Q & A
Question: What Should I do if I've Been Injured?
Answer: If you or someone in your family has been injured, you should seek competent professional advice as soon as possible to see if you have a claim for personal injury. There are many kinds of personal injuries, and the cause of an injury is not always clear. Suthers & Harper has extensive experience in finding the cause of accidents and medical injuries. We can assist you in determining whether you have a valid claim and, if so, who is responsible and what compensation may be available for you.
Question: How Do You Determine if I Have a Valid Claim?
Answer: Members of our law firm evaluate the medical records in a potential nursing home or medical malpractice case and undertake research of medical literature, consulting with physicians in multiple specialties, as necessary, to determine (a) if there was a departure from required standards of medical care and (b) whether the departures in fact caused the injury. Because the firm has investigated and litigated cases in numerous medical specialties, many potential claims involve areas of medical science with which we are already familiar. In defective product or automobile accident cases, we may engage experts in engineering or accident reconstruction to help in determining the possible merits of a claim.
Question: What if I am Contacted by an Insurance Company?
Answer: If you have been injured, do not discuss your injury or the way it happened until you have consulted a lawyer. Statements that you make might be incomplete or taken out of context and be harmful to your claim at a later date. Do not sign any papers or agree to any settlement, as this may affect your right to pursue your claim. Always seek competent legal advice first. At Suthers & Harper there is no charge for this consultation.
Question: Will There be a Legal fee to Evaluate My Claim?
Answer: No. At Suthers & Harper we will meet with you to discuss your injury free of charge.
Question: How Does the Law Firm get Paid?
Answer: In personal injury actions, Suthers & Harper is paid no fee unless it is successful in obtaining compensation for you. We handle personal injury claims on a contingent fee basis. This means that the legal fee is a percentage of the amount recovered, and there is no fee due unless and until money is actually collected for you.
Question: What About Expenses?
Answer: There are certain expenses, such as costs of medical records, court costs and expert witness fees, involved in bringing a personal injury claim. Once we have evaluated your claim and determined it to be well-founded, we will advance all litigation expenses. You do not pay these advanced expenses until the conclusion of the case, when money is recovered for your claim.
Question: How Much of my Time Will This Take?
Answer: Surprisingly, your claim will not require a great deal of your time. After the initial interview, we will do most of the work for you. In the typical personal injury case, you may be required to assist us by answering written and oral questions about what happened to you. Aside from these questions, which are a routine part of the court process, very little of your time will be required.
Question: Will I Have to Go to Court?
Answer: You will not have to go to court unless your case cannot be settled and must be tried. We prepare every case as if it is going to trial. However, because of the careful screening of meritorious cases undertaken by Suthers & Harper, the majority of claims are settled before trial. Because of the many factors involved, it is impossible to predict whether your particular case is one which will be settled or one which must be decided by a jury.
Question: Will I Hurt The Person I'm Suing by Bringing a Personal Injury Claim?
Answer: Most personal injury claims are defended by insurance company lawyers and paid by insurance, so the person or corporation you sue will not have to pay any money out-of-pocket. A personal injury claim is a civil case, not a criminal case, and the defendant will not go to jail because of the claim.
Question: Is It Ever too Late to Bring a Claim?
Answer: Yes. It is important to consult a lawyer as soon as you are aware that you or a family member has been injured, because there are statutes of limitations which prohibit the bringing of old claims. Also, it is easier to gather information about a recent injury. However, even if you or a family member was injured some time ago (and especially if the injured person is a minor or disabled from bringing an action on their own), you may still be able to bring a claim.
Question: Why Should I Bring a Personal Injury Claim?
Answer: If you or a family member is injured through the fault of someone else, you are entitled by law to compensation for your injuries. This compensation is available not only for expenses you have already incurred, but for losses you will suffer in the future. If you or someone in your family is severely injured, this compensation can protect against changes in family situations, so that the injured person's future is secure. Also, by bringing a claim you may be able to prevent a similar injury from happening to someone else.
Question: Do I Still Have A Claim If My Medical Bills Were Paid By Insurance?
Answer: Yes. In most cases you are entitled to be compensated for your medical bills regardless of whether or not they have been paid. In addition, you may be entitled to compensation for many other aspects of your injury, such as lost earning capacity, scarring or disfigurement, future medical expenses and pain and suffering.
Question: What is The Value of My Claim?
Answer: The value of your claim depends on a wide variety of factors, such as the severity and permanency of your injury, the amount of your medical expenses, the liability of the defendant, and whether the case is to be tried or settled. It is impossible to estimate the value of a claim until the case has been fully investigated from all aspects, and sometimes its valuation may fluctuate depending on developments during the course of the litigation. You should be wary of anyone who tries to tell you the value of your claim at an early stage. After we have completed a thorough investigation of your case, we are in a position to offer you our opinion as to the value of your claim. If the defendant offers to settle your claim, we will discuss the proposed settlement with you, and give you our advice about whether to accept the amount offered. Of course, the ultimate decision to accept an offer of settlement or to allow a jury to determine the value of your injuries is always up to you.