If You Were Injured, Find Out if You Have a Claim for Compensation
At Fales & Fales, P.A., we regularly speak with individuals about their legal rights after they have suffered injuries in an accident. They have lots of questions, including whether they are entitled to compensation for their injuries and losses. Here are answers to some of the frequently asked questions.
Please note that this is not legal advice, but rather basic information to help you begin to understand your legal rights. For answers specific to your situation, feel free to call us at (877) 786-0606 for a free consultation.
1. Can I get money for my injury?
Most victims of car accidents and other serious accidents incur medical expenses, property damage, and miss some time from work. They may also experience pain and suffering and emotional distress. They may face new challenges that prevent them from enjoying time with their spouses and children.
All of these are forms of compensable “damages” under Maine law. The key questions in each case are:
- Is someone else to blame for your injuries?
- What is the extent of your financial, physical, and emotional loss?
2. How do you prove fault in an accident?
When we talk about who is to blame for your injuries, we are talking about the concept of legal fault. To receive compensation in the typical case, you must be able to prove that someone else was negligent in causing the accident. There can be other types of legal fault, especially in cases involving defective products and in some slip and fall accidents, but usually you will need to prove negligence in order to obtain money for your losses.
Proving negligence is sometimes complicated. Insurance companies and their defense lawyers have tactics to try to avoid liability. The best way to prove your case is with strong evidence. After suffering injuries in an accident, you should:
- Seek prompt medical attention for your injuries
- Take photos of the accident scene and your injuries
- Report your accident and get the name of the responding officer
- Get the name and address of witnesses
- Follow your doctor’s medical advice
These steps can help you and your lawyer build the strongest case for maximum compensation.
3. How much money can I expect to receive for my losses?
The amount of money you can expect to receive depends on many factors. You will need to prove the value of your losses. The money the victim is entitled to recover should compensate for his or her actual losses. There are limited exceptions where a claimant can also seek punitive damages, but cases involving punitive damages in Maine are relatively rare.
Some damages are easier to prove than others. On the one hand you will have your medical bills and an estimate to repair your vehicle. But, how much will your medical care cost in the future? How do you put a dollar value on pain and suffering? These are challenging questions to work through with your attorney.
There may also be some practical considerations. If you are involved in an accident with a person who doesn’t have much money, your recovery may be limited to his or her insurance. Sometimes there are multiple insurance policies to pursue or multiple parties at fault. When investigating your case, your lawyer will seek to identify all potential sources of compensation in order to maximize your recovery.
4. What if I was at fault in the accident? Can I still get money for my injuries?
Don’t assume anything. As discussed above, fault is a complicated legal issue that even the most experienced lawyers fight over all the time. Consult a personal injury lawyer before you decide what to do.
Sometimes, even if you were partially at fault, you may still be entitled to recover money for your injuries. Under Maine law, as long as you were not 50 percent or more at fault, you may be entitled to recover damages.
5. When should I hire a personal injury attorney?
We recommend hiring a lawyer as soon as possible after your accident. At Fales & Fales, P.A., we take personal injury cases on contingency. There are no hourly rates, and you only pay if we recover money for you.
If you wait too long, you might face more challenges. Crucial evidence that could have been collected may disappear. You may unknowingly say something to the insurance company that hurts your case. You can even lose your right to file a claim entirely if you wait too long.
Schedule a Free Consultation Today
If you have been injured in an accident and have questions about your right to compensation, we encourage you to contact us for a free, no obligation consultation. We would be happy to meet with you to discuss your case. To schedule a time to speak with one of our attorneys, please contact us today.
With offices in downtown Lewiston, our lawyers represent clients in Androscoggin and surrounding counties in Maine.