Personal Injury FAQ
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Nope, initial consultations are free.
Many people need legal representation but cannot afford to pay a lawyer’s hourly rate. An alternative to paying for legal representation by the hour is the contingent fee. Most personal injury cases are handled on a “contingency fee” basis. The lawyer’s fee is based on (or “contingent” on) whether you actually get a recovery on your claim through trial or settlement.
The lawyer’s fee is a percentage of the recovery. The contingent fee percentages we use vary depending upon the nature of the case and other factors. It is important to note that expenses for your claim are always the sole responsibility of the client, under a contingent fee as well as an hourly fee. If we offer you a contingent fee, we will prepare a written fee agreement for you and the firm to sign.
The time limit to file a lawsuit varies depending on the nature of your case. In general, an adult’s claim for personal injury must be filed within two years of the injury.
Exceptions to the two year rule include injury to someone under 18 years old. However, some claims have much shorter requirements, such as six months to serve notice in a Dram Shop claim involving a tavern. Prompt consultation with a lawyer should be made to identify what claims you may have and determine what time limits apply.
Many factors go into the value of a claim. The more obvious and permanent the physical injury, the more medical treatment, the more time off work, and the clearer the other party’s legal responsibility, the more a case is likely to receive from a judge or jury.
Other factors such as personality and appeal of the parties and their witnesses, the ease or difficulty of obtaining necessary evidence and your willingness and the ability of your lawyer to take the case all the way to trial can also have effect on value. Every case has its strengths and weaknesses.
We think legal advice from a lawyer can be essential. You are not required to have a lawyer. However, you may not recognize all the potential claims you have or the applicable time limits and procedural requirements you need to follow to properly preserve and pursue your claims.
A lawyer knows what you will need for evidence to prove legal responsibility as well as your damages. A lawyer can help you evaluate your case and recognize the strengths and weaknesses in it. Your lawyer can help you assemble and present that evidence for settlement.
Of course, if your claim needs to be filed in a court or agency, a lawyer can prepare the papers in the proper form, file them in the correct places and see that the technical requirements to begin a legal proceeding are followed.
Your lawyer will try to see things from your perspective and give you advice and information free of any bias or conflict of interest. If a trial or hearing is needed, your lawyer can present your evidence and protect your right to a fair decision.
This is just a summary. Much more can be involved. If you have questions about what can be done for your case in particular, please contact us.
No one is eager to file a lawsuit. An experienced lawyer can help you make that decision. Not every injury means legal liability. There must be negligence by someone or a breach of some legal duty. That negligence must cause your injury in some way. Importantly, an offer to pay medical bills related to an injury may not mean that someone accepts full legal responsibility.
If you are hurt because of someone else’s actions it is wise to talk to a lawyer about the incident as soon as possible. You still have the facts fresh in your mind and the physical evidence may still be available. With a full description of the circumstances of your injury, your chances of a recovery can be assessed more accurately.
Insurance companies like to get statements about what happened. However, talking to anyone from the other side has risks.
Giving a recorded statement to an insurance adjuster when you are still recovering and still affected by injury or medication might lead to a mistake that confuses the facts in your case. It is usually a good idea to first speak with a lawyer about your rights and make sure that you want to talk about your case. You should be sure you are capable of and prepared to answer the questions that are likely to be asked of you.
A lawyer can help you decide whether giving a statement is the right thing to do. A lawyer can also be present if you elect to give a statement. If you give a statement, you may request a written copy from the adjuster.