Q: How much is my case worth?
A: There are three things to consider in determining damages: (1) medical bills; (2) lost wages; (3) pain and suffering. With each, you have to consider the past and the future, and also whether the injuries are permanent. In general, the more serious the injury, the greater the value of your claim.
Q: Do all lawyers charge the same?
A: No. Fees vary. I believe our feed are competitive and reasonable, particularly when compared to some other firms. Our fees also are spelled out in a written contract before we begin.
Q: Do all lawyers have the same training and experience?
A: No. Law school provides no real world personal injury experience, and every Ohio lawyer who passes the bar is free to advertise for personal injury business. In fact, there are lawyers advertising who have never successfully tried even one personal injury case.
Q: What about the TV lawyer that says: “no fee, no recovery?
A: It does not mean much – nearly all lawyers work on a percentage basis, known as a contingent fee, so, by contract, if there is no settlement, there is no right to an attorney fee. Most seriously injured people cannot afford a lawyer on an hourly rate basis. The contingent fee is the key to the courthouse. However, it is so commonplace among lawyers that “no recovery, no fee” is nothing special.
Q: Okay, well do I really need a lawyer?
A: It’s your decision, but after 30 years in this business, I believe that any seriously injured person should have a lawyer. The rights of health insurance companies and others to take your settlement money have expanded through the concept of “sub-rogation.” Most folks do not understand their rights, or how to protect them, or the complexity of the system.
Q: I have been seriously hurt; what are the most important things to consider?
A: Take care of your health – get to the best doctors and hospitals you can – then worry about the adjusters, lawyers and bills. Nothing is more precious than your health
Category: Auto Accidents
Q: I have uninsured/underinsured coverage, can I just settle with the at-fault driver’s insured and then present my under insured claim to my insurer?
A: No, it’s not that simple. Uninsured/under insured coverage is a good thing, but your insurer has rights, too, and you can’t settle with the at-fault driver without its permission, otherwise you may void your coverage. The same is true if you have medical payments coverage through your insurer.
Q: I am completely innocent, why should I have to pay a lawyer?
A: I agree 100% that the insurer for the at-fault driver should have to pay for your lawyer, but that is not the law in Ohio. Our “pro-business” legislature gets lots of campaign money from the politically powerful insurance industry, which does not want to pay for your lawyer. In fact, the rights of accident victims were severely restricted by the Ohio legislature in 2005 with a lot of “help” from the insurance industry.
Q: Should I give a recorded statement to my insurance company?
A: Your policy almost certainly has a “duty to cooperate” clause in it. In order not to void your insurance, either you or your lawyer must communicate with your insurer. At some point, you’ll probably have to give a statement, but your lawyer can be with you.
Q: Should I give a recorded statement to the insurance adjustor for the at-fault driver?
A: You have no legal duty to speak with the at-fault insurer. If you are seriously hurt, consult with your lawyer first. If you do decide to give a statement, you have a right to have your lawyer present. Remember that we have an “adversarial” system of justice. The at-fault insurer is your adversary. It has no duty to be “fair” or act “in good faith” to you. In face, the insurer owes these duties to its at-fault driver, not you.