Personal injury encompasses a variety of situations, which can make it confusing at times. Marcelo Torricos helped answer some questions concerning Personal Injury cases, which can help you know how to respond. View en español.
- What are the most common situations that would be included under this?
The primary cases that fall under personal injury would be car accidents, slip and falls and workplace injuries. In Greenville, we see a lot of dog bite cases too.
- When should you file a lawsuit instead of settling a case?
You can tell some cases cannot be settled right away. Sometimes, the limits on the insurance policy show that the insurance can’t cover all the damages. The only way to make up for the gap would be a lawsuit. If the policy appears to be able to cover everything, the decision depends on the insurance company’s willingness to negotiate. If they’re being cooperative and you’re having good dialogue with them, you want to continue that until it freezes up. At that point, if you aren’t satisfied with the negotiation, you should start seeking court action.
- What can Bannister, Wyatt and Stalvey offer to someone in a personal injury case that they wouldn’t have without an attorney?
Many people don’t understand what help is available to them, or what they need to submit to get help. At the most basic level, they need to know who specifically to talk to in the insurance company about their case. Lawyers can accomplish this task quicker than someone doing it on their own time. The convenience of having help is a big plus.
- One of the hardest areas to measure in a PERSONAL INJURY claim is pain and suffering. Do you have any recommendations about how to accurately quantify this area?
It changes as you go from county to county. A good rule of thumb for measuring that is multiplying the amount of the damages by four or five to estimate your pain and suffering amount. Greenville is one of the most conservative counties when it comes to giving rewards, so it may be more like three times the amount. Also, these amounts are just for cases that have gone to court and not settled.
- What are the advantages to lawsuits settling before reaching trial?
Time. Time is one of the big advantages to settling out of court. Cases that go to trial can last for years. Going to trial is also risky because it’s possible to lose the case and leave court without any money – plus you’ll owe a large legal fee.
- If someone comes to you for help with a personal injury case caused by a car accident, what does the process look like?
The very first thing to do is file a claim with the liable carrier’s insurance company. About a month afterwards, I would make a request for the medical records and bills. After reviewing the records, I would present the numbers to the insurance companies. At the same time, I contact all of the medical providers that have been involved, so they know their money is coming as soon as you receive payment from insurance company. I also try to negotiate the bills down and the insurance payment up. As soon as you’re paid, I start paying off the medical bills. Then, the remaining money goes to you, the client. There’s a lot of organization and contacting people involved, but your lawyer takes care of all of that for you. Know that if you don’t hear from your lawyer every day, it doesn’t mean he isn’t working on your case. He is likely waiting on the right files to get to him.
- Have you noticed a common mistake that many people involved in a Personal Injury case make?
Yes. Sometimes right after something like a car accident happens, the innocent party will be so shaken up that they’ll come out the car apologizing, even if it wasn’t their fault. This apology creates a condemning image. Even if security cameras show that they aren’t at fault, the fact that they apologized can never be erased and can cause problems.