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Frequently Asked Questions
Personal injury refers to a category of law. It is a general term for any type of injury that occurs to a person, rather than a piece of property, land, or commodity. Personal injury refers to cases involving both bodily injury and psychological harm. In most cases, a claimant has both types of injuries.
The amount of time to file a lawsuit is referred to as the statute of limitations. In Michigan, the statute of limitations depends on the particular case type. Some case types include:
- General negligence (3 years),
- Car accident (bodily injury, 3 years),
- Medical malpractice (2 years),
- Nursing home abuse (2 years),
- Dog bite (3. years), and,
- Slip and fall (3 years).
There are some exceptions to these deadlines. For example, the deadline for many cases involving minors and children can extend to their 19th birthday. Cases involving wrongful death related to medical negligence can extend to 5 years under some circumstances.
It is best to contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to avoid missing a deadline. If you wait too long, your ability to sue and win a settlement may be gone forever.
You do not need to hire a personal injury lawyer after an accident. First, if you were not injured in an accident then there is no need to retain an attorney. Second, if you have a minor injury or small case you can try to settle it on your own with the insurance company.
However, if you have a serious injury then you are much better off being represented by an experienced personal injury lawyer. There are many mistakes that non-lawyers make trying to handle cases on their own. Many times, the injury victim inadvertently destroys the case by giving recorded statements to adjusters, not filing timely claims, or signing away their rights without proper compensation.
Studies show that injury victims receive much higher settlements when they have a top-rated lawyer. And, they even end up with more money in their own pocket after paying lawyer fees.
Most personal injury lawyers get paid on a contingent fee basis. This means the attorney only earns a fee when the client wins a settlement. And, the fee is based on a percentage of the settlement amount.
The majority of cases do not go to court, meaning they do not end up with a trial. A large number of cases are filed as lawsuits in court. They go through the legal process but end up in a settlement before a trial. The attorneys for the parties typically negotiate a settlement before going to court for trial.
The amount of time to get a settlement varies in every case. Some cases can settle within a matter of months and others may take years. There is no set amount of time from start to finish.
For example, a small dog bite claim with minimal injuries can settle with the insurance company within 60-90 days. However, a large truck accident death case may take two years to get settled because of disputed liability issues and the large demand for damages.
Claimants who are patient and let their lawyers do the work often end up with higher settlements. People in hurry for a quick settlement can sometimes get one, but the amount is often less than the true value of the case. You lawyer will give you a reasonable expectation on the time to get a settlement.
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