Personal Injury Accident FAQ’s
Frequently Asked Questions About Accidents and Injuries
1. If I am involved in an auto or trucking accident, or hit by a drunk driver, do I really need a lawyer to represent my interests, or can I handle it directly with the insurance company?
This all depends on the nature and extent of your injuries. If you or a family member suffered little or no injuries or injuries that required minor medical treatment with no lasting pain or disability, you may very well be able to deal with the insurance company to settle your claim. However, if your medical bills are mounting, you have some significant injuries, and it looks like you or a loved one will continue to have problems because of the injuries, we can help to protect your rights and maximize your recovery.
2. Is the timing when I contact a lawyer important if I have been involved in a car, trucking, or boating accident?
Yes. The sooner we hear from you and can evaluate your potential claim, the sooner we can begin to protect your rights. We will begin our investigation, preserve evidence like photographs of the scene of the accident, and the condition of the involved vehicles. We will also promptly put the insurance company or business on notice that you are represented by a lawyer, and instruct them not to bother you, but to contact us directly to discuss your claim and injuries.
3. If I am involved in an accident and the insurance company or other driver calls me to talk about the accident or my injuries, is it okay to talk to them before contacting a lawyer?
If you feel that you have suffered any significant injury in an accident, we strongly recommend that you first call us to discuss your options. Insurance companies want to get to you quickly so that you will sign medical authorizations, and perhaps give a recorded statement that may hurt your case down the road. Before you talk to the insurance adjuster or the other driver, call us first so that we can discuss the facts of the accident, your legal rights, and assist you in making a decision whether or not you want or need a lawyer going forward.
4. Does your firm agree to take on every accident/injury case where the other driver or company is at fault?
No, we don’t. Where there is little or no injury, and no risk of incurring future medical expenses or lost wages, we often encourage people to try to get the matter resolved directly with the insurance company or other party. We want to make sure that when we sign up to represent you, that we are bringing value to your claim by way of protecting your rights and by maximizing your recovery.
5. How do you charge for attorney fees? Will I have to pay any money upfront for you to start working on my case?
We take all accident and injury cases, like motor vehicle accidents, slip and falls, product liability claims, on a contingency fee basis. This means that we do not charge any fees up front, and you only pay a reasonable percentage of your recovery for attorneys fees when we resolve the case for you by way of settlement or trial.
6. If I use a lawyer to represent me in my accident case, will it take longer for me to get the case settled?
Usually not. You can almost always settle your case very quickly after the accident, but in all likelihood, you will be shortchanging yourself. You should not settle a case unless and until you have completed your medical treatment, or have a very good idea of the full nature and extent of your injury, and any future pain or disability. Once we know the full extent of your injuries, whether that is a month after the accident, six months, or a year, then we will be in a position to seek recovery for the full extent of your injuries. We will make a settlement demand when we have had the time to fully evaluate your injuries, and we will aggressively pursue settlement. If the other side is not willing to deal with you in a reasonable fashion and pay fair compensation to you for your injuries, we have the option of filing a lawsuit and pursuing your case through a jury trial.
7. If I hire a lawyer to prosecute my accident and injury claim, does that mean I will most likely have to take the case all the way to trial?
Not at all. Because of our experience and reputation in evaluating, preparing for, and aggressively prosecuting personal injury cases, we are very successful in getting fair compensation for our clients, without trial. As a general rule, 90-95% of our accident and injury cases settle before trial.
8. If I have been involved in an accident, what are some of the papers that I need to get together to assist you in evaluating my case?
If you have a police report or any investigation materials, that would be helpful. If not, we will promptly request copies of any investigative reports. We will need a list of your healthcare providers and any medical bills you have received for your injuries. If your injuries have forced you to miss work, we need wage and salary information so that we can calculate your claim for lost wages or pay. Of course, we would like to see any photographs that you have already taken relating to the accident or injuries, and any correspondence or other communication you have already had with the other side or insurance adjuster.
9. Will your firm be willing and able to go up against a big corporation that has a lot of money to defend itself against lawsuits?
We do it all the time. Fortunately, our courts provide a level playing field for one citizen to go up against a major corporation to seek and obtain justice. Siro Smith Dickson does not represent any corporations or insurance companies. We focus our practice on representing individuals like you, and members of your family.
10. If I fall and get injured in a grocery store or on some company’s property, is the company or landowner automatically responsible for my injury and damages?
Not necessarily. We handle injury cases where a person slips or trips and falls on a property because of some dangerous, hazardous condition on the property. That can include defective stairs, a hidden obstacle or other danger, icy sidewalks, and parking lots – anything where the owner or operator knew or should have known that their property was dangerous or could cause injury to someone visiting their store or premises.