FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
The following information contains questions often asked about how personal injury and death cases are handled. The answers are general in nature, but more specific information regarding your unique case can be obtained by contacting Hudson, Castle & Inkell, LLC. There is no fee for a personal consultation regarding your potential claim.
The best way to know if you have a case is to contact us for a free case review at (302) 428-8800. Our attorneys and staff will discuss the facts of your case and provide an opinion based on these initial facts whether your case should be pursued further. There is no fee or obligation for this review.
The best way to know if you have a case is to talk to a trial attorney as soon as possible following the injury. Our experienced attorneys will discuss the facts with you and offer an opinion whether the case is worth pursuing. There is never a fee for talking about your potential case.
In most personal injury and death cases, the defendant has insurance coverage. These insurance companies will often try to contact the injured party before he or she has spoken with an attorney in an attempt to settle the case far below the fair value. Being represented early by a trial lawyer is essential to help maximize the value of your case either through settlement or at trial.
With some exceptions, the statute of limitations for negligence cases in Delaware is generally two years from the date of the negligent act. This is the time period that the law allows for bringing a claim. Even if you have a clear case against someone that caused your injury the court will dismiss your claim if it is not brought within this time period.
Try to obtain name and contact information about the person who caused the injury. If it is an automobile accident get the other driver’s insurance policy number. If there are witnesses, get their names and telephone numbers. Do not speak with the other person’s insurance carrier but cooperate with your own insurance representative. Seek medical attention promptly for treatment and documentation of your injuries. Seek legal counsel if liability is contested.
It is often helpful to take photographs of your injury or damages. If there are long term or permanent injuries keeping a diary of how your injuries are affecting your daily life can be useful if a lawsuit is filed.
Our fee is contingent upon obtaining a monetary recovery for you either through a settlement or verdict in your favor at trial. The fee is a percentage of the recovery, and if there is no recovery, there is no fee owed — regardless of the amount of time we spend on your case.
If Hudson, Castle & Inkell, LLC accepts your case, we will advance the expenses and you will pay us back when there is a recovery. If no recovery is achieved, you don’t repay us. The risk is ours, which is a reason we scrutinize cases very closely before making the decision to file suit.
In all injury or death cases, medical records must be obtained to evaluate the case. If a suit is filed, depositions must be taken, and experts paid for their time in reviewing the case, preparation of their opinion, and testifying at deposition and trial. Expenses can vary greatly from case to case depending on the complexity of the case. When we accept a case it is with the knowledge that expenses may be substantial but we have every expectation of winning.
These cases can be filed in a variety of situations when caused by wrongful conduct of the defendant including:
- Automobile, truck, bus or other motor vehicle accidents
- Medical negligence of a healthcare provider
- Nursing home neglect or abuse causing a patient’s death
- Occupational accidents
When a loved one dies, under Delaware’s wrongful death law the parents, spouse, children, and siblings can sue for emotional pain and suffering and economic loss. Also, if the person experienced conscious pain and suffering before death, a “survival action” can be brought by the person’s estate for the value of that suffering.
A person who is injured due to the wrongdoing of another is entitled to be compensated, or made whole, by an award of monetary damages for all losses and expenses incurred which may include the following:
- Past and future medical bills
- Pain and suffering (both physical and emotional)
- Loss of income
- Property damage
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Emotional anguish
Under Delaware law, medical negligence is the failure of a healthcare provider such as a hospital, doctor, nurse or their employees to meet minimum standards of care. Stated another way, this standard is what a reasonable and prudent person would do under the same circumstances. These standards are often contained in written rules, guidelines, and protocols as well as the established practice within the medical community. In medical negligence cases, expert witness opinion is necessary to prove negligence, as well as the cause of the injuries.
Nursing Home Cases
What are signs of neglect that I should be aware of?
- Failure to help patient with food, hygiene, or clothing
- Unsanitary environment
- Safety hazards
- Dehydration, bed sores, malnutrition.
- Unexplained injuries
- Use of restraints (physical or by medication) in a manner not authorized by a doctor
- Under medicating
- Forcing the patient to remain in a room against his will
- Inability by staff to explain the patient’s condition
- Deprivation of food or water
If a settlement cannot be reached after an adequate investigation with the defendant’s insurance company, we will consider filing a lawsuit. Personal injury lawsuits begin with the filing of a Complaint by the injured party (the Plaintiff) against the wrongful party (the Defendant). The Complaint states the nature of the case, the wrongful acts of the Defendant and the damages that Plaintiff is seeking from the Defendant. Defendant takes these papers to an attorney who then files an Answer and at that point the case is begun.
The parties then engage in the discovery stage where each side usually sends written questions (interrogatories) to be answered under oath and takes depositions of opposing parties and witnesses. Interrogatories and depositions assist the attorneys for both sides in finding out all the facts. Expert witnesses are retained to provide opinions and testimony on the causes and extent of the injuries.
Although a lawsuit may already be started, settlement is always possible at any time up to and during trial. If your case cannot be settled for a fair amount of money, we will, with your permission, proceed to trial. What is expected of you at trial will be explained to you in minute detail well in advance of you going to the courthouse.