Personal Injury FAQ's

Do I need an attorney?

It is in your best interest to hire an attorney.
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Does it cost anything to speak to an attorney?

There is no charge for an initial conversation with an attorney and no charge for follow-up conversations prior to hiring us to represent you.
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How do I pay an attorney?

We accept claims on a contingent fee. That means we are only paid if there is a money recovery. If there is no recovery you owe us nothing.
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How do you charge?

In almost every case we work for a percentage of the settlement or judgment. Our fee is 33 1/3% if the case settles without litigation or 40% with litigation. We pay for court costs and other reasonable and necessary expenses and deduct these amounts from the client's portion settlement or judgment. We will discuss these matters with you in detail when you come into the office.
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What happens if you incur expenses and we collect nothing?

You owe us nothing. Our agreement says that you owe us nothing if there is no recovery.
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How much money can I expect to get in a settlement?

The award is directly related to the costs incurred.
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How long does it take to settle my case?

We do not advise settlement until you have reached maximum medical improvement. In other words, when you have received almost all medical treatment necessary for your injuries. We can have your doctor estimate future medical expenses. Settlement can take time because it is necessary to negotiate with the insurance company or at-fault party. We will need to demonstrate that you are prepared to take your claims to court if necessary and that you will not jump at their initial lower offers of settlement.
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Should I settle ahead of time?

This varies from each case and each individual. Know that going to trial can take years, but many times in return the judgment in court is larger than in a settlement.
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Do we have to file a lawsuit?

We try to avoid filing lawsuits when possible. We will do our best to settle your case without a lawsuit because lawsuits typically slow down the process. Even though our attorney's fee percentage is higher with a lawsuit, we would like you to be paid sooner than later.
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Will I end up at trial?

Only about 25% of all personal injury cases end in a court; most will settle.
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Who has the final say on my case?

You have the final say. We give advice and you make the decisions. If you want to accept a settlement, we will follow your orders. If you don't want a lawsuit, we will follow your orders. We will let you know if we don't like your orders, but we will follow them or withdraw.
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I do not live close to your office. How do I hire your firm?

There are several ways for you to complete our paperwork and get it back to us:
1. You can print our forms from the Internet, complete them and mail to us
2. We can fax our forms to you
3. We can mail our forms to you
4. We can Federal Express our forms to you and you can return them by Federal Express (we pay)
5. We can drive or fly (commercial airline or charter aircraft) to your location to visit with you
6. We can pay for a taxi or other land transportation to our office
7. We can pay to fly you to our office
8. Let us know if you have another idea of how we can help with transportation for you
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Do I pay for long distance calls to your office?

No. We provide a nationwide toll-free number to our office. We will not charge you for using our toll-free number.
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Would I need to travel to Alabama?

It's possible but not likely. If it is necessary we can advance travel expenses.
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What is a tort?

A tort is an injury or wrong committed, either with or without force, to another person or their property.
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What is tort reform?

Tort reform implies that limits can be placed on individual rights to sue or on the amounts or situations for which they can seek relief.
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What is a counterclaim?

A claim that the defendant in a suit has against the plaintiff from the same transaction.
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What is discovery and what is its purpose?

Discovery allows both parties to “discover” information in the case. The purpose is to narrow the basis of the complaint and to eliminate surprises to both parties.
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What are interrogatories?

Written questions by one party to the other, which are answered under oath.
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What is a deposition?

A formal interview under oath in the presence of a court reporter. The answers in a deposition are oral.
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What is civil law?

Principles that govern relationships between people, where no crime has been committed.
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What is a class action lawsuit?

When a large group of plaintiffs sue a large group of defendants naming a representative in place of the entire group. Examples would be the tobacco industry suits and the suits against the drug manufactures of the popular diet medications, such as fen-phen.
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What is negligence?

A failure to act reasonably in a situation. Doing something carelessly or failing to do something; i.e. driving without your headlights on.
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What are punitive damages?

Damages awarded to punish the defendant.
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What does pain and suffering include?

This would generally be money awarded over and above medical costs and lost wages.
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What is loss of consortium?

A loss of companionship and care for the victim’s marital partner.
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What is contributory negligence?

A defense to negligence stating that the plaintiff’s negligence contributed to their injuries.
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How is negligence determined?

Negligence does not simple mean doing something wrong. All of the following elements must exist for an act to be considered negligent:
1. Lack of reasonable care
2. Breach of duty
3. Injury to the victim
4. Forseeability (knowing an act would occur based on the circumstances) Damages.
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What is the statute of limitation in a civil case?

Generally 2 years from the date the incident occurred.
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What is wrongful death?

Laws that give survivors a cause of action against someone who’s negligence resulted in the victim’s death.
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What is an appellant?

The party who lost at trial is called an appellant on appeal.
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What is emotional distress?

Mental anguish.
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What are injunctions?

Court orders for defendant’s to stop them from doing something (i.e. temporary restraining orders).
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What is litigation?

A lawsuit.
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What does “res ipsa loquitor” mean?

It is a Latin phrase meaning, “the thing speaks for itself.”
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