Choosing A Personal Injury Lawyer
Do I need a personal injury lawyer?
Usually, yes. In our experience, no matter how strong your case, and no matter how valid your claim, insurance companies will try to take advantage of you. If they perceive that you are unrepresented, they will try to settle your claim quickly and cheaply. Most of the time you will fare better with an attorney. If we at Maxwell Graham believe that you will be better off on your own, we will be honest and tell you this.
What should I do after I am injured in a car accident?
Every collision and every injury is unique, but if you were injured in a car accident your primary focus should be on your health and getting the appropriate medical treatment for your injuries.
Contact your insurance company to open a claim. If your auto insurance policy includes Personal Injury Protection coverage, make sure to let your treatment providers know to bill your auto insurance instead of your personal health insurance.
It’s never too early to hire an attorney to represent you after a car accident. Maxwell Graham can help take some of the stress out of your recovery by managing the calls from the insurance companies, working with your treatment providers and insurance to ensure your bills are paid, and being available to answer your questions throughout the whole process.
How do I choose a personal injury attorney or a car accident lawyer?
Selecting the right lawyer can make or break your case. Maxwell Graham prides itself on being a client focused firm, this means that we are accessible and responsive when you have questions or concerns. If you choose Maxwell Graham, you can be sure that we won’t back out when the going gets tough. Maxwell Graham doesn’t drop clients when their claims can’t be resolved without litigation, in fact many of our clients come to us when other attorneys decide to withdraw because they are either afraid or too lazy to litigate a case.
How long will it take to get a settlement?
Every case is different. We strive to obtain just resolutions as efficiently as possible. Sometimes cases resolve in a matter of months, others can take a year or longer.
Some of the factors that may impact the duration of your case:
- Medical Treatment
- Your needs and goals
- Court Schedules
- The other party’s insurance company and/or attorney
Should I settle my claim without a lawyer?
Ultimately, that is your call. However, insurance companies train their employees to use “genuine empathy” when they contact injured people. They do this because their research shows them that by doing this they can save a lot of money. Sometimes this appearance of empathy is a ploy to convince you that the insurance company is acting in your best interest. When this happens it is an attempt to persuade you to settle your claim quickly and cheaply. If we think that the insurance company is treating you fairly, we will tell you.
Often however, insurance companies will try and take advantage of unrepresented individuals. Because Maxwell Graham is a contingency fee based firm, we will work hard to get you the settlement you deserve. Why? Because if we don’t get you a settlement, we don’t get paid!
How will my medical bills be paid? Will my Personal Injury Protection pay wage loss?
At Maxwell Graham we will try to find ways to have your medical bills paid. Usually this is easy, sometimes it is difficult, and occasionally it is impossible. We look for payment from personal injury protection, employer provided health insurance, the department of labor and industries, med pay, or government resources. If necessary, we can assist you in securing treatment on a lien basis.
What can I expect from Maxwell Graham?
We will try to get you the best outcome we can. This will mean having your bills paid and trying to get you some money to compensate you as well. We make no guarantees of the outcome, but we will try our best.
Who am I trying to sue – the person who injured me, or their insurance company?
We bring a claim against the insurance company for the person who is at fault. If the claim has to be litigated, then we bring suit against the at-fault person and the insurance company hires a lawyer to defend that person. The insurance company pays for the claim up to the policy limits. If there is not enough insurance to fully compensate you, then we look for other sources of insurance, including under-insured motorist insurance, or other potentially at fault parties.
I was hit by a driver with no insurance. Now what?
If you were injured in a motor vehicle collision by a driver with no insurance, we look to your uninsured motorist insurance. We also try to find other potentially at fault parties. Sometimes it takes creativity to find a party who will be liable for the injuries.
What is a jury trial?
If the insurance company is not willing to pay you in full for your injuries, we will file a lawsuit. This means that the case will go before a jury who will decide the issue. In Washington, 10 of 12 jurors must agree if we file the case in Superior Court, and 5 of 6 jurors must agree if we file in District Court. Many plaintiff lawyers are uncomfortable taking plaintiff cases to jury trial. Our lawyers have tried more than a hundred cases to jury and we are not afraid to try more.
Do I have to bring my case to a jury to get compensation for my injuries?
Not always, but if the insurance company for the injured person is to respect your claim, it must believe that your lawyer is willing to try it. Many lawyers settle their client’s claims short of true value because they are not willing to try cases. We will encourage you to settle only if we believe that you are being treated fairly.
How much does a personal injury attorney cost? What are the fees?
We are a contingency fee firm. This means that our fee is contingent upon the outcome. If we don’t recover any money for you, then we are not owed a fee. If we do recover money for you, we take a percentage of it for our fee. The amount we take as a percentage varies depending on several factors, including the type of case, complexity, how close to trial it settles, whether it is tried, etc.
What if I lose my personal injury or medical malpractice case? Will I owe my attorneys any money?
No. We don’t win every case, and we have taken tough cases to trial and have lost. But if we don’t recover money for you, we don’t ask for compensation.
How much is my car accident case worth?
This is the question we are asked frequently.
We try to get to know you and your case, and this is a process that takes time. Ultimately your case value is governed by other people; namely insurance adjusters, defense attorneys and in some cases a judge or jury.
We will give you a realistic opinion regarding what we believe the value of your case is, but because there are many factors involved that are beyond our control, we cannot make any guarantees or promises.
Who gets to decide whether to accept a settlement offer?
The rules of the Washington State Bar Association require that the client, not the lawyer, gets to decide whether to accept a settlement offer. Our role is to advise you with our honest opinion whether a settlement offer is worth accepting. But your decision will depend on many factors, and the decision can be quite personal. We will respect your decision.