Personal Injury FAQs
Q: I was injured; do I have a case?
A: There are three important issues to answer that question:
Liability requires that someone else be at fault for your injury. This is a legal determination not a personal determination. For example, if you are in the grocery store and you slip and fall because someone spilled a bottle of wine on the floor. Is the grocery store liable? Probably not. There is a theory in the law called “open and obvious,” and the basic principle is that you should have been paying attention to where you were walking. On the other hand, if you were rear-ended by someone, the liability is generally clear and obvious.
Injury to your person is required. It does not matter if you are a driver or a passenger in a vehicle, if you are injured, you may have a case.
Collectability is possibly the most important factor. An individual once came into our office who had been shot in the face. Not only is this a personal injury but an assault, which is intentional, which may open other avenues of recovery. The difficult part here is that while liability and injury may be crystal clear, the individual who shot him was in jail and a member of a gang. Gang members are not generally productive members of society having homes, cars and jobs that can be pursued to collect funds from.
If liability is clear (and it rarely is), you have sustained an injury, and the other party is collectable, then we will look at your case and determine the value of said case. Factors determining the value of a case are the type of injury, whether it was negligent (accidental) or intentional. Whether liability is clear or questionable. The type of injury sustained, whether it be superficial or significant, fully healed or permanent.
Q: How much is this matter going to cost me?
A: Most personal injuries are taken on a contingency basis, meaning that if we collect zero for you, we get paid zero; however, if we collect $1,000 or $100,000, we would take a percent of said recovery. The percent may vary depending upon the case and when it was resolved. If a trial has begun, the percent will be higher; if we are able to settle without filing a lawsuit, the percent will be lower. In general, the starting percent will likely be around 30 percent.
While we may take no fees during the pendency of the case, there may be fees that need to be paid. In order to present a complete claim to an insurance company, medical records, bills and doctors reports will likely need to be presented. The doctors and hospitals will not do this for free. We are unable to advance these costs. These fees will vary depending on what is needed.