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Free Personal Injury Info.

Understanding your rights when you've been injured in an accident is important. We've provided the following frequently asked questions and answers to help you along that path.

If I have been injured and am the innocent victim in an accident, do I have to hire an attorney to collect my damages?
No, you do not have to hire an attorney, but look out! If your injury is minor and your damages very small, it is possible you can do it yourself. Be careful. Your claim is probably worth more than you think. But, why not get the opinion of a professional? Initial consultations on personal injury cases are usually free. Insurance claims adjusters are not paid to give money away. Sometimes you have to be willing to fight. Many innocent victims lack the expertise to take on the professional insurance adjuster who has been trained to settle for as little as possible, often without regard to the true value and merit of the claim.

Don’t settle an injury claim without consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney.

What do I look for in selecting a personal injury attorney?
Talk to a board certified personal injury and wrongful death specialist. Find out how many serious injury and death claims he has handled. How many actually went to trial? A certified specialist has been rated by other attorneys and judges for ethical and professional competence. In your time of trouble your attorney must have the skill and experience to fully represent you.

What is a Certified Specialist?
Under strict rules issued by the Arizona Supreme Court and State Bar, attorneys with sufficient trial experience, education and training can become Certified Specialists in special areas of the law. After successfully passing a rigorous professional investigation and the taking of a special examination, attorneys can apply for certification.

In Mohave County only Denis R. Malm of Wachtel, Biehn & Malm is a certified Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Specialist.

What is a contingent fee?
The contingent fee is the most common form of payment for plaintiffs seeking legal representation in personal injury litigation. If the plaintiff does not receive any compensation for damages, the attorney receives nothing.

It gives injured people, regardless of financial status, an even break in the courtroom and an opportunity to pursue a valid claim against even the largest wrongdoers for their negligence or recklessness.

Many untruths are spread by wrongdoers who seek to eliminate courtroom access to victims with limited financial means by seeking to destroy the contingent fee system and by attacking the lawyers who speak for the injured and damaged.

Contingent fees are the keys to the courthouse for millions of innocent personal injury victims harmed by wrongful and careless conduct or defective products. Fee agreements vary from case to case and often the fee is adjusted according to difficulty, time, results and other factors.

I have medical coverage under my auto policy. If I am hit by another vehicle and the accident was his fault, which insurance policy pays my medical bills? If my policy pays, will my premiums increase?
The "medical coverage" of your auto policy will pay your expenses without regard to fault or other insurance. You paid for this protection.

The other driver’s medical coverage, if it exists, will not apply. His "liability" coverage will be available to compensate you for all of your losses, including your medical expenses. This is one of the rare situations where it is possible to be compensated twice.

Premiums go up when, and if, your insurance company determines that the accident was your fault.

What is a "whiplash" injury?
It is a poor choice of words commonly used to describe injuries known generally as "Cervical Acceleration – Deceleration Syndrome." We are talking about trauma to the spine often resulting from violent impacts between automobiles. Many kinds of health care professionals discover and treat these injuries following accidents, including your family physician, chiropractor, physical therapist or neurologist. An experienced trail attorney can work closely with your doctors.

The success of treatment, extent of disability, and the quality of the individual’s recovery form accident-caused neck injuries, can vary widely form one patient to the next. A competent medical care provider can help such victims.

Insurance adjusters and defense people often have to be persuaded to deal fairly with the victims of these injuries. A certified personal injury specialist will often be able to assure fair treatment by the insurance industry and full recovery for injuries and damages.

Why is it so difficult for an innocent accident victim to receive fair treatment from insurance companies?
Aggressive and unreasonable insurance adjusters do as they are told. Most were trained by their insurance companies to deal with injured victims. The adjuster has one objective: save money for the insurance company. Many lay people complain of unfair and unreasonable treatment in these situations.

Sometimes the only way the innocent accident victim can receive fair treatment is when she or he is willing to fight. Don’t believe everything you are told. Check it out. Talk to a competent trial attorney before giving a written or recorded statement to the other driver’s insurance company.

Don’t settle your own claim without first talking with an experienced trial attorney who knows how to work with insurance adjusters.

The materials on this website are provided for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. These materials are intended, but not promised or guaranteed to be current, complete, or up-to-date and should in no way be taken as an indication of future results. Transmission of the information is not intended to create, and the receipt does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship between sender and receiver. The newsletters and articles on this website are offered only for general informational and educational purposes. They are not offered as and do not constitute legal advice or legal opinions. You should not act or rely on any information contained in this website without first seeking the advice of an attorney.