- How do I choose a trial lawyer?
- How do lawyers charge for a personal injury case?
- Do I have to pay for you to consider my case?
- Do I have a good case?
- How long do I have to make a claim?
- Do I have a medical malpractice claim?
- What do I have to prove in a personal injury case?
- How long does a lawsuit take?
- Will my case go to trial?
- Do all attorneys have legal malpractice insurance?
Before you hire a trial lawyer, meet with him or her and assure yourself that the lawyer is truly qualified to represent you. You are entitled to honest and straightforward answers to your questions. Information which may be helpful in deciding whether the lawyer is qualified to handle your case include:
- How many jury verdicts over $1,000,000 have you obtained?
- How many cases have you taken to trial and completed?
- How many cases that you took to trial resulted in a verdict larger than the offer that was made?
- How many cases that you took to trial resulted in a verdict for the defendant?
- Who will be preparing the case prior to trial—you or another lawyer in the office?
- How many cases like mine have you handled in the past?
Remember you are the employer. You are the one who has the right to decide whether to hire a specific lawyer. It is easy to create a wonderful TV ad. It is also very easy for a lawyer to tell you what he believes you want to hear. It is not easy to earn a proven record which substantiates the experience and competence of the lawyer you hire.
When you hire a lawyer you can either pay an hourly rate or a contingency fee. Most clients are unable to pay an hourly rate and choose a contingency fee.
A contingency fee is paid to the lawyer only if you make a recovery. Contingency fees may range from 25-40 percent. The precise fee that you will be charged depends on the nature of your claim, the risks associated with the claim and the costs necessary to properly prepare your case.
Piccarreta Davis will advance the costs associated with the preparation of your case. If the case comes to a successful conclusion then those costs will be recovered by Piccarreta Davis, in addition to the contingency fee. Many law firms will charge you interest on the costs they expend on your behalf. Piccarreta Davis believes that this practice is inappropriate. While Piccarreta Davis will recover costs advanced if a claim is successful, it will not charge interest on those costs.
The trial lawyers at Piccarreta Davis will meet with you to discuss your case at no cost. If our first meeting indicates that a potential claim exists then, the claim must be investigated. The trial lawyers of Piccarreta Davis will investigate your claim at no cost to you.
A red flag should quickly arise if the lawyer with whom you are speaking wants you to advance money for the lawyer to investigate the claim. When a lawyer is unwilling to spend the amount of money needed to ascertain if a claim exists then, that lawyer either has no faith in your claim or is financially unable to properly prepare your case.
It is difficult to tell a client if he has a good claim on the first visit. Before a trial lawyer can give you a competent and educated opinion on the merits of your claim, appropriate research and investigation must be conducted.
For instance, police reports need to be gathered, witnesses interviewed, medical records reviewed, and experts consulted. The success of any claim is directly related to the thorough preparation of the lawsuit. Thus, it is the practice of Piccarreta Davis to obtain the appropriate and necessary records and conduct a thorough investigation before evaluating the merits of your claim.
This process is designed to assure you that once we take the case there will be a high probability of a successful result.
The length of time you have to file a lawsuit depends upon the nature of the claim and the entity being sued.
As a general rule, an injured person has two years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit. There are very important exceptions to this general rule which significantly decrease the statute of limitations time period.
For instance, if an injury is claimed against an employee of a governmental entity such as a City, the State, and even certain medical care providers then a “Notice of Claim” must be filed within 180 days of the date of the injury. If that notice is not filed within the required time limits your claim may be forever barred.
It is extremely important that you contact a trial lawyer as soon as possible so that your time limits are protected.
A competent and experienced medical malpractice lawyer cannot tell you whether you have a claim at the first meeting. A potential claim must be thoroughly investigated before a decision is made to file a lawsuit.
Barry Davis and Amy Hernandez have investigated many hundreds of claims. The investigation includes obtaining medical records, medical research, attorney review of those records, and review by expert physicians.
A lawsuit will not be filed until we can assure that our client has a high probability of succeeding with a claim.
Although the specific facts of each person’s claim are different, there are general rules relating to what a person has to prove in a lawsuit.
The claimant is usually required to prove that the wrongdoer was negligent, that the negligence was a cause of injury, and that as a result of the negligence which caused the injury damage was sustained.
Negligence is most generally described as the failure to use reasonable care. Regardless of whether your situation involves a driver failing to stop at a red light or a surgeon failing to respond to a nurse’s call from the hospital, the rule is the same. Every person is required to use reasonable care in conducting the task which he is performing.
If someone is negligent, then you must prove that that negligence caused injury. In other words, someone can be negligent without causing injury. A driver may fail to heed a red light and be negligent but, if no one is injured there is no causation. On the other hand, if a driver runs a red light and collides with you then, the negligence causes injury.
Last, if there was negligence and that negligence caused injury then, the injured person must prove the amount of damages to which he is entitled. Oftentimes the damage claim consists of medical expenses, lost wages, future lost wages, future medical expenses and pain and suffering.
It is impossible to give a precise answer. The scheduling of trials is determined by the schedule of the Superior Court Judges. Lawyers have very little control over the scheduling of a trial.
Moreover, before your case is ready for trial the lawyer is required to engage in discovery to prove your claim. This may involve meeting with doctors, deposing witnesses, gathering medical records and obtaining work records to prove the damages and waiting for your injury to stabilize.
As a general rule, most cases are scheduled for trial and resolved within 12 to 18 months after a lawsuit is filed.
A trial lawyer is unable to tell you whether any specific case will be taken to trial. Statistically speaking, more than 90 percent of cases filed are settled prior to the trial. Settlement negotiations usually do not occur until one to two months before the scheduled trial date.
No. Unfortunately, the State Bar of Arizona does NOT require attorneys practicing within Arizona to provide legal malpractice insurance.
If an attorney is negligent in handling your claim and does NOT carry insurance you may have no practical recourse for compensation.
So, before you retain a lawyer make sure he is adequately insured. The State Bar of Arizona does require Arizona attorneys to report whether or not they have insurance. That information can be found at www.azbar.org under the section entitled “Find a Lawyer.”
You are required to have insurance on your car, why shouldn’t the attorney you retain provide you the same protection? Be a good consumer and check before you act.