At any given moment, you could experience a personal injury, resulting in medical expenses, income loss, and various other potential damages. In these situations, people sometimes put their trust in an insurance company, expecting the adjuster to act justly and take care of all the damages.
However, this often results in a claim denial or a serious underestimation of the injured person’s damages. When you’ve been injured, a personal injury attorney can make all the difference as they advocate for your rights and diligently pursue the recovery of all your damages.
Can a Personal Injury Attorney Help if You Don’t Want to Sue the Responsible Party?
A personal injury attorney can examine the details of your case and explain your options for pursuing compensation. Although there are some situations where a lawsuit is necessary, there are also many cases where we negotiate a fair settlement with an insurance company.
We understand that there are multiple reasons why an injured person may not want to file a lawsuit, yet the economic reality of their injuries may force them to look for a solution. Here are a few common situations:
“I don’t want to sue my neighbor/friend/family member, but I can’t afford these medical bills!”
We hear this frequently. In many cases, the negligent party is someone the injured person knows and cares about.
We’ve had clients tell us that they know their friend can’t afford to pay their damage or they don’t want the owner of their favorite store to lose money and go out of business. These concerns are understandable, and often, we can find an option that allows us to recover damages without causing undue hardship to anyone else. Some examples include:
- Insurance coverage. In some situations, we can simply file an insurance claim and negotiate with the insurance carrier to ensure you receive an appropriate settlement. For instance, if you trip on a garden hose and fall in your friend’s yard, your injuries may be covered by their homeowner’s insurance. If you slip on a spilled drink at your favorite local grocery store, they likely have business liability insurance for exactly that kind of problem. Your friend and the grocery store owner are already paying for insurance, so they won’t lose money if someone is hurt on their property. There is no reason you should have to absorb these costs.
- Negotiating with the responsible party. If there isn’t any insurance coverage, and we determine that the liable party doesn’t have sufficient assets to pay your claim, it generally isn’t worthwhile to file a lawsuit. Even if you won, you probably wouldn’t be able to collect your award, and you would have gone through a stressful, time-consuming trial needlessly. However, sometimes we can negotiate with the liable party to get at least some of your damages paid or for the other party to pay over time if they can’t afford all your damages immediately.
- Considering other liable parties. As we discussed in the last point, there are sometimes situations where the liable party has no insurance and few or no financial assets. If you have a high amount of damages, negotiation may not be effective because the liable party simply doesn’t have the money. In these situations, we will consider if any other parties might also be liable. For example, perhaps you were hit by a reckless driver while riding your bike. You wore a bike helmet per the manufacturer’s instructions, but the helmet came off during your accident, and you suffered a severe head injury. The reckless driver is at fault but has no insurance or assets, and you don’t have uninsured motorist coverage of your own. In this case, we would consider whether the bike helmet might be defective. If we find evidence that the helmet didn’t perform up to industry standards, we might be able to pursue a case against the manufacturer.
“I don’t want to deal with the publicity or stress of a long, drawn-out trial, but I’ve been out of work for months and can’t pay my bills.”
Even in cases where the injured person, or plaintiff, wants to pursue a lawsuit, most cases do not end with a long courtroom trial. Lawsuits are often portrayed this way on TV, but the reality is that most lawsuits are resolved long before a trial happens.
We file the lawsuit in court, then go through pre-trial activities like the discovery process (where both sides share evidence). This process can take months, and during that time, the other party might make a settlement offer.
We’ll go over each offer with you, explain the terms, and answer your questions. If the offer doesn’t cover all of your damages and you don’t want to accept, we can negotiate with the other party for a more equitable deal.
Most of the time, we eventually reach a settlement long before the trial date.
“I think it was my fault, or I can’t prove it was the other party’s fault.”
Please talk to a personal injury lawyer before you decide an accident was your fault or that you can’t prove it was the other party’s fault.
We’ve met many people who mistakenly believed they were responsible for their injuries. It can be hard to tell who caused an accident or injury when you probably don’t have all the information about what happened.
Furthermore, local laws may impact how fault affects your case, with some states allowing for shared fault. Even police reports are not always 100 percent accurate because the officer may have had limited information when they observed the scene.
If you think you were at fault or aren’t sure who is responsible for your injuries, a personal injury lawyer will help you by investigating the situation, gathering evidence, and putting together a clear picture of what occurred.
This is also beneficial if you believe the other party is at fault but you can’t prove it. In many cases, we find additional evidence to support the injured person’s account and demonstrate the other party was to blame.
Some types of evidence we frequently pursue include:
- Video evidence. Our investigators will consider the location of your accident or injury and search nearby buildings for security or doorbell cameras. If the owner has footage from the time in question and shares it with us, we may have a video of what happened or the events leading up to it.
- Phone records. If your case involves a distracted driver, we can seek access to their phone records to determine if they were using the phone when they hit you.
- Other electronic data. Modern cars and many other motor vehicles include event data recorders that store information about an event or accident. This may include how fast the vehicle was going, its direction, and the driver’s actions (such as swerving or hitting the brakes). In car accident cases, this information is often helpful in showing how the accident occurred if the two drivers have conflicting accounts.
- Witness testimony. Police officers will try to interview anyone available at an accident scene, but sometimes a witness leaves before the police arrive. We will canvas the area where the injury happened and search for additional witnesses who may be able to shed light on the events of the accident. Witnesses can also be useful in other situations besides accidents – for example, we may find someone who can speak to a problem with a defective product or a negative experience at a daycare facility.
- Other records or documents. Sometimes we request internal records from a business or organization we believe is at fault for your injuries. These might contain references to a specific problem or show that some employees knew about an issue well before it caused your injuries.
What Types of Cases Qualify as a Personal Injury Case?
We are able to handle a broad range of personal injury cases. Some of the most common ones include:
- Car Accidents
- Truck Accidents
- Pedestrian Accidents
- Bicycle Accidents
- Motorcycle Accidents
- Boat Accidents
- Aviation Accidents
- Dog Bites
- Golf Cart Accidents
- Premises Liability (Slip and Fall)
- Defective Medical Devices
- Dangerous Drugs
- ATV Accidents
- Construction Site Accidents
- Daycare Accidents
- Worker’s Compensation (Occupational Injury)
- Wrongful Death
What Kind of Damages Can You Seek in a Personal Injury Case?
We will evaluate your losses and calculate your damages to ensure the insurance company doesn’t undervalue your claim. Here are some damages we might seek:
- Medical expenses. Healthcare can be costly, even if you have insurance. Some people make the mistake of seeking compensation for only their current bills, only to find out they need more treatment later. Our legal team will ensure all your medical expenses are covered, and we’ll wait to settle until your treatment is complete. If you need longstanding care for a permanent or chronic injury, we will estimate your future costs so they can be included. Some injured parties also overlook related expenses like travel costs to see a specialist out of the area or exercise equipment for doing physical therapy exercises at home, so we will ask about these expenses.
- Lost income. When you’re injured and unable to work, you lose money every day – even if you have paid time off or PTO. This PTO is used up, meaning you can’t utilize it in the future for a vacation or a regular sick day. Many people tell us they used all their PTO, then simply had to take unpaid time off. You deserve compensation for all your lost income.
- Lost earning potential. In some circumstances, the injured person becomes permanently disabled and can’t return to their job. Or, they may have to work reduced hours or switch to a less demanding field. In any of these situations, there is a permanent loss of earning potential in addition to the previously lost income. We’ll estimate your lost earning potential and pursue compensation for it.
- Damage. We’ll help you get repair or replacement costs covered for damage to your vehicle or other personal belongings.
- Permanent disability or disfigurement. If you have a permanent injury, we can request additional compensation for its effects on your life.
- Pain and suffering. Many injuries are physically painful, but some can also be emotionally or mentally distressing. This is considered non-economic damage, meaning that it’s difficult to calculate, but your attorney will help you determine an appropriate value for pain and suffering.
- Loss of companionship, consortium, or enjoyment of life. If your injuries impacted your relationships or your ability to pursue your interests or enjoy your life, we may be able to seek damages for these losses.
- Wrongful death. If you lost a loved one to someone else’s negligence, you may also be dealing with a loss of companionship or consortium, in addition to financial losses such as final medical expenses, burial or funeral costs, and loss of financial support if the deceased was the primary earner. While a wrongful death suit can’t bring your loved one back, it can allow you to grieve without worrying about how to pay your bills.
How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?
A personal injury lawyer should not charge you anything upfront. Our initial consultation is free and confidential, and if we take your case, we will work on a contingency basis, which means you don’t owe us anything until we win or settle your case.
If you aren’t sure if you have a case, please contact us for a free consultation – it won’t cost you anything to find out more.
Where Can I Find a Personal Injury Law Firm in My Area?
The Fakhouri Firm Accident and Injury Lawyers can assist clients in any state. We’ll review your case, explain the options for pursuing compensation, and, if you decide to move forward, we’ll put you in touch with an associate in your area.
Founder and lead attorney Robert S. Fakhouri is a proud graduate of the Chicago-Kent College of Law. He was one of the youngest people to join the Illinois Bar and spent time working as a legal clerk and litigation associate.
At the age of 25, he founded The Fakhouri Firm to help injured people seek justice and recover the compensation they need to move forward with their lives. Since 2020, Mr. Fakhouri has been on the National Trial Lawyers Association’s Top 40 Under 40 list and has received the Illinois Super Lawyer Rising Star award every year since 2019. In 2023, he made the Top 25 Motor Vehicle Attorneys list.
When Mr. Fakhouri isn’t negotiating with insurance companies or fighting for clients in court, he can be found explaining legal issues to his many social media followers. Work with his team today by calling (312) 999-9990.