Frequently Asked Questions
Questions you may have regarding your accident:
The following is a list of questions you may have regarding your personal injury accident. These questions and answers are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as taking the place of actual legal advice. If you have questions about your personal injury case, you should seek legal advice from an experienced, qualified attorney, such as myself.
Why should I hire a personal injury lawyer?
personal injury victims, in my opinion, receive more money from their
personal injury claim when an experienced personal injury attorney
represents them than they would have received had they dealt directly
with the insurance company. In addition, the amount of money injury
victims receive in personal injury cases is directly related to how
their cases are handled. The person who caused your injuries is
represented by a large insurance company, which has all kinds of
resources at its disposal. While the insurance adjuster is usually
courteous and friendly to you, it is important for you to remember that
the adjuster's responsibility is to his/her company. An adjuster's job
is to save the insurance company money, not to be "fair" with you.
Since a personal injury victim is usually unaware of these pitfalls and
is not a seasoned negotiator, he or she may be at a decided
disadvantage when it comes to dealing with the insurance company.
What qualities should I look for in a personal injury lawyer?
Why should I hire Bob Buckalew as my personal injury attorney?
Serious injuries deserve serious
attention, the kind you will receive from my law firm. This is why my
staff and I, having worked together for over 20 years, have made a long
term commitment to furnish my clients with the best possible service. I
believe that the best results come from providing the very best
in client service.
I have over 30 years experience in dealing with personal injury claims such as yours. You can trust me to aggressively pursue your claim as well as answer any questions you may have about your claim. I am actively involved in every case our firm represents. In other words...
"when you hire me, you get me"
you choose a lawyer, in addition to the attorney's experience, staff
stability and accessability, you should also consider the attorney's
proven track record. Over two million dollars ($2,000,000), one half
million dollars ($500,000), two hundred fifty thousand dollars
($250,000); these are just some of the results I have achieved for my
clients. While the outcome will vary in each case, depending on the
amount of negligence and the extent of one's injuries, every case,
whether big or small, is important to me because I want to get all my
clients the maximum compensation they deserve. I want my legal
work for you.
Clients who choose my law firm to
handle their personal injury needs recieve the following:
we handle your claim, my objective, and that of my staff is to put your
mind at ease. When I do a good job for a client, I hope they will tell
their friends and family to see me in the future, should they have
legal problems. I want your business.
What must I prove in order to be compensated for my injuries?
Generally, in order for an injured party
to be compensated for their injuries from an adverse party's liability
insurance carrier, the adverse party must commit an act of negligence
(fault), which causes injury to another. Simply put, negligence is a
breach of a duty owed to another. The standard of proof needed to show
negligence can vary depending on the type of personal injury case
involved as well as the type of damages the injured party seeks to
prove. In addition, the injured party attempting to prove negligence
upon the adverse party must not be negligent to the extent that their
own negligence equals or exceeds the amount of negligence of the
Otherwise, there can be no legal recovery for one's injuries.
Besides a showing of negligence upon the adverse party, damages must also be proven in order for one to be compensated for their injuries. Personal injury damages are established primarily from the medical treatment rendered by the treating doctor. Since an injured party's doctor is the only person qualified to give an opinion regarding their medical condition, it is their doctor who decides what type of treatment they will receive, how long they will receive this treatment, and if they need to be off work as a result of their injuries. The treating doctor also decides if there is any permanent impairment or any physical restrictions. This is why it is so important for an injured party to keep all of their doctors' appointments. With the exception of property damage and to some extent lost wages, compensatory damages for medical bills, permanent injury, and pain and suffering are established primarily through the treating doctor.
Am I required to reimburse an insurance
company for any
After an injured party seeks medical treatment, it is not unusual for their own group insurance carrier or some other source of insurance to pay for their medical treatment, or in the case of workers' compensation, pay workers' compensation benefits which include medical treatment. This allows the injured party to receive medical treatment without their own medical providers breathing down their neck expecting payment for services rendered.
In Arkansas the courts have long adhered to the "Made Whole Doctrine." Whether a group or workers' compensation carrier or any insurance company receives any reimbursement for any medical expenses or benefits it has paid on behalf of the injured party out of a personal injury settlement or award, depends on whether the injured party can be "made whole" from the settlement proceeds or award. Here it is important to note that the "Made Whole Doctrine" is not based upon consideration of the lesser amount of money a lienholder will take to satisfy their entire subrogation lien, but rather, the "Made Whole Doctrine" is based upon consideration of the entire subrogation lien that was asserted by the lienholder. In other words, the "Made Whole Doctrine" is based upon the total amount of medical expenses or benefits the lienholder has actually paid. This means that a lienholder cannot contend that the injured party can be "made whole" by the lienholder merely reducing the amount of their original lien.
After considering the contingency fee and costs of the injured party's attorney and the entire subrogation lien of the lienholder, the question is can the injured party be "made whole" from the remaining amount. In making this determination, all of the injured party's damages, such as lost wages, pain and suffering, future medical expenses, etc., must be considered. If there is not adequate compensation from the settlement proceeds or award to fully compensate the injured party for their damages, then the insurance carrier asserting the subrogation lien is not entitled to any reimbursement for any medical expenses or benefits it has paid on behalf of the injured party.
An intregal part of all personal injury cases in Arkansas is dealing with subrogation (reimbursement) issues. Unless a compromise is reached, the insurance company asserting any subrogation rights is always entitled to a hearing on whether the injured party can be "made whole" from the settlement proceeds or award. This is why many subrogation issues are resolved by compromise settlement with the insurance carrier who has paid medical expenses or benefits on behalf of the injured party. In fact, in most personal injury cases in Arkansas, the full amount of subrogation is rarely paid back. Usually, subrogation is either waived in its entirety or it is substantially reduced.
What type of attorney fee will I pay?
Most attorney fees paid in
personal injury cases are based upon a contingency fee. This means that
the injured party's attorney gets a percentage
of the personal injury settlement of the case. Normally the
representing attorney does not get a fee for
any property damage (such as in automobile accident cases), and does
not get a fee from the personal injury part of your claim unless
a recovery is made. This
is also true for the Buckalew Law Firm.
In fact, the percentage I charge is reasonable, and it is based upon my
experience in personal injury cases, as well as my ability to get you
the most money possible.
Am I entitled to receive a
settlement for my personal injuries?
This depends upon the extent of
the adverse party's negligence as well as the doctor's assessment of
the injured party's physical condition at the end of treatment and the
extent of the injured party's damages. It also depends upon the
liability insurance company's willingness to enter into
settlement negotiations, as well as the experience and proven track
record of the injured party's attorney in obtaining good results.
Do most personal injury cases settle without filing a lawsuit?
The simple answer is "Yes, they do." While most cases are settled out of court, should it become necessary to file suit, I will not be hesitant to try your case in a court of law. I am an experienced and qualified trial attorney.
What damages am I entitled to receive?
damages include reimbursement of medical expenses, mileage, lost wages,
and pain and suffering as well as property damage in automobile
accident cases. Other damages may include loss of consortium, if your
spouse has lost your services, future lost wages if you sustain a
serious permanent injury, and possibly punitive damages.
How much time do I have to pursue my claim?
case is governed by a "statute of limitations," and they are different
for different types of cases. This means that an injury victim has only
a certain amount of time in which to legally pursue his or her claim,
either through settlement or lawsuit. If an injury victim fails to
pursue the claim within that legally mandated amount of time, he or she
will be barred from doing so.
What "DOs" should I accomplish following my
Personal Injury DOs
What "DON'Ts" should I avoid following my accident?
Personal Injury DON'Ts