Albuquerque Personal Injury FAQs
Why Do I Need a Lawyer?
Why Do I Need a Lawyer?
If you have been involved in a serious accident and sustained significant injuries, you need to consult with a personal injury attorney to understand your legal options. After a serious injury accident, you will need to file a claim and deal with the insurance adjusters. The insurance company will try to minimize the amount it pays out in claims to protect its profit margin. It may deny your claim or offer a settlement that is a fraction of the fair value of the claim. A lawyer will help you understand your legal rights and whether you have a valid personal injury lawsuit.
A lawyer can collect evidence to strengthen your claim and negotiate on your behalf with the insurance company representing the at-fault party. A lawyer can push back if an insurer tries to deny your claim or take advantage of you. If the case goes to trial, an experienced personal injury attorney will know how to present your case to jurors to increase your chances of a favorable jury verdict.
Attorney Bert Parnall is a fighter. He and his legal team will fight for your legal rights if you have been injured in an accident due to the negligence of someone else in Albuquerque or anywhere in Central New Mexico.
An experienced personal injury lawyer brings a knowledgeable perspective to the process of negotiating with insurers and settling an injury claim. Based on years of experience handling similar claims, an attorney will have a sense of the fair value of your injury claim. Most accident victims are uncertain what their claim is worth. An attorney will analyze the facts of your case and provide guidance about whether an insurer’s settlement offer is reasonable based on the specifics of your case. If you have never dealt with a claim before, it may be difficult for you to know whether an offer is fair on your own.
The insurance company will have lawyers advising its staff during the settlement process. Having an attorney on your side and looking out for your interests evens the playing field. Insurance companies want to avoid going to court. The insurance company may agree to a higher settlement in order to avoid litigation if you have a lawyer advocating for you. If you do not have legal representation, you will be at a disadvantage in dealing with the insurance company.
You want a lawyer that has years of experience handling cases similar to your case and has a record of verdicts and settlements. Ask the lawyer what percentage of his or her practice involves the practice area that applies to your case. You want an established lawyer who knows the local court system and has the resources and determination to pursue your case to completion.
You want a lawyer with whom you feel comfortable communicating and sharing information. You want a lawyer who will listen to your questions and concerns and offer informative answers. You want a lawyer who will be accessible when you have questions and keep you informed of the status of your case.
You want a lawyer that has good references.
Steer clear of any attorney who promises or guarantees you a settlement or a certain outcome. No lawyer can ethically guarantee a certain result in a case.
To find an attorney, you may ask your friends, relatives or co-workers to recommend a lawyer who they have used. You can also schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with an attorney at Parnall Law to get an understanding of your legal options. The consultation will help you clarify your legal options at no charge whether you decide to work with our law firm.
The most common reason to hire a personal injury lawyer is to provide representation after a car crash caused by someone else that resulted in serious injuries. The law allows people who are harmed by others’ negligence to seek compensation. That is an adversarial process. It is helpful to have an experienced injury attorney standing up for you when dealing with an insurance company representing the at-fault party. The insurance company may dismiss or delay your claim if you do not have a personal injury lawyer representing you.
Other reasons to hire a personal injury lawyer include pursuing compensation for injuries caused by unsafe conditions at someone else’s property or to protect a loved one in a nursing home if you suspect your loved one is being subjected to neglect or abuse.
In many instances, people who need legal guidance may have questions about a troubling situation and need a personal injury attorney to investigate the matter and find answers.
Bert Parnall and the team at Parnall Law are available to answer your questions and discuss your legal needs during a free and confidential consultation. The attorneys at Parnall Law have helped thousands of accident victims obtain proper compensation and move forward with their lives.
How Much Will My Case Cost?
How Much will My Case Cost?
Our personal injury attorneys handle cases on a contingency fee basis. We understand that if you have been seriously injured and out of work, you may be experiencing financial stress. It’s difficult for most people, particularly those who are injured and unable to work, to come up with money to hire an attorney. Recognizing this situation, our attorneys at Parnall Law Firm handle cases on a contingency fee basis with no upfront costs for the client.
If we agree to handle your case, you will be presented with a written fee agreement showing the fee you can expect to be charged if we are successful. We do not charge anything to start work on your case. We only get paid an attorney’s fee if we win your case and obtain compensation for you. Then we receive a portion of the award to cover our legal fee and expenses. The fee is a percentage of the amount recovered through an insurance settlement or jury award.
It’s difficult to generalize about what a case will cost. The fact is that every personal injury case has factors that affect the length of time it will take to resolve and the cost. Every case is unique in some respects. Our attorneys at Parnall Law Firm are available to review the details of your accident and discuss your legal options. Contact Parnall Law Firm for a free consultation.
There are a number of different costs associated with a personal injury case. They include:
Attorney’s Fee — Most people would be unable to afford to retain an experienced personal injury attorney on an hourly basis to pursue an injury claim. The attorneys at Parnall Law Firm handle personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis. A contingency fee arrangement allows accident victims to retain experienced legal representation without having to pay for an attorney out of pocket. Personal injury attorneys typically take roughly a third of any amount obtained in a settlement or jury award as payment of the attorney fee. The percentage may vary depending on the stage at which the case is concluded. The exact percentages and terms are spelled out in a written fee agreement that is reviewed and signed by the client and the attorney to avoid any misunderstandings at the conclusion of a case.
Court Filing Fees — Courts in New Mexico charge a filing fee to file a civil lawsuit, including a process fee to serve a lawsuit and a fee for a jury trial. These expenses are advanced by the attorney, then subtracted from the amount of settlement or court award.
Administrative Expenses — There are a number of miscellaneous expenses typically incurred, such as hiring a court report to take a deposition, making copies of transcripts, getting copies of medical records and gathering other documents.
Expert Witness Fees — The cost of hiring expert witnesses can be a major expense in a personal injury lawsuit. To build a strong case, your attorney may need to hire physicians as medical experts to testify about your injuries and medical treatment and traffic accident reconstructionist and product safety engineers to analyze how your car accident occurred.
The costs of court filing fees, conducting depositions, hiring expert witnesses and paying for any travel expenses are typically paid up front by the law firm, then deducted from the final settlement or jury award.
If you are seriously injured in an Albuquerque car accident due to another driver’s carelessness or negligence and have sizable medical bills, you need to consult with an experienced personal injury.
Parnall Law will review your case at no charge and explain your legal options. If we handle your case, we will take the case on the contingency fee basis. You will not owe a legal free unless we obtain money for you.
We will collect evidence and present a demand letter to the insurance company representing the at-fault driver. If the insurance company responds favorably and your car accident case is settled out of court for $70,000, for example, then the expenses are deducted. Let’s say the case involves $10,000 in expenses. That leaves a balance of $60,000. The attorney’s fee would be a third of the remaining amount or $20,000. You would receive a check for $40,000.
Many injury claims are resolved without going to trial. Our attorneys at Parnall Law Firm are skilled negotiators and will try to negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company and avoid the expense and uncertainty of a trial. However, if the insurance company refuses to agree to a reasonable settlement, it may be necessary to go to court to seek justice.
Taking your case to court typically involves more expenses than settling the case out of court.
Gathering evidence and preparing for a trial will incur certain kinds of expenses including court filing fees, the cost of depositions, investigation costs, administrative costs, hiring expert witnesses, travel expenses for expert witnesses and preparing trial exhibits. These expenses can be significant in a complex personal injury case.
Parnall Law Firm will advance the cost of the expenses. The expense will then be subtracted from the final settlement or jury award at the end of the case.
How Much is My Case Worth?
How Much is My Case Worth?
People who contact attorney Bert Parnall and his legal team after serious injury accidents often have questions about how much their case might be worth and the factors that affect the value of the case. We have put together some answers to frequently asked questions about the types of damages that are typically sought in personal injury claims.
Every case has unique factors that affect the value. To have our attorneys review your claims and discuss the determining factors in your case, contact Parnall Law Firm for a free consultation.
In the broadest sense, the amount that your personal injury case is worth depends on numerous factors including how the accident occurred, how many parties were at fault, the severity of your injuries and the insurance policies available to provide compensation. Each case has factors that make it unique. The damages you may seek will be the sum of all expenses and losses that you have incurred. The most significant factors in determining how much your case is worth will be the extent of your medical bills, income loss, and other expenses, along with the pain and suffering you have experienced. Another important factor is how or why the accident happened, and whether the at-fault party was acting recklessly or intentionally, or merely negligently.
Many personal injury claims are settled without a trial. A lawyer can gather evidence to support your claim and negotiate on your behalf with the insurance company of the at-fault party for a full settlement. An experienced personal injury lawyer will know how to present your case to increase your chances of a more substantial settlement or jury award. A lawyer can also help keep you from falling into traps set by insurance companies. In essence, it’s about experience. The average person has likely never filed an injury claim. A personal injury lawyer has, and as a result, they know what needs to be done to increase the amount of compensation you receive. If you try to negotiate with an insurance company on your own, you will be at a disadvantage because the insurance adjusters will be getting guidance from lawyers.
In calculating how much to offer an accident victim for pain and suffering, insurance adjusters will typically take one of two approaches. One approach is to use a multiplier based on how much they think you are suffering and multiply your economic damages by that amount to arrive at an amount for pain and suffering.
Alternately, the insurance adjuster may assign a ‘per diem’ amount to pay for each day from the date of the accident to the time when you have fully recovered. Either way, the insurance company is likely to discount your pain and suffering and make a low offer to protect their bottom line. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you seek a settlement that represents the full extent of your pain and suffering.
There are a number of pitfalls that any personal injury victim should avoid during their claims process. One of the best things you can do to protect the value of your claim is to avoid writing comments about your accident on social media. It is best to avoid social media as much as possible, because if you appear to be doing well physically and emotionally, the insurance company can point to this as evidence that you are not suffering and therefore pay you less in economic damages. Another important thing to do is to keep all receipts related to your injury and recovery so that you don’t lose evidence of any of the economic costs you have incurred.
If your personal injury claim is successful, your jury award will be made up of two parts: economic damages and non-economic damages. The amount of economic damages that you may claim include the total costs you have incurred or expect to incur, such as medical bills, expected future medical charges, lost wages, lost earning capacity, loss of household services, and car repairs. Noneconomic damages are for physical pain and suffering, mental anguish and loss of enjoyment of life related to the injury.
The simplest way to calculate a reasonable settlement is to add up your economic damages. First, look at medical bills, car repair bills, and other receipts to add up all the money you have paid because of your injury. This can include expenses you might not think of, such as transportation to and from the hospital. If you expect to have ongoing medical expenses related to the injury, these costs should be included as well. Add this to the amount of wages you have lost by taking time off work to recover and the amount of any vacation or sick leave you had to use. The sum is your economic damages.
Next, try to make a realistic assessment of your pain and suffering on a scale of 1 to 5. Multiply the economic damages by this number. This is an estimate of your noneconomic damages. Add your economic and noneconomic damages together for an estimate of your settlement.
Punitive damages are intended to punish certain types of intolerable behavior that causes injuries or deaths. New Mexico does not have a limit on punitive damages. But you can only seek punitive damages if the person responsible for your injury did something intentional or grossly negligent that showed a reckless disregard for the health or safety of others. A New Mexico civil jury deciding a personal injury case may award punitive damages in cases where the conduct of the at-fault party was malicious, intentional, wanton or fraudulent.
Medical expenses are a fairly standard part of any personal injury settlement, but you will need proper documentation to get everything covered. Make sure to save every bill, payment receipt, and other records you get from your doctor after your injury.
If your doctor does not offer to provide you with documentation of your visits, ask for it. You will have to show all your bills to the insurance company to get them covered. If you are missing any billing statements, contact your doctor’s office to get a copy. Remember that the insurance company wants to protect its bottom line, so it will not agree to reimburse you for anything unless it has hard proof that you paid.
How Long Until I Settle My Case?
How Long Until I Settle My Case?
If you have been injured and are considering whether to file a personal injury lawsuit, you may have questions about how long the case will take to resolve and how quickly you may get compensation for your injuries. That can be a pressing question, particularly if you cannot work and are experiencing financial stress after a car accident or other personal injury accident.
People who contact Parnall Law frequently ask how long it will take to negotiate a settlement of their personal injury claim. Insurance companies will press for a quick settlement and try to pay you much less than you deserve. Attorney Bert Parnall and the legal team at Parnall Law have helped thousands of people in Albuquerque and Central New Mexico negotiate fair settlements of their injury claims. Over the decades, Parnall Law has obtained more than $40 million for clients through settlements and jury awards. Our goal is to pursue full compensation to help our clients move forward with their lives.
An attorney at Parnall Law is available to review the details of your accident and answer your questions. Each case has unique factors that affect how long it will take to resolve.
Bert Parnall and the injury attorneys at Parnall Law are successful in settling most cases that we handle. But the length of time a case takes to settle may vary considerably depending on a number of factors, including the severity of the injuries and the medical care required, the complexity of the investigation, whether the facts are in dispute and the willingness of the opposing insurance company to settle.
If the liability is not in question, the cases may settle within a few months without a lawsuit. But complex injury cases in which the facts are in dispute and the stakes are high may take several years to settle. Just because your relative received a settlement check in three months does not mean that your case can be resolved that quickly.
- Medical Treatment The severity of your injuries and the length of the medical treatment affect how long it will take to settle an injury claim. It is important that you receive all the medical care necessary and have a clear understanding of any future medical care needed before entering a settlement agreement. If you receive a settlement check from the insurance company and then incur additional medical costs, you cannot go back to the insurance company and ask for more money. You need to have a clear picture of your medical expenses related to the injury.
- Preparing the Demand Letter An attorney at Parnall Law will gather your medical records, medical bills and income statements to prepare a demand letter reflecting the full extent of your injuries and the impact of the injury on your life. It often takes four weeks to six weeks to obtain your medical bills. Depending on how quickly the hospital and doctors respond to our request, sometimes gathering the records takes longer. Generally, a draft demand letter with accompanying documents can be put together in eight to 10 weeks. We’ll meet with you to review the letter and seek your authorization to negotiate on your behalf. Submitting the demand letter to the insurance company or companies sets the stage for the start of settlement negotiations. It typically takes 30 days to receive a reply from the insurance company to the demand letter. We will attempt to start initial negotiations to settle the claim. The negotiations may take 30 to 90 days or longer. Sometimes, clients ask, “Why are the negotiations taking so long?” If we try to rush the negotiations process at this point, it may adversely affect the amount of the settlement. If we cannot reach a reasonable settlement with the insurance company, we will discuss litigation with you.
- Litigation If a personal injury lawsuit is filed, the defendant named in the lawsuit has a certain amount of time to respond.
- Discovery Process After you file a personal injury lawsuit, it is normal for each side to conduct discovery to find out more about the other side’s case. The defense attorneys will send written questions about your accident and injuries. We will try to provide complete answers to the questions and we will then have you review the drafts and add any additional information. After the written discovery, you will appear at a specific time and place to be questioned by the opposing counsel and provide testimony under oath. Your attorney will help you prepare for the deposition and be present during the questioning. Injury cases typically do not settle until after the deposition of the key parties in the lawsuit.
- Trial While most car accident injury cases are settled, some proceed to trial. If the opposing insurance company refuses to agree to a reasonable settlement we will be ready to proceed to trial and present your case to a New Mexico jury. Sometimes, an insurance company will not focus on settling a case until the trial. The two sides may reach a compromise and settle a case on the eve of the trial or during the trial. A case can be settled at any point during a trial until the jury returns a verdict.
The bottom line is that multiple factors affect how long a case will take to settle. Anyone who tells you your car accident claim or personal injury case can be settled in a certain amount of time or for a certain amount of money should be viewed with skepticism. Lawsuit settlement negotiations are unpredictable.