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Personal Injury FAQ

Personal Injury
What is a Personal Injury Case?

When a person a gets injured at the hands of a negligent party or wrongdoer, the injury victim can pursue money damages to compensate for the harm or loss.

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What is Negligent or Wrongful Conduct?

Individuals and entities have a duty to act reasonably and to avoid causing harm to foreseeable injury victims. It is negligent to act unreasonably and cause harm to another. It is also negligent to violate any safety rule, regulation or law which results in harm to another.

Intentional or reckless conduct that harms others is another type of wrongful conduct that is actionable. Examples of intentional torts include assault, battery, false arrest, or intentional infliction of emotional distress.

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How Much is My Case Worth?

They teach you in law school: “a case is worth what a jury will pay.” This statement rings true. Lawyers and insurance adjusters settle claims based on how much a jury may award. Here are factors the insurance company will look at when valuing your claim:

  • How bad does your injury hurt?
  • Did you go to the ER or doctor immediately?
  • How many times did you go to the doctor?
  • Did you go any length of time without seeing a doctor?
  • Is your injury permanent?
  • Can you still do the same activities?
  • Did you miss work? How much money did you lose?
  • How much are your medical bills?

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What Harms are Compensable in an Injury Case?

The law allows an injury victim to recover money for

  • past, present and future pain and suffering
  • past, present and future medical expenses
  • past, present and future loss of wages
  • permanent impairment
  • disfigurement
  • reduced mobility
  • reduced quality of life

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What Can I Do to Maximize My Claim for Money Damages?
  • Go to the hospital if needed.
  • Speak to a lawyer as soon as possible
  • Do not wait too long to go to the doctor
  • Follow up with all doctor’s appointments
  • Obtain the best treatment available
  • Be truthful and accurate in statements you make to doctors and nurses
  • Stay off social media

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What If I Have Pre-Existing Medical Conditions or Injuries? Can I Still Recover?

Yes, in Delaware if your prior injury was aggravated or worsened by an accident you can still recover for the aggravation or worsening of the injury.

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How Do I Obtain a Lawyer?

Call a lawyer to set up a consultation. Most Delaware attorneys offer free consultations on injury cases. If you have any questions or would like a free consultation call Jason R. Antoine, personal injury lawyer at (302) 482-4802 or contact us via our web form. To become a client, a lawyer must agree to take your case and have you sign a fee agreement. Delaware lawyers are required to put fee contracts in writing.

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What Can I Expect at the Initial Consultation?

I like to get to know the client and obtain their personal history and medical history. I will listen carefully on how the accident occurred and what caused the accident. I will also go over any medical treatment received. I recommend bringing documentation to the consultation such as photographs of the scene/vehicles, vehicle exchange reports, ER discharge papers, medical records, insurance cards and copies of insurance policies. If the case is merited, I will prepare a fee agreement or contract for the client to sign and become a client.

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How Do Lawyers Get Paid in Personal Injury Cases?

Most Delaware lawyers work on contingency fees in personal injury cases. In a contingency fee contract the lawyer does not charge any money up front but will take a percentage of any settlement, award or judgment. In other words, the lawyer will get paid on the back end if money is recovered.

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How Much are Contingency Fees?

In Delaware contingency fees typically range from a third (33.33%) to 40% of any recovery depending on the type of injury case.

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Who Will Pay for Court Costs and Litigation Costs?

In Delaware, the lawyer will usually fund the case for the client and pay litigation costs up front. However, the lawyer will be reimbursed for court costs and litigation fees out of the settlement or award at the end of the case.

Tip – be aware that some lawyers may hold clients responsible for litigation costs if there is no recovery.

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How Much Can I Expect in Court Costs or Litigation Costs in a Delaware Personal Injury Case?

Every case is different. It depends on whether a lawsuit is filed and other factors. Some cases settle quickly with little to no costs incurred. Conversely, litigating a case can be expensive. Common fees that could come out of an award or recovery are:

  • investigator fees
  • expert witness fees including medical experts
  • court filing fees
  • deposition fees
Tip – a good lawyer will keep an eye on costs and treat the case as a profit/loss statement for the client. The lawyer’s duty is to maximize recovery for the client.

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Will Any Other Fees or Money Come Out of My Settlement?

Medical providers or medical insurance companies could be owed for unpaid medical bills. If enough insurance coverage is available, your settlement should cover all outstanding medical bills. The key is to know the medical lien amounts or amounts owed to providers in advance of settlement.

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What is a “Statute of Limitations?”

The statute of limitations is the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit before the claim expires. A claim is lost if a lawsuit is not filed within the time designated by the statute.

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What is the Statute of Limitations on Personal Injury Cases in Delaware?

On a Delaware personal injury case, the statute of limitations is two (2) years from when the injury is claimed to have been sustained, or when the plaintiff is on notice he or she sustained a tortious injury. Essentially, a lawsuit should be filed within two years of the date of the accident .

In wrongful death cases the statute of limitations is two (2) years from when the death occurs or when the plaintiff knows or should know that the death was caused by wrongful or tortious conduct by the defendant.

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How Long Will It Take to Get My Settlement Check in a Delaware Personal Injury Case?

It could take several months to several years; it depends on the case. An accident victim may want to complete medical treatment to the point of maximum medical improvement prior to negotiating an injury claim with an insurance company. Once treatment is completed or “maxed out,” negotiations typically begin with the insurance company. If a favorable or sufficient settlement cannot be negotiated with the insurance company a lawsuit is filed. Litigation can take several months to several years as well. Each case can vary.

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What Types of Injury Cases Does Your Office Handle?

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Contact Us

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident contact Jason R. Antoine, Delaware Personal Injury Attorney at 302-482-4802 to set up a free consultation and go over your case in detail.

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