Personal Injury FAQ

| Personal Injury FAQs

Learn about common issues from experienced St. Louis personal injury attorney Patrick O’Brien.

What is considered a personal injury case?

A personal injury case is any non-work-related injury caused by another person’s negligence.

What should I do after I’m injured in an accident?

If you are injured in an accident, you should immediately 1) Determine if there are any witnesses to your injury, 2) Seek medical attention, and 3) Document all facts that contributed to your injury.

What do I need to prove in a personal injury case to recover the damages from someone who has injured me?

You must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the negligence of another persona caused or contributed to cause your injury.

| How long after an accident do I have to file a lawsuit?

The timeline for filing a personal injury lawsuit varies depending on the state in which you reside. In Missouri, you have five years; in Illinois, you have two years. Generally, this timeframe is referred to as the statute of limitations and may range from one to six years.

| How much should I expect my personal injury case to cost and who pays the expenses?

Your attorney is allowed to pay your litigation expenses up to trial/settlement. You pay your attorney’s expenses out of your judgment/settlement proceeds. The cost of your claim will depend on the complexity of the case and the extent of your injuries.

| How long can I expect my injury claim to be resolved?

Claims can take from 6 months to 3 years, depending on the nature of the injury.

| Can I get my personal injury bills paid without filing a lawsuit?

If you deal directly with the insurance company, you may be able to get some of your medical bills and property damage paid.

| How do I know if the insurance company is being fair with my claim?

Insurance companies are businesses and will seek to pay as little compensation as possible. Partnering with an experienced personal injury attorney who understands the law and can ensure you receive a fair settlement is essential. A legal professional can advise on how much your claim may be worth, negotiate with insurance companies, and seek fair compensation.

| What is a medical lien, and should I sign it?

A lien is a demand for repayment that may be placed against your personal injury case. Your health insurance provider may also issue a lien to recover any money it spends on your personal injury accident treatment. Consult with a lawyer before signing any liens.

| Where do I file a lawsuit in Missouri?

You can always file in the county where the injury occurred. Depending on who the defendant is, you may have other options.

| Can I handle my own personal injury accident case?

While it is possible to handle your own personal injury accident case, it’s not recommended because you place yourself at the mercy of the defendant’s insurance company. Personal injury law can be complex, and insurance companies have experienced legal teams that will use every strategy available to minimize the value of your claim or deny it altogether. As a result, it’s in your best interest to seek legal representation from an attorney.

| Should I report an accident to my insurance company even if it wasn’t my fault?

You should always report an accident to your insurance company, even if it weren’t your fault. If the other driver doesn’t have insurance, you may file a compensation claim with your insurance company. An experienced St. Louis car accident lawyer can help navigate the process and ensure a fair settlement.

| How soon after an accident should I hire a personal injury attorney?

Consult with an attorney as soon as possible. They can guide you through the process and help determine if you need to hire a lawyer.

| Do I have to turn over medical records in my personal injury case?

Only the medical records that pertain to your injury and any previous medical records that involve injury to the same part of the body.

| What happens if I am unable to return to work after my accident?

Part of your damages in a personal injury case is past/future loss of earning capacity.

| What should I say to the insurance company after my accident?

Don’t speak with your insurance company until you’ve discussed your options with an experienced personal injury attorney. Once you’ve consulted on a plan, your attorney can help you inform your insurance provider of the circumstance.

| Do I need a lawyer before giving a recorded statement to the insurance company?

Yes, you should consult an experienced personal injury attorney before giving a recorded statement to the insurance company. A lawyer can advise you on what information to share and not share to protect your rights.

| The insurance company says the accident was “no-fault” and that means they aren’t going to pay for my medical treatment. What should I do?

The insurance company may be trying to deny responsibility for the accident. You must contact an attorney as soon as possible so they can review the facts of your case and advise on how best to proceed.

| What do I need to write down after an accident?

Documenting as much information as possible is crucial after an accident. Gather the following information:

  • The date and time of the accident
  • Insurance policy details of all parties involved
  • Pictures of the scene and any property damage
  • Witness contact information
  • Medical records
  • A description of your injuries and how they’ve impacted your life

| How can I pay my accident bills until my lawsuit is resolved?

If you have health insurance, you should contact your provider to determine if they will cover your medical expenses. If not, an experienced personal injury attorney can help negotiate with the hospital or doctor to ensure your bills are paid while your lawsuit is pending. Additionally, depending on the facts of the case and the state in which it’s filed, an attorney can secure an advance on your settlement.

| What records should I be getting together for my personal injury case?

Keep all records related to your injury case, including medical data, receipts for out-of-pocket expenses, copies of bills and correspondence from the insurance company, photos of the accident scene, contact information for witnesses, and a record of any lost wages. These items are helpful forms of evidence to strengthen your case.

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Have Another Personal Injury FAQ?

If you have any additional questions about personal injury law and the claims process, don’t hesitate to contact the Law Offices of Patrick S. O’Brien for more information. With years of experience handling personal injury cases, we will protect your rights. Contact us today to discuss your case.

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| Awards and Accreditations

Best Personal Injury Attorneys

Patrick S. O’Brien has been recognized by Best Lawyers® as a Best Personal Injury Attorney 2000-2023

5 Star Rated

He has consistently received a 5.0 out of 5, the highest possible rating for professional ethics and legal ability awarded by the organization's peer review rating system.

AV® Preeminent™

Patrick S. O’Brien has been designated an AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated attorney by Martindale-Hubbell annually since 1995.

Best Lawyer & Best Law Firm

He is also proud to have been selected a “Best Lawyer” in America for Railroad Law 2013-2023. His Law Offices of Patrick S. O’Brien, LLC has been selected as a “Best Law Firm” in America in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.


Patrick is proud to have attained a 10.0 (superb) rating from