Question: When I meet my personal injury lawyer for the first time, are there any particular documents I should bring with me?
Answer: You should supply your attorney with as much information as possible. If your attorney has more information, he will be better able to properly advise you of your legal rights. You need to bring in all documents pertaining to your case. The accident report is a very important document that you should bring your attorney. Article by attorney David Slepkow (401) 437-1100.
Also, if you have any eye witness statements or medical records or reports from your doctors, you should bring those to your lawyer. If you have any photographs of the accident or of your injury, please bring those to the attorney meeting. If you don’t have the documentation, your attorney may collect the documents for you.
Question: What type of information will the attorney request at the initial consultation concerning my Rhode Island personal injury or automobile accident case?
Answer: Your attorney will request general information related to your medical treatment. The attorney will attempt to compile a list of the name and address of all treating physicians and medical providers. This includes physical therapists, chiropractors, visiting nurses and other medical providers. The attorney may also ask you for a list of prior medical providers.
Question: What usually happens at the first consultation:
Answer: The personal injury lawyer that you have selected will tell you whether you have a valid legal claim. If you decide to hire that lawyer, then the lawyer will request that you sign a retainer agreement. The retainer agreement is an important legal document which a lawyer is required to obtain. At the initial consultation, it is extremely difficult for your lawyer to tell you the value of your case. The value of your case is dependent on many circumstances which include the amount of your medical bills, and the nature and extent of any pain and suffering. The value may be depend on whether or not your injury is permanent, whether or not there were periods of partial or complete disability, whether or not there was any disfigurement, scarring or other physical injury and the amount of your lost wages, etc.
After you have completed treatment or have reached a certain point in your medical treatment, the lawyer will provide a settlement demand with all relevant medical records and documentation to the insurance adjuster. If the insurance company believes the claim has merit and the insurance adjuster and the attorney can agree on a figure, then the case will be settled out of court. Despite the fact that the attorney will attempt to settle the case, the attorney will be preparing the case for court in the event that the case does not settle.
Question: What is necessary to have a valid personal injury case?
Answer: If you were injured as a result of another person’s or entity’s negligence or intentional act, then you have a potential personal injury cause of action. It is not always required to have a physical injury to bring a personal injury lawsuit. A personal injury lawsuit can be pursued based on the diminution of your reputation or an intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Question: What exactly is a settlement in a personal injury case?
Answer: If you settle a Rhode Island personal injury car accident or slip and fall case, you are agreeing to accept a sum of money in exchange for either not pursuing a personal injury case against the person or entity or dismissing a personal injury case against a person or entity. If the case settles, you will need to sign a release releasing any parties of any potential future liability. In order to determine whether or not you should accept a personal injury settlement, your attorney needs to assess the amount of damages you have suffered, the likelihood of prevailing at trial, and any other factors that the attorney deems appropriate.
A settlement can be reached at any time prior to the filing of the lawsuit or after the lawsuit is filed and any time up until the jury’s verdict. The case can even be settled after the trial if the case is on appeal.
At Slepkow, Slepkow & Associates, Inc. it is our firm philosophy that it is the client’s decision on whether or not to accept a personal injury settlement. We will certainly help you in making that determination by providing all of the essential information and answering any relevant questions that you have. We often will give our recommendation as to whether or not a settlement is fair. We always let our clients make the final decision whether or not to accept a personal injury or auto accident settlement.
Question: What if I am unhappy with the lawyer who is handling my case? In Rhode Island, do I have the right to obtain a new lawyer? If I obtain a new lawyer who will pay for the legal services rendered by the old attorney?
Answer: In Rhode Island (RI), if you are dissatisfied with your attorney’s legal representation, you have the right to obtain a new attorney at any time. Your old attorney may have a statutory lien against your personal injury case. If you prevail or the case is settled, your old attorney will have a right to be paid for the legal services that he provided you. However, you will not be required to pay the old attorney upon obtaining a new attorney. When your case is settled or when you receive funds as a result of a verdict, the old and the new attorney will equitably divide the contingent legal fee. In other words, it will cost you no additional funds, if you retain a new attorney. The old and new attorneys must come to an agreement as to the equitable share to be received by the old attorney.
Question: Is it a good idea to wait a period of time before I hire an attorney?
Answer: You should contact a Rhode Island personal injury attorney immediately after the accident. It is not a good idea for a person to be dealing with the insurance adjuster concerning their personal injury or car accident claim.
Question: Am I required to give a recorded statement to the insurance company upon their request?
Answer: There is no legal requirement for you to give a recorded statement to an insurance adjuster. However, if the insurance company is your own insurance company, you may be contractually obligated to give a recorded statement. You should not give any statement unless you have legal representation present and you should acquire a copy of the transcript.
Question: What types of cases are typically handled on a contingent fee basis?