Frequently Asked Questions
Have You Been Hurt or Injured in an Accident?
We charge on a contingency-fee basis. This meaning that you will not pay us any fee unless there is a settlement or a winning verdict at trial. Typically, our fee is one-third or 33.3% of the total recovery in addition to case costs (money that we pay out to others in order to prepare your case).
The case value is based on several areas, assuming the liability issue is straightforward. Those areas include:
- Past Medical Bills
- Future Medical Bills
- Past Lost Wages
- Loss of Earning Capacity in the Future
- Pain and Suffering
A case value is also affected by other evidence such as: whether there are discrepancies in the testimony, medical records, or other evidence that may detract from the injured party’s case.
Every client is an individual and the recovery time varies with each person. Often a case cannot be resolved until we are able to determine the full extent of the injuries sustained. That may require time for surgery, rehabilitation, etc.
With that in mind, the average premises liability/auto or general negligence cases will reach resolution in four months to a year. That timeline is bound to fluctuate depending on the characteristics of each case.
Medical facilities and doctors will sometimes accept a “letter of protection,” which is a document allowing the patient to continue treatment without having to pay for it until a later date. In some cases, people may lack insurance coverage or their PIP benefits have been depleted. In these cases, a medical provider may request a letter of protection. It is essential that the client understand that if the case is not resolved in their favor, the client would still be responsible for paying their medical bills even if there is a letter of protection on file.
MMI is your maximum medical improvement as determined by your treating physician. At the conclusion of your treatment, we often request a final narrative that includes your MMI. This means that the patient has reached a point where they are as healthy as they can be. They may not be in the condition that they were prior to the accident, but their health has stabilized. If that is the case, a doctor may assign the patient a permanent impairment rating according to American Medical Association guidelines. Automobile insurance companies may want access to the permanent impairment rating as part of their case evaluation.
“Filing suit” is the act of filing legal papers at the courthouse. The client gives the authorization to file suit after all other options have been exhausted during pre-suit. When a case is filed with the court, it does not necessarily mean you will be going to trial and most cases are resolved before a trial begins.
Your primary goal is to get healthy and recover from your accident. We will collect information about your case; we collect documents to include the full police report, insurance information, medical records, and bills. When possible, we collect photographic evidence of the scene of the injury, the property damage, and bodily injuries. If necessary, we may interview witnesses and hire expert witnesses. Then, we submit a demand for settlement to the insurance company and negotiate with them. If we don’t reach a settlement at that point, we discuss filing a lawsuit. While in a lawsuit, we engage in discovery, which is the exchange of paperwork and information with the insurance company’s attorneys. Next come depositions, where they question our client and we question theirs. Other witnesses may also be deposed. Then the insurance company might have our client examined by their doctor. Last is trial. A lawsuit can settle at any point along the way if the parties can come to an agreement or if the discovery process reveals information that causes one party to change its position.