I’M READY TO CONSULT A LAWYER— WHAT’S MY NEXT STEP?
We cannot take every case. We take only those cases for which we can make a meaningful difference. If we review your case and feel that we cannot make a real difference for you, we will tell you that we cannot help, and we will tell you why. The next step toward accomplishing your objective is a phonecall. When you call, you will speak to our firm’s receptionist. She will connect you with the appropriate paralegal for your case.
You might say, “I was in a wreck and I have some questions.” You might have read this book and have a specific question. The paralegal will gather some information so that we can answer your question efficiently. We will speak right then or she will set a time for us to talk later that day.
If it appears that we can make a difference in your case, we will agree on a mutually convenient time for our conference. We will ask you to bring or send all the documents connected with your accident and injury. If you don’t have them, we will obtain them prior to our conversation. We will ask you, “What happened?”
We will ask you to describe the nature, extent, and effect of your injuries. We will determine what additional information or evidence we need, such as photographs, video recordings, audio recordings, witness statements, police reports, or medical opinions. We will collect that information and evidence. Together we will put together a plan designed to address the problems that have resulted from the accident.
We will go over paperwork that will authorize us to operate on your behalf. The paperwork will include a fee agreement, which will spell out clearly that you do not have to pay any fee for our services unless we recover money on your behalf. It will spell out exactly what percentage of your recovery will be paid to our law firm. The paperwork will also include medical releases that will allow us to request and receive medical bills and medical records that we will need to obtain a fair settlement for you.
AFTER THE CONSULTATION
After the meeting, you focus on following the instructions of your medical providers and recovering physically, and we go to work. We gather the evidence, statements, photographs, documents, bills, and medical records necessary to present your most effec-tive case. We develop the legal arguments necessary to securea fair settlement. We anticipate counterarguments the insurance company may advance. We prepare a damage calculation. We put this information together into an information package that demonstrates (1) that they owe you money and (2) how much money they owe.
We identify everyone who was at fault. All those who were atfault may share the legal responsibility to pay for the damage that they have caused. We contact each of those responsible parties and ask that they contribute to the settlement. We also look for insurance coverage to make sure that there is enough money available to fund the settlement.
We send the package to all of the responsible parties or the insurance companies that may provide coverage on their behalf. We identify properly documented liens from medical providers and insurance companies. These are the entities with whom we will negotiate in order to maximize your recovery.Insurance companies use experienced adjusters and complex computer programs to determine what they consider the value of your claim. The value of your claim is determined by the strength of your liability claim, the amount of your damages, and the advocacy of your attorney. If the insurance adjuster identifies legitimate evidentiary deficits, we will provide additional proof of your claim. We may have to give them additional legal research, as well.
We negotiate. We do what is necessary, legally and ethically, to obtain a fair and reasonable settlement offer.Once we have achieved our objective and secured a fair and reasonable settlement in your case, we turn our attention to the medical providers and health insurance companies. We satisfy properly documented liens. There are sometimes opportunities to negotiate with these lien holders in order to reduce the amount paid from settlement proceeds.