Frequently Asked Questions
If you have not hired a personal injury attorney before, you probably have some questions. Here are a few that we are frequently asked:
If I'm injured in an accident, what should I do first?
If you refused medical care at the accident scene, you should see your family doctor as soon as possible for a complete check-up. Often, symptoms do not appear until a few days after the accident. Do not ignore pain or discomfort, hoping it will go away. That minor bump or bruise could turn out to be a far more serious injury requiring significant medical treatment.
When should I contact a lawyer?
Immediately. Do not talk with or give a statement to an insurance adjuster (even your own) until after you consult an experienced personal injury attorney. Waiting to contact a lawyer can seriously compromise your case. What you say in a brief conversation to a trained insurance adjuster can easily be distorted, misquoted or taken out of context and used against you. If you are hospitalized and unable to call an attorney, a family member or friend should do so. Call 1-888-888-0005 or email Morgenstern@InjuryLawOnly.com for a free consultation. We can determine if you have a case very quickly and help protect your rights. We can meet with you or family members at the hospital or at your home.
Do I really need an attorney? Why can't I handle this on my own?
The goal of every insurance company is to pay you as little as possible. Insurance companies have significant resources to challenge your claim in order to maximize their profits. Their highly trained adjusters and attorneys work diligently to limit, deny, delay, or reduce your claim. This is all they do. By handling your own case, you risk forfeiting your rights and full compensation. An experienced personal injury attorney, however, can level the playing field and force insurance companies and their lawyers to be fair.
Will I get more money from my case if I use a lawyer?
Yes. The Insurance Research Council, an organization funded by the largest insurance companies, conducted a comprehensive study comparing the amount of money people with similar injuries receive in insurance settlements. The study concluded that, on average, a person represented by an attorney received almost three and a half times more money - even after subtracting attorney fees. Similarly, a study by Allstate Insurance Company concluded that accident victims represented by a lawyer recovered 2 to 3 times more money after attorney fees were paid than if they handled the claims themselves. The insurance adjusters know this and that is why they may try to settle your claim quickly before you talk to a lawyer.
Why should I call Morgenstern Injury Lawyers?
If you have a heart condition, you look to a cardiologist, not a brain surgeon. If you have been in injured in an auto accident, you want to consult a personal injury attorney who specializes in auto accidents. At Morgenstern Injury Lawyers, that’s all we do. We have over 30 years of experience handling auto accidents cases and have recovered millions on behalf of our clients. Washingtonian Magazine has repeatedly named Michael S. Morgenstern to its prestigious “Best Lawyers” listing; Martindale Hubbell has awarded our firm its highest rating – AV Preeminent – for 30 years; Super Lawyers has annually selected Michael Morgenstern as a DC Super Lawyer and Maryland Super Lawyer; Avvo rates our firm a perfect 10.0.
Your case will be personally handled by Michael Morgenstern from the beginning to the end. All calls and emails are returned within 24 hours.
How do I pay the lawyer?
You do not have to pay us anything up front. We charge what's called a contingency fee for our services. This means that our fee is a percentage of what we can recover for you. We are compensated only if we obtain a financial recovery for you. If we are unable to obtain any compensation for you, then there's no fee.
The accident wasn't my fault. Who's going to pay for damages caused to me and my car?
If you're not at fault, the other driver's insurance should pay or reimburse you for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, as well as for the damage to your car.
What if the other driver didn't have insurance?
Even if the driver who causes your injuries and losses has no liability insurance, your own automobile insurance policy usually provides a source of funds to compensate you for your losses. If you have collision coverage, it will pay to repair or replace your own vehicle. If you have uninsured (UM) or underinsured (UIM) motorist coverage, it will pay you when the negligent driver cannot. If you live with a family member who owns a vehicle with UM or UIM motorist coverage, you can usually make a claim against their policy without affecting the amount of their insurance premiums. As a client, these are all things that we can look into on your behalf.
How much is my case worth?
Every case is unique. There is no standard formula to calculate what a settlement payout or verdict may be. Determining what you can recover depends on three factors:
- Liability – establishing who’s at fault
- Damages - the type and extent of your injuries
- Source of collection - the amount of available insurance or assets from which damages can be recovered.
Other determining factors include:
- Past medical and future medical bills
- Lost wages and loss of earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
At Morgenstern Injury Lawyers, we will review and interpret your case information to determine what would be fair and adequate compensation for your injuries. Insurance companies are aware of our firm’s long reputation and experience in dealing with accident cases. They may try to pull the wool over the eyes of less experienced personal injury firms. They can’t do that with our firm.
How long will it take before I am paid for my injuries?
Again, every case is different and it depends on whether your claim settles or goes to trial. We work diligently in moving your case forward in a timely manner. To settle a case, we need to wait until you have completed all medical care and treatment. After gathering remaining medical bills and records, we prepare and submit a demand package to the insurance company, letting them know how much you are willing to accept to resolve your claim. If we do not receive an acceptable offer or a response within a reasonable time period we recommend filing a lawsuit.
What happens if I wait too long to make a claim?
If a lawsuit has not been properly started within the required time set by law, you lose your rights to make a claim for compensation for your injuries. This is one of the reasons you need to contact a personal injury lawyer immediately after your accident. Every decision you make in the aftermath of an accident can impact your future. We can help you protect your rights and get the fair recovery you deserve.
Please note that the above answers to these questions should not be construed as legal advice as all situations differ and you should always consult the advice of an attorney before making any decisions regarding injury claims or other legal matters referred to herein. These answers are intended to provide general information only.