Do I need a lawyer?
If you have suffered personal injury, damages, or loss resulting from someone else’s negligence or conduct, you need a lawyer. Even if you believe that the damage is minor and think that you may be able to settle with the individual or their insurance company, you should still contact a lawyer to help you make the best possible decisions.
What do I need to do to protect my rights?
When a serious injury occurs, the last thing the family and loved ones of the injured person wants to think about is a lawsuit. But, if someone else is responsible for your injuries, you must take steps to protect your legal rights to ensure that the responsible party is held accountable.
Here are some tips that we think can help:
1. Preserve The Evidence
Sometimes, evidence is lost or destroyed between the time an injury occurs and the time it goes to court. As soon as you can, take pictures of the scene of the accident, the injuries, and any equipment that contributed to the accident. It is also a good idea to keep any documents, such as medical records, in a safe place for your attorneys to review and use as evidence in the case. For example, if you’ve been in a car accident, don’t allow the insurance company to do anything with the vehicle that might destroy evidence. Failure to preserve evidence can hurt your case.
2. Don’t Sign Anything!
Often, insurance companies will attempt to settle claims for far less than the amount of damages and will encourage you to sign a release of all claims to make the case go away. As a general rule, do not sign anything without first having it reviewed by an attorney!
3. Act Quickly!
Each type of claim has a statute of limitations, which is the length of time that you can pursue legal action. Most personal injury claims in Arkansas must be filed within 3 years of the date of the accident or injury. The statute of limitations on some claims can be even less.
There are exceptions to these general rules, so talk to a lawyer as soon as possible to determine how long you have to file a suit. It is important to act quickly because your attorney will need time to investigate your claim and determine if you have a case. Claims not filed within the statute of limitations may never make it to court, so please take action now.
4. Minimize Your Damages
If you’ve been injured, Arkansas law requires that you try to minimize your losses. This includes going back to work as soon as you can or following your doctor’s instructions. The law does not help you recover losses that could have been prevented, so we encourage you to minimize your damages.
How Long Will My Lawsuit Take?
It is very difficult to predict how long a lawsuit will take. Some cases can be resolved in a matter of months, and some take years. Many factors are at play, so prepare for the possibility that your case can take several years to complete.
How Much Is My Case Worth?
No one can tell you exactly what your case is worth. Factors that influence the value of a case include, but are not limited to:
- The nature and extent of the injuries and whether they are temporary or permanent
- The amount of medical expenses incurred as a result of the injury
- The amount of income lost as a result of the injury
- Property damage and out-of-pocket expenses resulting from the injury
Other, non-economic factors that influence the value of a case include pain and suffering, loss of services, loss of enjoyment of life, scarring and disfigurement, and emotional distress. In rare cases where the responsible party has acted maliciously or recklessly, punitive damages may be recoverable.
What is Subrogation?
Subrogation is the legal process by which an insurance company, after paying a loss, seeks to recover the amount of the loss from another party who is legally responsible for it. For example, if you are injured in a car wreck and you have health and hospitalization insurance, your insurance company may pay your medical bills. If you pursue a claim against another person who caused your injuries, your own insurance carrier may claim a right of reimbursement or subrogation against any money you collect from your claim against the other person. Medicare and Medicaid also have subrogation rights.
How Will My Attorneys Be Paid?
We work for most of our clients on a “contingency fee” basis. This means that we are paid only if we are able to obtain a recovery on their behalf. Our contingency fees are usually taken as a percentage of the entire amount of the recovery. The client is responsible for the costs and expenses of the case. If no recovery is made, the clients owe no attorney's fees. In some types of cases, we work at an agreed upon hourly rate, and, in some business cases, we work on a blended fee. All fee arrangements are agreed upon before we begin work on a case.