Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions in Alaska Personal Injury Lawsuits
How Much is My Case Worth?
Determining the value of a case depends on several factors. The money you receive as a result of a personal lawsuit is known as damages. Damages are usually designed to make the injured party whole and thus reflect the severity of your injury. In Alaska, damages are broke up into three categories: economic loss, non-economic loss, and punitive damages. Generally speaking, economic losses are those that cost money. In a personal injury case, these damages typically include the cost of medical bills (both past and future), loss of income or wages both past and future), and your property damage claim. Non-economic damages are typically referred to as compensation for pain and suffering (both past and future). In certain egregious cases extra damages may be available to punish the wrongdoer. These are known as punitive damages. These damages occur less frequently. There are many factors that either increase or decrease the value of your damages, including the severity of your injuries, the permanency of your injuries, whether you had a pre-existing condition, whether you failed to take reasonable action to reduce the extent of your injuries, and whether you contributed to the cause of the accident. The Law Office of Robert Stone has the experience to look at all these factors and advise as to what a possible jury award may look like. Of course, as with any trial, jury verdicts are not always predictable. However, the Law Office of Robert Stone can provide you with the information you need to make a decision as to whether to take the insurance company’s offer, or take the case to trial.
How Much Does an Attorney Cost?
In most cases, the Law Office of Robert Stone does not charge hourly attorney fees. There are other law firms that do charge hourly fees, but those are typically defense firms. Most plaintiff firms, like the Law Office of Robert Stone, charge a 1/3rd contingency fee. This means that the attorney fee is 1/3rd of the settlement or judgment we obtain for you. At your free consultation, Robert Stone will discuss the attorney fee arrangement with you and go over his written fee agreement.
Low Long Before I Get Compensated?
The timeline towards settlement will have a lot to do with the severity of your injuries. In most cases, you do not want to settle your case until the extent of your injuries are known. The amount of insurance available under the liability policies and any underinsured motorist policies will also play a factor in determining how soon you can settle your case. Likewise, insurance companies do not always cooperate with the settlement process. If, during settlement discussions, the insurance company is unreasonable (not atypical), then you may be forced to file a lawsuit. In some cases, the filing of a lawsuit gets the attention of the insurance company are forces a reasonable settlement. In other cases, the insurer may not be willing to pay a settlement until the case goes through discovery. As a result, the Law Office of Robert Stone has had some cases that settled within a few months are being retained, whereas other cases have gone through trial and appeal, taking several years.
I was Partially at Fault, Can I Still Recover?
In most Alaska personal injury cases you are allowed to recover for damages even if you were partially responsible for your injuries. However, the amount of your recovery will be limited by your percentage of fault that contributed to your injury.
Can’t I Just File a Claim with my Insurance Company or the Wrongdoer’s Insurance Company Instead of Hiring a Lawyer?
An injured person in an auto accident can file a claim with the wrongdoer’s insurance company or even their own, in certain situations. However, the wrongdoer’s insurance company does not represent your interests. Their interest is to pay as little as possible. An attorney can prepare your case in the most persuasive way to increase your odds of obtaining a favorable settlement.