Frequently Asked Questions

Q. I've been in an accident. What do I do now?

A. First, feel free to call us and ask us anything. We do not charge for phone calls and meetings, and there is no obligation on your part. Having handled thousands of cases, we can usually answer any question you have about the injury claim process. If you have insurance on the vehicle you were in at the time of the accident, you should notify your insurance agent of the accident, and confirm the insurance coverage available to you to cover your losses. If your injury involves a motor vehicle accident, get a copy of the crash report; you will probably receive multiple copies from lawyers soliciting your business. Follow the advice of your doctors. Make sure you attend all appointments and comply with all physical therapy and other recommendations of your physician. It really depends on how you were injured, but again, we urge you to call and ask us anything. We're here to help you.

Q. Do I need a lawyer?

A. That depends on the severity of your injury. The more serious the injury, the more likely it is that a lawyer can help you maximize your recovery. There are many things a trial lawyer can do that you probably cannot do (or do as well) on your own. A trial attorney can help you determine all the insurance coverage available; obtain medical records, medical bills and confirmation of wage loss; get your immediate expenses covered or deferred; negotiate with subrogation lien holders; and maximize your settlement. A trial lawyer knows your rights and knows the law that pertains to your case.

Q. How do contingent fees work?

A. All our cases are handled on a contingent fee basis, meaning that the fee is "contingent" (dependent) on the outcome. In motor vehicle accidents, for example, most attorneys charge 33.3 percent (or one-third) of the gross amount recovered. There is no fee unless your case is settled or goes to trial and wins. With contingent fees, the lawyer assumes the risk of losing; that is, the client is not "out of pocket" anything unless there is a settlement or favorable verdict.

Q. What about case expenses?

A. There are case expenses associated with pursuing an injury claim, including the expense of obtaining medical records, medical bills, employment records, court reporters, expert witnesses, etc. We advance all case expenses so that the client is not out of pocket for any expenses associated with the case. When the case is settled, the client must cover case expenses; this is customary in Ohio. For this reason, we strive to keep case expenses to a minimum, so that you maximize your recovery.

Q. How do I pay for incoming medical bills?

A. While the party at fault (or his/her insurance company) is ultimately responsible for your medical bills, they will not pay your bills as they come in; they will simply reimburse whomever pays them when the case is settled, which may be months or years after the injury. Therefore, you are at least initially responsible for the medical expenses incurred as a result of an accident, even if the accident is not your fault. If you have automobile insurance (medical payments coverage) or health insurance, this insurance should be used to pay your bills. If you do not have insurance to pay your bills and you are not eligible for government assistance, be sure to let us know this so that we can make arrangements with your physicians and hospitals to pay them at the conclusion of the case.

Q. Will I have to reimburse whomever pays my medical bills?

A. Usually, yes. This is called subrogation. Subrogation means reimbursement. For example, if your health insurance company pays a medical bill, they will expect to be reimbursed out of the settlement. Same for automobile insurers (medical payments coverage), government entities (Medicaid, Medicare) or whomever pays your bills. If you receive a subrogation notice from an insurance company or government entity, you must forward the notice to your attorney.

Q. How long will my case take?

A. That depends on a number of factors. Most importantly, we usually will not settle a case until we are fairly certain our client has stabilized medically. That may take weeks or months following an injury. When you have stabilized and assuming we have all the medical records, medical bills, loss of income information, etc., we then can roughly estimate the case value and see if our evaluation is similar to the insurance company's. You, of course, have the ultimate say in whether your case is settled and for how much, but your decision should be made with the advice of your attorney.

Settlements are favored because they are immediate and take the risk out of the case. If the case is not settled, we will need to file suit, and this normally drags the case out for a long time. If suit is filed, you can expect a trial date about 18 to 24 months from the date of filing. The case can settle at any time during that 18 to 24 months, but if the parties cannot agree to the case value, you will need to try your case before a jury. Jury verdicts are difficult to predict, but they are usually fairly conservative. This is another reason you should try to settle your case if the offer is reasonable

Q. How are cases evaluated?

A. We take many factors into consideration in evaluating a case. These include but are not limited to:

  • Do the facts of the case create an unusual reaction?
  • Are the parties and witnesses likable and believable?
  • Is the case venued in a conservative, moderate or liberal jurisdiction?
  • The skill level of the defense attorney
  • The severity of the injuries
  • The economic losses (usually medical expenses and loss of income)
  • The noneconomic losses (pain and suffering, emotional distress, permanent disability, disfigurement, etc.)

These are some of the important factors taken into consideration. Our attorneys have had years of experience handling cases similar to yours in a variety of circumstances and therefore are in the best position to evaluate your case.

Q. How are medical malpractice cases different from motor vehicle accidents?

A. Medical malpractice cases tend to be more complicated, expensive and difficult to win than motor vehicle cases. Whereas most motor vehicle cases settle without filing a lawsuit, medical malpractice cases almost never settle without filing a civil action. Medical cases require an "affidavit of merit" from a qualified physician before they can be filed; automobile cases do not. Medical cases require multiple expert witnesses, which makes them very expensive (and therefore risky). And many medical malpractice cases go to trial before a jury (adding additional expense), whereas relatively few automobile cases go to trial. For these reasons, the screening process is much more rigorous in medical cases, and we are very careful about selecting medical cases.