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Filing a Personal Injury Claim after an Auto Accident

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July 8, 2014

If you’ve ever been in an automobile accident, you know that the moments afterwards can be complicated and lead to confusion for everyone involved. From exchanging insurance information, to filling out a police report, to filing a claim for damage to your car, you can find yourself in an almost never-ending stack of paperwork. This doesn’t even include accidents that result in bodily injuries, which add to the stress of the situation and must be dealt with expertly in order to ensure that you are repaid for the costs you incur.

Working with a personal injury attorney in Los Angeles will allow you to have a professional in your corner to guide you through the process of gathering information and submitting your claim.

Step 1: Collect Information at the Scene

There were over 86,000 motor vehicle injury accidents in Los Angeles County alone in 2005, according to the Los Angeles Almanac. These statistics have remained relatively stable over recent years, indicating that drivers throughout LA continue to get hurt in automobile crashes. If you are in an accident and sustain an injury, the most important thing to do is stay at the scene and ensure that your injury is properly addressed.

However, before leaving, make sure that you collect all of the following:

  • Names and contact information for everyone involved in the accident, including passengers and potential witnesses
  • Details of the accident, including the time, date, location, and traffic conditions
  • Photos of your car and the others involved
  • A copy of the police report and/or the name of the responding officer in case you need to get the report at a later date

Step 2: Seek Medical Attention

You will most likely visit the doctor or emergency room immediately upon leaving the scene of the accident. Document each part of this process, including your symptoms, the treatment you received, and any follow-up steps you take. You will want to make appointments to see recommended specialists and physicians so that you have paperwork that confirms you are receiving treatment for your injuries.

The insurance company’s claim adjuster will want to see all of the medical reports when determining what steps they will take in terms of offering a settlement. While these reports will be available from the hospital, it is also smart to have records of your own. Visiting the hospital is not enough on its own to ensure a favorable settlement for your injuries. Do your due diligence to improve your health first and foremost and let your personal injury attorney in Los Angeles help with the claim process.

Step 3: Hire a Personal Injury Attorney

Dealing with auto insurance companies can be a hassle, especially if you have been injured in an accident. In addition to filing a claim and meeting with adjusters, you will have to go up against large companies that have powerful attorneys working to keep as much money as possible. It is a good idea to work with someone who is an expert in personal injury cases so they can help you with the interviews and filing process. Your attorney will also be able to assist with winning you a settlement for your claim so that you get the compensation you deserve and can cover your medical and car repair costs.

To hire an attorney, you’ll need to start with a consultation to go over the facts of your case. After you’ve received medical attention and are back at home, it is smart to get the ball rolling with an attorney so you can get everything you need together in order to file your claim without delay.

Step 4: Contact the Insurance Company

When you are ready to proceed, contact the insurance company of the at-fault party to open a bodily injury claim. Once you do so you will be expected to provide all of the information you have gathered to that point and answer questions surrounding the accident and the medical treatment for your injuries. Without an attorney on your side, you may feel pressured during this process or unsure about what your responsibilities are moving forward. Continue to see your doctor and other specialists as directed so that you can get the treatment you need while you wait for your claim to be resolved.

Step 5: Wait for Your Settlement

After your information has been given to the insurance company and you have completed all the necessary interviews, you will need to wait for your settlement to be decided. It is important to remember that you are under no obligation to accept the settlement offered, if there is one. If you’ve hired a personal injury attorney in Los Angeles you will have help in determining if the settlement offer is fair. If it is not, your lawyer will advise you on how to proceed with the settlement dispute.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the number of people across the country injured in auto accidents is on the rise. Statistics in 2012 showed the first significant increase, around 145,000 cases, in 17 years. This means that while drivers do all they can to avoid accidents, crashes and injuries do still happen and they have an enormous financial impact on those involved. Protect yourself and your passengers when an accident occurs by working with a personal injury attorney to get the settlement you deserve.

Car crash

Steps to Take if You Are Injured on Vacation

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July 3, 2014

When you and your family go on vacation, the last thing that you want to think about is a potential accident or injury. Nobody plans to get hurt or sick, especially when away from home. However, the fact remains that there are just some things that are outside of your control. If you do get sick while on vacation, it is important to know what you can do to get yourself well and what needs to be done as soon as you get back home. Should an accident or injury happen to you or a family member, your accident attorney in Los Angeles can help you take the next steps in the legal process. Knowing what to do when you are injured on vacation allows you to get the support and information you need moving forward.

Document the Events

Dangerous accidents obviously do not only happen when you are out of the country. Even if you are traveling to Los Angeles for only a weekend, it is still important to know the steps to take if something does happen. The first thing to do is immediately document the incident so that you have evidence when you pursue a claim later on down the road. Take photos of the scene and of your injury and write down notes about your surroundings. For example, if you slip and fall while on a cruise ship, you will want to note what the weather was like, if there were any cautionary signs warning you of the hazardous conditions, and if the floor was wet. This will help your attorney build your case if negligence is the cause of your injuries.

Get Medical Attention Right Away

If your injuries are serious, you should seek the appropriate medical attention immediately. People choose to bypass this step in the process due to the fact that they are on vacation and far away from their trusted doctor. However, the most important thing to consider is your health. When dealing with more serious injuries, having documentation from your doctor’s visit will help your accident injury attorney put together your legal case.

Visit Your Own Doctor

As soon as you return home, see your own doctor. Let your doctor know about what happened so that he or she can check on your progress and see if any of your injuries have worsened. Once your appointment is over, be sure to document any changes in your condition because this information is important to your case. Additionally, you have a prior relationship with your doctor and he or she already knows your medical history. You will get an accurate assessment from someone you trust.

Injuries on International Trips

If you are traveling outside of the United States and are injured, it is even more critical to get the help you need. When a car accident occurs or if you are hurt in a slip-and-fall scenario, the first thing you will need to do is see a doctor. If you have travel or evacuation insurance, contacting your provider will allow you to the get information you need to file a claim. In addition, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends contacting the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate if you think you need further assistance with your situation while you are out of the country.

Contact a Lawyer

Getting in touch with an accident injury attorney when you are back at home lets you get the information you need to start building your legal case. If you are injured overseas or on a cruise ship, you may be facing a shorter statute of limitations in order to file a claim in court. Your vacation accident lawyer will help you navigate these mazes so that you know your legal options.

Most attorneys provide clients with a first session free of charge to discuss the situation and assess the case. They also work cases on contingency, meaning that you do not owe any fees for your representation until you win your lawsuit against the persons or company responsible for your injuries. When you have all of the documentation from the incident, your attorney will build your case to give you the best chance at recovering finances you deserve to cover medical bills associated with your injury. Since there is no financial obligation or risk with contacting a lawyer to represent you, it is a good idea to put this high on your priority list.

Final Thoughts

If your injury requires you to stay in the hospital, you are undoubtedly concerned about rising costs while your case progresses. This is why documenting the incident, seeking out medical attention, and reaching out to an attorney quickly is critical. If your lawsuit is successfully settled, you will receive a lump sum of money to cover your medical expenses, lost wages, and the pain and suffering you are going through due to your accident.

Source:

  1. Know What To Do if You Become Sick or Injured on Your Trip,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), n.p., 13 January 2011, Web, 8 July 2014.

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Steps for Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit

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July 1, 2014

After you’ve just been in an accident, a lot of things run through your mind. Am I hurt? Does anyone else need medical attention? Who should I call first? These are all important questions that need to be answered in the immediate aftermath so that you and everyone else involved can get the immediate care needed. Equally as important is figuring out the next steps that you will take as you recover. Whether you are dealing with an injury accident and need an auto accident attorney, a slip-and-fall situation, or something more serious such as wrongful death, being prepared for the road ahead will help ensure that you take the best course of action based on your specific case. Understanding the proper steps for filing a claim will help you navigate the legal process so you can work toward getting the court decision you need, or the settlement that you and your family deserve.

Establish the Facts

Keeping detailed notes following an accident, such as paperwork from any visits to the doctor and the events leading up to impact, allows your attorney to properly and thoroughly build your case. If you are in a car accident, you will want to take photos of the scene and get a copy of the police report so that your attorney can help represent you in the best possible way. Malpractice lawsuits against a doctor and other personal injury cases require their own set of documentation and your lawyer can assist you in tracking down anything that you need. Without this information, you will have a much tougher time of proving the validity of your claim.

See if Insurance Will Cover Your Claim

Once you have all of the information you need based on the events that have taken place, you will need to see if an insurance policy will cover your injuries. As you plan to file your personal injury lawsuit, you’ll want to find out whether or not the responsible party has adequate insurance coverage. For instance, if you slip and fall, you’ll want to know if the property owner has liability coverage.

This step is extremely important because it will help you make a decision on whether or not to pursue your claim. You’ll want to know that you will be able to collect any damages that are awarded to you at the end of your case. If your injuries are serious enough, even if the other party does not have insurance, your lawyer may advise continuing your case to help you get the decision you deserve.

Consult a Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer

Unless your accident results in extremely minor injuries or you can get the result you need on your own, such as in a minor fender bender, it is a good idea to discuss your case and legal options with a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer. Most attorneys will provide an initial consultation free of charge to go over the facts of your case and weigh its merits. Discuss your choices moving forward so that you know what you can expect from the legal system once your lawsuit is filed.

Personal injury lawyers will usually work on a contingency basis, meaning that you will pay nothing for their representation until there is a settlement or the court rules in your favor. At that time, you will pay an agreed-upon portion of the settlement or judgment as a fee for their representation. All cases vary in terms of complexity and the amount of money at stake, which is why it is a good idea to partner with an attorney that can help you navigate the legal maze moving forward.

Filing Your Lawsuit

Once you retain the services of a personal injury attorney, he or she will advise you on the best way to proceed. A majority of personal injury cases are either settled before trial, or the issue is resolved with no legal action being taken. According to a recent sampling, 95 percent of lawsuits end with a pre-trial settlement. Sometimes filing a lawsuit with the court is unnecessary. If the person you want to sue has insurance coverage in place, your attorney can assist with filing a third-party claim with their carrier. This includes using the insurance policy information you collected at the time of the incident and sending a notice to the company to get the ball rolling.

If you do not hear anything back, or if settlement talks break down, you can always continue by filing a lawsuit with your local civil courthouse. Your personal injury attorney in Los Angeles will give you the information you need about court costs for filing your suit and what your responsibilities are once it has been filed. Be sure to learn about the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit in your state because you will have no legal options once that time period has expired.

For more information about the process for filing a personal injury lawsuit, and to discuss your case, contact your attorney directly.

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Important Steps to Take after an Auto Accident

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April 2, 2014

If you’ve ever been in an auto accident, you know how disorienting the first few minutes can be after it takes place. From making sure that you and your passengers are unharmed to pulling over to the side of the road and talking to the other drivers, it is important to have a plan in place that will help you get the information you need in order to make sure your legal obligations are fulfilled and your auto accident attorney has every possible detail. Taking these steps will help you get through the situation and help get your accident resolved as soon as possible.

1.  Stay at the Scene

The first thing to remember is to stay at the scene of the accident, especially if you or one of the others involved in the wreck need medical assistance. Pull off to the side of the road, safely away from traffic, and dial 911 to report the accident and summon the medical attention you need. If you flee the scene of the accident, you may be guilty of a hit and run. Cooperate with police to file the accident report before you leave and be sure to identify any witnesses that may be able to provide more information about the events that happened before, during, and after the accident.

2.  Collect Information from All Involved

Moving forward in the process, you will need to provide police and insurance companies with all pertinent information to help you settle any claims. In addition to talking to the driver of other cars involved, take down contact information, insurance policy details, and the make, model, license plate number, and VIN for each car. Keep a disposable camera in your car or have your cellphone handy to take pictures of the damage to each car and the scene. This way, you have done your due diligence to accurately and properly document the accident under the law, and you also have everything you need to give to your insurance agent and auto accident attorney afterwards.

3.  Be Careful What You Say

As the saying goes, what you say can be used against you in a court of law. In this case, comments you make at the scene to others involved in the accident could come back to haunt you. Even innocuous phrases such as “I’m sorry” can be used by the insurance company of the other driver to make it look like you are admitting fault. This could lead to your insurance claims being denied and having your rates skyrocket while you struggle to get money together to pay for repairs and potential hospital bills. Be courteous and provide your information to the other driver or drivers, but when discussing the accident, stick to the facts without any excess information or opinion.

4.  Seek Medical Attention If Needed

If you have any injuries as a result of the accident, it is extremely important to see a doctor as soon as possible. In addition to getting the treatment you need for an injury, you want to have information on record about the injuries sustained in the accident. This way, you can have documentation to give to your insurance company and prove the severity of your injuries if the other driver’s insurance company tries to dispute your claim.

5.  Call Your Insurance Company

If possible, it is best to contact your insurance company as soon as you complete the accident report with the police. Give your insurance agent all the information that is requested, including the details that you’ve gathered from the other motorists. Your insurance agent will advise you on the next steps you should take, including seeking repairs from an approved auto body shop and filing the appropriate accident forms with the DMV.

6.  Contact a Personal Injury Attorney in Los Angeles

If you have been in an accident and want to explore your legal options, get in touch with a personal injury attorney in Los Angeles before too much time passes by. An auto accident attorney will represent your interests and deal directly with the insurance companies so that the pressure is off of you moving forward. This gives you the assistance you need since a professional will be handling your case and keep you from feeling pressured into settling a claim with an insurance company that does not fairly compensate you for the damage and injuries you’ve suffered.

Auto accident attorneys will also evaluate your case for free and help you determine the strength of your claim. In addition, you will be able to get advice on the immediate steps that you should take so that you are in the best position possible when dealing with the insurance companies. Call your attorney immediately after the accident when the information is still fresh in your mind so you have the best representation for your case.
Source

car accident

Learn your Legal Rights and Responsibilities Following a Workplace Injury

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April 1, 2014

 First Aid Station

Getting hurt at work can provoke a number of problems in addition to the pain and suffering that the accident caused. Many people worry that their job will be in jeopardy if they tell their employer about the injury or if they seek medical attention. Luckily, the California Worker Compensation Law has you covered when it comes to getting hurt on the job in Los Angeles. The injury or injuries that you suffer will likely be covered by insurance that most employers are required to carry, insurance that’s meant to help you pay for your medical bills as well as cover lost wages as you recover. Not every workplace will make this easy for you, so it is important to know your rights and responsibilities following a workplace accident.

Your Responsibilities

In order for workmen’s compensation to work for you in the face of an injury, you need to understand your responsibilities. Most employers are not going to readily offer workmen’s compensation coverage when you suffer an injury. Remember, your employer is trying to protect his assets while you are likely trying to protect your own. In order for the situation to work out fairly, you should follow these steps:

  • Tell your employer about the injury right away. Do not try to hide it. The longer that you hide an injury, the less likely it is that it will be covered under workmen’s comp.
  • Seek medical attention right away. If your situation is an emergency, do not delay; simply go to the emergency room. If it is not urgent, ask your employer if there is a certain list of doctors that you are required to see in the event of a workplace injury.
  • Inform your employer of all injuries and diagnoses that you receive from the doctor in addition to the factors that caused the accident.
  • Keep a written record of everything that happened from the time of the accident all the way through to the doctor appointments and treatments. This lessens the possibility of having to endure the “he said/she said” charade further down the road.
  • Enlist help from a third party if you are seriously injured or are unsure about how to proceed with your case.

Your Rights

Every injured employee has rights that must be abided by according to the California Worker Compensation Law. These rights are not always readily known to the injured person because the employer is typically not very helpful in this type of case. If at any point you feel that your rights are not being honored, a personal injury attorney in Los Angeles that specializes in workmen’s compensation can help you get what you deserve.

  • Negligence does not have to be solely the employer’s responsibility. Even accidents that occur as a result of the employee’s negligence can be covered. The exception to this rule is if the employee was intoxicated or under the influence of drugs at the time of the incident.
  • You have the right to a second opinion, even if your employer requires that you see a specific doctor for the workmen’s compensation claim. The second opinion might not be covered under the worker’s compensation, but you do have the right to seek it to ensure that you are being properly treated.
  • You are entitled to receive a copy of the workmen’s compensation claim. This allows you to ensure that your claim was properly filed and that it includes all of the details that you provided regarding the accident and the injuries.
  • Not all injuries are sudden. Even repetitive motion injuries, such as carpel tunnel syndrome or occupational illnesses as a result of breathing in toxic substances can be covered under the workmen’s compensation insurance.
  • If the doctor releases you but requires lighter duty than your normal responsibilities, your employer is required to provide a job with these lighter duties.
  • You have the right to attend all required medical appointments and treatments regarding your injury, even if they are during working hours.
  • You have the right to take the appropriate time to recover from your injuries, according to the treating doctor.
  • You have the right to financial assistance. The amount that you receive will depend on the type and severity of the injury and how it affects your ability to work. Temporary and permanent disability coverage is available in the event of an injury.

 Final Thought

 Suffering an injury at work is not only painful, but also frightening. Not knowing how you will provide for your family or pay your medical bills can be debilitating. Under the Workmen’s Compensation Law, you have rights that your employer must honor. If you are overwhelmed, confused, or feel as if you are being taken advantage of by your employer, it is well worth a consultation with a personal injury attorney in Los Angeles to discuss your rights. Anyone that is hurt on the job has rights and should not have to go through the experience alone. Protect yourself and your family by hiring the right lawyer to ensure that you get the assistance that you are entitled to as a result of your accident. 

Need Worker’s Compensation Help? Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer in Los Angeles

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March 28, 2014

Workers compensation is a special type of insurance coverage employers have to maintain on their employees, as well as contractors. This insurance is in place to cover medical expenses, lost wages and other related expenses, should someone be injured while on the job. As an employee, it is your responsibility to be aware of this insurance coverage. If your employer is not being cooperative with filing a worker’s compensation claim, then you need to contact a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer.

Some employees may be afraid of causing problems at their job by filing a worker’s compensation claim. They could have concerns they might lose their job after seeking reimbursement through the employer’s insurance company. However, the laws are written to protect employees from such actions. The thing to remember is your employer will be actively protecting his or her best interests and often already has a law firm on retainer for such events.

Another situation that sometimes occurs is when you are injured while at work and your employer asks you to file medical treatments using your own health insurance. For example, you cut your finger and require stitches. Your employer suggests you injured yourself by your own doing and leads you to believe you are responsible for paying for your medical care. However, this is a violation of the law, and you should never do this. Instead, you have the right to file worker’s compensation.

Regardless of the extent of your injuries and type of accident, it is in your best interest to contact a personal injury lawyer in Los Angeles and find out your worker’s compensation rights. Your attorney keeps your consultation completely confidential as you decide on the best course of action.

Injured a Pedestrian? You May Be Sued by an Accident Attorney

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March 27, 2014

More people are relying upon alternative methods of transportation due to the continued high fuel costs, such as public transportation. As a result, there has been a marked increase in the amount of pedestrian traffic in cities, like Los Angeles. Motorists need to be aware of this increase in foot traffic and take additional precautions to prevent accidents. In the event a pedestrian is injured due to a motorist’s negligence, he or she may have grounds for suing the other party with assistance from an accident attorney.

Who Can Be Sued in a Pedestrian Injury Case?

The injured pedestrian’s accident attorney has to determine who to sue. In most cases, it is the other party’s insurance company. However, there are cases where the individual who caused the accident could also be sued if they have substantial assets.

For example, the other party has a maximum cap on their liability insurance of $100,000, but your attorney evaluates your case and determines it is worth $250,000 due to the extent of your injuries. During your lawyer’s case evaluation, he discovers the other party has sizable assets. Because there is a cap on the maximum amount the insurance company will pay, the individual can be held responsible to pay the difference out of their own pocket.

It is important to remember each case is unique with its own set of circumstances. Monetary figures in the example should not be taken as representative for what you might be entitled to receive if you are injured, because amounts could be entirely different for your case. The best way to find out monetary figures is to contact an accident attorney in your area and schedule your free consultation.

A Personal Injury Lawyer in Los Angeles Ensures the Best Settlement

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March 25, 2014

One question you need to carefully consider, after sustaining personal injuries in any accident caused by someone else, is that of your legal rights. Many people assume the other party’s insurance company will take care of medical bills, worker’s compensation, and other such expenses related to the accident. However, this is not always the case, and you may find yourself paying for certain items out of your own pocket, with hopes you are going to be reimbursed later. It never hurts to schedule a free consultation with an injury lawyer in Los Angeles, or your area, to learn more about your rights under the law.

Putting your trust entirely into the hands of insurance companies is never a good idea. While they tend to treat you in a respectful manner and are sensitive to your situation, they are still looking for the least costly resolution for settling your claim. Their goal is to take care of your immediate needs and close your claim as quickly as possible. What if your injuries require long-term care, surgery, or have drastically affected your quality of life? Settling directly with the insurance company closes your claim and prevents you from seeking additional reimbursement for these types of problems.

By retaining your own personal injury lawyer in Los Angeles, you protect your legal rights. Your attorney works on your behalf to ensure you receive a fair settlement comparable with your injuries. The settlement your lawyer is able to obtain is normally a much higher monetary amount than you receive if you deal with the insurance company by yourself.

Contact a Los Angeles Injury Attorney to Find Out if You Have a Case

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March 21, 2014

It does not hurt to talk to a Los Angeles personal injury attorney after an accident to see if you have a case. It should be mentioned there are times where you may not have grounds for filing a case. There are different reasons and causes why this occurs, including a lack of evidence, no negligent party, and the time for filing a case has expired. Your lawyer will explain these situations in more detail during your initial consultation after reviewing your accident. 

A lack of evidence occurs when police reports, accident reports and other details about the accident are not completed or get lost. It is your responsibility to make sure reports are filed any time an accident happens and not leave it up to someone else. You should also obtain copies of the reports as soon as they are available and keep them for your own records. This way, if the reports do get lost, you have copies on hand to support your claim.

If you were the responsible party who caused the accident, this often implies there is no negligent party to sue. However, there are exceptions to this in certain cases. For example, the brakes on your car failed, and you hit a pedestrian and seriously injured them. While the pedestrian clearly has grounds for filing a case against you and your insurance company, you may be able to file a counterclaim against the automobile manufacturer or repair shop which installed the brakes.

All types of civil cases, such as personal injury, have a set time limit for bringing action against another party. If the time limit runs out, even if you had grounds for filing a case, you cannot bring legal action against the other party. Talking to a Los Angeles injury attorney is free, regardless of whether there are grounds for filing a case. It never hurts to obtain a professional legal opinion, because this area of the law encompasses a wide range of injuries and accidents.

Frustrated by Insurance Companies? Contact a Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney

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March 20, 2014

One common issue people face after an accident and dealing with insurance companies on their own is a change in their willingness to work with you. Initially, they are very nice, empathetic to your situation and seem like they are going to take care of medical bills and other related expenses associated with personal injuries experienced from the accident. However, as time goes on and bills continue to accumulate, their attitude quickly changes if you do not sign their forms in a timely manner. For you, this can become rather frustrating, because all you want to do is put the accident behind you and get on with your life. But, before you sign their forms, you need to contact a Los Angeles personal injury attorney.

Once you sign the insurance company’s settlement forms, you are signing away your legal rights and limit the amount of monetary reimbursement you could be entitled to receive. By contacting a Los Angles personal injury attorney and discussing your case, you are able to find out how much you case is worth. In addition, your lawyer takes the time to conduct a formal case analysis, gather evidence to support your claim, and ensures you receive the best representation.

Here at Madison Law Group, Attorney Madison is not easily intimidated by the insurance company’s team of attorneys. He stands his ground and remains diligent in helping you receive a fair settlement or verdict in your favor. All it takes to obtain his help is to contact our office and schedule your free consultation.

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