After more than 20 years representing people who have been seriously hurt in some type of motor vehicle accident, we've heard thousands of questions from clients, and prospective clients. At the Goldberg Noone law firm, we take calls every single day from people after they've been in a crash, and the vast majority of them never end up hiring us. We are proud of the fact that we're known for being straight up with people, and don't just tell them what they want to hear in order to gain another client.
There are three factors that need to be carefully and thoroughly investigated by an attorney before accepting a new personal injury case. Even though each individual case brings with it very unique sets of specific circumstances, the three factors don't really vary too much from one case to another. At our law firm, just like mostly all other personal injury firms, we work on what is known as a contingency basis. That means that our clients never pay us a penny up front, and in fact, never pay us at all unless we're successful in obtaining a favorable settlement or trial verdict for them. Because of that arrangement, we don't make any money unless we're successful on your behalf. And because operating a law firm is a business, we need to take everything into consideration before we accept a new client. It's just good business.
Let's take a look at the reasons not every accident case may be suitable for taking legal action.
LIABILITY – Basically, without being able to determine and prove any issues of who is liable, or responsible, for your crash and any injuries you may have received, you don't have a case to pursue. Frankly, nothing else really matters until you can prove liability. In a car, motorcycle or truck accident, it becomes the burden of our client, the plaintiff, to prove the liability of another party or parties. Part of our work involves researching the people and circumstances involved on the other side, to see if we feel some entity can be held legally responsible for causing the crash resulting in your being hurt.
We find that in many cases, people that call us wondering if they have some type of legal recourse for their injuries may not fully understand how the law works in Florida regarding liability issues. There are very specific things that the other person, the defendant, must be found to have done, or not done, in order to be held legally liable. As an example, many folks think that because you may have been hurt on someone else's property, that person should be held accountable for your injuries. That is not the case – it's never that simple. You're never automatically entitled to recovery of financial compensation in any type of injury case. There are dozens of other factors that come into play, and each one can mean the difference between being able to rightfully go after the other party in a lawsuit, or not.
DAMAGES – In order for a potential lawsuit to have merit, there must be serious consideration as to the severity of any damages suffered. In a personal injury case, there is considerable time and money involved – which we pay in advance of any potential settlement or jury trial – preparing your case. We have an entire team of investigators, legal researchers, paralegals, accident reconstructionists and more that spend months and even years building your case in anticipation of going to trial. At Goldberg Noone, we accept and prepare for every case as if it's going to end up in front of a jury. The giant insurance companies that we're going up against have come to realize this, which is one of the reasons our attorneys have been so successful over the many years we've been doing this. Our reputation is widely-known as a law firm that is not afraid of going to trial, and the insurance companies know just how expensive that can be. We have worked on some cases for years, uncovering all of the facts of the case and developing our strategy to fight for your legal rights.
ABILITY TO COLLECT JUDGEMENT – In addition to Damages and Liability, there must be a clear ability to collect any potential financial judgement when we're successful on your behalf. In cases where there is clear and indisputable liability against the other party and severe physical injury or even a fatality, it doesn't automatically mean there are the financial resources available to adequately cover your losses. When there are insurance companies involved, this can depend on what are called policy limits, which are essentially caps on the amount an insurance company has agreed to pay out in the event of a crash. But in some cases, (unfortunately far too many in Florida), you may have been hit by someone who was insufficiently covered by insurance, or had absolutely no auto insurance policy at all. In cases like those, it frankly doesn't matter how skilled or successful your personal injury attorney is – there simply are no monies available to satisfy the financial needs of caring for your physical injuries, pain and suffering, loss of wages from being unable to work, and other items.
If there is not a viable source of any kind from which to collect financial damages, then an attorney will not be willing to accept your case.
Risk versus Reward
When we sit down to discuss the possibility of taking on a potential client's personal injury case, we always explain all the facts of why we may or may not feel they have a legal cause of action. As we mentioned, the large majority of those folks never end up hiring us to represent them. As business people, it's our job to carefully evaluate each and every possible case in order to determine if there are any obstacles to success. We're not going to tell you something that is not true and factual just to gain another case – that's not how we operate.
In contingency fee cases, our law firm pays money out of our pocket in order to prepare your case for going to trial. We take depositions from all the parties involved, including any available eyewitnesses, which require hiring of court reporters and videographers. We hire private investigators, summons servers, accident reconstructionists, crash analysis experts and a host of other costly items on your behalf. We only do this because we have a firm belief that we will be successful in obtaining a financial settlement or jury award that will allow us to recoup those expenses. Contingency means we are paid our fees for representing you, as well as our up-front costs for monies we have spent on your case, when you receive your payment from an insurance settlement. Virtually every personal injury law firm operates the exact same way.
When you are in need of hiring a personal injury lawyer, you should always consider the level of experience that attorney (or the law firm they are with), has. An attorney with less time involved with representing clients in serious motor vehicle accidents may not have the financial resources to handle the aggressive preparation of your case. It doesn't mean they may not be a capable lawyer; it means they may not be able to successfully mount a proper and thorough strategy to take your case into a courtroom.
We're Always Available To Answer Any of Your Questions – At No Charge
As we've said, it NEVER costs you a thing to pick up the phone and ask us anything after you've been hurt in a crash. Our attorneys field calls all day, every day, from people who are scared, confused and unsure of what they should do. We gladly tell them our opinions, and what their legal rights are under the law. Some decide to hire us, but as mentioned, the vast majority of people don't actually have a case that makes sense to move forward on, based on the reasons we've noted in this article.
For trusted, honest advice after you've been hurt in a car, motorcycle or any other type of accident, just give us a call at 239-461-5508. You never know if you have a legitimate legal course of action until you ask.