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General Law FAQs
How long are initial consultations?
That depends a lot on your case. Sometimes those can last for half an hour or so. Sometimes within 5 or 10 minutes, we can tell if we're going to be able to help you or not. Also, some people have more in-depth questions than others and we'll take however long it takes to make sure that all of your questions are answered. Consult with an attorney today. We're available 24/7.
Does the firm represent me once we have had an initial consultation?
Typically when we answer your questions, we find out what we need to know about your case and make a determination that it's something we can help you with. And you've made the determination that you'd like us to help you with it.
We typically do a retainer agreement electronically by email at the conclusion of the discussion. Of course, you may need to talk with a spouse. You may need to think it over. That's fine. You don't have an obligation to send it right back to us, but the representation does not officially begin until you and we have signed a retainer agreement documenting the fact that you've retained us, giving us the authority to act on your behalf.
Do you ever settle cases instead of going to trial?
Yes. Actually, if cases are prepared properly, most of them will be settled rather than going to trial. The reason for that is this. If you prepare the case properly and send it to the insurance company in a manner that shows them that you've collected all the evidence and that you know how to present it in an admissible way, then there are advantages to both sides of getting the case settled rather than litigating it.
In other words, if we can get the insurance company to come to a similar understanding of our understanding of the value of the case, then both sides can benefit from settling and avoiding having to pay filing fees, court reporters, paying doctors for their time and those kinds of expenses. So the answer is that most of our cases are resolved through settlement.
Now we're prepared, we're willing to file this suit and go forward if that's the smart thing to do, if that's the best way to get your case resolved. The end result is once we've negotiated it to the highest point that we can get it, then it's going to be your decision whether you want to resolve the case through litigation, or by settling the case for the highest amount we're able to negotiate (see case results).
How much does a lawyer cost?
With an injury claim, the fact is that when you're injured, you're typically in the least favorable position to incur a bunch of expenses while trying to get the matter straightened out. Often, you've missed some work. You've got medical bills coming at you. It's just a really bad time to look at a bunch of out-of-pocket expenses. And the solution to that is the contingent fee arrangement that personal injury attorneys work under.
What that means is that the fee is contingent upon the result, or to put it another way, that it is a percentage of the amount that's recovered for you, and it's only due when the money actually is recovered. We also advance any expenses so the net result is that you don't have any out-of-pocket costs.
Can I get a lawyer for free?
In an injury case, you will not be able to find an attorney who will handle your case for you and not get paid most likely. However, you have the ability to get representation without any out-of-pocket expenditures through the contingent fee system, by which your attorneys will wait to get paid until the money is actually recovered.
Can a minor hire a lawyer?
In the context of a personal injury case, a minor cannot directly hire a lawyer because the minor doesn't have the legal capacity to settle the case. Settling a case involves signing a release, which is a contractual document and the minor can't do that on his own. However, when you have a parent or guardian come to us and hire us to resolve the case on the minor's behalf, we can certainly do that. The end result of that is that the negotiated settlement has to go before a court typically.
There are a few exceptions, but typically, it has to go before a court so that the settlement can be approved by the judge. This is called a guardian ad litem, who is an attorney who is appointed by the court to represent the interest of the minor since we are hired by the parents.
So you have the guardian ad litem, our firm, and the judge, all looking at the settlement of the case to make sure that it's appropriate for the minor to prosecute an injury claim. It's just done with the assistance of whoever his legal guardian is, typically, the parents.
How do I go about getting a lawyer if I've been injured?
The easiest way is to just pick up the phone and call us. We will take the time to speak with you. You'll be able to speak with an attorney directly either at the time you call or shortly thereafter, as soon as one of us can get back to you.
At that first call, we'll take the time to go through all the things that we need to find out to determine if it's something we can help you with. By the end of that conversation, we'll then be prepared to answer any questions that you might have about the process and whether you would benefit from having an attorney or whether it's a case where you might be better off resolving it on your own. If we feel like that's the case, we'll let you know that during that initial call.
Family Law FAQs
Can you represent my spouse and me if we have reached an agreement?
No, the firm cannot represent both parties under any circumstances. However, we do represent many individuals through uncontested divorces where the parties reach agreements. Please do not hesitate to call to discuss your case.
Can you meet with me if you have already met with my spouse or an adverse party in a family matter dispute?
No. If any attorney in the firm has seen your spouse or an adverse party for an initial consultation, or otherwise obtained a significant amount of information about the case, we will not be able to meet with you since it would be considered a conflict of interest.
Do you ever settle cases instead of going to trial?
When appropriate, yes. We are committed to your best interests. Oftentimes, disputes can be settled outside of court and without a trial. This can oftentimes save some expense to the client and can expedite the process if that is what the client desires. However, each case is unique. We are prepared to handle your case in whatever manner required for optimal results.
Personal Injury Law FAQs
Do I need a personal injury lawyer?
The answer to that is case-dependent It is always a good idea to call a personal injury lawyer and talk to them if you've been injured in a claim. Some of the things that will be evaluated by the attorney when you call are:
- what does the liability picture look like?” Is it clear that it's someone else's fault and not your own?
- What kind of injuries did you suffer?
- What kind of medical expenses have you incurred?
- How much treatment have you had?
- How much treatment are you going to need?
- Did you lose wages?
All of these things go into play. Now you have to keep in mind that the insurance company typically wants to keep its money. They don't want to give it to you.
Secondly, they have an obligation to the insurance company rather than to you. And that obligation to the insurance company is to be profitable. So the adjuster wants to keep the money for the insurance company while protecting its insured, which it does by spending money. But you put those two things together, they want to spend the least amount possible.
So the net result is that if you have enough of an injury and enough damages to give a lawyer something to use as ammunition, typically, you're going to be better off having an attorney prosecute the claim for you. Sometimes there just isn't enough for us to add more value than the legal fee, in which case it doesn't make sense for anyone for us to represent you. But it's a difficult thing to do that analysis if you aren't an experienced personal injury attorney.
We suggest to everybody, even if you think your injury is relatively minor, take the time, call an injury attorney, speak with them, get their advice. No one's going to charge you for that advice. We're happy to have that conversation with you and see if something we can help you with or if you're going to be better off doing it on your own.
Auto Accident Law FAQs
How to get a police report for a car accident?
The way you get the police report differs by the agency. Our first piece of advice to you is if you are to the point where you're getting an accident report and you haven't yet talked with an attorney, you should call the attorney now. Because by the time the report's ready, you should already have counsel lined up, if it's going to be a case where counsel is needed.
Ideally, we want to be involved before you even talk to the insurance company, let alone after the officers had time to prepare his report. So you send a request to the police agency, that's done in different ways. There are various fees. They vary by agency. But you're better off talking to an attorney before you get to that point.
How long to file a police report for car accident?
That varies widely. Many of the agencies will have a report ready for us within a few days. We have on occasion, had to fight with agencies for literally months and months to get a negligent officer to get around to filing his paperwork. But the norm is that you should expect that an accident report is probably going to be available within a week of the accident, probably less.
How much will a car accident cost me?
That's a broad question. If you're talking about the terms of the representation for the car accident, we work on a contingent fee and that fee typically is one-third of the amount of the settlement if the case is settled through negotiation. And 40%, if the case has to be litigated. That's because litigation is a higher risk, a lot more work and more expenses that we are tying up as we front all those expenses for you until the case is over. If you're talking about a mass tort case, those are obviously very expensive to bring. The fee for those is typically a 40% fee.