New York Personal Injury – Time’s Up!

When we’re talking about personal injury cases in the state of New York, there is a statute of limitations which means that the injured party (or parties) have a time limit in which to file a lawsuit seeking compensation for their injuries. It is an expiration date, if you will, and after a certain number of years, you no longer may file a claim.

New York’s civil statute of limitations laws typically give the injured party one to six years in which to file a lawsuit. However, if you have been injured due to what you perceive to be someone else’s negligence, there is no rationale to wait – see a knowledgeable attorney immediately after the accident. He or she can determine whether you have a case, and know what specific deadlines each personal injury claim requires. For instance, in the case of a motor vehicle accident, you have three years from the injury. The same goes for product liability. Medical malpractice, on the other hand, requires you to file suit within two and a half years of the incident. Wrongful death suits require you to file within one year.

Proof
Basically, in a personal injury lawsuit, you and your attorney will have to prove liability and damages. Liability determines who, exactly, is at fault. The answer is not always clear-cut. For instance, if you were walking across the street when the traffic light was red, and were hit by a speeding car, the liability might well be split; the jury may decide that you had some blame in the accident. Damages include any medical injuries or impairments that resulted from the accident; and could include any future medical expenses.

Of course, as in every personal injury lawsuit, solid medical evidence can mean the difference between prevailing and not prevailing at trial. But, again, it is crucial that you find an experienced attorney who can assess your case, see you through some of the pitfalls, and who will be knowledgeable about any and all changes in the law, itself. That is because personal injury law is constantly changing. This is better known as “tort reform,” and even the subtlest changes can have an impact on your current case.

Do I Have A Case?
That all depends upon the specific circumstances surrounding your injury. As I said, sometimes it is not a clear-cut case. However, if you sustained serious injury, have supportive medical documentation, can prove, mostly, that the injury is not your fault, and have proper legal representation, you probably have a case. But, remember, lawsuits and trials are not an exact science. Much also depends upon whether your case actually goes to trial, and whether you have an experienced attorney who knows how to effectively present your case.

If You Think Someone’s Watching You, You May Be Right

You may have heard the saying: “Just because you’re paranoid, doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.” While I am not implying personal injury clients are paranoid (although many are nervous about the whole litigation process), I am issuing a warning that when you are involved in a personal injury lawsuit, you can assume the defendants (usually the insurance carrier), is keeping an eye on you and your whereabouts.

Quite often, insurance carriers will hire private detectives to surveil their opponents (i.e., you, if you are suing for injuries). It is legal, as insurance carriers have a right to build a defense. And, unfortunately, there are some unscrupulous people out there who will sue for as I have described before a convenient ‘pay day.’ But the vast majority of people who have been injured due to someone else’s negligence are legitimately hurt. Yet, they still can be hurt in court by photographs or video taken by the defense. That is because surveillance images are powerful – even though they may only be a snapshot in time.

What To Do About It?
If you have been forthright about your disability and have not exaggerated your limitations, you have nothing to be concerned about. When and if defense obtains surveillance on you, simply let your attorney handle it. This is a fairly common occurrence with personal injury litigation.

If, however, you have exaggerated your limitations (even when it is unnecessary to do so), that could create complications for your case. But, again, let your attorney handle the matter. It is crucial to remember that complete honesty about your impairments is the very best policy.

There Are Many Kinds Of Personal Injury Accidents

Excerpt From Richard Noll’s Book, The Dirty Dozen: 12 Mistakes To Avoid In Your New York Accident Case. Mistake No. 12: Failing to document or report the accident or injury at the scene of the accident (a premises liability accident or a slip and fall accident).

Most of the information I have written about in this newsletter has been focused on car accidents. Many of you will be fortunate enough never to be struck from behind while sitting at a red light, or crushed by a taxi cab as it races through the intersection, even though you are the one with the green light. However, your luck may not extend to preventing the possibility of walking down the sidewalk and encountering a slab of sidewalk pushed up by adjacent tree roots; or walking in the cross walk and stepping into that gaping, jagged hole right next to the manhole cover. Or, if your luck does not hold out, you could be stepping on that marble tread inside your neighbor’s apartment building only to have to the entire stair collapse underneath you, propelling you down the entire flight of stairs.

Whatever you do, do not merely limp away!

Do not be embarrassed, either. Too often people become embarrassed and simply want to disappear from the scene of the accident as soon as possible. Wrong move. If you are genuinely hurt, you must get the time, place and manner of your injury documented. And then, you must protect yourself against all of the same mistakes you would have to protect yourself against if you were involved in a motor vehicle accident.

During my career, I have worked with scores of people who have never documented their accident or injury at the scene. It may not be the ultimate death knell of your case, but it makes proving your case significantly more difficult, It also makes the defense counsel’s job far easier.

I once represented an older woman who was thrown to the floor of a city bus that was being wildly operated by the bus driver. She fell in such a way that she fractured both her tibia and fibula (the two bones of the lower leg). She was helped up by two good samaritans, and proceeded to ride the bus for two more blocks to her stop. Then, she exited the bus without saying a word to the bus driver. She never asked for the names or contact information of the gentlemen who assisted her; she never obtained the license plate number of the bus. She did not call the police from her bus top, nor did she call an ambulance to help her to the emergency room. Instead, she limped home and had her grandson drive her to the emergency room.

So, given these circumstances, what was the defense? Answer: This accident never happened. She could have injured herself anywhere, maybe even in her own home. The defense would assert that there was no proof that the accident ever occurred when or how she claims. She is just looking for a convenient ‘pay day.’

My client’s reaction to just leave the bus as quickly as she could is quite common. The first reaction many of us have when tripping and falling or injuring ourselves is to make it look like nothing happened. Often, we are embarrassed to fall in front of strangers. We tend to jump up, brush ourselves off, ignore the severe pain and quip, “I’m ok, I’m ok.” But, if you are not ok, you already have begun to build the hill (which is a steep enough climb as a plaintiff) you will have to battle up to successfully prosecute your claim just for compensation.

Should you find yourself in this unfortunate situation, take a moment before you speak. Take note of your surroundings. Take note of what caused your accident. Also remember to take the names and addresses or phone numbers of witnesses. If you are not writhing in pain and able to think clearly and function, take a picture of the location. Almost all of us carry cameras these days in the form of cell phones.

If the accident occurs inside private premises, a building, a store, a school, for example, report it to the owner or manager. Do not ignore the pain in your ankle, knee, back or other body part. It may or may not be fractured. But, even if there is no fracture, I have seen many soft tissue injuries that result in a lifetime of pain and disability. Sometimes, soft tissue injuries may require significant surgical procedures or years of medical care to correct them or make them tolerable.

No matter where you are injured; no matter the circumstances, remember to ask for help. Let someone call the police. Let someone call you an ambulance. The police will generate a report as to where, when, and what happened. The ambulance will document where you were picked up and what your physical complaints were.

If you are eventually injury free, if you do go to the emergency room and feel better a few hours later, terrific! Then, you will not need any of the documentation and you will not need my legal services. However, if you do not recover shortly and you need to proceed with legal action, that documentation will be regarded as important evidence.

Report your accident. Document the location and the cause of the accident. Make sure your physical complaints and injuries are made known to emergency care professionals.

When It Comes To Medical Treatment, More Is Not Always Better

Excerpt From Richard Noll’s Book, The Dirty Dozen; 12 Mistakes To Avoid In Your New York Accident Case
Mistake #5: Receiving excessive, unnecessary and useless medical treatments and diagnostic tests.

When you’ve been the victim of a personal injury, often you will be brought to a hospital for emergency care; to make certain that you are not in any danger. After you have been discharged, you then begin regular treatment with a medical professional for your specific injuries. If you do not need further medical care, it is likely that your injury does not warrant hiring a personal injury attorney.

Whether the doctor you see after your hospital discharge is your primary care physician, a chiropractor, a board certified specialist referred by the hospital or your PCP, or a local trauma clinic, all of these medical providers will perform the same initial assessment of your condition. After culling all of your biological and insurance information, he or she will take a history of what happened to you in the accident and note whatever pain your are experiencing. He or she also will take a prior medical history which is crucial in determining whether your pain is or is not a result of your accident. The doctor then will perform an initial physical examination, touching you and asking you to move in specific ways.

Depending upon your complaints of pain and the results of the initial physical examination, the doctor may refer you for preliminary diagnostic testing such as x-rays. All of this information assists the doctor in forming a working diagnosis of your condition. That working diagnosis forms the basis for future diagnostic studies as well as a plan for your treatment and care.

Problems can arise when your medical provider is more interested in performing medical services and diagnostic studies with which to bill the insurance carrier than he or she is in considering what treatment you really need. You might ask, ‘how can this hurt my personal injury claim? After all, the higher the medical bills, the more serious your injury must be, right? Well, no.

In fact, today we live in an age where the typical juror is naturally suspicious of personal injury claims to begin with. They may even sit in the jury box worrying about how claims like yours will adversely affect their insurance premiums and their property taxes. Often, they believe that we should all look out for ourselves, and not ‘blame the other guy’ for our injuries, regardless of how severe.

When this type of juror perceives that doctors and lawyers are claiming that every ache and pain experienced by their client is the result of this one particular accident, or that doctors are performing tests and treatment that may not be relevant or helpful to the patient’s care, the juror begins to doubt their professional credibility. If your doctor loses credibility, so do you, and so does your personal injury case.

Furthermore, excessive testing and treatment is more difficult for you. Not only will the process take up enormous blocks of your time, but it also be harder for you to remember all of the tests and treatments you have had when it comes time for you to testify. You should ask yourself this question: if, during your accident you have injured your neck, right shoulder and right elbow, why would a reputable physician x-ray your left ankle or refer to for an MRI of your lower back? If it doesn’t make sense to you, it certainly will not make sense to a jury or an insurance carrier.

If a doctor does not require the results of a particular test when developing your course of treatment, then why should you spend the time and (no doubt) stress getting it done? And, why should you or your insurance carrier pay for it?

Now, I would suspect that everyone experiences anxiety during and after a serious accident of any kind. However, if, after a time you have gotten over the anxiety, fear or depression, does it really make sense to treat with a psychiatrist or psychologist every week for six to 12 months? Not really. In fact, this excessive treatment could look to a juror and an insurance carrier as your attempt to “build a case” where there is none, even if you have been seriously injured.

Remember also that at your trial (should you have one), your doctors may be called to testify on your behalf. They will be asked to describe as well as justify every procedure they have ordered for you; every specialist referral will be scrutinized. If your doctors cannot adequately explain the reasons for their decisions and treatment plans, their credibility will be called into serious question. Woe to the doctor who cannot explain how he or she was paid thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars for tests and treatment that he or she did not have a sound basis for ordering.

As I have said many times before, your personal injury case is as good or as bad as your medical records, your doctors’ narratives, and the treatment that your doctors prescribe for you.

When It Comes To Testifying In Court, Honesty Is The Best Policy

Many of the same principles for testifying in a deposition also apply to testifying in court before a judge or jury. The number one principle everyone should remember whether testifying as a plaintiff or a defendant is: tell the truth – always. No doubt your attorney will not want you to offer more information than a question asks for, but he or she should advise you to answer every question honestly. Not only is that the right thing to do, but it also prevents the opposing attorney from “catching” you in a lie. Your honesty is a large part of how you are perceived on the witness stand and goes along way towards supporting your case.

Sometimes witnesses appear hesitant or apprehensive because they have not understood the questions posed by the examining attorney. Apprehensiveness also may be perceived as dishonesty so remember to always wait a few seconds before answering every question. If you aren’t clear about a question, ask the attorney to clarify it. Testifying in court is serious business. Therefore you have the right (and the obligation) to make sure you understand what’s being asked of you and to respond as best you can.

If you don’t know or can’t remember an answer, simply say “I don’t know” or “I don’t remember.” None of us can be expected to remember every single detail of an incident, particularly if that incident occurred months or even years ago. Admitting you don’t know or don’t remember is a perfectly honest answer, and is infinitely better than making it up. Before you testify, your attorney should spend a great deal of time refreshing your memory about what you said in your deposition. If you answer a question without being sure about it, that answer could be inconsistent with your previous testimony. Remember, inconsistency can have an adverse effect on your case.

Finally, while testifying in court is your opportunity to tell your story, you must remain calm, polite, and cooperative. Try not to get emotional, and under no circumstances should you become adversarial with the opposing lawyer. – that is your lawyer’s job.

Preparing For The Deposition

Don’t look upon a deposition as a stressor. Rather, look upon it as your side’s opportunity to question your opposition – or the individual responsible for your injury – under oath, before a court reporter. Everything said on record during the deposition is recorded, and that becomes the transcript, an invaluable tool for your attorney.

Depositions generally are taken for three reasons:

  • It is a discovery tool used by attorneys to obtain information about you, how the accident occurred and your injuries;
  • It is used to “lock your story in” so you cannot change it at the time of trial and surprise your adversary;
  • It is used by counsel to evaluate your credibility and likability.

If your case does go to trial, the sworn testimony given at deposition is accorded the same weight and credence as if it were given in the courtroom. That’s why a deposition can make or break your case. If you give a strong deposition, it will help your attorney posture your case for settlement. If you give a poor performance at deposition, settlement can be more difficult. More significantly, a bad deposition, may cause your case to be dismissed before trial or make it very difficult to give a convincing testimony at trial.

The key to a strong performance during deposition is preparation. Your attorney should spend a lot of time with you before you submit to questioning by opposing counsel. He or she should review the basic guidelines of how to conduct yourself and how to best answer the questions. Your attorney should then review with you the types of questions that can be expected, and help to refresh your memory to the specific facts of your case.

The Guidelines For Deposition Testimony

First, the less you say during the deposition, the better. Remember that the deposition is not the time for you to “tell your side of the story.” Rather, it is a time to answer specific questions. It is important to remember how a deposition will be used at trial. When you testify again at trial (if it comes to that usually over one year later), you will convey the same story but will want to tell it with more details and flourish. However, everything you say at trial must conform to what you said earlier at your deposition.

If there is a conflict in your testimony, you will be cross-examined on the inconsistencies and opposing counsel will attempt to make you look either like a liar or like someone who is confused, at the very least.

Human beings rarely tell the same story twice using the same words. Lawyers work with words and will emphasize the differences in your testimony.

So logic dictates that the fewer words you have on paper (in the transcript), the easier it will be for you to testify at trial in full detail without contradicting your previous testimony.

Second, if you can answer the question asked of you with a simple “yes” or “no,” do so. If the lawyer asking the question wants more information, let him or her ask you for it. If you need to provide a brief explanation, give one. But, make it brief – one short sentence will suffice.

Third, if the lawyer questioning you asks for one piece of information, give that one piece of information. For instance, if he or she asks you what color shirt you are wearing, state the color, not where and when you bought the shirt and how much it cost. If the lawyer asks for more than one piece of information in one question, your lawyer should object to the question.

Fourth, if your lawyer objects to a question, do not answer that question until your lawyer instructs you to do so. If you do not understand defense counsel’s question, say so and he or she will rephrase the question. Never, ever guess at what a question means.

Also, never guess at the answer to a question. If you are not sure of the answer, communicate that to the attorney. If you do not remember the answer to a question, say, “I do not remember.” If you do not know the answer to a question, say, “I do not know.”

It is crucial that you understand the difference between not remembering and not knowing. If you never had the information in your brain, then you do not know. Nothing at all can be done to bring that memory back because you never had the knowledge in the first place. However, if you used to have the knowledge but have since forgotten it, then you do not remember.

Fifth, be polite and (under no circumstances) argue with the opposing attorney. It is your responsibility to answer questions. It is your attorney’s responsibility to argue with his adversary, if necessary.

Sixth, speak up. Remember, a court reporter is typing everything you say and only what you say, so you must speak your answers clearly. Nodding your head or gesturing with your hands will not be recorded in the record. Do not say “uh-huh” since the court reporter will not be able to tell whether you mean yes or no. And, let the lawyer finish asking the question before you start to answer because the stenographer can only type one voice at a time.

Finally, do not think out loud. Take your time before your say anything. When you are ready, give your short, concise answer.

Epilepsy As A Result Of Brain Trauma

Unfortunately, brain trauma from accidents is a major cause of epilepsy. Car accidents, motorcycle accidents, football games, any of these can be the culprit. Both seizures that occur immediately after brain trauma and those that occur much later (well after one week) can result in the condition being ongoing, but the earlier treatment begins, the better. Seizures that occur up to one week after injury often may resolve, while those that occur much later tend to result in the recurrent condition known as epilepsy.

Generally, the more severe the head trauma, the more likely it is the individual could be left with epilepsy (Post-traumatic Epilepsy); when the injury is so severe as to cause bleeding, fractures or comas. Diagnostic testing of the brain is not always reliable in determining the precise cause, however. But coupled with the evidence of a serious accident and injury to the head, doctors can be fairly certain of the origin.

Most people think they know what an epileptic seizure looks like – someone shaking, then falling to the ground. However, epileptic symptoms actually begin with abnormal eye movements or staring, head shaking, and a general unresponsiveness to stimuli. Most often, the best thing to do when you see someone having a seizure is to clear the space around him, try to cushion his head, and call for medical assistance.

Epilepsy can be well controlled with medications such as Phenobarbital and Topiramate, but in most cases in New York, people with the disorder must wait one year without a seizure to drive a motor vehicle. When an individual has seizures that cannot be well controlled by medication, doctors will recommend extensive testing and monitoring.

As with all disorders from head injuries, epilepsy is invisible until it’s not. In fact, an individual that has suffered a severe head trauma probably should be regularly checked for symptoms years after the injury because Pot-traumatic epilepsy can occur years later.

Yes, This Really Happened – Shooting Victims Sued By Las Vegas Hotel
In what amounts to an attempt to thwart lawsuits by individuals who were shot at during the Las Vegas massacre, MGM Resorts, owner of the Mandalay Bay Hotel where a domestic terrorist wounded 500 people and killed 58, is suing the victims of the attack.

While they are not suing for money, they are suing to prevent the victims from suing them, first. The hotel does not want to be held liable for what could be called the worst mass shooting in our modern history.

Not wanting to appear cynical, MGM Resorts said it only is suing those shooting victims that have already sued them, or plan to sue. I suppose that’s something. We shall see how this all pans out in court.

Don’t I Deserve Financial Compensation?

As the injured party, the answer is absolutely. However, the defendant’s insurance carrier very well could have a different point of view. That may not seem fair or equitable, but, once again, insurance carriers do not exist to be fair; they exist to make money. And paying out financial compensation to injured parties is not their desired path to profits.

Fortunately, the final decision of whether you are entitled to compensation is not up to the insurance carrier – that decision is up to the courts, and it is my responsibility as a personal injury attorney, to make your case which generally involves some kind of compromise. Compromises usually mean that neither side gets everything what they want, but the goal is to make sure you get more than the insurance carrier tells me they are willing to pay.

A Long, Slow Slog

Along with understanding that any settlement will be a compromise, you also need to be prepared for a very long wait. Regardless of how clear cut your case is, and regardless of whether the insurance carrier knows they will settle, their mantra always is to slow things down. The longer it takes to resolve a case, the more money they save. As a plaintiff’s attorney, I have to appear as patient as possible, otherwise the insurance carrier has the edge in any negotiation.

I tell all of my clients to not expect the insurance carrier to compensate them for the full value of the policy unless the defendant’s fault is absolute and your injuries are severe and absolutely proven to be a result of negligence. That almost never happens. Rather, event though you were the victim of negligence, you and your actions during the accident as well as the resulting injuries you suffer will be endlessly pored over, analyzed and questioned. The insurance carrier will try to assign at least blame to you, and that infuriates all of my clients.

What I Need To Know

To help insure I can get the best possible result for you, I will need all diagnostic tests; evidence that you sought medical care immediately following the accident; all medical reports including surgical reports; and confirmation of injury from your treating doctors. I also will need to know what your functional limitations are; whether you can return to work; how much work you have missed (and missing income); whether you have any pre-existing conditions; whether you’ve been involved in a personal injury lawsuit before; and whether your injuries have caused you permanent damage.

However, the amount of compensation you receive also depends upon the amount of insurance coverage the negligent party has. If the other party is only covered for $100,000, your compensation cannot exceed that amount.

What To Do On That Dreaded IME Day

No matter how much I tell my clients to remain calm before and during their Independent Medical Examinations, the stress always is palpable. Once again, relax. We are talking here about just one cursory medical examination by a physician who has been hired by defendant’s insurance carrier. And going in, you should know that this physician likely will present a report that is favorable to his or her client – said insurance carrier.

However, that does not mean that there aren’t some things you can do to lessen the tension. First, remain calm. That is crucial because if you go into the exam a nervous wreck, you are liable to say or do something that could damage your case. And, it also pays to be on time. You should assume this doctor is not there as your advocate, so why give him/her any reason to be annoyed with you.

I am repeating myself when I say that neither the insurance carrier nor the IME doctor are your friends, so don’t expect to make any kind of doctor-patient connection. Answer questions when asked, and answer them honestly. But remember to be specific and comprehensive; do not forget to tell this doctor about everything that is bothering you. If you leave out a symptom or discomfort, and it surfaces later in the case, opposing attorney could make you appear untruthful.

The other extreme, of course, is over-dramatizing your symptoms. We all have an image in our minds about that injured plaintiff who wears a neck brace to court – usually in some comedy sketch. Yeah, the audience always laughs because we are in on the joke – we know THAT guy is, shall we say, embellishing on his condition. Don’t do that. Remember that you don’t have to be wearing a neck brace, walking on crutches, or be bedridden in order to be genuinely hurt or disabled. In fact, sometimes, hidden injuries are the most severe. Tell the truth as you know it and as you feel it. When you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything except the truth.

Before your IME, it also is a good idea to go over the details of your accident AND your medical treatment in your own mind. Make a list, if you need to, of the timeline of your treatment as well as all of the specialists you’ve treated with. List all of the diagnostic tests you’ve had, and be prepared to answer questions about medications and physical therapy, if you are asked.

If after all of this preparation you still feel apprehensive about going to your IME appointment, you might want to speak with your personal injury attorney about arranging for a medical professional to accompany you. You have the right to have a nurse, for example, join you in the exam room. The nurse will be on your side. He or she can take notes, watch how the doctor conducts the examination, and report back to your attorney. All the facts about your IME will be documented, and you will not be alone.

Frequently Asked Questions About Personal Injury Lawsuits

All too often, even though our clients are the ones injured and deserving of compensation for their injuries, the thought of beginning a lawsuit is terrifying to them. That is why we’ve put together the following FAQ’s addressing their concerns. If you’ve been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, the last thing you need is additional stress caused merely by the thought of a lawsuit.

Will I have to go to Court?

While nearly all cases are settled out of court and before a trial begins, some are settled after the start of the trial but before its conclusion. Sometimes, if we feel that the settlement offered is unfair to you, we will try your case, We will hold your hand every step of the way. The successful results we have achieved with past personal injury cases often give our clients the confidence they need to retain our firm.Our track record proves that we fight hard to get you results, whether your case is resolved before, during or after trial.

Why do you so frequently win favorable settlements?

Because we always deal from a position of strength, never from a position of weakness. We’re always prepared to go to trial. Defendants know about our years of experience and, sooner or later, understand how well prepared we are. There is no guarantee, of course, but at just the right point in the process, a favorable settlement becomes more likely.

Why can’t my other lawyers handle my case?

The practice of law has become very specialized and complex. The law is constantly changing, so it is important to choose an attorney who focuses on the specific area of law you need. Our firm focuses entirely on personal injury law; that’s why we’re successful. The Noll Law Firm devotes our entire practice to recovering damages for people who are harmed because of someone else’s negligence. Other attorneys practicing family law or estate law, for example, focus entirely on those areas. Additionally, other lawyers know our reputation and our record of success. They have the confidence that we will serve you well, and often look to us to handle their personal injury cases.

Will I have to take the witness stand? Will the other lawyer attack me and try to break me down in cross examination?

Understand, you are the victim in this case, and we will represent you. The process of winning compensation for what has been done to you should not be painful, and, for the vast majority of plaintiffs, it is not. Courtroom scenes on television are not real life. They are exaggerated for dramatic effect. Even actual televised trials are most often selected because they are sensational. In reality, there is a plaintiff, a defendant, a judge and usually a jury in the courtroom. If the case is tried, the judge and jury are sworn to do what is right. Jurors are people like you, and they do not like lawyers abusing witnesses.

Can I afford your services?

You certainly can. We work on a contingency basis. That means you pay no legal fees unless you win an award, either through settlement or trial. We make the full investment of money and time to win justice for you. If we succeed on your behalf, we are paid a percentage of the award, and that sum is regulated by Court rule. We are also reimbursed for our expenses. What is most important is this: we have never lost a case for lack of money or professional time and we never will.

Suppose I’ve been referred by another lawyer or law firm. Does that mean my case is going to cost me more money?

You pay the same contingency fee if we win your case, regardless of whether you were referred to us from another lawyer or if you came directly to us. There are cases where both law firms will share the contingency fee, but our clients are not charged an additional fee for that.