Frequently Asked Questions
How much does it cost to speak to a lawyer about my case?
At Blackburn Law, we offer a free consultation to determine the best course of action for your case. If I've been in an accident, do I have to give a recorded statement to the at-fault person's insurance company? Generally speaking, no. In fact, there's nothing you can say to the other party's insurance company that will help your case. While there are circumstances where you have a contractual duty to cooperate with your own insurance company, consult an attorney prior to talking with any insurance company representative.
How long will my case take?
That depends on a number of factors, but mostly it depends on you. It's your case. Since I work for you, I cannot tell you when to settle or whether to go to trial. I will certainly advise you as to what I think is in your best interest, but ultimately, the decision to settle is yours. Other factors that can affect the time line of your case may include length of medical treatment, complexity of the case, busy court dockets, etc. I've settled cases after as little as one day, or as long as two years or more. Be patient, and know that I am working for you.
What are my responsibilities as a client?
Get better as soon as possible. That's the most important thing you can do after you've been injured. Other than that, your only responsibilities are to provide me with information about your medical treatment, wage loss, and how the accident has affected your life. Remember, this is a process, so I will be asking you for information that only you can provide to me throughout the duration of your case. Other than this, if we file suit you may be required to answer written questions called interrogatories, and you may have your deposition taken. But don't worry, I will prepare you and assist you in this process - you won't be alone.
How much is my case worth, and do you guarantee a result?
I always tell my clients that the value of their case is only as much as a jury would award on any given day after deliberating all of the facts. With that said, there are a number of factors upon which case value depends: First, the extent of your injuries; second, the type of medical treatment you receive; third, the length of your medical treatment; fourth, residual scarring or disfigurement; fifth, any resulting disability; and, sixth, wage loss - to name but a few. There are other factors such as comparative negligence (did you play a role in causing the accident?), and ability of the other party to pay. No lawyer can or should make any guarantees as to the outcome of a case. However, since I work on a contingency fee, it wouldn't make sense for me to take on a bunch of bad cases that yield no results. Obviously, if I take on your case, it's because I think the following: Liability can be established; You are entitled to a recovery; I can effectively represent you; and we will likely be successful. Call me today to discuss the particulars of your case!
How much do you charge to handle my case?
One-third (33.33%) of the gross recovery, plus costs. Read the fee agreement carefully. Some attorneys structure their fee agreement so that you pay one-third if the case settles before filing suit, 40% after the attorney files suit, and up to 50% if the case goes to trial. At Blackburn Law, P.C. I believe that one-third is a fair attorney fee to charge, regardless of how long the case takes or whether we file suit and go to trial - after all, you're the one who was hurt. The only exception to this is if your case requires association with out-of-state counsel, who may require a different fee structure in order to proceed with your case.
I've been injured, and I want to know who is going to pay for my medical bills?
Depending on the facts of your case, there may be several ways to get your medical bills paid, and you should consult with a lawyer to find out which of these methods will benefit you the most. Most people think the at-fault party's insurance company will pay the medical bills. It's simply not that easy. The at-fault party's insurance company generally will not pay for your medical bills while you are treating unless and until you agree to settle your case and "release" the negligent person who caused your injuries from all liability. Often, your medical providers will not wait for payment until the case settles, and may seek payment directly from you, including suing you if necessary, to get their money. An injury attorney will look at all avenues to get your bills paid, and in some cases, may be able to negotiate with your providers to keep you out of collections. After all, the collision wasn't your fault, why should you suffer insult on top of injury?
The insurance company says I don't need a lawyer. What do you think?
Well, is the insurance company working for you? Who are they trying to protect? Remember, the insurance industry is a big money industry that got that way not by paying out claims, but by collecting premiums! Their job is to pay the least amount possible in every case, and thereby maximize their own profits. My job as an injury lawyer is to help you be treated fairly. The insurance company will rarely give someone a fair assessment of the value of their case. Now, I obviously have a bias against insurance companies. But after years of representing people who have been injured, I know that insurance companies have one goal in mind - and that's to pay you the least amount possible.
What costs can I expect in a typical injury case?
Generally, the costs include such things as charges for records from your medical providers, filing suit, process server fees, expert witness fees, exhibit production fees, deposition/court reporter fees, and others. This is not intended to be a complete list but simply examples of the types of costs lawyers typically incur while pursuing a personal injury case. Usually the costs really start to increase once suit has been filed and trial preparation begins.