Questions & Answers Personal Injury Q&A with the Lawyers of Wistow, Sheehan & Loveley, in Providence, Rhode Island
Question: What should I do if I've been injured?
Answer: If you or someone in your family has been injured, you should seek competent legal advice as soon as possible to see if you have a personal injury claim. There are many kinds of personal injuries, and the cause of an injury is not always clear. The lawyers at Wistow, Sheehan & Loveley have extensive experience in finding the cause of accidents and medical malpractice injuries. We can assist you in determining whether you have a valid claim and, if so, who is responsible and what compensation may be available for you. For more information about personal injury or medical malpractice, contact one of the lawyers at our firm in Providence, Rhode Island.
Question: How do you determine if I have a valid claim?
Answer: Our lawyers evaluate the medical records in a potential medical malpractice case and undertake research of medical literature, consulting with physicians in multiple specialties, as necessary, to determine (a) if there was a departure from required standards of medical care, and (b) whether the departures in fact caused the injury. Because the firm has investigated and litigated cases in numerous medical specialties, many potential claims involve areas of medical malpractice with which our lawyers are already familiar. In product liability or automobile accident cases, we may engage experts in engineering or accident reconstruction to help in determining the possible merits of a claim. To schedule a consultation regarding your product liability, auto accident, or medical malpractice case, contact the lawyers at Wistow, Sheehan & Loveley in Providence, Rhode Island.
Question: What if I am contacted by an insurance company?
Answer: If you have been injured, do not discuss your injury or the way it happened until you have consulted a lawyer. These statements might be incomplete or taken out of context and be harmful to your claim at a later date. Do not sign any papers or agree to any settlement, as this may affect your right to pursue your claim. Always seek competent legal advice first. At Wistow, Sheehan & Loveley, there is no charge for this consultation.
Question: Will there be a legal fee to evaluate my claim?
Answer: No. At Wistow, Sheehan & Loveley, we will meet with you to discuss your injury free of charge.
Question: How does Wistow, Sheehan & Loveley get paid?
Answer: In personal injury actions, Wistow, Sheehan & Loveley is paid no fee unless it is successful in obtaining compensation for you. Wistow, Sheehan & Loveley handles personal injury claims on a contingent fee basis. This means that the legal fee is a percentage of the amount recovered, and there is no fee due unless and until money is actually collected for you.
Question: What about expenses?
Answer: There are certain expenses, such as costs of medical records, court costs, and expert witness fees, involved in bringing a personal injury claim. Once Wistow, Sheehan & Loveley has evaluated your claim and determined it to be well founded, it will advance all litigation expenses. You do not pay these advanced expenses until the conclusion of the case, when money is recovered for your claim.
Question: How much of my time will this take?
Answer: Surprisingly, your claim will not require a great deal of your time. After the initial interview, Wistow, Sheehan & Loveley will do most of the work for you. In the typical personal injury case, you would be required to come to the office two or three times to answer written and oral questions about what happened to you. Aside from these questions, which are a routine part of the court process, very little of your time will be required.
Question: Will I have to go to court?
Answer: You will not have to go to court unless your case cannot be settled and must be tried. Because of the careful screening of meritorious cases undertaken by Wistow, Sheehan & Loveley, the vast majority of claims are settled before trial; however, because of the many factors involved, it is impossible to predict whether your particular case is one which will be settled or one which must be decided by a jury.
Question: Will I hurt the person I'm suing by bringing a personal injury claim?
Answer: Almost all personal injury claims are defended by insurance company lawyers and paid by insurance, so the person or corporation you sue will not have to pay any money out-of-pocket. A personal injury claim is a civil case, not a criminal case, and the defendant will not go to jail because of the claim.
Question: Is it ever too late to bring a claim?
Answer: It is important to consult a lawyer as soon as you are aware that you have been injured, because there are statutes of limitations that prohibit the bringing of old claims, and because it is easier to gather information about a recent injury. However, even if you were injured some time ago (and especially if the injured person is a minor or disabled from bringing an action on their own), you may still be able to bring a claim.
Question: Why should I bring a personal injury claim?
Answer: If you are injured through the fault of someone else, you are entitled by law to compensation for your injuries. This compensation is available not only for expenses you have already incurred, but for losses you will suffer in the future. If you or someone in your family is severely injured, this compensation can protect against changes in family situations, so that the injured person's future is secure. Also, by bringing a claim you may be able to prevent similar injury from happening to someone else.
Question: Do I still have a claim if my medical bills were paid by insurance?
Answer: Often. In many cases, you are entitled to compensation for your medical bills regardless of whether or not they have been paid. In addition, you may be entitled to compensation for many other aspects of your injury, such as lost earning capacity, scarring or disfigurement, future medical expenses, and pain and suffering.
Question: What is the value of my claim?
Answer: The value of your claim depends on a wide variety of factors, such as the severity and permanency of your injury, the amount of your medical expenses, the liability of the defendant, and whether the case is to be tried or settled. It is impossible to estimate the value of a claim until the case has been fully investigated from all aspects, and sometimes its valuation may fluctuate depending on developments during the course of the litigation. You should be wary of anyone who tries to tell you the value of your claim at an early stage. After we have completed a thorough investigation of your case, we are in a position to offer you our opinion as to the value of your claim. If the insurance company offers to settle your claim, we will discuss the proposed settlement with you, and give you our advice about whether to accept the amount offered. Of course, the ultimate decision to accept an insurance company's offer of settlement or to allow a jury to determine the value of your injuries is always up to you.
Question: If I have a claim, how long will it take?
Answer: The initial evaluation of a claim usually takes a month or so, except for medical malpractice claims, which may take three to six months. After a lawsuit is filed, the length of time depends on how crowded the court calendar is, and whether the insurance company is willing to settle the claim before trial. Most cases take between one and four years to complete. If you have further questions regarding your personal injury or medical malpractice claim, contact the lawyers at Wistow, Sheehan & Loveley in Providence, Rhode Island.