I am often asked general questions about the process of a personal injury lawsuit even before I’ve been retained. That is because dealing with lawsuits or any legal issue is unfamiliar and a little daunting to a lot of people. The following are some questions that commonly come up, many of which I have answered in prior issues of this newsletter. Should there be any questions you have that I have not answered, please feel free to contact me.
Can I afford to hire you?
Absolutely. We work on a contingency basis. That means that you pay no legal fees unless you win either a settlement or a trial. You are not obligated to pay up front expenses, either. We make the full investment of money and time to win justice for you. If we win your case, we are paid a percentage of the award which is regulated by the Court, that includes reimbursement of our expenses. The Noll Law Firm has never lost a case for lack of money, knowledge, professional time or resources – and we never will.
I was badly injured in an auto accident, could you recommend a good doctor?
As your attorney, it really is not my place to refer to you to a good physician, nor is it ethical. I generally tell any prospective client to ask their primary care physician for a referral to a specialist such as a neurologist or orthopedist, for example. While we do have a medical professional review potential cases, that review relates only to whether a case is viable or not; meaning, determining whether the injury or illness is something we can clearly prove in Court.
I have a debilitating condition that was aggravated by a car accident. Can I still file a personal injury lawsuit?
Yes. You can. We will assess, based on medical treatment notes as well as diagnostic tests, how severely your prior condition was exacerbated, and what other injuries you may have as a result of your most recent accident.
After my car accident, I did not report it to the police. Do I still have a case?
The short answer is maybe. But the fact that you did not immediately report the accident to police may make your case much more difficult to prove.
What is the secret to winning a favorable settlement or trial?
The answer always is to insure we operate from a position of strength and not from weakness. How we do that is not a mystery: we are well prepared, and we make sure our clients are well prepared. We share all pertinent information with our clients, every step of the way, and let them know what to expect. We are honest, persistent, and have many years of experience.
What happens if during my deposition, I give the wrong information?
That depends upon whether you forgot the right answer or you decided to change your answer. If you simply forgot, that can and will be corrected. First of all, I will be at the deposition with you, and will be able to interrupt if I believe you’ve made a mistake. If you intentionally give false information, that could harm your case.
Why do I need a personal injury attorney when I already have a lawyer handling all of my personal business?
Let me put it this way, if you needed brain surgery you would not go to a general practitioner. And, yes, law has become just as specific and specialized as medicine and many other professions. The law is in a constant state of change, and each attorney places more focus on areas of the law he/she practices. In addition, other attorneys know my reputation and my record for success. That is why other attorneys so often refer their clients to us to handle their personal injury cases.
Will I have to go to Court?
My clients nearly always worry about this. While almost all cases are settled out of court and before a trial actually begins, there are some that are settled after the start of a trial, but before its conclusion. Sometimes, if we feel that the settlement offered to you is unfair, we will go ahead and try your case. However, we will hold your hand every step of the way – you will never be left in the dark. You can put your trust in us just based on the results we’ve achieved (see our website). We fight hard to get you the best results possible, whether the case is resolved before, during or after trial.
I really want to win my case, should I go to multiple doctors?
The only reason to go to multiple doctors is that your condition requires more than one type of specialist. In that instance, your primary care physician or another physician you are treating with will refer you to a specialist. My best advice is listen to your treating physician, the one you trust the most. Do not take it upon yourself, for example, to see an orthopedic surgeon without a trusted recommendation. And remember, the more doctors you see and treat with, the more diagnostic tests you likely will be subjected to. Aside from perhaps being unnecessary, “over-treating” could appear dishonest to a judge or jury.
Will I have to take the stand, and will the other lawyer try to attack me? Remember, you are the victim, here. The process of winning compensation for you should not be painful, and likely will not be. Generally, the Courtroom is rather dull compared with the Courtroom scenes you watch on TV. In most real life case, there is you, the plaintiff, a defendant, a judge, and usually a jury in the room. If your case goes to trial, the judge and jury must swear to do what is right. The juries are people like you, your peers. There is really nothing to fear. I will be there with you.