There are some questions that we hear over and over.
Do I need a lawyer to help me on my personal injury claim?
Although you can handle a personal injury claim on your own, it is not advisable. Combining the insurance, medical and legal industries into one is the recipe for disaster. You need to focus on healing, on surviving. You can't afford to be worried about handling every issue that will come up, in an area you really have no relevant experience in. Sure you will have to share some of your settlement with your attorney but in the end you will be happy you did because you will have the peace of mind that your claim was handled properly and that you truly received the maximum compensation you could. And in our experience, even after paying your lawyer a percentage of your settlement, in the vast majority of the cases you still come out ahead of those who handle their personal injury claims on their own.
How much is my case worth?
This is the number one question we get from prospective clients. And our standard answer is that it depends. A good rule of thumb is that the more injured you are the more your settlement should be. But there are so many factors that play into a case's value, ie. permanency of the injury, how the injuries affect your employment future, cost of provable future medical expenses, etc. Ultimately a case is worth what a jury would award you if your case continues all the way to trial. Since most cases settle before trial both your lawyer and insurance adjuster handling your case will try to figure out what a jury might do with your set of facts and settle it within that range. We know that it is frustrating that you cannot tell what a case is worth from the outset, but focus on healing and getting better quickly. Hire your choice in lawyer and have confidence in him/her to do what you hired them to do.
I have worked with lawyers in the past and they are notorious for not returning phone calls. How can I change that?
Most busy lawyers get many calls every day. While there is no excuse to not provide quality customer service and return calls promptly, it helps to understand the best way to communicate with your lawyer. From the outset be open with your lawyer and ask him/her what is the best way to reach each other, ie. phone, email, walk-in, etc. We have found it helpful to train our clients from the first appointment to treat us like you would your doctor's office. You normally expect to only speak to your doctor with an appointment. Most of the time the receptionist can set up an appointment for you to at least speak by phone within the same day or the day following if things are super hectic. Most lawyers can break away to deal with emergencies, but you might be equally satisfied by explaining your emergency to the lawyer's well-qualified staff, who oftentimes know your case just as well if not better than the lawyer. The point is that you can help your lawyer successfully communicate with you by accommodating a style that works for both of you.
How do I get my medical bills paid if I don't have health insurance?
We live in very challenging economic times and the last thing you want to do is rack up medical bills after an accident. Your lawyer will be able to help you understand what benefits are available to you with your auto insurance policy. Many times you may be entitled to Personal Injury Protection (PIP) or Medpay, both of which take the place of the standard medical insurance plans when you get in a wreck. If you do not have these particular benefits or if you have exhausted them, many times your lawyers will be able to work with your doctors to assure them that their interests will be protected during the pending case by signing what is referred to as a lien or letter of protection. Medical providers understand how difficult it is for you. They are willing to work out payment arrangements as long as there are reasonable assurances that they will get paid for their services. All of this is something that you should rely upon the expertise of your lawyer to navigate you through.
What is my statute of limitations? Why is there a time limit to my case if I am still hurting?
The statute of limitations on your case depends on the type of case and the state where your accident occurred.