Below you will find the answers to a number of questions frequently asked by our clients. Also, there is a great deal of information contained in the Practice Areas portion of our website.
Keep in mind that every case is different and you should consult with a qualified personal injury attorney about the facts of your case. If your question is not answered below, please contact us at 800-753-5359 or 806-376-8903 (Texas office) or 303-333-2200 (Colorado office) or submit a question about your case by e-mail.
The initial consultation with our office is 100% free. If you decide to hire us and we accept your case, there are no up-front fees and no hourly charge. We only recover a fee in the event that we are able to settle your case or collect a judgment on your behalf. In other words, if you don’t recover anything, you don’t owe us anything. If we do recover money on your behalf, we keep a percentage of the recovery plus whatever expenses we have incurred pursuing your case.
Our fee varies depending on the complexity and difficulty of the case so contact us for more information on the amount of our fee for your particular case.
In the case of an automobile accident, many drivers have a type of insurance they’re not even aware of that might cover basic economic losses resulting from the accident. This type of insurance is called “Personal Injury Protection” or “PIP” and is included when you buy liability insurance for your car. Unless you specifically reject this type of coverage in writing, you and your passengers may recover medical bills and lost income simply by filing a claim with your insurance company. Since this type of insurance is “no fault,” it shouldn’t affect your premiums or offset against any settlement you make with the other driver’s insurance. “Med-Pay” is another similar type of “no fault” coverage you may have which will assist in paying your medical bills. We can assist you in determining whether you have this coverage if we take your case and WE DO NOT CHARGE A FEE on the PIP or Med-Pay portion of your case.
In any type of personal injury case, if you have health insurance you can usually go ahead and submit your medical bills to your health insurance carrier so they will not go unpaid while you pursue a claim against the defendant. Your insurance carrier will most likely have a right of “subrogation” which will allow them to collect all or a portion of what they paid out of your recovery against the defendant. We will negotiate with your health insurance company to take as little as possible of the recovery.
If you have no form of insurance to cover your medical bills, there are companies we can contact on your behalf to pay for your medical bills or we may be able to reach an agreement with your healthcare providers to treat you in exchange for your promise to pay them back at the end of the case.
The initial consultation is absolutely free, so there’s no harm in meeting with our firm before you sign anything agreeing to hire us. Also keep in mind that, the adjuster’s job is to save the insurance company money, not to maximize the amount they pay you. Many adjusters are rewarded by their companies according to how cheaply they settle claims and will take advantage of the fact that you are unrepresented. If we believe you would be better off handling a claim yourself, we will tell you. However, the vast majority of clients we talk to come out much better than they would have if they had not hired a lawyer.
Many smaller cases do not require the services of an attorney. In fact, sometimes hiring a lawyer will leave you with less recovery in your pocket than if you had negotiated the claim with the insurance company on your own.
Why? Because personal injury attorneys typically handle car accident cases on a contingency fee basis. What this means is that the attorney will charge you based upon a percentage of the recovery unless you are able to pay on an hourly basis (most people cannot). Unless the lawyer will ultimately put more money in your pocket than you would have received handling the matter on your own then it doesn’t make sense to hire one. You must keep in mind that not only will the attorney have to be paid, but also there are likely to be medical bills or claims for reimbursement from your health insurer. That’s why it is often hard to justify hiring a lawyer in small cases. The last thing we want is to handle a case where the client is left with little or nothing after fees, expenses and medical bills are paid. We just don’t think that is fair to the client for us to take a case when it is not going to benefit the client. We will tell you if we think you would be better off handling the case on your own.
Statistically, most personal injury claims are settled without need for court proceedings and it is our goal to settle your claims without going to court. However, there remain a small percentage of personal injury claims which result in trial. Although your case may not actually go to trial, your attorney should still take all the necessary steps to ensure that the case is prepared for litigation. So, while our goal is to settle your case, we take all of the necessary steps along the way to make sure we are ready to go to trial if the insurance company does not treat our clients fairly.
One of the many things we do for our clients is seek out any source of recovery they may be entitled to. We will do asset checks on the responsible driver to determine whether they have substantial assets that we could collect over and above their insurance policy. We will also look at your insurance policy to determine if you have coverage that applies when you are hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver.
There are five basic elements of damage, both past and future, which you can claim in most personal injury cases:
- Reasonable and necessary medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Physical pain and mental anguish
- Physical impairment
If the defendant was grossly negligent, then under some circumstances you can recover punitive damages.
We understand that many of our clients are unable to make the trip to our office because of physical or financial limitations. Our team of attorneys is happy to make arrangements to come to you, if you are unable to make it to our office.
We understand that many of our clients are unable to make the trip to our office because of physical or financial limitations. Our team of Amarillo attorneys are happy to make arrangements to come to you, if you are unable to make it to our office.
Most personal injury claims have a statute of limitations of two years but this varies from case to case and state to state. Also, certain claims may require you give notice of your claim in as little as six months. Therefore, the best policy is to seek legal counsel as soon as possible so that you do not miss a deadline which may prevent you from ever pursuing a claim.
It is always our goal to conclude your case as quickly as possible so that you can get the help they need and move on with their lives. But at the same time, we do not want to rush your case to a conclusion if it is going to end up costing you a fair recovery. Once you settle your case, you cannot go back and make another claim for the same accident, so we need to make sure we know the extent of your injuries and damages before we make an offer to settle. Also, cases that settle without a lawsuit are going to take considerably less time to conclude than ones which must be litigated.