Personal Injury Claims with a Preexisting Injury

Personal Injury Claims with a Preexisting Injury

Honesty is the best policy regarding preexisting injuries

Obviously, it is not uncommon to have a preexisting injury. Whether you were hurt at work in a prior car accident, injuries happen. A mistake many car accident victims make is not disclosing prior injuries to their attorney. Often, they feel they are not relevant. Even if your old injury is completely healed, it is critical you make your attorney aware. The at-fault insurance agency may have access to your medical records, and they will use anything they can against you. Your attorney needs to understand how past injuries could impact your new claim.

Pre-Existing Conditions We Often See

Car accident victims who have been injured in the past should not be expected to be responsible for their medical due to their medical history. Here are a few common preexisting injuries we run into:

  • Work-related accidents involving repetitive motion or a fall
  • Fractured bones
  • Prior surgeries
  • Neck pain, back pain, disc herniation, or vertebral fracture
  • Nerve damage

Insurance Agencies Are Not Your Ally

Insurance carriers won’t hesitate to use your medical history against you. Insurers can possibly say that your prior injuries lower the total value of your claim. They are likely to make a low-ball settlement offer, which will not fully cover your losses.

Insurance carriers are not in the business of paying out money. They won’t think twice about using your medical history against you. If they feel they can lower the payout or not pay at all due to your prior injuries, they absolutely will.

Our experienced team auto accident attorney’s has dealt with this many times and is adept at getting you the most compensation possible. Do not go it alone, you need an ally in your corner or you’re likely to get a low-ball settlement which may not fully cover your losses.

Get Medical Attention

After a car accident, the first thing you need to do is seek medical treatment. Your injuries might seem serious at the time but without medical treatment, you’ll have little evidence your injuries are new. It’s important if you refuse an ambulance or do not visit the ER, that you see your doctor ASAP. For your losses to be covered and your medical record must show a direct correlation between your current injuries and your accident.

Our Team is Here to Help

Knowing that you need legal advice early for your case is a big step. Injured victims should search for a personal injury law firm with extensive experience handling Birmingham auto accident claims.To receive maximum potential compensation for these injuries and for aggravation of prior medical conditions, contact an experienced Birmingham personal injury attorney at Pittman, Dutton & Hellums. For a Free Case Evaluation, please contact us today.

Question You Need To Ask Before Hiring a Personal Injury Firm

Question You Need To Ask Before Hiring a Personal Injury Firm

If you’re one of the more than 39.5 million people who require medical attention after an injury every year, you may be considering talking with an attorney. A reputable firm will offer a free case evaluation and explain to you whether your case has merit or not. You’ll also have a chance to get to know your attorney(s) and determine if you are a good fit for one another before the work begins. If you’ve been hurt in an accident you may benefit from representation if:

  • The negligence of another party or parties caused your accident
  • The injury you experienced was serious, resulting in substantial medical attention and costs
  • You have had to miss time off work due to your injury
  • You have evidence that helps a potential personal injury case

Not all of these factors are required in order for a personal injury claim to be successful. That’s why talking with a personal injury attorney can help, regardless of the trajectory, your case ends up going on.

You may choose to speak with several personal injury lawyers before deciding to hire one for your case. The more details of your case you can present to each attorney you consult with, the better that attorney will be able to gauge whether or not they can help you. If you decide to consult with an attorney to see what can be offered to you, here are some questions to ask to help you feel more confident in any decision you make.

Have You Handled Cases Like Mine?

Some personal injury lawyers specialize in a certain type of injury law, while others have more diverse experience. Ask about outcomes of cases that are similar to yours and how confident the attorney feels about your case’s circumstances. Ask about experience regarding both the circumstances of the accident as well as the type of injury you have sustained.

May I Contact Some of Your Past Clients?

Being able to talk to a personal injury victim who has gone through a case like yours is an understandable request that many personal injury attorneys receive. The lawyer you’re talking with may be able to refer you to past clients who have had similar cases, so you can get a better understanding of how your case might play out.

Who Will Work on My Case?

Sometimes, the lawyer you talk to during the consultation will not actually be the person who does the majority of work on your case. Some law firms have giant teams, and an intern or inexperienced lawyer may be the one working on your case. Other times, the lawyer will rarely be available to speak with clients directly. If this concerns you, ask about what kind of responsibility for your case and communication you can expect during your consultation.

What Percentage of Your Cases Are Referrals?

The answer to this question can clue you into how experienced the lawyer is and how respected the lawyer is in the law community. Though a low answer is not necessarily negative, a high percentage of referrals is a good sign that the lawyer is one who is regarded highly.

What Is Your Trial Experience Like?

Many personal injury lawsuits make their way to court, where the case may have to be tried in front of a judge and jury. The personal injury attorney you hire should be confident with representing you in court and with bringing your case to trial.

How Much Do You Think My Settlement Is Worth?

Answers to these questions can clue you into the attorney’s confidence with your case and the potential settlement amount you may be entitled to. Don’t be wary of lower estimates. These aren’t necessarily negative if the lawyers giving them are more competent in how they can win your case.

How Do You Charge?

How much you pay your personal injury attorney will likely be a concern. Some personal injury lawyers will only require payment if they win the case this is called contingency. They may take a percentage of whatever the settlement is, and this percentage can vary. Depending on your comfort level and the expertise of the attorney, you may decide that a higher-percentage fee is acceptable because you believe that attorney can win your case.

Contact PDH Today For a Free Case Evaluation

Our attorneys are here to help. If you or a loved one has been injured due to the negligence of others give us a call today!

Signs You Need An Injury Lawyer

Signs You Need An Injury Lawyer

f you’ve been seriously injured, you know that it can be a stressful and complicated experience. Inevitably, you’ll be dealing with medical appointments and the bills that come with them, possible time missed from work, pain, suffering and the possibility that returning to “normal” life is never an option again.

Personal injuries are common. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports there are 92.2 million physician office visits for injuries a year and 41.6 million trips to emergency departments for injuries. When your injury was caused by someone else’s negligence, another consideration must be addressed: whether or not you should file a lawsuit.

A personal injury lawyer can help you obtain compensation for the wrongful acts of others. A Birmingham personal injury law firm like PDH will offer a free consultation, so you can see if a case is worth pursuing. Here are five signs you should, at the very least, get a consultation because you may have a viable personal injury claim.

1. Your Injuries Are Serious

What is considered a serious injury? If you have gone through any of the following, you’ve experienced a serious injury.

  • You had to receive emergency treatment
  • You stayed at a hospital
  • Your injury required more than one doctor’s visit to treat
  • Your injury resulted in long-term disability, loss of a limb, etc.
  • Your injury will require some kind of treatment for the rest of your life

If your injury was caused by the negligence of another person, it’s time to contact an attorney.

2. There is Evidence to Support Your Claim

Evidence is a critical component for successful serious personal injury cases. The types of evidence that can be beneficial in a personal injury case include:

  • A negligent driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol when they caused a car accident
  • A product was defective, whether it was an exploding phone that blew up in your face or an airbag that failed to deploy
  • After the accident that caused a personal injury, you took photos or videos that show factors that can help prove negligence

The statements from witnesses of the accident are extremely helpful. It is crucial to file a police report after an accident resulting in personal injury. The police report will record all of the details and can be used for your case.

3. The Insurance Companies Are Less Than Helpful

Insurance companies are often difficult to deal with. They may offer you a low-ball settlement or may deny your claim altogether. Insurance companies are in business to make money, not to help victims. If the insurance company offers you a low offer, is unresponsive or denies your claim, an attorney can help.

Ideally, you should contact a personal injury law firm before contacting the at fault parties insurance company. Many times insurance companies will bombard a victim with questions in an attempt to trick them into misstating facts about the accident or even admitting erroneously admitting fault. Personal injury lawyers are adept in dealing with insurance companies, can help negotiate your settlement and prevent you from incriminating yourself.

4. Expert Witnesses Are Necessary

Testimony from expert witnesses can help some personal injury cases. For example, some types of personal injuries occur due to medical malpractice, when a physician’s negligence causes serious injuries that may be life-threatening. In cases like these, a medical expert witness can provide expert testimony that helps explain why the physician was negligent.

When you’re facing someone who caused your injury, but you’re unable to fully understand or explain why a personal injury lawyer who is experienced in cases like yours will be able to call on the right witness connections to help your case.

5. Multiple Parties Are Involved

When you’re dealing with more than one party in a personal injury case, like a car accident with multiple drivers, for example, everyone’s liability may be called into question by various parties. These types of cases may make liability unclear and will mean that gathering witness statements, evidence and possibly expert witness testimony is necessary.

To protect yourself from being accused of being negligent by other parties, when you’re really not to blame, and to go after the appropriate negligent party, you can work with a personal injury lawyer. Personal injury lawyers have experience in cases with multiple parties and will work in your best interest.

Contingency Fees Protect Your Finances

Pittman, Dutton & Hellums works on a contingency basis. This means our law firm will only take on a personal injury case they believe can be won. We’re only paid if your case wins, as well.

You have nothing to lose by contacting a personal injury lawyer for a consultation. The statute of limitation limits the time frame in which you can file a claim, so it’s best to contact one sooner than later.If you or a loved one has been in an accident our Birmingham accident attorneys will fight for your best interests and will take your case to trial if necessary, please PDH at (205) 322-8880.

What to Do When a Pedestrian Causes Your Car Accident

What to Do When a Pedestrian Causes Your Car Accident

Pedestrians usually have the right-of-way on roads, but there are several instances where a pedestrian could be the cause of a serious car accident you’re involved in. Such times include:

A pedestrian runs out into oncoming traffic where there is no crosswalk.

A pedestrian enters a crosswalk when there is a “do not walk” signal, not a “walk” signal.

A pedestrian crosses the road at an unmarked location, when there’s a crosswalk or working crossing signal close by.

A pedestrian crosses an intersection diagonally when there is no traffic control sign directing them to.

A pedestrian is intoxicated or under the influence of drugs while walking on a road.

A pedestrian is walking on the road even though there’s a sidewalk available to walk on.

Pedestrians pose a serious danger to themselves when they don’t follow traffic laws. In 2017, pedestrian fatalities reached a 25-year high, with nearly 6,000 pedestrians killed. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports there were nearly 130,000 pedestrians who received medical help in emergency rooms for non-fatal crash-related injuries in 2015. Alabama has the eighth-highest rate of pedestrian fatalities in the country. Most pedestrian deaths occur at night, in non-intersection locations and in urban areas.

When a motorist tries to avoid a pedestrian who is breaking the law, the driver could cause harm to themselves or another motorist, all in an attempt to avoid a pedestrian.

If you are involved in a car accident where the pedestrian caused the accident, you may be able to obtain compensation for your injuries, time missed off work, car repairs and more. Here’s what you should know about what to do when a pedestrian causes your car accident.

What to Do When a Pedestrian Causes Your Car AccidentAt the Accident Scene

Whether you hit a pedestrian or swerve to avoid one and end up causing a car accident, you must stay at the scene of the car accident and wait for police to arrive. If the pedestrian is attempting to flee, do not chase after them, because you’d be leaving the scene of the accident. There might be other parties who are potentially injured, as well.

Try to take a photo of the pedestrian immediately after the accident and observe identifying characteristics of the pedestrian, like height and clothes. Note the direction they are heading in, and call police immediately.

If there are other witnesses at the scene, such as motorists who have stopped at the accident, ask them to remain at the scene until police come so they can provide an account of what happened. At the very least, get their contact information in case your legal team needs to contact them in the future.

Be honest to police about what caused the accident. Carefully detail what the pedestrian was doing and how they contributed to the accident. Tell police where the pedestrian headed if they left.

If the pedestrian is still at the scene, get their full name, phone number, email address and insurance information. Take their photo, as well.

You should also document the scene of the accident. Shoot photos of your car and any other cars involved in the accident. Take photos of your injuries. Exchange insurance and contact information with the other driver(s). Make sure any other parties involved with the accident talk to police about their account of how the pedestrian caused the accident, too.

Get medical treatment. Your shock from the accident may lead you to believe you are injury-free, but there are many injuries that might not be immediately apparent that you may have experienced. You should get emergency treatment and go to a hospital if needed, or at the very least head to urgent care to get checked out. If you don’t do so and experience painful symptoms later, another party could claim that something other than the car accident caused your injury.

What to Do When a Pedestrian Causes Your Car AccidentAfter the Accident

If a pedestrian caused your car accident, you should consult with a Birmingham car accident attorney right away. It may be in your best interest to file a lawsuit against the pedestrian because their negligent behavior put you and the lives of other motorists in danger.

Create a binder where you store your evidence, medical files, a copy of the police report and documentation of your injury progression. An Alabama car accident lawyer who is versed in motorist rights and laws pedestrians must follow may be able to help you piece together a case that protects you and your finances in this distressing time.

Even though you were the one in the massive machine of a car, pedestrians must obey traffic laws that keep communities safe. Do not hesitate to contact Pittman, Dutton & Hellums for a free consultation on your case and how we may be able to help. Call (205) 322-8880, call or text (205) 322-8880, or contact us online for information.

What to Do After a Hit-and-Run Car Accident

What to Do After a Hit-and-Run Car Accident

When you’re in any type of car accident, you probably know the drill: stay at the scene, exchange insurance information, get contact details and license plate numbers, and in the case of an injury or death, call the police. Filing a police report in any car accident is a good idea, anyway, so that you have documentation about what exactly happened, since you might have injuries that aren’t immediately apparent.

Taking these steps after a car accident doesn’t just help to ensure you get the compensation you deserve from an insurance agency and provide you with helpful documents you’ll need if you decide to pursue a car accident claim. Doing so is also required by law. Drivers involved in accidents that result in injuries or death must:

Stop their vehicle as soon as it is safe to do so

Check on all drivers and passengers

Stay at the scene immediately after the accident occurs

Provide basic first aid and/or get emergency medical help for anyone in need

Call police and wait for them to arrive

Exchange information

Identify and talk to witnesses

Contact insurance companies

When a driver leaves the scene of a serious car accident, they’re now the offending party in a hit-and-run accident. Drivers might flee the scene of an accident for reasons including a lack of a driver’s license or insurance, the fact that they’re intoxicated, because they’re driving on a suspended license, or because the vehicle they’re driving is not theirs.

Fight the urge to chase after them, since that means you’re leaving the scene of the accident, as well. Here’s what to do when you’re a victim of a hit-and-run accident.

What to Do After a Hit-and-Run Car AccidentCall Police

Police have fast emergency vehicles and the means to piece together clues to find the person who hit you and ran. You should contact police so they can:

File a police report with your side of the story of how the accident happened

Talk to witnesses who may have seen what the other driver looked like or what the license plate number was, or who will be able to provide identifying details about the driver’s car and what happened during the accident

Match up any details that are provided with individuals or cars police have on file

A police report with this information will help you when you report the accident to your insurance company. In cases where the other vehicle or driver is identified, you can use the police report if you decide to file a lawsuit against the other driver.

If you leave the scene of the accident, too, you’ll also be breaking the law. It will be harder to capture details that can help your case after the fact, and police will wonder why you left.

Even if the damage to your vehicle is minor, you should still contact police. They will be able to tell you that the damage is too minor to report, and you can gather the officer’s name, phone number and badge number so you can provide that to your insurance company.

What to Do After a Hit-and-Run Car AccidentGather Witness Information

Police can gather witness information, but while you’re waiting for police to arrive, you should also get the names and contact information of all witnesses yourself, as well.

Some witnesses might want to leave the scene themselves. If a witness is going to leave, ask them to write down a statement of what happened during the accident and sign it. Your insurance company and/or Birmingham car accident attorney can contact them for more information.

Document the Scene

Again, in addition to getting a police report, gathering evidence is important. Shoot photos or videos of the damage to your vehicle and your injury. If you are able to snap a photo of the other vehicle before it speeds away, that might be helpful.

You should also write down everything you remember about the vehicle and keep those notes in addition to the police report.

Get Medical Treatment

As we’ve covered, when you don’t visit a doctor after a car accident, and it turns out you were injured, another party can claim that your injury was caused by something other than the car accident. You should get medical treatment so that you don’t exacerbate your injury and so that you get the medical coverage for your accident that you are entitled to.

Keep organized records of all medical treatments and how your injury progresses. These are vital documents should decide to file a car accident claim.

Contact a Car Accident Attorney If the Offender Is Found

If you receive word that the other driver in your accident has been located by police, consult with a car accident attorney about next steps. A motorist who is found guilty in a hit-and-run accident will likely need to pay for damages to the other party, which would be you, the victim.

If you’ve been involved in a hit-and-run accident and want to pursue legal action against a party that has been identified, contact the Pittman, Dutton & Hellums car accident attorney team for a free consultation.