A free consultation is a common part of the personal injury claims process, and is an opportunity for you and your attorney to get to know each other before agreeing to work together moving forward. The free consultation is also an opportunity for the attorney to learn more about your case, and for you to learn more about the attorney’s background.
Many people are intimidated by the free consultation process, and aren’t sure what to expect. It is important to know that this is your opportunity to ask any questions that you may have, and learn as much as you can before hiring the attorney or pursuing your claim any further. Here are some questions that you should ask during your free consultation with a Seattle personal injury lawyer:
What Type of Personal Injury Law Do You Practice?
Personal injury law is a sweeping term that refers to a number of civil case types, ranging from cases involving car accidents to swimming pools, trampolines to amusement parks and more. Ask your attorney what their experience is as it pertains to your specific injury type, as well as what type of personal injury law they typically practice.
For How Long Have You Been Practicing? Do You Have Trial Experience?
This two-part question is important: you want to work with an attorney who is experienced in personal injury law, and is comfortable navigating the civil system. Further, while your case will hopefully be settled out-of-court, knowing that your attorney has trial experience, if it comes to that, is reassuring. Going to trial is a complex process, and you don’t want a novice representing you.
How Do You Charge?
Watch out for attorneys that request a retainer fee, hourly fees, or any other upfront fees. If the attorney insists that you pay them now, you should seek legal counsel from another source.
Most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. This system is ideal for clients, as the attorney being paid is contingent on the client’s claim being settled. In other words, if the client does not get a compensation award, the attorney is not compensated either. This protects you as a client, and also ensures that the attorney will be working in your best interests.
How Long Will My Claim Take? How Much is My Case Worth?
Beware of attorneys that promise you millions of dollars or assure you that your case can be settled in just a few weeks. The truth is, personal injury cases usually take months – and sometimes even more than a year – to resolve, and they rarely yield millions. While an attorney can provide you with an idea of what your case may be worth, nothing is a guarantee, and knowing your claim’s value will be impossible without further assessment.
Contact Our Law Offices Today
You are welcome, and encouraged, to ask your Seattle personal injury attorney any other questions that you may have about the personal injury claims process and your case. If you are ready to begin, please call the law firm of Gosanko & O’Halloran, PLLC today to get your free consultation scheduled. You can also request your free case review by writing us a message using the online form on our website.
What Are Comparative Negligence Laws and How Might They Affect My Claim?
When you are injured due to the actions of another and bring forth a claim to recover damages, it is important that you understand how the rules and regulations surrounding your claim may affect it. For example, understanding the legal theory of negligence and how to prove it, as well as what the statute of limitations is for filing your claim, are two important considerations. Another facet of personal injury law that you should understand is comparative negligence, including what it is and how it may affect your recovery.
What Is Comparative Negligence?
Each state in the nation is responsible for determining its own negligence laws, and who will be responsible for paying for damages in a negligence-based tort action. States either maintain a pure contributory negligence rule, a pure comparative fault system, or a modified comparative fault system.
Pure contributory negligence is the least common system type, and is followed by only a handful of states in the nation. In pure contributory negligence states, plaintiffs are barred from seeking damages for their injuries if they contribute to those injuries at all, even a mere one percent.
In a pure comparative fault system, on the other hand, the exact opposite is true; a plaintiff is allowed to recover damages from the defendant, even if they are 99 percent at fault for their injuries. However, the plaintiff’s damages will be reduced in proportion to their degree of fault. The only difference between a pure comparative fault system and a modified comparative fault system is that in the latter, recovery is barred if the plaintiff is 50/51 percent or more at fault (depending upon the state).
Washington is a Pure Comparative Negligence State
Called contributory fault in Washington, the state maintains a pure comparative negligence system of recovery. Again, this means that a plaintiff’s damages will be reduced in proportion to their degree of fault, but that a plaintiff can recover compensation even if they are up to 99 percent responsible for their own injuries.
Why Does This Matter?
Understanding Washington’s comparative fault laws is important when you are seeking your maximum compensation amount. Because of comparative fault laws, an insurance adjuster may try to take advantage of the fact that your award can be reduced in proportion to your degree of fault, thereby saving the insurance company money. As such, the adjuster may be searching for any admission of fault or error on your part, in order to place blame on your shoulders.
It is very important that you work with an experienced Seattle personal injury lawyer who knows how to thoroughly investigate a claim and build a strong case against the liable party.
Contact Our Seattle Personal Injury Lawyers Today
When you are injured, having an advocate on your side can be a great comfort, as well as a boon to your case. At the law office of Gosanko & O’Halloran, PLLC, our talented Seattle personal injury attorneys are here to help you. To schedule your free consultation with our offices today, please contact us now and provide us with your information using our online form.