I’m thinking of filing a personal injury claim. Do I really need a lawyer?
Depending on your situation, you may not need to work with an attorney. We sometimes advise people that they could probably do as well on their own as they could with us, especially when the injuries are minor. 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. Reach out to us today to discuss your situation so that you can make a fully informed decision on how to proceed.
Do most personal injury cases settle?
Yes. Statistically speaking, about 85 percent of cases settle. That statistic by itself can be a little misleading, though. First of all, keep in mind that about 15 percent 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.
If we have to go to court, will I be suing the person who caused my injuries 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 this information.
How long do personal injury cases take to resolve?
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 Taylor Law Firm regularly work your case to complete it without delay. The most important consideration is that you are medically stable and all your damages – past, present and future – are known before we try to finalize anything. You only get to do this once, so it is a mistake to try to finalize anything before we know the full extent of your damages. Typically, it takes anywhere from a couple of months (if a case can be resolved quickly) to two years to complete a case.
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 for different people depending upon their employment, age, activities, family responsibilities, state of health before the injury, and other factors. As we get to know you as a person, we will learn how to tell your story effectively and explain the impact of your injury as it applies to you. We also draw from 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.
How are attorney fees determined in medical malpractice and personal injury cases?
In most medical negligence cases, we charge 40 percent of the amount collected. In personal injury cases, we usually charge one third. Please contact our office to learn more about hourly rates and the retainer funds necessary to start the case.
Does the insurance company have to pay my attorney fees if I win the case?
No. The law doesn’t provide for this. We know this hardly seems fair, since the insurance companies get to hang on to your money and earn interest off of 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.
Who pays the litigation costs?
Initially, we do. We advance these costs on your behalf and then reimburse ourselves at the end of the case from the proceeds of the settlement or verdict.
How long will it take to finalize my divorce?
There is a 90 day waiting period to get divorced in Washington state. Very few cases settle that quickly. On average, a divorce case take six to twelve months to complete, with some cases taking two or even three years to conclude.
How much will my divorce or custody case cost?
Every case is different and the total cost of a divorce can vary widely. Factors that impact the cost of a divorce case are: the complexity of the legal issues involved; whether there are children in the marriage; how reasonable your spouse will be in reaching a resolution; and how reasonable you will be in reaching a resolution.