What should I do if I have been in a car accident?
Your first concern needs to be your safety and that of others. Seek first aid, call 911 if necessary and help others if you are qualified to do so. If you are able, obtain the other driver's insurance information and personal information (name, address, phone number) as well as contact information for any witnesses who saw the accident. If you can, take as many pictures as you can of the accident from different angles, including damage to your vehicle and your own injuries. As soon as possible, contact an experienced law firm in Birmingham and do not talk to the insurance company or any claims adjustors until you have done so.
What should I tell my doctor or physical therapist about my personal injury case?
You should explain that you were involved in an accident, tell how the accident occurred and mention when you started having the health problems that you are being treated for. If those problems existed before the accident, you need to explain that you were either not suffering from them immediately before the accident, or, if you were, how your injuries were aggravated or different, if they are, than the injuries you had before the accident. You should not maximize or minimize your ailments to your healthcare providers, as the information you provide is one of the best ways for them to know how to treat you.
How long will my personal injury case take?
This differs from case to case, but it is important not to settle too quickly. To know what your damages are, you have to wait until you are "medically stationary," which means that you have achieved most of the recovery that you can reasonably expect. At that time, you will know what your expenses are to date and what the foreseeable costs are for the future. This may take six months or more for a serious injury. You generally have up to two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. Your lawyer will wait until the appropriate time to file suit, but in the meantime will be investigating the accident, gathering evidence and preparing your case. Once the case is filed, it may take a year or more to come to trial if the case does not settle before then.
Don't most personal injury cases settle without a trial?
Yes. It is true that most cases do settle, although a settlement may not come until trial is underway or on the very eve of trial. The best way to proceed is to prepare for trial from the very beginning and engage in settlement talks when appropriate. Only if the other side knows that you are willing and capable of taking a case to trial, will they seriously consider offering a reasonable settlement. People who are unrepresented by legal counsel, and negotiate directly with an insurance company almost never receive an offer that reflects the true value of their claim. You are strongly advised not to accept any money, sign any papers or give statements to an insurance company without seeing a lawyer first.
Can I be fired for filing a sexual harassment claim if I am an at-will employee?
No. At-will employment (where there is no employment agreement or contract) generally means that you can be fired at any time for a good reason, a bad reason or no reason at all. However, you cannot be fired for an illegal reason. Your right to file a sexual harassment claim is protected by law, and you may not be fired or retaliated against in any way for filing a claim or for testifying or providing information to investigators regarding a claim filed by another employee. If you are fired, you may have a claim for wrongful termination or retaliatory discharge in addition to your sexual harassment claim.