Questions and Answers
What if I want to make a claim for my injuries?
If the other driver was at fault, you may be entitled to compensation for your
personal injuries, pain and suffering, car damage and other expenses, such as lost wages
or the cost of a nurse needed after the accident. You should make a claim with the other driver's insurance company. But, if you are not satisfied with the amount they offer,
you may want to sue.
If you plan to sue, do not delay. There are time limits for filing various types
of claims - usually one year after the accident, but sometimes much less so act quickly.
Beginning in 1991, you can sue for $7,500 or less in small claims court. A lawyer
can't represent you in this court, but you can talk with one beforehand.
If you want to sue for a larger amount, you will need your own lawyer. An
insurance company lawyer cannot represent you if you are the person who is suing (the"plaintiff").
Many lawyers take auto accident cases on a contingent fee basis, which means you do not pay the lawyer if you lose the case. If you recover your damages, then you pay the lawyer a percentage
of the money you get. Most lawyers charge a smaller percentage if the case is settled
before the lawyer does all the work necessary to go to trial. If you and your lawyer
agree to a contingent fee, the lawyer must put the agreement in writing and give
you a signed copy. The contract should explain what percentage the lawyer will
get if you win and how it might vary. It should also state who will pay for any
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