Idaho Personal Injury
Frequently Asked Questions
If you were seriously injured in an accident because someone else was reckless, careless or otherwise negligent, the last thing you want is to deal with adjusters, insurance companies and their legions of lawyers. You just want to heal. You just want to get back to the life you had before your injury. And in the meantime, you have many important questions.
No matter what type of accident you were involved in—car, truck, motorcycle, or even a dog bite—and no matter what or how serious the injury, the first thing you should do is contact an experienced serious injury lawyer. At Bendell Law, we understand how difficult it is to deal with the financial and other details that come with an accident-related injury. For families who have lost a loved one, the pain is often overwhelming and requires not just skilled legal strategy, but also the deepest compassion.
What should I do if I’ve been involved in a car accident?
First and foremost, if an injury is involved it is vitally important to call 911—especially in the case of serious injuries such as severe burns; head, neck, or spine injuries; where there is heavy blood loss or loss of consciousness. Emergency situations are often chaotic, but how you handle it makes a difference not only in the outcome of your claim, but the safety of all involved in the accident.
Here are some important steps you need to take to help ensure full and fair compensation for your personal injury claim:
- Get a police report: A police report includes information you need when you file a claim. Note that you are required to call the police in Idaho in cases of injury (or in the worst case, death) caused by a motor vehicle accident. The Washington State Patrol handles collision accident reports in Spokane and throughout the state.
- Exchange information: Assuming you are able to do so, get name and contact information from those who were involved and any witnesses. Do not discuss the accident with them and do not admit fault.
- Document everything: Take photos, note the weather and road conditions, signs, traffic lights and any other pertinent information that may have contributed to the accident. It is difficult to remember everything accurately after the fact, so if at all possible, get the details while you’re still on the scene.
- Seek medical attention: Often, people think that a sore neck or a strained wrist is no big deal, but it can become more serious. It’s advisable to get a written evaluation from your doctor as soon as possible. Obtain all records of any treatments, medical reports, and anything else that pertained to the accident-related injury.
- Talk to a car accident injury attorney: It’s important to do this before speaking to the insurance adjuster. We have vast experience in dealing with adjusters and won’t let them twist an argument to their advantage.
Do I need to accept a direct settlement offer from the insurance company?
In a word: No. You are not required to accept an offer, sign a document, or even speak with the adjuster representing the other party’s insurance company. Nor should you. Insurance companies are not charitable organizations – they are for-profit businesses. As such, it is the adjuster and the insurance company’s lawyers job to work in the company’s best interest. Not yours.
When you’ve been hurt and are worried about bills piling up, it is tempting to accept a quick offer, but it’s often the lowest offer as well. Moreover, it seldom takes into consideration any additional expenses you may incur; the costs of continuing medical care, therapy, and even household services. The insurance company will certainly do everything to persuade you to take the first settlement offer. It’s our job to make sure that you get the best offer—the full and fair compensation you deserve.
Should I represent myself in a personal injury case?
There’s no law that says you can’t represent yourself. But if you choose to do so, the Idaho Supreme Court states that you will be held to the same standards as a professional attorney. This means you must prepare, document, complete paperwork, meet filing deadlines, and comply with all orders and rules of the court. There are many reasons why working with a personal injury lawyer who has helped clients throughout Idaho and the Spokane, Washington area can enable you to achieve maximum compensation:
- We know the law and we work for you. We will always start with negotiation, but if the other side doesn’t offer everything you deserve, we can and will bring your case to trial.
- We work on contingency. This means that there are no upfront costs to you and no legal fees while the case is ongoing. We only get paid once we win or successfully settle your case.
- We take the worry off your shoulders. While you heal, we fight to ensure that you get every penny you deserve for the harm caused by someone else’s negligence or careless behavior.
Posting anything about your case can cost you thousands of dollars in compensation. Not only should you not put anything on Facebook or any other social media site, neither should your friends or family members. Insurance companies often scour the social media sites of those who are making claims, looking for any pictures, statements or other “evidence” that can undermine your case. We advise you to stay off social media while your case is ongoing.
How soon can I expect to receive my car accident settlement?
How quickly you receive a settlement depends on a number of factors: How quickly are you recovering from your injuries? Will you need ongoing medical treatment? What are your total losses and expenses? Will you be able to return to work, and if so, how soon? A big part of the work we do on your behalf is to assess all the current and potential losses you may face. Then and only then can we determine what is “full and fair.” While this may take more time, it’s worth it in the long run and can mean a substantially higher compensation award.
What is the difference between a civil and criminal case in a wrongful death legal action?
In a civil action in Idaho, the claimants (the heirs of deceased) or the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate are filing a lawsuit against the negligent party (usually, their insurance company) for financial compensation. In Washington State, a wrongful death lawsuit may be filed “for the benefit of the spouse, state registered domestic partner, child or children, including stepchildren…” Otherwise, it is for the “benefit of the parents or siblings of the deceased.”
A criminal case is very different. It is brought by the state, not the family of the deceased, to penalize the person who caused the death with the intent of sending them to prison.
Contact us today to find out how we can help maximize your compensation
Personal injury cases can be complex. Talk to us and we can more fully answer your questions, help you understand your options, and decide the best course of action for your case. To learn more, we invite you to schedule a free consultation by calling us at 208-202-5915 or completing and returning our free injury claim valuation form.