Following a car accident it’s normal to have dozens of questions. Who is going to pay my medical bills? Will I get reimbursed for my lost wages? How do I pay my bills while I’m out of work? Will I get compensation for my injuries? These are some of the most frequent questions we receive from prospective clients. Answers to these questions can be found on our website and are the topic of other articles. However, this article deals with questions you should ask when deciding on which car accident lawyer you should hire to represent you.
When it’s time to hire a lawyer you need to think about what questions to ask the lawyer. How long have you been practicing? What other types of law do you do? How many lawsuits do you file in a given year? Do you actually try cases or refer them out to other lawyers? When you are hiring a lawyer you are hiring someone to speak on your behalf. That person needs to be familiar with, not only your accident, but you as a person, your medical records and how the accident affected you (and your love ones). The following are a sampling of questions every potential client should ask their lawyer before agreeing to representation.
Will you tell me how long I should treat for?
An individual injured in a car accident needs to treat for however long it takes to get better. No lawyer (or doctor) should dictate how long a client can treat for. From day 1 a lawyer needs to make clear that their client’s health should be their number 1 priority. As such, whatever the client needs to do medically, they should do. At this stage of case the lawyer needs to help facilitate the client getting whatever medical treatment they need, regardless of whether the client has health insurance. Only when the client has reached Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) should the case proceed to negotiation. In some cases it makes sense to wait even after the client has been released from their doctor to see how they do for a period of time without treatment.
Who Decides on Whether to Settle the Case?
After representing thousands of people in car wrecks and other personal injuries, it still surprises us how many clients, with prior experiences with other counsel, expect their lawyer to decide on whether to settle their case. The decision to settle a case (or conversely file a lawsuit and go to court) is always the client’s decision. At this point in the case the client should have finished their treatment and a demand has been created and submitted to the insurance company. The lawyer should have explained thoroughly the client’s rights and options. The role of the lawyer at this point is not to dictate the client’s actions but to guide them so they can make the best decision for themselves. While this process is more time consuming than dictating an outcome we believe it is the best way to practice law. This is precicly why we limit the number of cases we take in a given you. We take the time to explain all of our client’s options and educate them. While this is time consuming, we find this helps maximize the value of a client’s case.
What other Practice Areas Do you Have?
In today’s specialized world it can be beneficial to be with a lawyer who focuses on one practice area. At Rosensteel Fleishman our lawyers have their specific practice areas. We don’t handle family law, corporate matters, wills, or have a general practice. We focus on personal injury and medical malpractice.
Who Decides on Whether to File a Lawsuit?
The short answer is the client does. If a client wishes to have their day in court they should get it. The right to a jury trial is guaranteed in North Carolina for car accident cases. While the lawyer should explain the pros and cons of filing a lawsuit, along with the risks and rewards, the decision should always be the clients.
Does Your office Actually File the Lawsuit and Prosecute the Case
At Rosensteel Fleishman, our lawyers file dozens of lawsuits ever year for car accident cases in Charlotte and all across North Carolina. Our lawyers handle the cases from the initial filing to trial. We are recognized in the legal community for our litigation practice. In fact, a large number of our clients come from other lawyers, even those who practice personal injury law, because we will file suit and take cases to trial.
How Many Cases Do you Take A Year?
There are only so many hours in a day. As such, unfortunately, we can’t take every case that comes through the door. We limit the number of cases we take each year to maximize the amount of time we can spend on the cases we do take. Many firms have a different model of taking every case. While this may work for some firms we’ve found that by devoting as much time as possible to a smaller number of cases we have been able to maximize value for our clients.
How Many People Oversee My File?
In many firms there is one person who handles medical records, one person who checks balances, one person who sets up the claims, and so forth. Our practice is entirely focused on getting to know the client and how the accident affected them. As such, each case is assigned to one lawyer and one paralegal. Clients hear from one or the other or both every 2 weeks to see how their treatment is coming along and discuss issues that invariably arise. Also, by talking with the client we learn things that can help maximize value for the client when negotiating the case or trying it.
Do You handle the damage to my car?
Many people are surprised to learn that a lot of lawyers don’t handle their client’s property damage claim. Property damage can time consuming and acrimonious. If your lawyer doesn’t handle the property damage claim than it’s up to you to handle it. Dealing with insurance adjusters is stressful. Stress is the worst thing for your health. Our office handles our clients’ property damages claims, free of charge. The reason we do this is because we want our clients to focus on their health, not fighting over whether total out their vehicle.
Do you get paid even if there is no money for me?
In many law firms the attorney gets paid regardless of the outcome or amount the client receives. This is not our policy. In fact, in the thousands of cases we’ve handled we have never taken more money that our clients and we guarantee we never will. You should always ask any lawyer if they will match that guarantee. We make sure the money goes where it belongs, in the pocket of our clients.
We invite you to contact us to talk about your case. You will speak with an attorney who can discuss your car accident, your rights and options. There is no fee for an initial consultation. Please call us (704) 714-1450.