An Overview of Injury Cases
Personal injury encompasses a wide variety of cases, from the standard car wreck cases to medical practice cases, any sort of physical injury likely falls under the title of personal injury. And injury cases are just that – cases that involve physical harm to your person or to another person. Those physical injuries must be caused by someone or something outside of your control. That means that typically, in the context of personal injury cases, your injuries must be the result of or caused by someone else, either through their carelessness, negligence, or possibly even their intent, meaning that they intended to harm you.
The emphasis here is on physical and injury. In very, very rare circumstances, the law allows claims for emotional injuries, and those are typically known as ‘emotional distress’ cases. But even in emotional cases, a physical injury usually must still occur.
Personal Injury Cases Handled by The Kent Law Group
For more than a decade, The Kent Law Group and our attorneys have been honing our skills in a variety of personal injury cases. Here are some of those cases:
- Car Wrecks
- Gym Injuries
- Trucking Accidents
- Sauna Injuries
- Pedestrian Injuries
- Swimming Pool Drowning
- Motorcycle Accidents
- Dog Attack Injuries
- Airplane Crashes
- Uber and Lyft Accidents
- Slip and Fall Injuries
- Work-related Injuries
- Premises Liability cases
- Public Transportation Injuries
- Severe Burn injuries
- Medical Malpractice
- Work out and fitness injuries
- Nursing Home Abuse
- Lawn Mower Injuries
- Wrongful Death
- Golf Course Injuries
- Golf Cart Ejection Cases
- Retail Store falling items
- Projectile Injuries
- Professional Negligence
- Commercial Vehicle Accidents
- Eighteen-Wheeler Accidents
- Big Rig Wrecks
What is a Contingency Fee?
A contingency fee is a way to pay your lawyer for their services without having to pay out of pocket all at once up front. This usually means that the lawyer’s compensation for the time and expertise comes from the ultimate settlement itself. There are a lot of myths on the internet, and most television commercials do a terrible job of explaining this. In fact, the phrase “no fee unless you win” is misleading – it implies that the client will have to pay the lawyer once the lawyer wins the case and suggests that the payment comes from the client’s own pocket. But that is not exactly how a contingency fee works. So, here is exactly how a contingency fee works:
Let’s say you’re injured in a bad wreck and have serious injuries. Your injuries are so bad you may not be able to work and now most of your savings is depleted just keeping up with your regular utility bills. You’re scared to hire a lawyer to fight for the compensation you need because you don’t want to have to pay up front. The Kent Law Group will take on your case and fight for you on a contingency fee agreement that will be outlined in a written contract. You spend your time getting better, and all the while, the Personal Injury Lawyers at The Kent Law Group fight the case for you. When an appropriate settlement is reached, with your consent of course, whatever that settlement amount is, a percentage of that settlement amount will be deducted to pay the lawyers. That way you never had to pay out of pocket. The remaining balance is then used to address any outstanding medical bills or medical liens that you may have incurred for treatment, and the remaining balance is yours to keep, usually tax free!
Here is an example of a typical contingency fee scenario:
Settlement Amount = $100,000
Medical Bills = $29,000
Contingency Fee = 35%
Legal Expenses = $3,600 (the amount the firm paid to process your case for things like medical records, illustrations of your injuries, expert reports, accident scene reconstruction, and the like)
Gross Settlement $100,000
subtract Contingency Fee -$100,000
subtract Legal Expenses -$3,600
subtract Medical Bills* -$29,000
Balance $32,400 Tax-Free Payout to the client after all other bills are paid
*The full amount of the medical bills is shown here as an example just to illustrate the process. In many cases, our Personal Injury Lawyers will negotiate most of these bills and reduce the overall amount that must be paid for your medical bills, typically reducing the amount owed by as much as 15%. That means every dollar saved by way of reduction in your medical bills is money that potentially goes in the client’s pocket!
I Don’t Have Health Insurance. How Do I Get Medical Treatment for my Injuries?
We routinely work with a number of highly skilled, board-certified physicians. In most cases, you can select from a variety of doctors we have partnered with who will provide you with quality medical care and treatment at no out of pocket cost to you. That means that they’ll agree to give you world class medical care at no out of pocket cost to you at all!
In many instances, all these doctors require is a signature from one of our Personal Injury Lawyers and that’s it. This is known generally as an attorney’s lien. The doctor will agree to provide treatment to you solely based on the lawyer’s promise to pay that doctor later when the case is resolved. This is remarkably beneficial to clients who need treatment but worry about how to pay, particularly given that the cost of medical care is on the rise. These medical bills must still be paid, of course, but these medical providers are usually happy to reduce their bills if the case warrants those reductions.
What to Expect from The Insurance Companies and Defense Attorneys
Have you ever wondered who the defense attorney in a personal injury case really represents? Did that defendant rush out and hire the latest, greatest and brightest defense attorney? If they didn’t do that, then how did they get a lawyer so quickly? Or did the insurance company – the very same insurance company that is supposed to be paying you – hire that lawyer to defend that driver?
While you’re pondering that, consider this: if the insurance industry paid for the other driver’s lawyer, who provides a lawyer for you?
It only takes a moment to realize that the deck is already stacked against you if you don’t hire a skilled personal injury lawyer like the lawyers at The Kent Law Group. We will represent you without hesitation and will immediately get to work fighting for your rights. We do that because from the moment of the wreck, the other side already started working against you.
And the answer to the questions above is simple: the defense attorney represents the insurance company. That means the insurance company literally already had a lawyer on standby to defend them against your claims the moment the wreck happened. They are literally hired to protect the ‘asset’ that is the insurance company’s enormous bank account and to prevent a payout to you, even if the other drive is at fault.
While defending the insurance company, defense attorneys will try to pour through everything that has ever happened to you. Often, they even want to rifle through your medical history for the past ten years! Then they’ll look to see if you were ever in prior wrecks or if you sustained other injuries. Why do they do this? Simply to make you look less credible so they can offer less compensation. And it works all too often.
You should hire competent counsel of your choosing, and that counsel should have experience not only processing claims, but also litigating and trying cases. Litigating and trying cases is the only way to get an insurance company to take your case seriously. The Kent Law Group has tried literally hundreds of cases – many before a jury of twelve. Insurance companies know which law firms are simply “mills”, meaning they only process claims and settle cases, and which firms are made up of hardened trial lawyers who have a broad amount of experience. Don’t get pushed around by the insurance companies and their lawyers – hire The Kent Law Group and put our experience to work for you.
Who Pays My Medical Bills?
The short answer is that your medical bills are paid by you from the settlement or judgment you are paid. It is up to you and your lawyer to compile those bills, negotiate and that can be negotiated, and pay them. There is no separate fund from the other driver’s insurer that will pay these for you. One caveat, though, is your own automobile insurer’s “medical payments coverage”, which you may have purchased specifically for this reason. That policy will often pay medical bills regardless of fault up to a certain limit.
Generally, though, most clients are concerned about how their medical bills get paid. The common myth from the internet is that the other, at-fault driver’s insurance will pay your bills immediately after the wreck and that they’ll simply continue to do so until you’re all better. But that is a myth and it’s dangerous to fall for it.
Sometimes, depending on the scenario, it might be best to let your own health insurance handle your medical bills. But be aware that when you use your health insurance, your health insurer can and many times does assert a claim of subrogation. That means you do the work, your lawyer helps secure a settlement, and you still have to pay back the money your health insurer paid on your behalf for the injuries you sustained in the wreck. Still though, your lawyer will know best when to use your health insurance and when not to.
But what if you don’t have health insurance? Or what if you don’t have a primary care physician? At The Kent Law Group, we routinely see scenarios like this play out. Do not panic and certainly do not let this dissuade you from getting treatment and filing a personal injury claim. At The Kent Law Group, we have worked with quality, highly skilled medical providers for over a decade. That means we can put our working relationships to work for you. We can provide a wide array of doctors to choose from, many of whom likely have offices closer to you than you think.
The best part about working with The Kent Law Group and getting quality treatment from one of the providers we work with is that you will get all the treatment you need, yet you will not have to pay out of pocket for that treatment! So long as you have hired The Kent Law Group, we can sign an attorney’s lien that allows you to get treatment based on our promise to pay that doctor’s bill once the case is resolved. This means you get a quality evaluation, a plan of treatment unique to your injuries, physical therapy, surgery (where needed), and all other medical treatment at no out of pocket costs to you!
Be aware, though, that as we mentioned above, the insurance industry will try everything they can to use this against you. They despise seeing people use lawyers to get medical treatment. In their mind, if you can’t afford it, you shouldn’t get treatment. But juries are typically much more sympathetic and often understand the why and how of your treatment. Don’t be bullied by the insurance industry. Hire a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer at The Kent Law Group.
When Will I Be Released from Medical Treatment?
Your medical treatment is between you and your doctor, whomever that doctor providing care to you may be. Your lawyer can do very little to expand or restrict your treatment, because your lawyer is not a qualified medical professional. However, your lawyer will likely closely monitor your treatment progress and may talk with your providers often. And treatment with any doctor on an attorney’s lien (the attorney’s promise to pay your bills from the judgment or settlement) are not blank checks that allow you ‘free’ treatment for the remainder of your life.
Juries want to see that your treatment was reasonable, was tailored to your specific needs, and that you were charged something resembling the same charges as others receive for similar treatment in the local region. Many clients over treat, meaning they want to get treatment forever, even when their case parameters won’t support it. Over treating can be catastrophic to your claims. Too much treatment and neither the jury nor the adjuster will be convinced that it was reasonably tailored to your injuries. A presumption then arises that you treated so much only to make your claims higher. At The Kent Law Group, our lawyers refuse to allow you to do this. We will monitor your case, speak with you often, and let you know generally the extent of treatment that your case will allow.
One final important reason you may not want to over treat has to do with the gross settlement itself. Overtreatment often results in net losses to the client. That’s because you essentially have to use the bulk of the settlement just to pay off medical bills, leaving very little to go to you for direct compensation.
But do not despair. We have resolved claims for over a decade and in nearly every instance have been able to negotiate all the medical bills and still provide the balance to our clients in compensation – tax free!
What is a Medical Lien?
A medical lien is simply a formal, legal method by which the medical provider preserves their right to compensation for the treatment they gave you. Many providers can assert liens like this, including doctors, chiropractors, physical therapists, hospitals, and others. When this type of lien is asserted, neither you nor your lawyer can ignore it. That’s because the law obligates your lawyer to address it and try to resolve it, and because it creates significant hurdles for you, even if you don’t have a lawyer.
Many different types of liens exist aside from provider or hospital liens, too. There are Medicare and Medicaid liens, ERISA liens, CHAMPUS and similar liens. All must be addressed. The good news is that on many occasions, those lien holders are willing to negotiate. Let a skilled, knowledgeable lawyer from The Kent Law Group address and negotiate your personal injury liens today.
How Much is My Personal Injury Case Worth?
It is a scary thing to be in a wreck of any kind or to be injured through no fault of your own. But the scary thing is the damage you can do to your own mental health by fretting about the ins and outs of an injury claim. Even worse is the psychological toll you’ll take if you begin comparing your claim to the hundreds of thousands of other cases you can read about online. That’s because no single case is ever exactly like another you may read about. There are simply too many variables – drivers, types of cars, road conditions, insurance companies, pre-existing injuries, medical ailments, and so on.
That means your case is unique. It is unlike any other. And that is a truth that it takes even many injury lawyers years to comprehend. That’s why it is important for you to contact a lawyer at The Kent Law Group today for a consultation about your case and your facts. Only then can anyone give you a rough idea of what the total value of your claim may be. And even then, that’s only an estimate.
Please be wary of any lawyer - and even the non-lawyers out there - who claim they can tell you the value of your case in a telephone call or in-office consultation. They’re setting you up for failure and heartbreak. The simplest way to value your claim is to understand this: you should get quality medical treatment and someone else should pay for it; any money you receive thereafter is a blessing. Now, obviously this is a very general phrase. And in most instances, there is a sufficient settlement recovered that will pay your bills an still provide tax-free compensation to you. But we feel that the best place to start is from an understanding that you must get better physically, and hopefully get pain free. From there, the objective should be to make someone else pay your medical bills. And from there, work should be done to try to get compensation directly to you.
But all cases are different. So, if you start from a place of understanding the principles outlined above, you’ll be a much better place as the case progresses. Many factors can and should be highlighted in order to receive adequate compensation above merely paying your medical bills. That means that if you had open wounds, if you bled, if you broke bones, if you had to have stitches or staples, if you had to have surgery, if you had to have lengthy physical therapy, or if you had to use crutches or similar aids, your case will likely have a greater over settlement value. In any event, you should speak with a member of our personal injury team at The Kent Law Group immediately so that you can better understand your claims and their respective values.
What should I do Immediately After a Car Wreck?
When you’re in a wreck, time seems to stop. As I am writing this, I am reminded of my own experiences. If the airbags deployed, your ears may be ringing, and you may have difficulty focusing or thinking.
First, you should always make sure that you and your loved ones are safe. If medical attention is required, contact authorities immediately. Do not waste time. If everyone in your car is safe, consider checking on the other drivers. If everyone else is safe also, consider moving your vehicles out of travel lanes. You will not be penalized or ticketed for doing so. In fact, in Georgia it is a crime to leave vehicles in a travel lane after a collision. So, if you can do so, move your vehicles.
But it is very important to take photographs. And take a lot of photographs. Take as many photographs as you can before you even move your vehicle or talk to the other drivers. You need to preserve as much evidence as you possibly can. In Georgia, you can even record the conversations you have with other drivers as you’re talking to them about the wreck, and that audio may prove useful at trial or to convince an adjuster later.
If you have a dash camera or other recording device, be sure to preserve the video from a few minutes before the wreck until a few minutes after the wreck. We have seen countless times that video often plays a pivotal role in claims and trials. Many times, other drivers will deliberately lie about what happened, only later to be called out on their lies in the face of video that directly contradicts their testimony. You can only imagine what something like would do to your case and how a jury would turn in your favor in such a scenario.
Be sure to back up your evidence, too. You can save that data (video, photos, audio, etc.) to your computer or even upload them to a cloud filed sharing service like Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud, and similar services. Trust me, your lawyer will thank you for that evidence later!