Frequently Asked Questions
What is personal injury protection?
Personal Injury Protection is extra insurance provided under the Michigan No-Fault law. It’s paid out by the victim’s insurance company and is given whether or not you were at fault. PIP benefits typically cover medical and other associated costs after an auto accident, including:
- Doctor bills
- Lost wages
- Hospital stays
- Funeral expenses
How much should I ask for in a personal injury settlement?
So much is dependent on how your injury was caused, who caused it, and to what extent your injury has impaired your life. Recently, one of our clients was offered $30,000 by the insurance company for her auto accident. With assistance from Nolan & Shafer, she was awarded a jury verdict of $2.6 million. It’s important to talk with an experienced attorney that can ask the right questions and guide you through the process of getting everything you are owed. There is no standard answer and everything is dependent on the details on your case. At a minimum you should seek: medical expenses, wage loss, replacement services, attendant care services, mileage reimbursement, and in some cases quality of life damages if you have experienced serious impairment of body function, permanent and serious disfigurement, or you’re suing for the wrongful death of a loved one.
What counts as a personal injury?
You should speak with an attorney if the actions of another person resulted in medical expenses, wage loss, having to secure replacement services, having to hire attendant care services, and in some cases quality of life damages if you have experienced serious impairment of body function, permanent and serious disfigurement, or you’re suing for the wrongful death of a loved one.
Are personal injury settlements taxable?
It depends. If you received a settlement for lost wages, you will most likely need to pay income tax, just like you would have if you hadn’t been injured and had earned the income at your job.
If you claimed a deduction on your taxes for medical expenses and are then awarded damages in the amount of your medical expenses, the expense is eliminated and becomes income which is subject to income tax.
However, there are exceptions when it comes to personal injury settlements. CLICK HERE for an IRS breakdown of taxable and non-taxable personal injury settlements. Ultimately we recommend seeking the advice of an income tax professional,
How are personal injury settlements paid out?
Funds received from an insurance company or defendant are often deposited into a trust account. Once the funds have cleared, medical bills, liens, legal fees, and costs will have to be settled before you receive your portion of the settlement.
How long does a personal injury lawsuit take?
Every situation is different. Some cases can be settled in a few weeks. Other cases take a period of years. An experienced personal injury attorney will help you navigate the process.
Do I need a personal injury lawyer?
Absolutely. According to a survey by Lawyers.com, settlements or awards were $60,000 higher, on average, than those who were unrepresented. 91% of respondents who were represented by a personal injury attorney received damages, but only 51% of those who went unrepresented were awarded damages.
You can be sure the other side will have an attorney who will try to minimize your compensation. The other side may even try to make you feel like you were at fault. Being injured is enough of a burden without having to navigate the complexities of personal injury law. You deserve a personal injury lawyer who will stand up for you and ensure your case is treated fairly and properly.
Is it worth hiring a personal injury attorney?
Yes! According to a survey by Lawyers.com, respondents were much more likely to receive a settlement if they were represented by a personal injury attorney. Settlements and awards were, on average, $60,000 higher for those who were represented by a personal injury attorney.
Hiring a personal injury attorney will cost a portion of your compensation, however it also ensures you are getting everything you are owed. This often results in a higher level of compensation than if you were to take what is being offered by those that have a financial interest in minimizing what you are given. For example, one of our recent clients was offered $30,000 by the insurance company for her auto accident. After seeking assistance from Nolan & Shafer, she was awarded a jury verdict of $2.6 million.
If the other side considers it worth it to hire an attorney who will work to minimize your compensation, you should seek the advice of a personal injury attorney who will work to maximize your compensation.
What does a personal injury lawyer do?
A personal injury lawyer files paperwork with the court, collects evidence, works with expert witnesses, corresponds and negotiates with the opposition attorney, handles witness depositions, and more. In short, a personal injury lawyer fights on your behalf. Personal injury law is complex and a competent lawyer knows how to navigate the system. They also know the tricks attorneys use when trying to minimize your compensation, and know how to combat them. If you’ve been injured, you are dealing with pain, loss of work, among many other consequences of your injury. A personal injury attorney steps in to limit the legal damage to you and your compensation for your injuries.
How do I find a personal injury lawyer?
Look for an experienced attorney who specializes in personal injury and has been practicing in personal injury law for several years.
What is the average payout for a personal injury claim?
It’s difficult to know the average because many personal injury claims are settled out of court and are protected by a non-disclosure agreement. The largest jury verdict awarded to an auto-accident victim in Muskegon County was 2.6 million dollars. The victim was represented by Nolan & Shafer.
How does personal injury law work?
Personal Injury lawsuits are a type of civil law. They are a dispute between two individuals, as opposed to a criminal case where the government is deciding if an individual should be punished. Personal Injury claims fall under tort law. When a person does something, or fails to do something (for example, failing to stop at a red light) that causes harm to another person, that person has committed a tortious act. If you sustained injuries that resulted in medical expenses, wage loss, having to hire replacement services, or attendant care services, that person may have a legal liability to pay damages awarded in a personal injury lawsuit.
How much do personal injury lawyers charge?
The industry average is about ⅓ (33%) of the settlement or awarded amount. The fee will of course vary by attorney, location, type of case, and other factors.
How do I win a personal injury claim?
Clearly document and present you Medical Expenses, Wage Loss, Replacement Services, Attendant Care Services, Mileage Reimbursement. Value your quality of life damages such as serious impairment of body function, permanent and serious disfigurement, or wrongful death.
Can I claim personal injury if it was my fault?
Michigan is a “no fault” state when it comes to auto accidents, so each party in an accident files a claim with their own insurance company. Personal injury lawsuits are often disputes between the injured person and their own insurance company. In another example of personal injury, you may have been bitten by a dog. The dog owner or their attorney may try to make you feel you were at fault when you actually were not. Or if you were injured by a faulty product, you may be able to sue. All that said, if you intentionally harm yourself, you cannot sue yourself for damages.
Can I sue for pain and suffering?
Yes, but not in the way you might be thinking. Generally in Michigan you can only sue for economic damages like medical expenses, wage loss, attendant care services, etc. Pain and Suffering would fall under non-economic damages, and according to Michigan Personal Injury Law, the only non-economic damages you can sue for are serious impairment of body function, permanent and serious disfigurement, or wrongful death. You cannot sue for pain and suffering alone.
How to calculate a personal injury case value?
Every case is different and it’s important to get the advice of a professional. In general personal injury settlements are based on the value of: medical expenses, wage loss, replacement services, attendant care services, mileage reimbursement, and in some cases quality of life damages if you have experienced serious impairment of body function, permanent and serious disfigurement, or you’re suing for the wrongful death of a loved one.