Most of the potential clients who come to us at the Goldberg Noone Abraham Law Firm have never been involved in a personal injury claim after being in a serious crash. Once they've been victimized by the careless or negligent actions of someone else, the questions begin.
This article will detail the entire process of just how a personal injury case works, how long it may take, and the steps our firm goes through to help our clients receive fair financial compensation for their injuries.
Immediately Following the Crash –
People who have been hurt in a bad car, motorcycle, pedestrian or bicycle collision are justifiably a little confused and uncertain about what to do next. They're going to have a lot of important questions, and it's our job to provide the answers they need. Personal injury cases are undertaken on a contingency fee basis, which means our clients don't need to spend any money up front to retain our firm. If we accept your case, we agree to accept our fees, along with any costs our firm may have spent to represent you, at the end of the process. That may be an agreeable settlement offer, or a jury verdict if your case ends up going to trial. It never costs a thing to pick up the phone and get the information you need.
The Facts, Straight Up –
When a potential client comes into our offices to talk about their situation, we don't waste time pumping them with false expectations or empty promises. We only accept cases in which we feel there is a real and legitimate chance of success, and that's based on several factors. To be candid, every case we accept is a bit of a gamble. If we accept your case, that means we feel strongly that you have a valid injury claim. We'll never agree to represent you just to get another case – there needs to be ample evidence that we will be successful on your behalf. That's because the risks and time invested carry too many consequences for you and for our firm. We won't fill you with false hope just to have you retain us, because there's just too much at stake.
We Gamble with Our Money –
Once we've agreed to accept your case, the process begins. Initially, our clients will ask us the obvious question; How much do you think my case is worth? The answer to that, at the beginning, is we don't know. There are just too many variables that affect what we feel we may be able to recover on your behalf. If a personal injury attorney tosses out specific numbers at your first meeting, that may be a red flag that they may not be the right lawyer for you. If we agree to take your case, we know from our 20 years of helping injury victims that there will be expenses to be paid in putting your case together. We pay those costs up front and are reimbursed out of the proceeds of your insurance settlement, or a jury's verdict award. In some cases, that may be a few hundred dollars to obtain your medical records and other documentation we need to build your case. In more serious crashes involving severe injuries or even the loss of a loved one, those costs can go up to tens of thousands of dollars, which we pay out of our pocket. In working on your case, we may need to hire a physician to examine you and provide an expert opinion on the extent of your injuries, or an accident reconstructionist to help determine exactly how and why the accident happened. Our firm pays those fees initially.
Some Cases Are Not What They First Appear –
Once you hire our law firm, our entire team begins to dig deep into the facts surrounding your specific circumstances. We obtain and analyze specific records, police reports, speak with any witnesses who may have seen what happened and several other behind-the-scenes efforts that determine the potential value of your case. Honestly, no attorney can ever know what to expect to find in the beginning of a case, and at first blush some cases appear to be totally different than what it really is as we dive into our investigative process. We've had cases where it appeared there was little chance of more than a $20,000 recovery initially that turned into settlements of hundreds of thousands. We've also had cases that appeared to be worth a significant amount that, through our aggressive research and discovery process, turned out to be worth much less. That's why we say each case is a gamble – we've been doing this long enough to know which cases to vigorously fight for, and which ones just won't ever amount to an equitable conclusion. To read an example of how that can happen, click here.
Detailed Updates Every Step of the Way –
As we progress through our discovery and strategy in putting your case together, we always continually update you as to what's happening. No one likes surprises, and all final decisions about your case are made by you. So, we constantly keep you advised as to what is going on and offer our expertise as to what that means for your specific case. Keeping you fully informed adds to your peace of mind, and allows you to focus on your one objective, which should be healing and recovering from your crash injuries. Not all updates are positive. We will also always tell you when we feel a problem has come up on your case, and we do it quickly. No one likes bad surprises near the end of a case, which is why we're always straight up with you if we uncover something that may negatively affect the desired outcome.
How Long is This Going to Take? –
That's another question that always comes up when we first meet with a potential client. It's also another example of setting expectations that are unreasonable, or at least not immediately foreseeable. A simple personal injury case can take about 6 months, or maybe 3 to 4 years in complex cases before we reach a successful conclusion. Initially, we need to wait until you have finished medical treatment for your injuries before we fully understand what your future holds. If you've reached what's called Maximum Medical Improvement, or MMI, we can determine a value of your case and present our demand to the opposing side's insurance company. We rely on your physician or medical provider to advise us as to your condition, and whether you may need any future medical care, treatment, rehabilitation or therapy. Without knowing that, there's no way to assign an accurate assessment of value to your case. In some cases – the ones that go on for years – your injuries may be serious enough to warrant a future surgical procedure in order to recover more fully, or even long-term medical care that may be necessary for the rest of your life. Basically, the more severe your injuries, the longer your case may take. All we ask of our clients is to continue the medical care prescribed by your provider in order to best establish your condition before we decide to file a lawsuit.
You'll Likely Never See the Inside of a Courtroom –
During the course of the discovery process by both sides, our firm will gather every document, fact and circumstance regarding you, the plaintiff, and your case – just like the lawyers for the person we're claiming is at fault for your injuries, the defendant. Essentially, we'll compile a list of documents, records or information pertaining to your case and formally submit it to the attorneys representing the other party, and they'll do the same and submit it to our firm. Once those materials are received and thoroughly reviewed and analyzed by both sides, there may be an opportunity to negotiate a settlement. As in all negotiations, they can go well, or they may not. If the attorney and insurance company representing the at-fault party admit to liability and readily acknowledge the insurance coverage policy parameters, a back-and-forth begins. As you may expect, we will present the other side with a number that they initially will counter, and the process continues. Hopefully, through the aggressive and skilled negotiation tactics we use, we can come to a mutually acceptable financial settlement prior to going to trial. About 90% or more of personal injury cases never make it to court and are successfully settled by negotiation. In some cases where the 2 sides cannot come to an agreeable solution, the court will order a mediation, in which an outside, 3rd party appointed by the court will listen to the facts and recommend a solution. If that's not successful, a judge may order that the case goes to arbitration, where an independent judge will hear arguments from both sides and assign a financial value to any potential settlement amount. Lastly, about a month or so prior to an assigned trial date, the judge will call what is known as a pre-trial settlement conference, where all involved parties show up to state their case, and the judge requests that every effort is made to settle case. If all of that is unsuccessful, which is rare, the case proceeds to trial. Trials are costly and time consuming, and the overburdened court system makes every effort to make sure that a trial is absolutely the last resort in settling a personal injury dispute.
The One Constant: We ALWAYS Prepare as if We're Going to Trial –
When we first accept your case and begin to represent you and your legal rights for fair financial compensation, we treat each and every case the same way; We always assume we'll be going to trial. Approaching every case with that mindset ensures we do everything in our power to come to a satisfactory and successful conclusion. To prepare any other way would be a disservice to our clients. Yes, it's true that no 2 cases are ever identical, but it's also true that the Goldberg Noone Abraham Law Firm approaches each one with the tenacity and resolve to fight for you with everything we've got, and to never let up. Other law firms throughout Florida, and the giant insurance companies, are aware of that. They know we are always ready, willing and able to go to trial, and we never back down.
Start the Process with One Phone Call –
Our personal injury attorneys are always available to speak with you at no cost to review your specific situation. If you are unable to physically come in for a meeting, we'll come to you. There is never any obligation or commitment needed to hire us in order to get the answers you're going to need during this very stressful time.
If you need answers after any type of injury caused by someone else, call the Goldberg Noone Abraham Law Firm at 239-461-5508, or simply complete this short contact form and we'll reach out to you immediately, to get the process started.