First, I will want to know what happened to you in some detail. I'll let you tell me what happened and probably have some questions so that I have a good understanding of the situation. Then I'll give you as much time as you need to ask me any questions you have. Once your questions are answered, I will explain all your options to you. If your case is one that I would interested in handling, we can talk about what that would look like.
No. Most personal injury firms, including mine, work on a contingent fee. That means that you only owe a legal fee if you win the case and collect money. Then the lawyer gets a percentage of the recovered money based on their fee agreement with you. Some lawyers charge an upfront fee to cover costs such as court filing fees, fees for obtaining medical records, etc. We do not do that. It will not cost you a penny to hire us.
The first thing you want to understand is the lawyer's experience handling cases like yours. For instance, if your case is a medical malpractice case, ask how many medical malpractice cases the lawyer has handled. If yours is a dog bite case, ask how many dog bite cases the lawyer has handled. You want a lawyer with experience handling cases like yours. Next, you want to know about the lawyer's trial experience. Cases only settle when the other side thinks they will lose and therefore feels threatened. You want to hire a lawyer who has tried cases in court and gotten good results. Insurance companies track these things, and it makes a difference in how they evaluate a case. Then, if the lawyer is experienced, has trial results, and you feel comfortable with them, ask questions about fees and costs. Make sure you understand how the lawyer gets paid. I think those are the big questions.
That is a tricky question to answer because every case is different. Most lawyers will want to wait until you are medically stationary before beginning to try to resolve your case. Then there is the time necessary to obtain medical records, hire experts if necessary, and put your case together in the best way possible to maximize your case value. That takes some time. If a lawsuit has to be filed, there is additional time as the case winds through the court system. This is a good topic for your free consultation. Once I know the facts of your case and where you are in your medical recovery, I can give you a good time estimate.
Not really. It depends on the type of accident you are in and whether other insurance coverage is available. For instance, in a car crash, you may have auto insurance with personal injury protection (PIP) that is primary medical coverage. Your health insurance will not pay benefits until that PIP is exhausted. In Oregon, PIP is usually limited to $15,000 of medical coverage. So PIP pays the first $15,000 of your medical bills, and then your health insurance will start paying bills. Then, once the case is resolved against the at-fault driver’s insurance company, your PIP and your health insurance may have to be repaid. That is called subrogation. That is a topic that you may want to discuss in a free consultation.
Potentially, yes. If another person or company caused your injuries, you might have a civil claim for money damages against that person or company. Then the issue becomes whether you can collect anything against them. Are they insured? Do they have assets? These are all issues to discuss in a free consultation.