WHAT TO DO FIRST:
FIRST: Always contact a lawyer immediately when you or your loved ones have been injured or killed. Why?? Because the faster you have someone working for you… talking to witnesses, taking photos, gathering evidence… the stronger your case will be. The insurance company and everyone else involved will have their investigators there working against you.
SECOND: Don’t throw out anything. It may be important later.
THIRD: Tell your lawyer everything. He/she are on your side and only want the best for you.
FOURTH: Things take time so be patient. There is a lot involved in a lawsuit and you must go on living in the mean time.
HOW DOES A LAWSUIT WORK:
After you have retained a lawyer, a lawsuit will probably be filed. Sometimes, a settlement can be reached without filing, but this is rare. Your injuries and damages probably are not yet stabilized and you don’t want to settle for less than you are entitled.
The next step for you will be a set of written questions called interrogatories and a request for documents. You must gather the information, and with your lawyer’s help, answer the questions and give the documents to your lawyer. It may take some time, but this is how your lawyer also gets to know how good your case really is.
Then comes your deposition. A deposition is sworn testimony under oath before a court reporter… just like court, but you’re not in court. The other side gets to ask you a lot of questions about the case, what happened, what you know and what are your damages. Your lawyer will be there with you and will fully prepare you for the experience. It is a good time for you to convince the other side that you have a worthy case.
In the meantime, your lawyer will be doing the same to the other side…interrogatories, depositions, gathering evidence and getting ready for trial.
Prior to trial, the court will require that an attempt be made to settle your case either by mediation or court supervised conference. Many times the case will settle if the facts and your damages have been properly presented. However, some defendants just won’t settle and would rather have a jury tell them why they must pay.
Trial is the best chance you have to really tell your story to people like you. Your lawyer will prepare and try the case. You must be there and testify just like in the deposition. In the end, the jury will decide.
The thing to remember is that a lawsuit takes time, but in the end wrongs will be righted.
HOW IS THE LAWYER PAID:
Lawsuits take a lot of money to prosecute…deposition court reporters, expert witnesses, jury fees, travel, copies, etc. These are costs of the case.
The lawyer has an office with staff, overhead, rent, etc. You don’t have the money to pay for hundreds of hours at $350.00/hour plus costs.
Therefore, a contract is agreed to between you and the lawyer where the lawyer will advance the costs on your behalf and take a percentage of the recovery. You get top notch legal help and payment isn’t until the end when money is recovered.