Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How much is my personal injury case worth?
At the beginning of a case, no lawyer can accurately tell you how much your case is worth. If he tries, it only means he’s telling you what he thinks you want to hear in order to get your case. You’re better off with a lawyer who’s honest with you.
Generally, the dollar value depends on the type and severity of your injuries. You are entitled to compensation for property damage, medical bills, lost wages, and emotional pain and suffering.
Call McGee, Lerer and Associates to find out about additional compensation the insurance company won’t tell you that you’re entitled to. For example:
• Even if your vehicle was repairable after an accident, it now has a reduced value because it’s been in an accident. You are entitled to compensation for the “diminished value” of your vehicle.
• Incidental expenses resulting from the accident. You are entitled to reimbursement if, because of your injuries, you had to hire a babysitter, a home health care assistant, a housekeeper, an errand-runner, a driver, a gardener, etc.
• Replacement child car seat if you had a car seat in your vehicle at the time of the accident.
Q: How much does it cost to hire a personal injury lawyer?
Nothing up front. We work on a contingency fee basis. This means that the legal fees are paid for out of the settlement or jury award in your case. If you recover nothing – you pay us nothing.
Q: Can I change attorneys? Will it cost me more?
You can change attorneys at any time. You pay no additional attorney fee. We pay your former attorney from our fee; your recovery remains the same, as if there was no former attorney. Call McGee, Lerer & Associates for a free second opinion if:
• You don’t know what’s going on with your case
• Your attorney doesn’t return your calls
• You only speak with the secretary, not the attorney
Q: Will I save money by not hiring an attorney?
No. The Insurance Research Council found that on average, attorney-represented claimants get 3-1/2 times more money than unrepresented claimants.
Q: Will my case go to trial? How long will it take to resolve?
Approximately 98% of our cases settle before trial, so it’s unlikely that your case will go to trial. However, it’s difficult to predict which cases will have to be tried. Assuming you’re one of the 98% of our cases that settle before trial, approximately half will settle in the first year of our retention, and the remaining half will settle within two years.
Q: Should I trust the insurance adjuster?
Absolutely not. The insurance adjuster will try to lull you into believing that you don’t need an attorney because he’ll take care of you. Don’t be suckered. The adjuster’s hidden goal is to save the insurance company money by delaying payment and giving you as little as possible. Without the help of an experienced personal injury attorney, you may have no idea of the real value of your case.
Q: The insurance adjuster wants me to give a recorded statement. Should I?
No. It will likely hurt your claim. The insurance adjuster’s goal is to lock in your story, and then use it against you later, at deposition or trial, in order to reduce the amount of money they have to pay you.
Q: The insurance adjuster has asked me to sign a medical release. Should I sign it?
No. It will give the insurance company unfettered access to your entire medical history, which would be an invasion of your right of privacy. The insurance company will then try to use your medical history against you.
Q: Who will pay my medical bills and repair my vehicle if the other driver has no insurance?
Even if the other driver doesn’t have insurance, you may still be covered. Check with our office. We can look at your policy and tell you if you have uninsured motorist coverage – coverage which can compensate you if you are in an accident with someone who has no insurance.
Q: Should I go to my own doctor or will the lawyer send me to a doctor?
We advise our clients that if you have you own doctor, or if your family or friends can recommend one, go to that doctor. If you don’t have one to go to, we will assist you in finding the right type of medical provider in your area.
Q: I don’t have health insurance and can’t afford to pay a doctor. What do I do?
McGee, Lerer and Associates can assist you in finding a medical provider who will treat you on a lien basis, which means that the medical provider agrees to wait to be paid until the case is resolved.