Bangor Personal Injury Attorneys Helping Victims Recover Fair Compensation
If you’re reading this right now, chances are something unexpected has happened to you or someone you love. You’re looking for answers, and maybe for help. It’s bad enough when you or someone you love is injured or killed in an accident, but that harm is compounded when that injury or death resulted from another person or company’s bad choices.
Now, instead of being able to just rest, recuperate and grieve, you’re facing new stressors in your life. The daily mail brings bills, including medical bills for treatment required because of the accident—bills that you now have no way to pay since you’ve been out of work since the accident. Or perhaps the accident victim was your husband or wife who you had relied upon to contribute to the household income, but now his or her income is suddenly gone.
On top of all this, the phone keeps ringing with insurance adjusters calling to “assist” you with your claim. The adjuster says she wants to be helpful, but then offers you a settlement that won’t even cover your medical bills, let alone make up for all of the other ways in which the accident changed your life.
If you’re like many of our clients, that is what led you here, to our website, reading this information now.
We offer our help.
The attorneys and caring staff at Gideon Asen have helped countless personal injury victims who have been hurt in accidents from slip-and-falls caused by dangerous conditions at a store, business or other property, car accidents and injuries suffered in maritime or industrial sites.
WHO IS FINANCIALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR MY INJURIES?
The Need to Prove Fault
It would be nice if we had a system that allowed anyone who suffered an injury to have access to the compensation needed to deal with the fallout. But that is not how our legal system in Maine works. Before you can recover any money for a personal injury, you must first prove that someone else was legally responsible for causing your injury. That someone else can be a person (like the driver of a car or truck) or business corporation (Wal-Mart, Freightliner, General Motors, etc.). Depending on the type of accident, there may be more than one legally responsible party.
Assets and Insurance to Pay Your Claims
Once we identify all of the parties responsible for causing your injuries, the next step is to determine whether they have insurance or assets to pay the claim. You cannot get blood from a stone, and if a responsible party lacks insurance it may be impossible to obtain a financial recovery even if you can prove your case. We will investigate and explore all avenues to locate insurance coverage or corporate assets available to pay your claims.
Navigating Comparative Fault
Some people ask us whether they can bring a claim and recover financially even if they may have had some fault themselves in causing the accident. The answer is, in most cases, “yes.” Maine is a “comparative fault” State, meaning that, at trial, the jury is instructed that it must compare the relative fault of the parties whose conduct contributed to causing an accident. If the jury determines that you are more than 50% at fault, then under Maine law you are not entitled to a recovery. However, as long as your share of the fault is not greater than 50%, you are entitled to recover even if you had some lesser share of fault. The jury would be instructed to come up with a damages award that reflects the full value of your case and then to reduce that by some amount that it determines appropriate to reflect your share of fault.
Applying Joint-And-Several Liability
Maine is a joint-and-several liability State. What this means is that if there are multiple parties at fault for an accident, all of the responsible parties are legally responsible for the entire amount of the claim, even if that party had only a share of the fault. For example, if you were injured in a crash caused by a tractor-trailer truck and a passenger vehicle, you could recover all your damages from the tractor trailer truck, even if the truck was only 1% responsible for causing the accident and the passenger vehicle was 99% responsible. The purpose of this law is to make sure that innocent accident victims are protected and have the maximum ability to recover for injuries caused by others.
These are just some of the many laws that apply to personal injury actions in the State of Maine. This is why it is so important to work with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney Portland who can help identify exactly who is responsible for your injuries and to make sure you can receive full compensation when possible.
SHOULD I ACCEPT THE FIRST SETTLEMENT OFFER FROM THE INSURANCE COMPANY?
No. You should not.
If your personal injury claim is covered by insurance, some insurers might attempt to offer you a settlement right away so that you will sign away your rights to bring a claim before you even understand and appreciate the full extent of your injuries. While it might seem like a quick and easy way to get some money to relieve the financial burden resulting from your accident, this approach may hurt you in the long run by compromising your ability to recover a much larger settlement.
For minor accidents, it’s fine to work with the insurance company and to negotiate a settlement on your own (and save the legal fees), but for more serious accidents, we strongly recommend that you consult with an personal injury attorney before accepting a settlement.
HOW MUCH DOES A PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY CHARGE?
Just the word “lawyer” sounds expensive, doesn’t it? When we think of lawyers, we tend to think of expensive suits, foreign cars and fancy glass office suites— and the high hourly billing rates needed to pay for all that stuff.
So now that you’re injured, unemployed and have mounting bills, how can you possibly afford to hire a lawyer?
The answer is the “contingent fee agreement.”
The Contingent Fee Agreement
While corporations and insurance companies can afford to pay their lawyers hundreds of dollars an hour, most average people cannot afford that. So, our legal system came up with a way to enable regular people to gain access to civil lawyers without having to incur these oppressive hourly rates.
The way it works is that some lawyers, like us, agree to take on cases, to front all of the expenses of your case, and receive payment as a percentage of the amount recovered in the case at the conclusion of the case, rather than charge fees for our time while we are working on the case. The benefit to you of this approach is that you will incur no out-of-pocket expenses by hiring us to work on your case. We cover all the costs. And we don’t earn a fee unless we succeed with the case for you.
Another way to say this is that we will take on the risk. If we are unsuccessful with your case, we will lose the expenses we invest in it and we will not be paid for our services. We accept this responsibility, because we are experienced and confident managing this risk and we know that our clients cannot afford to take on this additional risk with everything else going on in their lives.
So if we accept your case, we do so because—first and foremost—we believe in your case. We believe that you have a righteous cause and deserve to win. We have a common goal, because we only get paid if we win your case and we will work hard to make sure that you do. And if after all of our efforts we are not successful, you do not owe us anything, not a cent.
HOW CAN WE HELP?
At Gideon Asen, you are not just another “case” you are a cause and a part of our extended family. We dedicate ourselves to our clients with professionalism and compassion so you can get back on your feet after an injury. Call us at (207) 206-8982 for a free consultation.