Frequently Asked Questions in Bay St. Louis / Hancock County Mississippi

Frequently Asked Questions
What should I do I after I have been injured in an accident?

The first thing you should do is seek immediate medical treatment if you believe you are injured. Many times people do not experience any pain or soreness until hours after the accident (in some cases the pain does not even begin until days after the accident). You should try to attend all of your medical appointments and avoid any gaps in treatment while you are recovering from your injuries. Some people delay medical attention because they think the soreness or pain will simply go away. It has been our experience that any delay in seeking medical treatment can adversely affect a person's health, and jeopardize their ability to receive fair compensation for their injuries.

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What should I do and say when I go to the doctor?

First and foremost you should be truthful. It is important to clearly and accurately explain to your medical providers everything that has happened to you and to list all of your injuries and complaints. You should also be accurate and complete when describing any prior injuries or conditions, even if you no longer suffer symptoms from your earlier injuries which affected you prior to this accident. It is also important for you to follow your doctor's advice and recommendations.

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Can I trust the insurance companies?

Insurance companies are corporations who profit by taking in more money in insurance premiums than they pay out in insurance claims to people who have suffered injuries or losses. They view anyone with a personal injury claim as an expense, and just like any other corporation they will do everything in their power to maximize profits and minimize their expenses. Insurance companies spend millions of advertising dollars each year trying to convince the public that they are fair and will treat your claims appropriately. The fact is that if insurance companies routinely treated people fairly, plaintiff personal injury attorneys like us would be out of a job. We have years of experience fighting for the “little guy” against these multi-million dollar insurance companies. We know how to protect the rights of injured victims and to ensure that they have the ability to achieve fair compensation for their injuries. Insurance companies can be very difficult to deal with and sometimes they will be unfair and even unscrupulous. Because we have battled them for so long we know their “tricks of the trade” and we are not afraid to take them to court to do what's right for our clients.

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Should I talk to the insurance company or give them a statement?

After an accident, the other driver's insurance company (and possibly your insurance company) will likely try to contact you. Do not, under any circumstance, provide the other insurance company with a statement without the presence of an attorney. Of course we expect that when you are ready to give your statement you will be truthful. Unless we are present during your statement, we cannot protect you from being harassed or badgered by an experienced claims examiner who may be trying to trick you. You should however promptly report any accident to your own insurance company. If you choose to hire our firm (or any other firm) your attorney will cooperate with the insurance company to make sure they have all of the information necessary to evaluate your claim. Rest assured that we have the experience and expertise to work with the insurance company to document your claim while at the same time protecting your rights.

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How much is my case worth?

Although one of the most common questions we face, it can rarely, if ever, be answered truthfully right after an accident. A lawyer is hired to provide an expert legal analysis -- not wild guesses. Would you want your doctor to guess on your diagnosis without needed diagnostic tests? You should be very wary and suspicious of any attorney who will be quick to fill your head with big dollar amounts (particularly at the initial consultation). The short answer is that your case is worth whatever the judge or jury will award at trial. There is no magic formula to evaluate the worth of a case. Many factors are considered in determining a case's value, including the seriousness of the injury, the amount of medical bills, the place where the case may be tried, and whether there are any inconsistencies in testimony or the medical records which could weaken the case. Remember that every case is different and the amount your relative or friend recovered for a similar injury probably has no predictive value in estimating how much you might receive for your injuries. Once the victim's medical condition is better known, and the case fully investigated, we should be able to at least advise you of a “range of value” for your case based upon our extensive experience.

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What are costs?

Any funds advanced by an attorney in the handling of a case are known as costs. These can include charges to obtain copies of police reports and medical records, fees for expert witnesses, fees charged by court reporters for depositions and charges by the court for filing suit or issuing subpoenas. Costs vary in every case. A competent lawyer should be able to advance all costs to properly prepare your case. You should never be asked to pay interest on costs. Not only do we not charge interest, you have no obligation to repay our costs unless your case is settled or we obtain a favorable verdict following a judge or jury trial.

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Does your firm try cases?

Yes. Our firm has extensive experience in the courtroom. Collectively, the attorneys in our firm have tried hundreds of cases. We believe it is important for the insurance companies to understand that not only does our firm have the courage to launch all necessary attacks, we also have the determination and resources to finish the war!

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Is there a charge for meeting with your firm to discuss my potential case?

We do not charge a fee to simply meet with you to evaluate the facts of your case. If you decide to hire our firm to handle your case, there is no fee unless there is a recovery. If you or someone close to you has been the victim of personal injury, please contact our firm for a free consultation.

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How much do you charge?

We handle most cases on a contingency fee. A contingent fee is paid as a percentage of your monetary recovery. A contingent fee is what is meant when you hear "there is no fee unless there is recovery". Our contingent fees vary based upon the type of case you may have. Though we typically charge about one-third of the gross recovery (before lawsuit is filed) to forty percent (after lawsuit is filed). If you can afford to pay an hourly rate, you have the right to hire an attorney on that basis. We will be happy to discuss with you the exact terms of our contract for representation when we meet with you to discuss your case.

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Once I hire your firm, how will I know what's going on with my case?

We pride ourselves on keeping our clients informed as much as possible. It is our policy to return client calls within 24 hours. You will also receive copies of any important mail and court papers that we send out. Many of our clients also choose to keep in contact with us by e-mail.

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What if I cannot afford to go to the doctor or have an expensive test?

The first thing we will do is to closely examine all possible sources of insurance to make sure that you are not overlooking any insurance available to you for medical treatment. If you have no insurance and you cannot afford to receive medical care, we will assist you in finding a medical provider who will treat you and agree to be billed later or from the proceeds of your settlement. Where necessary, we will pay for and arrange medical treatment for you (provided its allowed by state law). You deserve the best available medical care and we will do our best to make sure you get it promptly. In many instances workers hurt on the job are entitled to medical care at the employer's expense and we will force the employer's insurance company to provide the care to which you are entitled. In Louisiana and Texas, and in all maritime cases, we are legally permitted to pay for medical care and we will, in most cases, provide the funds for you to receive the care that you need to heal from the injuries you suffered. In Mississippi, the rules regarding paying for medical care are more strict, but there are enough exceptions and options to allow us to help you obtain most necessary medical care. For example, in Mississippi and any other state our firm can guarantee payment of your medical expenses so that your doctor can treat you without delay, and wait for your case to settle before collecting his or her bill. Also, Mississippi rules permit us to pay for expensive diagnostic tests if it will help establish medical evidence in your case.

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How much time do I have to file suit?

Every state has very specific laws that set forth time limits to file suit. These laws are sometimes called “prescription” or “statutes of limitation”. If you delay pursuing your claim and do not file a lawsuit within the required time limit, your rights will be lost and your case will likely be thrown out of court. When the statute of limitations expires on your case, you simply don't have a case anymore. That is why you should always consult with a competent attorney as soon as possible so that your claim is not lost due to an avoidable delay. Contact us for a free consultation. Statutes of limitation differ not only from state to state, but also in regard to the kinds of lawsuits involved and whether federal law is involved. In some states the statute of limitations for medical malpractice, suits against governmental agencies, and for intentional torts wrongful death are shorter than that for other types of personal injury cases. Our experienced attorneys will closely examine your case to make sure that your rights are protected and your case will not expire.

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Will I have to pay any of the expenses on my case?

You will not have to advance any expenses on your case, although all case expenses will be deducted from your settlement after the contingency fee is charged. Our firm has the ability and the resources to fully fund practically any type of case no matter the challenge and regardless of the size or wealth of the opponent. We understand that you have already suffered a loss which causes financial strain and hardship. We provide you with access to the courtroom to give you a chance to obtain just compensation for the harm suffered. At the time of settlement, we will provide you with an itemized list of expenses which will be clearly related to the prosecution of your case. We will also provide you with any receipts if requested. Again, our firm does not charge any interest for advancing these expenses, and in the unlikely event there is no recovery our firm will never bill you for these expenses. We will assume the risk, not you.

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How much money will your firm have to spend to handle my case.

Whatever it takes. We do not accept a case unless we are confident that we have the experience, expertise and resources to see it all the way through trial and, if need be, appeal. Unfortunately, as with practically everything these days, costs keep rising. We have spent millions of dollars over the years in investigation and evidence gathering, as well as in the presentation of our clients' cases for trial. Of course, we will always use common sense when developing your case for trial so that we do not spend more than is necessary to get a fair recovery on your behalf. We understand that the goal is to achieve you full and fair compensation for the harms and losses suffered, as quickly and as efficiently as possible. We will educate you on the cost to do so, and will spend wisely to obtain for you a fair result.

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Will I be able to receive compensation for the time I lose from work due to my injuries?

Persons who have been injured through the fault of another are entitled to receive any and all compensation which will make them whole and will restore them to the position they were in prior to the injury. The defendant must compensate you for the time you miss from work (even if you are able to use sick time, vacation days or other leave time). The defendant will also be responsible for any loss of fringe benefits. In cases involving serious personal injury, you may not be able to ever return to work, or you may be able to work but due to your injuries you may not be able to earn the kind of money you were making beforehand. Our firm has a great deal of experience in handling these types of claims. We will work with top-notch vocational experts and economists to fully document your wage loss claim.

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If I am injured by a driver without liability insurance, can I still make an insurance claim?

Possibly.Mississippi require's that a driver have liability insurance, there still are thousands of uninsured motorists on the road. When the negligent driver either does not have liability insurance or not enough liability insurance to adequately compensate an individual's injuries, we will look to see if you have purchased uninsured or under insured motorist protection. There are many instances where there are less obvious sources of liability insurance. Our firm will fully explore your rights and options and we may find that fair compensation awaits you!

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What is uninsured or underinsured motorist protection?

Uninsured motorist protection (also called “UM” or “UIM”) is optional coverage that you might have purchased from your insurance company. When purchased, this insurance protects you in instances where you are injured by another individual who has failed to purchase any (or enough) liability insurance. You may even benefit from uninsured motorist coverage purchased by your relatives and friends. Our firm strongly encourages everyone to purchase UM insurance coverage to protect against the many uninsured drivers on the roads.

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What is medical payments coverage?

Many automobile and homeowners' insurance policies have provisions which provide for the payment of a person's medical expenses regardless of fault. Sometimes we even find this coverage under a building or business owners' policy in premises liability cases.

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Will your firm help me recover for the property damage?

Yes. Our firm does not charge a fee for property damage recovery unless it becomes necessary to file suit to recover your losses to property. We understand that in the days immediately following a collision you are in need of quick and experienced legal assistance in order to get your vehicle fairly appraised. When necessary (and if allowed by state law) we will arrange and pay for your rental car. We will promptly negotiate with the insurance company to have your vehicle repaired and put back on the road. If your vehicle is considered a total loss we will work hard to make sure that you get the most compensation that the law will fairly allow. We will also try to negotiate compensation for your inconvenience while your vehicle is being repaired or appraised (either in the form of a rental vehicle or money damages for daily loss of use).

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Why do I need a lawyer?

The truth is that sometimes you don't. An honest, ethical lawyer will tell you when you may do better by settling a case yourself. In cases involving significant or serious injuries or death claims, the insurance company will offer you a small percentage of the fair value of your case. Sadly, we hear stories every day about accident victims who succumbed to the pressure from insurance adjusters to “settle now, before we withdraw the offer” and later discovered that their injuries were far more severe than they anticipated. An honest, competent lawyer will explain your rights and alternatives – before suggesting that you sign a contract – so you can make an informed decision if you need a lawyer.

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*Note: This web site is designed for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. Every case is different and the specific legal advice appropriate for your situation can only be determined after consultation with an attorney you hire.