not alone in this. Our staff is experienced in collecting your money for you.
- Appealing the decision
If you wish to appeal a decision made in court we can do that for you as well. Your personal injury lawyer will make a recommendation as to whether or not this is a good decision, but ultimately it is up to you. Our staff will take care of this entire process.
Michael J. O'Connor and Associates maintains an active personal injury practice. Our attorneys aggressively represent individuals injured in the following types of cases: