Frequently Asked Questions
If you’ve never had to hire a lawyer before, you might be unsure about when you need a lawyer, what to look for when hiring a lawyer, and other important questions such as how attorney’s fees work or how long it will take to settle your case. Below are answers to these frequently asked questions. If you have other questions about a case, or if you’ve been hurt in a car, truck or motorcycle accident, slip and fall, dog bite or other personal injury, call Injured Now for immediate assistance.
Q. Do I need a lawyer to settle my case?
A. You might think you only need a lawyer if you are going to court, but that’s not how it works. Very few personal injury cases involve a trial; the vast majority settle. However, the results obtained by an attorney are almost always, if not always, higher than what the insurance company offers to a person who doesn’t have a lawyer. You might negotiate a lot in your professional or personal life and think you can handle an insurance negotiation as well, but you’ll lack essential information about the value of your claim and the legal process for building a strong case and effective negotiating position. Our attorneys know what your case is worth and how to get it. By being prepared to litigate your claim as much as necessary, we are able to negotiate from a position of strength. Insurance companies would rather settle for top-dollar than face a tested personal injury lawyer in court, where a jury might come in with a much higher verdict than the insurance company could have settled for.
Q. What to look for in a lawyer
A. Experience counts. It goes hand-in-hand with results. An attorney who has successfully achieved big settlements from insurance companies in a number of different matters obviously knows the ropes and knows how to handle your claim, regardless of the specifics of your injury or accident. The insurance companies will also know they are dealing with a known quantity and will generally approach the case more willing to settle.
Does the attorney have any honors or achievements, and are they credible? Lots of organizations hand out distinctions like candy, but some are more valuable than others. The Million Dollar Advocates Forum, for example, restricts membership to lawyers who have actually won million-dollar verdicts and settlements for their clients. Finally, traits such as personal attention and availability can be just as important as the results you get. Your case could take months to resolve, but meanwhile, you are hurting and working on getting your life back in order. You want a lawyer and law office you can trust to have your back, care about you, and keep you informed and up-to-date as your case progresses. You can get a feel for characteristics like these in your initial consultation or office visit with your lawyer, or by reviewing client testimonials on the lawyer’s website.
Q. Why choose Injured Now?
A. Our attorney, Ian Silverthorne, has amassed millions of dollars in recoveries for his injured clients in Orange County, including several settlements of more than a million dollars in car accidents, wrongful death and other types of accidents and injuries. We are committed to getting top results while working with you personally to make sure your needs are met and that you receive the highest level of service from our firm. A lot of what we do is about getting results, but it’s also about treating you with dignity and respect and making you feel like your needs matter to us. Because they do.
Q. How do contingency fees work?
A. A contingency fee means that the lawyer’s fee is contingent, or dependent, on the attorney being successful in your case. Under a contingency fee arrangement, if your lawyer doesn’t recover for you, the lawyer doesn’t charge you any fee. If the attorney is successful, then the fee charged is a percentage of the amount recovered. You never have to worry about being able to afford high-quality legal representation. Your access to justice is not contingent on your ability to pay for it.
Under a contingency fee, you don’t pay any fees or costs upfront. Your lawyer advances all the costs of the case, including hiring investigators or expert witnesses, taking depositions, paying filing fees, etc., that might be necessary to position your case for a successful, maximum recovery. Once a settlement is reached, any fees and expenses are deducted from the settlement, either before or after the lawyer-client split. Your lawyer will explain these details to you when you hire the attorney to take on your case.
Q. How long will my case take to settle?
A. Every case is unique, but generally speaking, the more severe and costly the injury, the longer it takes to settle. For one thing, we do not want to settle your case until your doctor says you are “medically stationary” or have reached “maximum medical improvement.” At this point, we’ll have a fair estimate of your present and future medical bills and the overall value of your case. This part of the process can take a couple of months for most injuries but might be considerably longer for more severe or catastrophic injuries. At this point, we should have all the documentation and evidence we need to negotiate a settlement. Back-and-forth settlement talks with the insurance company can take weeks. If they dispute their insured’s liability and say they are not responsible, then your case will take longer and need to be litigated. However, if the only issue is how much they owe, this matter can usually be ironed out without going to court.
Your lawyer should be able to give you a rough estimate of how long your case will take at the outset, but complications could still arise. Know that your lawyer is working on getting you the maximum value of your case and will not settle prematurely. If you need help getting your medical care paid for in the meantime, we work with doctors who will treat you on a lien basis and take their fees after your settlement comes through. Let us know if you need help finding a doctor, and we’ll be glad to assist you. Call Injured Now.