What is the attorney's fee in personal injury cases?
Like nearly all attorneys in Connecticut, the attorney's fee in a personal injury cases is one-third (33.33%) of the settlement. If the attorney doesn't win the case, there is no fee. Also, there is no charge to call the attorney to talk about a case, and there is no obligation either.
What do I do if I can't travel to the attorney's office? How often do I need to go to the attorney?
I can visit a client at their home if they're injured and unable to get out of the house or drive. After the initial consultation, I am happy to do a Skype/Facetime video call with clients to talk about their case or answer any questions. Most clients have my cell phone and I can text with them if there is a quick question. Clients are invited to come into the office to talk about their case anytime they want. But in most cases, clients don't come into the office very often as most communication is on the phone.
What should I do if I'm in an accident?
Generally, it is good advice to: (a) get the contact information for any witness. (b) take photographs of bruising to your body or damage to vehicles (if significant), (3) call the police from the scene, (4) get medical attention as soon as possible. Other advice is going to depend on the accident and the particular circumstances of the accident.
How long should I go for medical treatment?
How long you should go for medical treatment depends on the type of injury and your medical history. I generally believe that you should first make sure you know the extent of your injury. Get whatever diagnostic work done (examinations by orthopedic doctors, MRI's, etc.) so you know the scope of the injury. Second, you should treat until you feel as good as you did before the accident, or until your doctors tell you that you've reached maximum medical improvement.
How is a personal injury case handled?
The client goes and gets their medical treatment. The client can see whatever doctor they choose. Some clients may get treatment for a year or more, others may only be a few months. The length of the medical treatment depends on the severity of the injury. The attorney will get copies of all medical reports and medical bills from the doctors. At the end of treatment, the attorney will analyze all the medical reports and submit them to the insurance company with a settlement demand. The insurance company will review all the medical reports and bills and then make a settlement offer. The attorney and insurance company will negotiate on a settlement and only settle the case with the client's advance approval.
What doctor should I see?
From the scene of an accident it is usually best to go to a hospital emergency room or an urgent care center. After that initial treatment, the doctor you see is your choice. Generally, I advise seeing a specialist. If you have an orthopedic injury, see an orthopedist. If you have a scar, see a plastic surgeon or wound specialist. Oftentimes for orthopedic injuries, clients will be referred to a physical therapist. It is best to see your doctor and your physical therapist consistently. Clients get a less favorable medical recovery when they skip medical appointments or have a gap in treatment.
What about my car that was damaged in the collision?
Generally, you have two options for getting your car fixed. First, you can have the insurance company for the other driver pay for it. Usually for the at-fault insurance company to pay for it, they need to speak to their insured and see a copy of the police accident report. Sometimes this doesn't happen as quickly as we'd like and in those cases a client has the option of getting the car repair paid for with their own insurance company. The only part of this that is a problem is that the client will usually have to pay their deductible. The deductible will be reimbursed from the at-fault insurance company. If it costs more to fix the car than what the car is worth, then the car will be “totaled”, and the insurance company will pay for the value of the car and the car will be scrapped.
What is my case worth?
Figuring out the value of a personal injury case is an art, it's not a science. It is always a negotiated amount between the attorney and the insurance company. The client always approves the settlement in advance of any agreement. Some of the factors that go into a personal injury settlement are:
- The type of accident and severity of the damage to the vehicle (if it is a car accident)
- The type of medical injury, the length of treatment, the amount of medical bills, the type of treatment, the content of the medical reports, permanent medical injury, and any related preexisting medical history.
- Lost wages and impact on ability to work in the future
- Pain and suffering. How the accident has affected the client- things the client can't do because of the injury he/she sustained.
These are only some of the factors that the attorney will look at in valuing a case.