Personal Injury FAQ’S About Your Automobile Accident
(Please take a few minutes to read)
NOTE: If you need legal consultation, due to our busy schedule please make an appointment to personally meet Mr. Gagné or one of his associate attorneys, otherwise a legal assistant will be happy to help you over the telephone with routine matters.
The very last thing I want to have happen is lack of communication between you and my office. This applies to any issue. If you feel we are not adequately communicating with you please schedule an appointment to see me. My door will always be open. But do it sooner rather than later so we can address the problem before it becomes a larger one. Make an appointment to see me. Thank you.
An attorney knows the law and how to discover and develop the facts, as well as which facts matter and which do not.
Your lawyer is there with the knowledge and experience to develop and gather the relevant and important evidence to make your case. He is also experienced at dismantling your opponent’s case.
An attorney is experienced at obtaining a full settlement from an insurance company or defendant, and knows how much your claim is worth.
There exist many traps that adjusters and opposing counsel sets for the unwary client. Competent legal counsel helps you avoid these traps.
Retaining a lawyer shows that you are serious about your claim and adds to your credibility in the eyes of the insurance adjuster or opposing attorney.
Lawyers are trained negotiators.
A lawyer can refer you to the proper doctors.
A lawyer can be objective about your claim.
Remember the old adage: “A person who represents himself has a fool for a client.” – Oliver Wendall Holmes, Supreme Court Justice
These are but a few of the reasons why experienced injury attorneys handle the vast majority of claims.
Additionally, you are ultimately responsible for paying your medical bills. It is my job, however, to see that the insurance company compensates you enough so that it will not be a problem. Sometimes a medical care provider will send me a lien, which is nothing but notice that the provider wants to be compensated when the case settles.
When I receive a lien, I may, by law, have to pay the provider out of the insurance proceeds. Not all providers send a lien. When a provider fails to send a lien, I will, of course, forward the money to you at the settlement of the case. It then becomes your responsibility to pay the provider. Understand also that if you are receiving Medicare or Medicaid it may take several months to disburse your settlement because by law these liens must be satisfied before any money is disbursed to any party.
Finally, please call this office when you have finished going to the doctor. Do not depend on your medical provider to inform us.
It’s a myth that more medical bills or getting hit by someone with deep pockets would give you more compensation.
This negotiating process may take a little while; remember: A QUICK CLAIM IS A CHEAP CLAIM. There may very well be some “discovery” I must engage in order to build your case – talk to witnesses, examine the scene, take recorded statements or affidavits which take time. So I ask your patience during this period.
When the case settles, I will “accept” the offer on your behalf, after conferring with you, at which point the adjuster will order the check. This may take from 1-10 days depending on a number of factors. When I receive the check in the mail, I will create a “disbursement letter” which will explain to you where the money is going and who will get what share, including the payment of any outstanding liens.
Remember, for bodily injury you will receive one check out of which your medical and legal bills must be paid. There will not be multiple checks issued. You may have received a check for property damage if you were involved in a car wreck but this is the only exception.
As you have seen in our contract, my fee is “off the top” of the insurance proceeds, before your medical providers are paid. If I cannot settle your case, you owe me nothing, and then we must consider whether the case should be taken to trial. There are usually costs involved also, records fees, paralegal fees, and other various overhead charges, usually not exceeding $295.00. If your case goes to trial, fees and costs usually increase.
If you are satisfied with the disbursement of the money, you will sign the disbursement letter, and I will write you a check out of an escrow account, where I will deposit the check I received from the insurance company for safekeeping based on my power of attorney.
The early stages of a case are routinely handled by paralegals, and they will have an up-to-date status for you. Attorneys get involved at the end of a case – when you have been released from the doctor, all medical records, bills, and other damages have been collected, and all relevant evidence has been examined. Attorneys are primarily engaged in negotiations and client meetings.
If I am not immediately available, leave a detailed message with one of my assistants or on my voicemail. We usually get back to clients the same day or within 24 hours. If your messages are not getting through, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, please schedule an appointment to see me.
Also, if you move or change your phone number, it is crucial that you tell me. Many issues are time-sensitive, and I may need to get in touch with you at a moment’s notice. It is also very helpful if you have an answering machine and/or email.
If you need legal consultation, due to our busy schedule please make an appointment to personally meet Mr. Gagné or one of his associate attorneys, otherwise a legal assistant will be happy to help you over the telephone with routine matters.
If you move or change your phone number, it is crucial that you tell me. Many issues are time sensitive, and I may need to get in touch with you at a moment’s notice. It is also very helpful if you have an answering machine and/or email.
Lastly, the very last thing I want to have happen is lack of communication between you and my office. This applies to any issue. If you feel we are not adequately communicating with you please schedule an appointment to see me. My door will always be open. But do it sooner rather than later so we can address the problem before it becomes a larger one. Make an appointment to see me. Thank you.