One of the most important decisions that you will make about your claim is hiring the right attorney. Keep in mind that our firm, does not accept every case. We turn down the cases where it is not a good fit, looking at a variety of parameters. We consider the merits of the case, as well as, the weaknesses, paying special attention to both liability of the other party and the damages involved. Often it simply comes down to jury appeal.
It is our goal to show how the injury has affected our client's function, freedom of choice, enjoyment of life and ability to contribute to their family and society. We celebrate our client's life, the good choices they made and the choices that our client had wanted to make but that their injuries will now delay or prevent from happening. We like to compare those good choices of our client with the bad choices of the defendant – it is all about choices.
We try cases – We pick juries. Preparation is the key for us to be successful in winning your case. Our extensive trial experience shows us how best to prepare your case.
If you have been injured due to the actions or failures to act of another contact us to help assist you with your recovery.
The reality is that cases that go to trial were either poorly evaluated by one side or the other, or poorly presented for settlement. The well prepared, and strongly presented claim, typically does not go to trial. The other side will be making decisions based upon not just the facts, but also looking at the skill of the lawyer and the presumed pressure from the client to settle the case quickly. Defense will want to use time to the maximum to delay paying, earn more income from the insurance and put pressure on the injured to settle for less money. You have to assume that the insurance carrier will value the claim and then adjust that value by considering both the track record of the attorney and whether they are willing to try the case, subjecting the insurance to the unpredictable nature of trial.
Timing to negotiate – There is no need to negotiate until after our case is ready to go to trial. We will not negotiate prior to completing discovery and having our witnesses lined up. The defense often wants to call early on and ask us to make a demand. It is our personal opinion that they really don't have any interest in the amount, but just to see if we will make a demand while being unprepared. Our best and clearest negotiations will only be after we are ready to try the case. This eliminates and endless series of opportunities to negotiate and will increase the veracity of such negotiations.
Be prepared that the insurance representative is a person that has been trained to say “no” and save his or her boss money. However, the fastest way to hurt your case is to disrespect that person or create a conflict. We will be respectful, but we will wait to negotiate until we are completely ready based upon an objective analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of their case, compared to our claim.
Value of the case? First consider the verdict range for the value of the case. We compare that value to our preferred settlement target figure and the minimum value that we can agree on to accept if offered for settlement. Based upon these values, we will work our clients to decide whether we are going to accept an offer or go to trial, bearing in mind that the risks of going to trial are mainly borne by the injured client and not their lawyer.
We begin with a disinterested detached negotiation after carefully gathering both facts, data, and caselaw. It matters whether the firm on the other side is an old, established one with a long history with the insurance company or a one with a brand-new relationship with carrier. Next, we look at having the correct expert on our side, and let the other side know early the facts to be taken serious. They know that frivolous lawyers rarely employ consultants and experts. Regarding our weaknesses, we will quickly admit such in negotiations along with the reality that despite such weakness we will prevail based upon facts and jury appeal.
Often the defense will want you to believe they are doing you a favor to settle and give you money. However, the truth is that the injured claimant is doing them a favor by settling and not subjecting them to a trial. When the time is right our firm will have a recommendation whether to settle or not, only based upon reviewing the offer compared with our facts and goals. As we have been taught by Mr. Halpern, “Your motivation to settle should be based upon the risks of trial, not based upon your lack of preparation for trial.”
What to do I have been injured in an accident.
If you are involved in an accident and do not stop, you may subject yourself to criminal prosecution. If someone is injured, call for an ambulance to respond.
Report the Accident Immediately. Get the Police to respond and make a report. A police report will help your insurance and any liability claims. Utilize your cell phone to document damages of vehicles and record facts of the scene, such as skid marks, road conditions, malfunctioning equipment. Not the time of day and weather conditions. Also, use to your phone to document eye witness identification, and utilize the video recorder function to obtain the admissions of the driver that caused the accident. Get the name, address, and phone numbers of everyone there. Also, be sure to get the other driver's insurance information. If you hit a parked car and cannot locate the owner, be sure to leave a note with your name, address and phone number. If you received a traffic citation, that does not prove you are guilty. Be sure to consult with your lawyer before pleading guilty to any traffic citation from the accident. If you enter a plea to such citation it may hurt your claim.
Do not admit fault. The law establishing fault can be complex. Give the facts to the responding police officers, but don't establish fault. Things you say can be used against you. Also, something may make you feel guilty if the other party was also hurt, give time for an investigation to develop. While you may feel responsible at first, but you may learn later that the other party either cause the accident or was very much at fault.
See your Doctor immediately for a diagnosis. A thorough evaluation and a treatment plan is a must. The doctor may recognize injuries, sometimes serious, that do not seem to be apparent. Be sure to attend all medical visits scheduled by your physician, as well as, follow the treatment plan and focus on getting better. The medical expenses may be covered by the insurance involved. If you don't have insurance, we can get a doctor who will treat you under a “Letter of Protection.” Such letter provides that the treating healthcare provider will be paid for their services from the settlement proceeds directly. Be sure not to settle your claim until after your physician has explained the extent of your injuries and future impact if any.
After the accident, don't talk to anyone about the accident until you talk to your lawyer. The sooner that your call your lawyer, the better. Your lawyer will help you understand how to respond to questions from an insurance company and help recover compensation for your personal injuries and property damage.
Don't give recorded statements to your insurance or any other insurance company until you have consulted with legal counsel. Often it takes time for injuries and treatment plans to fully develop, so it is in your best interest to wait to provide a recorded statement until you have a complete picture of your damages.
Soon after consulting with your lawyer, you should confirm that your insurance is aware of the claim. Written notice to the insurance should contain the names and contact information for all drivers, passengers and witnesses, as well as, information about the date, time and location of the accident. If you were at fault, your liability insurance should pay for the other persons' injuries or damages. If the other driver was at fault but lacks insurance coverage, your own insurance may pay for damages to your car, as well as, your medical expenses and damages for pain and suffering.
What is my case worth?
“Compensate” derives from the Latin “to counter-balance.” Look at what is required to balance the plaintiff's loss, with the focus being on restoring them. Practically speaking, case worth depends on insurance limits of the person who hit you, as well as your own insurance limits. The financial position of the other person is also a factor. Further, the degree and nature of your injuries compared to the egregiousness of the liability of the other person matters in maximizing the value of a case. Most importantly, the affect of the injuries on you and your future life dictate value in a case. All of these factors take time to investigate and develop to get a true picture of a case's worth.
There are many types of restorative damages that we focus on for a recovery. Medical expenses are those monies paid for treatment of your injuries. Loss Earning Capacity is the degree to which your ability to earn a living has been impaired by the accident or injuries. Pain and Suffering damages relate to how bad it hurt. Physical Impairment damages are for things that you can no longer do, but you could do but-for the accident. Mental Anguish damages are proved up by evidence of fear or anxiety that you now have from the accident. Any recovery for disfigurement is based upon scars from either the accident or surgeries or the loss of any limbs etc…
In the end, your case will depend on being able to reveal how the injuries inflicted on the plaintiff have negatively affected the plaintiff's enjoyment of life, function, development and the freedom to transcend and become. Freedom is not only defined by our inalienable rights – it is in our ability to choose our own decisions and actions. We look at what the defendant knows and does - why that injured our client, resulting in the loss of freedom and function to live the way the plaintiff was and could have lived but-for the defendant's bad choices.
It is our goal to show to the jury how the injury has affected the plaintiff's function, freedom of choice, enjoyment of life and ability to contribute to their family and society. We celebrate the plaintiff's life, the good choices they made and the choices that the plaintiff had wanted to make but that his injuries will now delay or prevent from doing. Next we like to compare those good choices of our client with the bad choices of the defendant – it is all about choices.
However, damages are not the most important thing in the case. Without liability of the other party being clear and persuasive, damages will not equal recovery. Before deciding to file suit, we have to consider liability issues, damages, and the probability of collecting money for damages.