Have you or a loved one been hurt and have questions? Check out these 4 personal injury questions for guidance, then give our office a call.
1. What is the role of an expert witness in my personal injury case?
Recently, someone from South Carolina called my office and wanted to know what an expert witness was. The reason was they had been talking to an insurance adjuster, and the insurance adjuster told them they didn’t have enough evidence so that the insurance company would consider certain aspects about their claim. The insurance company said, “We need a doctor’s opinion.”
An expert witness is someone that, in a court of law, a judge will allow to give opinion evidence. This means that, say, a doctor can be someone that can use their training and their experience to not only give facts about treating their patient, but they can also give opinions about a diagnosis, the course of a disease, or the course of an injury. A judge is not going to allow anyone to do that. A judge is only going to allow someone who has special training, experience, and maybe taken tests and certifications to give opinion evidence.
On the other hand, other types of witnesses are called fact witnesses. Those are witnesses that may have witnessed a collision, may have witnessed somebody fall, and they are allowed to testify about the facts that they saw. They are not allowed to give opinions unless they have sufficient information or training that a judge would consider them reliable to give an opinion. Most of the time, that requires training and specialization in order to give opinion evidence.
In order to persuade an insurance adjuster, sometimes you’re going to have to get an expert witness that can give opinion evidence that will overcome a defendant’s, insurance company’s, or corporation’s resistance to paying your claim. When an insurance adjuster tells you that they don’t think you can meet the burden of proof in your case, they’re usually saying that knowing that you don’t have an expert witness to meet the burden of proof. When you get in this situation, you need to talk with an experienced South Carolina attorney who knows how to bring cases and knows how to utilize expert witnesses to win your case.
When you need an expert witness, you need to talk with an attorney. Our office routinely deals with expert witnesses, routinely speaks with expert witnesses, and presents them before the courts in South Carolina. Call our office and we will assist you with your case. We will help you figure out what expert witnesses you need and how to use them. Call our office. We’re here to help.
2. Can I avoid trial for my personal injury case?
Recently someone called me from Chesterfield and wanted to know, “Do I have to go to trial to get a fair settlement? I’ve been through a lot. I’m tired of waiting. My spouse has been through a lot. My family’s been through a lot. On the other hand, we’ve been severely damaged, and we can’t just settle for anything, so we’re torn. We really don’t want to have to go before a jury, but we don’t want to just give up and give our case away. What can I do?”
Well, we understand that because we’ve been through it with many, many other clients. What you have to do in this situation is you have to plan for the worst and hope for the best. The way you do that is you have to prepare your case for trial, and you have to let the insurance company you are suing know that they’re not going to be able to ambush you at trial. You have to let them know that, even though you’ve been through a lot, you’re not going to give away your power. We have to do some hard work, and we have to just keep fighting, so that we can get your case to a point where we can go and talk to the other side about settlement. When we do so, however, we need to know that we’re not giving our power up because we’ve prepared enough so that they know that. Only at that point can you really talk about settling your case but, at the same time, not giving up your power and not just simply giving your case away.
Call our office. Let us sit down and listen to your concerns, but also be willing to listen to us, so that you can ultimately get what you want – a settlement that reflects what you’ve been through, what your family has been through – but at the same time preparing for your case so that you just don’t give away the farm, so to speak, because, unfortunately, to win a case, you’re going to have to do some hard work. Even though it wasn’t your fault, you still have to do some hard work and you need an attorney that’s willing to do the hard work. That’s what it’s going to take. We hear your concerns. We’ll try to reconcile everything, and we’ll try to do that by not giving our power away. That’s the key to achieving a settlement that one can be happy with or at least live with. We cannot give our power away.
3. Will my personal injury case go to trial?
Recently, someone called me from South Carolina and wanted to know if their case was going to have to go to trial. We explained to them that that’s a complicated question, but we’re going to explain it to them and break it down so that it’s simple to understand. The way to make it simple is to say this. When we see a serious personal injury case, we plan for the worst and hope for the best. What that means, in terms of a personal injury case, is that we prepare your case for trial. We work very hard to do all of the things that need to be done so that the insurance company and the corporation that we’re going to have to go up against understands that they cannot ambush you by taking your case to trial.
When they understand that and see that you’re willing to work hard, and you’ve hired an attorney that’s willing to work hard, they start reconsidering taking your case to trial. They say to themselves, “Hmm, we can’t ambush this person with a trial. They’re going to be ready. In fact, they may get more money than we really can afford to pay. Maybe we need to settle this case and go to another case where that person isn’t willing to take their case to trial and isn’t willing to do the hard work.” What happens is, by seeing us work really hard to prepare the case for trial, which is preparing for the worst, the best outcome actually happens. We get a situation where we can get a settlement that truly reflects what you’ve been through without having to go to trial.
4. How long will it take to resolve my personal injury claim?
Recently, someone called me from South Carolina who had been very seriously injured. They were feeling the stress of not being able to work, and they wanted to know, “How quickly can we settle the case?” There are a lot of considerations that go into settling a personal injury case. One of the first considerations is the current state of your health. Have your doctors finished treating you? Are your doctors telling you that you need another surgery, or that you may need two more surgeries? How are the doctors assessing you?
In order to settle your case, you need information from your doctors to determine what your case is really going to be about. If you’re going to have to have surgery, but you settle your case, then you’re not going to have a settlement that reflects the fact that you’ve gone through more surgery. What does that mean? That means when you have that surgery you may get to a point where you absolutely can’t go forward without it, guess who’s going to have to pay for that? You’re going to have to pay for it, because your case has already been settled and you can’t reopen your case.
Defendants and insurance companies aren’t going to settle a case without requiring you to sign a release that ends the case forever. Thus, you have to know what your doctors are saying before you can settle a case, yet we all know people heal at certain rates. Some people heal faster than others, other people take longer to heal. You know what kind of person you are, so the length of your case is tied to how long it’s going to take for your injuries to heal.
Second, it’s going to depend on what kind of preparation is going to be needed in the case. If you have serious injuries and you’ve consulted with an attorney, the attorney is going to need time to develop your case after the doctors finish doing their job. That can mean going before a focus group and asking people from all walks of life that could be on a jury what they think about your case. That means, when the attorney does that, the attorney needs to know what the doctors have concluded about your medical prognosis.
These are reasons that a case can take a long time. When you go to an attorney, people will say, “If you go to an attorney, it’s going to take a long time.” Well, attorneys are going to be thorough with a case. If you have serious, serious injuries that might cause surgeries down the road, you need to know what can happen down the road and you need an attorney to help you assess your damages. That’s the reason it can take a long time to settle a case.
If you need someone to assess your case and answer more questions, call our law firm and we will assist in assessing the case and telling you the real truth about your case in terms of how long it’s going to take.
Were you or a loved one severely injured by a negligent person in South Carolina and have questions? After reading these 4 personal injury questions, contact experienced South Carolina personal injury lawyer H. Bright Lindler today for a free consultation and case evaluation.
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