Why Do I Need A Personal Injury Lawyer? Part 4: Who Do I Sue And When?

Gavel and old clockIn Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of this series, I highlighted some of the difficulties in proving a personal injury case.  In this final blog of the series, I will describe some of the ancillary rules/issues associated with personal injury cases. First, if you become injured in New Hampshire at the fault of another, you have only three (3) years from the date of the incident to file a law suit; otherwise you could be barred from recovering damages from the person/entity who caused your injuries.  This does not mean, however, that you can/should wait three years to talk with an attorney about your case. In fact, the sooner you meet with an attorney regarding your personal injury case, the more time your attorney will have to try to settle your case pre-suit.  This will likely save you time, money and stress; as personal injury law suits can take several years to go to/through a trial/appeal. In some instances, it requires the injured party or their attorney to hire an expert to testify as to causation (which can sometimes cost in excess of $10,000). Second, when considering whether to accept a settlement offer from an opposing party (insurance company), it is imperative that you know about any liens that could be levied on your settlement money.  Whether there is a health insurance subrogation lien and/or a Medicaid/Medicare lien at issue, you need to understand how they could affect the bottom line of your settlement (i.e. the money you actually take home). Third, knowing who to sue may not be self-explanatory.  For example, if a driver who has been drinking causes an accident, did you know that the liquor establishment(s) that served him/her could also be liable for your injuries, in addition to the other driver who initially caused the accident?  Similarly, if you slip and fall on a business premises which the business rents from a third party, you may have a claim for liability against both the business tenant and the building owner (the landlord).  Who may be liable for your injuries will be case specific; this is something you should discuss with a trusted lawyer early on in the litigation process to ensure you receive the maximum recovery possible. At Welts, White & Fontaine, P.C., we will not only fully investigate your case pre-suit to give you our opinions on liability and likelihood of success at trial; we will also guide you through the entire litigation process, from pre-suit through trial, if your case does not settle before then.  We will advise you of your rights and explain to you what should be done when and why.  Also, when it comes to settling your case or taking it to trial, you will always have the final say as to when and if to settle and for what amount; we will work with you to protect and educate you about your rights and responsibilities (e.g. regarding liens) so you can be assured that you can make the best decision possible based on the circumstances of your case. If you or someone you know has been injured because of someone else’s actions or inactions, call us here at Welts, White & Fontaine, P.C.  We offer free consultations to all potential personal injury clients and are willing to make house/hospital calls if you are unable to meet us at our office.  We would be pleased to help you or your loved one in what is likely a difficult and uneasy time.   Thank you for tuning in to this series of blogs:  “Why Do I Need A Personal Injury Lawyer?”.  For more information on these topics and more, please call to schedule an appointment with one of our lawyers.  Our office offers free consultations on all personal injury cases and would be happy to assist and accommodate you in your time of need.  An hour of your time may reveal more than you thought possible.

Author:  Michael J. Fontaine, Esq. Topics:  Personal Injury, Car Accident, Slip and Fall, Medical Liens