Answers to the basic questions that all clients want to know before hiring a personal injury attorney.
How Much Is My Case Worth?
This is the most common question that people have when trying to determine whether to hire an attorney. The simple answer is, it depends. There are so many factors that determine the value of a case and no two identical injuries are worth the same. Factors such as the type and seriousness of injury, as well as the circumstances of the injury are important. You should be extremely wary if an attorney tells you in the beginning of your case what your case is worth, because each individual injury is unique with its own unique set of facts. Typically, the true value of an individual case can only be determined after a complete and thorough investigation of ALL of the facts.
How Long Will My Lawsuit Take?
This is the second most common question that people have. Again, the simple answer is, it depends. In Florida, the injured individual bringing a claim has the burden to show (through their attorney) that the at-fault party was negligent, that the negligence caused an injury, that damages were incurred, i.e., medical bills, lost wages, out-of-pocket expenses, in some cases that the injury is permanent, and that the injury, damages, permanency is directly attributable to the at fault party*s negligence. In almost every case, the insurance company and/or lawyer representing the at fault party insists on obtaining all of the available facts and evidence before they can decide how to treat your individual claim. This can take months and sometimes years depending upon whether the case settles early on or whether a lawsuit needs to be filed. Therefore, since every case is unique with its own unique set of facts, the time to resolve a particular claim or case varies significantly.
Who Makes The Decision To Go To Trial?
The decision on whether or not to go to trial is an important one. Most cases settle without having to go to trial; however, sometimes this decision will have to be made during the lawsuit if one is filed. An attorney is supposed to provide their client(s) with ALL of the information, including options, risks, benefits and recommendations; however; the final decision ALWAYS rests with the client.
How Much Do I Get If I Settle?
Almost all personal injury attorneys accept cases on a contingency basis, meaning that the client pays nothing unless a recovery is made on their behalf. The percentage that a law firm charges for their legal services is set forth by guidelines provided by the Florida Bar and rules regulating Florida attorneys. Typically, the standard contingency fee charged is 33.3% of any gross recovery if a lawsuit does not have to be filed, and 40% of the gross recovery if a lawsuit has to be filed. In addition, all litigation costs paid up front by an attorney are reimbursed to the law firm and all medical liens are paid to the provider, if any, prior to any recovery to the client.
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