Hiring an Attorney

Q. What does it cost to talk to an attorney to find out if I have a case?

A. Nothing. Consultations are free.

Q: How much does it cost to hire an attorney for my injury claim?

A. Nothing. Knowledgeable and experienced attorneys handle injury claims on a contingent fee basis. This means that the attorney will charge you no fee unless you obtain a recovery for your injury. In most instances, your attorney will also finance the case for you, and advance the costs necessary to successfully prosecute your claim.

Q. Why do I need to hire an attorney at all?

A. An attorney who concentrates his or her practice in personal injury law becomes your own expert, just like the insurance company has its expert, the adjuster. Your attorney will handle all the aspects of dealing with the insurance company and eliminate all intrusion into your private life by the insurance company. A knowledgeable attorney will also have extensive experience in reviewing medical records, and will ensure that the insurance company is provided with only those records necessary to verify your injuries. A knowledgeable attorney will also have extensive experience in negotiation with insurance companies and, when the time comes, will enable you to obtain full and fair compensation for all the ways in which the injuries have affected your life.

Q. What should I bring to my free consultation?

A. You should bring all paperwork in your possession regarding the incident. This would include medical records, police reports, incident reports, photographs, medical bills, EOBs, and your automobile insurance policy. If there are any other materials that you have been provided or that have been generated as a result of your incident, bring them with you as well. This will allow us to make a prompt and thorough evaluation of your case.

Q. What is a lien?

A. A lien is a right given to a third party, usually a hospital or health insurance company, which requires reimbursement for medical or other benefits for which a recovery is made from the person responsible for causing the injury. In some cases, such liens may be reduced through negotiation or by statute.

Q. What is “subrogation”?

A. This is a right given to a third party to be reimbursed from any recovery you may receive based upon law or contract. For instance, your health insurance company may have a right to “subrogation” based on medical bills it has paid for which you are ultimately making a recovery from the party responsible for causing your injury.

 

Q. The attorney I have hired has been handling my case all along when all of a sudden he handed me over to a different attorney. When I questioned this, he told me that the other attorney is helping him with my case. Can attorneys help each other like that? Why would they do that? Does this mean I have to pay two attorneys?

A. Attorneys should use their full office staff to assist them in representing clients. The attorney assigning the tasks to his or her associates or assistants uses the expertise that the associate attorney or assistant has in performing a certain task. This means that your case will be handled in the best way possible. It is important that the attorney you hire has a team who works together for you for your success through every step of the claim process. If your attorney’s office is not set up to succeed for you, perhaps you should retain a different attorney. On extremely rare occasions, the complexity of a case or the medical issues are beyond the attorney you hired, and to succeed with your claim, he will refer you to a different attorney altogether. It takes an experienced attorney to recognize this situation and to find the proper attorney to take over your case. He or she should discuss this with you to explain all aspects of the situation and only take this step with your full knowledge and consent. Lastly, the fact that more than one attorney has worked on your case does not increase the fee agreed upon at the outset.

Q. I can never get my attorney to call me back. What should I do?

A. An attorney’s office should be set up so that his or her staff works as a team in the handling of your case, making everyone on your team knowledgeable about your file. Many times an attorney may be out of the office or assisting another client. Or your attorney may be in trial. During trials, an attorney must devote all of his or her time to the trial of that case. This is certainly the attention that you would want if your case was being tried. During these times, you should still be able to speak to someone who knows your file and can immediately help you. If, after that, it is still necessary to speak directly to the attorney, you should be given an approximate time to expect his or her return call. If a return call is necessary and your attorney’s offices does not have a return-call policy in place, perhaps you should retain a different attorney.

Q. Since my injury, many attorneys have contacted me asking to represent me. What should I do?

A. Attorneys are prohibited by law from directly contacting people who have been injured in an attempt to solicit their business, unless the written materials are clearly labeled as “Advertising.”

Q. I saw an ad on the cover of the phone book and I wanted to hire a certain attorney. When I called him to make an appointment to meet with him, his office took my name and without me making another call, the phone was ringing and another attorney’s office answered. When I questioned this, I was told that the first attorney is referring me to the second attorney. Why would they do that? Does this mean I have to pay two attorneys?

A. Attorneys can and do refer clients to other attorneys. The second attorney will be the one handling your case. After meeting with him or her, you would decide to hire him or her.