Injured In an Accident? Frequently Asked Questions

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Frequently Asked Questions
Henderson • Taylor Law Firm | Vancouver, WA

Do I really need a lawyer?

Depending on your situation, you may not. We sometimes advise people that they could probably do as well on their own as with us. This is usually the case where the injuries were minor and resolved completely in a very short period of time. Our experience, though, is that insurance companies are rarely, if ever, fair with people who have substantial injuries, require prolonged treatment, or will have symptoms in the future.

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Don't most cases settle?

Yes. Statistically about 85% of cases settle. That statistic by itself can be a little misleading, though. First of all, keep in mind that about 15% of cases do not settle - they go to trial. Additionally, insurance companies routinely drag a case out before settling. They will try to outspend us and wear you down hoping you will abandon the claim or settle for far less than you should simply out of frustration. Settlements "on the court house steps" are not unusual. Our approach is this: Treat every case as if it is going to trial. We find that when we send that message to the insurance companies, they are more likely to settle sooner and more fairly.

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If we have to go to court, will I be suing the person who hurt me or their insurance company?

We have to sue the person who caused your injury, not their insurance company. In fact, if we go to court and even mention that the defendant has insurance, we will likely have a mistrial declared and have to start over. This seems like a bit of a fallacy, as people generally can't afford to bring lawsuits against a defendant who is uninsured because it is unlikely there will be funds available to pay for the injuries. The defense of negligence cases is virtually always managed by insurance companies. The insurance company for the defendant chooses and pays for the lawyer to represent the defendant, makes all the decisions about how to defend the case, and pays for all the damages assessed. But, in the court room, the jury is not allowed to know that.

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How long will it take to finish my claim?

We try to get your case resolved as quickly as possible. We limit the number of cases we accept and the lawyers and staff at Henderson Law regularly work your case to complete it without delay. The most important consideration is that you are medically stationary and all your damages - past, present and future - are known before we try to finalize anything. You only get to do this once and it is a mistake to try to finalize anything before we know the full extent of your damages. On the average, it takes anywhere from a couple of months (if a case can be resolved quickly) to two years to complete a case.

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How much is my claim worth?

That is impossible to say at this point. It is a mistake to apply a "cookie cutter" approach like "just multiply the medical expenses by three to get the pain and suffering damages." Each claim is unique because each of us is unique. The same injury can result in very different consequences to different people depending upon their employment, age, activities, family responsibilities, state of health before the injury, and other factors. We get to know you as a person so we can effectively tell your story and explain the impact of your injury as it applies to you. We also apply our years of experience as well as jury verdict research to assess an appropriate range of value for your claim. We never, however, resolve a case unless you have agreed to the amount. This is your claim - you're the boss. We give you the best advice and guidance we can, but the final decision is always yours.

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How much does it cost for a consultation with you?

There is no charge for an initial telephone or office consultation.

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How are attorney fees figured?

If we accept a case, our fees are based upon a percentage of the amount of money we obtain for you. In most medical negligence cases, we charge 40% of the amount collected. In non-medical negligence cases, we usually charge one third.

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Doesn't the insurance company have to pay my attorney fees if I win the case?

No. The law doesn't provide for this. I know that hardly seems fair since the insurance companies get to hang on to your money and earn interest off it until they are forced to pay. Unfortunately, that is the law as it now stands and it doesn't look like it is going to change anytime soon.

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Who pays the litigation costs?

We do initially. We advance them on your behalf and then reimburse ourselves at the end of the case from the proceeds of the settlement or verdict.

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