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FAQ

Can I afford a good attorney?

You bet. I take cases on a contingency fee basis, which means that I only get paid when you get a recovery on your case based on a percentage of what I am able to recover. If I don't win, I don't get paid.  While the client is responsible for case expenses, I will front these expenses out of my pocket while your case is pending.  Also, these case expenses are often not very much, especially if your case is settled without a lawsuit being filed.

Can I talk to you about my case for free?

Can I talk to you about my case for free?  Yes, of course! My consultations are always free. I am happy to talk to you to see if you have a case and answer any questions you have about the process. Even if you don't retain me to represent you, I always take the time to consider your case and answer your questions. If I can't help, I'm happy to refer you to additional legal resources that may be able to provide assistance.

Who will pay for my medical expenses and other damages?

Who will pay for my medical expenses and other damages?  Whether you're involved in a motor vehicle accident or a slip-and-fall, medical expenses for accidents can easily run into the tens of thousands of dollars. In many cases, I am able to arrange for you to obtain the medical care that you need and making arrangements so that you do not have to pay those expenses until after we make a recovery on your case.  This means that I am often able to obtain medical care for my clients, even when they do not have any health insurance and could not otherwise afford to pay.  No matter what your situation, I will work relentlessly on your behalf to find the appropriate party from which to obtain your recovery. I have a proven track record of recoveries for my clients.

How do you decide if you will take my case?

I will only take your case if I believe I can be of service to you. I listen to the details and carefully weigh the facts to determine if I think I can successfully get a recovery for you.

If I have an auto accident, what should I do at the accident scene?

First of all, stay at the scene.

As soon as it is safe to do so, call the police and for any other emergency response that you may need.

ONLY if fully qualified to do so, render first aid to other victims if someone is seriously hurt. Do NOT attempt to render first aid if you are not qualified or if there are no life threatening injuries.
Leave vehicles where the accident occurred unless they are severely obstructing traffic.

Stay in your vehicle if you are injured.

Do not apologize or admit any responsibility–say as little as possible as anything you say can be used against you later.

Always seek medical treatment at the scene, even if you don’t appear to be hurt. Likewise, if there is any question about injuries, go to an emergency room at least to be checked out. For several hours after a collision, the fear and shock of the incident can mask the pain of injuries you have sustained. Remember, better safe than sorry!

Exchange information such as names, addresses and phone numbers of all witnesses, passengers, and drivers. Be sure to keep your conversation with other drivers and their passengers to an absolute minimum. Do NOT get involved in “small talk” and DO NOT discuss the facts of the collision with ANYONE other than the investigating police officer! Do get the license number and insurance company name and policy number of the other driver. Be sure to take notes about all aspects of the accident scene, including:

  • Time of day
  • Weather
  • Road conditions
  • Lighting
  • Location of vehicles
  • Sketch a map of crossroads, road signs, and traffic signals and location and length of skid marks.
  • If your cell phone has a camera, or you have a camera with you, it’s a good idea to take as many photos of the scene as you can.
  • If your car must be towed, get the name and license number of the driver, and the name, address, phone number, and registration number of the towing company.
What will the police do at the accident scene?

The police officers will interview and take statements from all parties involved and all witnesses. Once the initial statements are taken, the officer will provide an accident card with details of how to contact him or her. All involved cars will be towed away for detailed examinations. The officer will issue a formal report once the investigations are complete. Criminal charges can be issued as a result of the investigations.

What should I do once I am allowed to leave the accident scene?

Call your attorney before calling your auto insurance company. Sometimes your attorney will call the insurance company for you to help ensure you do not accidentally accept responsibility for the accident or otherwise implicate yourself and create issues that prevent recovery later in the case.

Make sure you are examined at an emergency room or by your own doctor on the day of the accident–even if you’re not sure you have injuries. This exam will help eliminate questions about the cause of any injuries, and, as always, “better safe than sorry.”

Report the accident to the Department of Public Safety if it was not investigated by the police at the scene.

What if the other driver is uninsured?

You should always consult an experienced personal injury attorney with auto accident experience. I will happily answer your questions about the applicable insurance laws to help you get the compensation you deserve. There are often several alternatives in place to help you recover in the event of a collision, even if the driver responsible did not have liability insurance.

What kind of damages are typically covered?

You may receive damages for things such as:

  • medical bills
  • property damage
  • lost wages
  • pain and suffering
  • disfigurement
  • disability (temporary or permanent.)
Should I do my investigative work on the accident?

No, leave the investigation to your lawyer and the professional investigators. They know how and what to investigate to help determine the facts in your case.

How long will my case take?

I will build your case while you are in treatment for any injuries sustained in the accident. Once you have finished your medical treatment, I will gather all your medical and billing records and then formally submit the settlement demand to the proper insurance company. Obviously the length of medical treatment will depend on the severity of your injuries.

It usually takes several weeks for insurance companies to review and evaluate the settlement claim and respond with a counteroffer. That’s when we begin negotiation, which could take an additional few weeks. Once negotiations complete, it usually takes a week or two to settle financial arrangements and deliver a settlement check.

If a settlement is not possible and we must file a lawsuit, I will attempt to resolve the case as quickly as possible with the best possible outcome. Filing a lawsuit, however, can greatly extend the timeline of your case.

How long do I have to file a personal injury claim?

For the most part, you must file a lawsuit in a personal injury case no later than two years after the date of the incident, or you are barred from pursuing your rights. If your claim is not settled by that date, you must file a lawsuit in order to protect your rights. Please remember, there are a number of situations which require lawsuits or notice much sooner than two years. If you are considering the possibility of hiring a lawyer, it is generally best to do it as soon as possible.

My insurance company has declared my car “totaled.” How much can I recover?

Usually, if the insurance company and the adjuster assigned to the claim agree that the car is totaled, the insurance company will pay you for the vehicle’s fair market value. To determine a “ball park” estimate of the fair market value of your vehicle, go to www.kbb.com.

What if I am the passenger in a vehicle and get hurt or what if I am a pedestrian?

You have the same rights as every other party–you are entitled to recover damages from the person responsible for causing the accident, and their insurance company. In some cases both drivers are responsible, so both insurance companies will also be responsible. Juries are often sympathetic to passengers and especially to pedestrians, especially when they obviously did not contribute to the incident.

What should I do after a slip and fall or trip and fall accident?
  • Do not move if there is any chance you may have suffered a spinal injury. Wait for help before moving.
  • Call 911 or have a witness call 911 for you.
  • As soon as possible after the fall, notify the owner or employee of the property of the accident. Be sure to gather names and phone numbers of those you speak with. Ask for a copy of the written incident report–this is very important because business and insurance companies have sometimes denied claims because there was no record of the incident.
  • If you can, take notes or photos of the accident scene to understand exactly how it occurred.
  • If you are with someone, have them take photos or notes.
  • Pay attention to the factors that caused the accident, such as what you may have slipped on. Details such as your footprints or shopping cart wheel tracks will be important evidence in settling your case.
  • Ask witnesses about what they saw and record names and phone numbers for follow up.
  • Be sure to call your attorney before speaking with insurance companies or adjusters.
Can I start a lawsuit for an injured family member?

Yes, if a family member is severely injured or killed or if the injured party is a minor child. The law does allow some relatives and guardians the right to proceed on behalf of such a person.

How are claims valued?

All claims are different, however, your case can be compared to similar cases and claims to determine a value. In the case of a wrongful death case, while it is impossible to value the life of a loved one, the law allows us to claim certain damages for your tragic loss.

Should I try to settle a case myself?

Sometimes it is appropriate to settle a case yourself, however, you should only do so on the advice of your attorney. When in doubt, call for a free consultation about your case–you don’t want to give up your rights. Whenever I think someone can handle their own legal matter, I’m always happy to say so. On the other hand, if I think you need legal counsel, I will say so and I will explain why.

If I was partly to blame, do I still have a case?

Even if you were partly at fault in an accident, you should always consult with an attorney. As long as it can be established that the other driver was “more” at fault than you were, you may still have the right to collect a recovery. Contact me today for a free consultation so I can help determine if you have a case.

Do you make house calls or hospital visits?

Yes, depending on the severity of the injury, I can meet with the injured person or their family at a location that is convenient to them.