Hiring an attorney can be intimidating. Never be afraid to ask your attorney to explain the legal process to you. Here are some general Q & As.

Hiring an attorney can be intimidating. Never be afraid to ask your attorney to explain the legal process to you.

General Questions and Answers regarding hiring Personal Injury Lawyers:

Q: What types of lawsuits do personal injury lawyers handle?

Personal injury lawyers handle a wide variety of cases, ranging from representing clients injured in car accidents to assisting the victims of dog attacks.  Although personal injury attorneys are often able to settle cases without filing a lawsuit, sometimes it becomes necessary.

Q: What does it cost to hire a personal injury lawyer?

Many personal injury attorneys do not charge for their services unless money is recovered from the party that caused their injuries.  This arrangement is known as a contingency fee.  If there is no recovery, then the personal injury attorney does not get paid any money.

Q: Who pays the up-front expenses of a personal injury case?

It is within the discretion of the personal injury attorney whether to advance expenses in a case.  If the personal injury attorney chooses to advance such expenses, the amounts advanced are recovered by the personal injury attorney when there is a recovery of money from the person responsible for the client’s injuries.

Q: What can you expect to happen in a personal injury lawsuit?

If your personal injury attorney is unable to settle the client’s case with the other party and filing a lawsuit becomes necessary, the litigation process begins with the filing of a lawsuit that provides the basis of the client’s claim, known as a cause of action.  The document filed initially is known as a Complaint.  The client that brings the claim is known as the plaintiff, while the other side being sued is called the defendant.  The defendant is served with a copy of the Complaint so they will have the opportunity to answer the Complaint and defend against the claims brought by the Plaintiff.  Through the remainder of the process, the parties exchange information regarding the claim.  For example, the plaintiff is required to provide (disclose) copies of all relevant medical records regarding the plaintiff’s injuries.  The parties also have the opportunity to take each other’s sworn testimony.  This testimony is typically transcribed by a court reporter.  Ultimately, a trial is held and the parties present their case before a jury, who determines whether the plaintiff should be awarded money from the defendant.

Q: What expenses are involved in a personal injury lawsuit?

The typical expenses incurred in a personal injury lawsuit are court filing fees, fees paid to court reporters to take deposition testimony, and any fees charged by experts or witnesses to testify on behalf of the plaintiff.  Some of the expenses can be recovered from the defendant if the plaintiff ultimately, wins the case.

Q: What is the value of my personal injury claim?

It is difficult to determine the value of any personal injury lawsuit without knowing the facts of the case and being familiar with the medical treatment and costs of medical care.  The plaintiff’s injuries must be reviewed by a competent attorney, who can provide the wisdom of his or her experience in similar cases to provide a proper valuation of the case.  Every case is different in terms of value; therefore it is important to seek the advice of an attorney as quickly as possible after the injury occurred.

Q: Is there a minimum personal injury settlement amount?

Although there is no minimum personal injury settlement amount, an experienced personal injury attorney can assist the client in determining the value of the case so the client can make informed decisions regarding the case.

Q: What about medical bills?  Are they included in a bodily injury claim?

The types of medical treatments and the amount of medical bills are always very important considerations in making a bodily injury claim.  These will help to provide the personal injury attorney with a means of providing a monetary valuation of the case.  In other words, the medical care and medical bills are important factors in determining how much a case is worth.

Q: Do lawyers receive their fee percent before or after medical expenses are paid?

Typically, attorney’s fees are taken from the gross (total) amount recovered on behalf of the client.  The medical expenses can be paid from the money recovered by the personal injury attorney, and many times the attorney can successfully negotiate a reduction in the medical bills, which will result in additional sums of money to the client.

Q: Does my lawyer need my consent to settle my personal injury case?

A lawyer can never settle a client’s case without the client’s consent.  Any settlement offers that are received by the attorney must promptly be discussed with the client.  The settlement offers for the client should be discussed with the client prior to making them.  In short, the client should be involved in his or her case as much as possible.

Q: How do I collect the money owed to me in my personal injury case?

When a settlement is negotiated with the other side, arrangements are made by the personal injury attorney to receive the settlement funds on behalf of the client so they can be properly distributed to the client.  The attorney is able to protect the best interest of the client by making sure that any medical providers that are legally entitled to payment are satisfied.  The attorney can often negotiate a reduction in repayment of medical expenses and medical liens; therefore, it is important to retain a personal injury attorney as soon after an accident as possible.

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