Why should I hire a Personal Injury lawyer?
It is possible for someone to represent themselves and sometimes it is the best solution, but if there are injuries they usually don’t get what the case is worth. Property damage can sometimes be settles without a lawyer, and in some situations I recommend that my clients do just that. If they don’t get a fair offer then I can intervene. However, when there are injuries, help is usually needed. Often a doctor and therapy is needed so a referral can be made. Always the most important issue is recovering from the injuries. We can help guide our clients in this initial phase of the claim.
What is the cost of hiring a Personal Injury attorney?
Most cases are handled on a contingent fee basis meaning that we will charge a percentage of the recovery. We pay the costs of litigation and recover them when the case settles. If there is no recovery, in most cases we do not ask for the client to reimburse us. The exception, which is rare, is when they are sued and had no insurance. Is we are hired to defend them then the client pays for the legal service needed. This is rare because if they had insurance coverage the insurance company pays for the defense.
What should I look for in a Personal Injury attorney and how should I go about selecting the right attorney?
This is one of the most difficult question a potential client will face. Referrals from lawyers they respect is one good way, often the referral comes from friends who had a good experience with a Personal Injury lawyer. Don’t choose because of advertising alone. Sometimes you can interview several lawyers and see who impresses you as competent. See if there is sufficient staff working for the lawyer who are familiar with medical providers and medical documents. Ask if you will see the lawyer on occasion. Always see how long they have been in practice. Lastly, do you like them as you will be dealing with the lawyer and staff for a long time and need a good relationship.
What does it cost to consult with Wincorn?
IT IS FREE. We do not charge a consultation fee.
What is the process one can expect to go through when they go to Wincorn for a consultation?
We will ask that you bring a copy of your insurance policy, a list of doctors and hospitals they have seen, the police report if they have it or the report number so we can get it easily. Sometimes it is a family member who comes if the injured person is in the hospital. It is best that we visit the injured person at the hospital so we can find out first hand how serious the injuries are and get a contract signed so we are authorized to represent them. We always like to see the car to get pictures and sometimes photograph the accident site as soon after the accident as possible.
Should I go to the doctor immediately?
Yes, if there are is any pain, dizziness or other change if mental or physical health. Some injuries do not show up immediately but can be serious. If you are in shock you may not feel pain for some time.
Can your attorney recommend a doctor?
Yes, this happens often. If you are hurt and feel pain immediately, go to the hospital to get a check-up to be sure that something does not need to be done immediately. This establishes the fact that you were hurt and may help your legal case, but the main reason to go to the hospital is for your safety. Later, we can suggest health providers that can work with you that do not require payment up front. They take a Letter of Protection from us that assures them that the cost will be paid when the case settles.
If the insurance company asks me to sign a release, should I sign?
No, unless you do not want to get a recovery and your bills paid. If you need an attorney then the case is lost as soon as the release is signed. We sign releases only when the final settlement is reached.
If the insurance company wants me to sign a medical authorization form, should I sign it?
We take care of getting the medical authorization from the insurance company and will get it signed at the appropriate time. There will be one signed at some point but usually not at the beginning of the case. We will need one before the insurance company gets theirs. If there are errors in the reports we need to know so they can be corrected.
If I have full coverage, is there a way to collect for lost work time and other out of pocket costs before the case settles?
Yes there is. They can come from your personal injury protection but is limited by the amount you purchased with your policy.
Do I need to give a statement to the insurance company following an auto accident where I was injured?
In many cases the insurance company will require a statement. We like to be present when it is taken and consult beforehand to be sure that what is said is accurate and that only what is asked is answered. The statement can be very important in the case. We will deal with setting up the interview, you are required to cooperate but I like to meet before the interview to go over the case and facts so there are no errors and to help with preparing to give the best impression.
If my accident happened out of state, how does that affect my case?
The law of the other state may apply and it may be necessary to get a lawyer licensed to practice there.
What are some of the hidden landmines in a Personal Injury case?
First and foremost, if the client starts making statements to the insurance carrier before we get involved, they will come back to do damage later. Another major problem is if the client does not tell us the whole story about what happened in the accident or tells us something that is not true. We lose credibility and it becomes very difficult to correct the damage. Prior injuries and accidents that we do not know about can also destroy the case.
Is the insurance adjuster really your friend and advocate?
The insurance adjuster works for the insurance company, they are paid to minimize the recovery. Having said that, we deal with some adjusters well and can work with them with minimal difficulties.
In managing a client’s expectations, what is the most frequent problem you encounter in a Personal Injury case?
Unrealistic ideas of the value of the case. If there is minimal damage to the car and not much in the way of medical bills you cannot expect a large recovery unless there are very unusual circumstances.
Explain the adversarial position the injured party has with the insurance company.
All insurance companies try to keep settlement as low as possible. Some are better than others, but in every case it is necessary to establish that the claim is valid and that the injuries have caused pain, suffering and, in many cases loss of income. There can be other damages in addition. The insurance company will, often minimize the damages and in some cases claim that the wrong party is at fault. The Personal Injury lawyer has his clients’ best interest to protect, the insurance company wants to minimize claims to get the most profit possible.
Has the complexity of navigating an injury claim become harder for the injured party?
To a degree. Many of the insurance companies use new computer formulas in evaluating cases and we have to know what they are looking for to get the best offer. Also, in many cases it is necessary to spend more time talking to adjusters updating the claims than before. On the other hand, as we get to know the adjusters better, the negotiation process gets simpler because we know what they want to adjust the claim and the value gets higher.
We also assist in cases involving: