Fisher Injury Lawyers has been in business for 25 years or so. We have offices, our main office is in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. We have an office in Fort Worth/Dallas, TX and New York City. We represent clients all over the country. I think by now I’ve been in about 18 or 20 states. I’ve had cases in Canada, as far away as Taiwan. We do personal injury work and personal work only. We represent people that been in a variety accidents. We also represent a small group of professional athletes who have been injured in the course of their occupation as athletes on large disability policies.
Well the first thing you need to do of course is call for help. Notify the police if someone’s injured, call 911 and ask for an ambulance or for medical care, a first responder. Then you should cooperate with the investigation by the police. After that’s happened you need to take some time to kind of assess the situation and determine whether or not you need to see a lawyer. Not everyone who’s in an accident or a car wreck which is what most people think of in terms of an accident that might require the need of a lawyer. Not everyone who’s injured in that type of accident or involved in that type of accident needs a lawyer but if you have serious damage to your car or have suffered an injury that require medical care then you almost certainly need to call an injury lawyer and at least consult with that lawyer as what to do next.
The general rule is that the person who caused or contributed to the cause of the accident, the wreck, the fall, whatever it may be that caused the injury can be held liable. In addition, and that’s direct liability, in addition any insurance company that proves coverage for that person in their acts or omissions that resulted in the accident or wreck or whatever the case may be that caused the injury can also be held liable furthermore. Employers of the individual that caused the accident and injury may in some circumstances be held liable as well. There’s a host of other possibilities, really almost endless possibilities as to who may potentially be held liable in whole or in part for an accident and injury. If you have a complex case you definitely need to have the services of an experienced injury attorney who can look at all the possibilities to determine who out there and what out there might be held liable for you injuries, your harms, losses and damages.
Well the answer is definitely yes and in fact you need to distinguish between your insurance company and again we’re talking about car wrecks here primarily although that’s not all that we do but in the car wreck context you’re talking about your insurance company the company that you purchased insurance from. You have an obligation under the insurance contract and the law in most states to cooperate with your insurance company with the investigation of the accident. You also have an obligation under the insurance contract and law to notify your insurance company of the accident or the wreck. So you certainly do after you speak to your insurance company about what happened. The next question would be of course should you speak to the insurance company of the other vehicle or vehicles involved in the wreck and the answer to that is almost always no unless you first consulted with an experienced injury attorney and I would add that it’s preferential that before you speak to even your insurance company aside from notifying your insurance company that you were in a wreck when it happened, where it happened and the circumstances generally of the wreck that you speak with an attorney as well. So if something has escalated to the point where you need to notify an insurance company of a wreck or an injury, you should at least consult by phone with an experienced injury attorney and we like most injury attorneys will give a free phone consultation and a free in person consultation.
The insurance company is certainly not on your side and sadly in most cases your insurance company is not even on your side. The business of insurance is built this way they take in as many premium dollars as they can each year and they pay out as few of those premium dollars in claims as they can and that’s how they make money and if you’ve read the news anywhere in the last 10 years you see that insurance companies make an enormous amount of money. So obviously they’re very successful in bringing in a lot of premiums and paying out very little on claims and that applies to your insurance company and it applies to the insurance company of people who may be responsible for your accident and injuries. So when an insurance company offers you advice, you have to consider the source. The insurance company is not on your side and you should not be in the business of taking advice from anyone who’s interest are adverse to yours and certainly an insurance company in a situation of an accident and an injury has interests that are adverse to yours. So our recommendation is give us a call, 225-766-1234. Call us up, talk to us, let us know what’s going on and we’ll give you some advice and won’t charge you.
Yeah you do those, those two things operate independently. So liability insurance is the type of insurance that we pursue as lawyers that we pursue to recover the full value of all the losses you’ve suffered and that’s any harm, loss, damages, anything that you’ve suffered as a result of an injury caused by the negligence of another person or company. That is different from health insurance and a lot of people who are injured in accidents at least initially receive treatment on their health insurance if they’re fortunate to have that type of coverage. When that happens it does not mean that you can not make a claim against a liability insurance carrier and it also doesn’t mean that you can’t recover for the medical bills that were paid by your health insurance company as a result of the wreck. Now down the road the health insurance company might have a right of reimbursement for the amount that they’ve paid but a good experienced injury attorney will be able to negotiate a reduction in the amount of money that’s owed back to that health insurance company or even elimination in many cases of any claim by the insurance company that owes the health insurance company for reimbursement. So it is certainly something to consider. That is the effective health insurance payments on a liability case but it does not preclude you from bringing a liability claim and again this is one of the reasons you should talk with an experienced injury attorney as soon as possible after you’ve had an injury in an accident.
The standard in our business in injury attorney business or the personal injury business is one-third of the recovery plus cost. In most cases that fee can go up to as much as 40% as you approach trial and the reason that it goes up is because it reflects the additional work, effort, risk, etc. that’s involved in preparation for trial in trail for trying the case. Some states have statutory limits on how much an attorney can charge in a case for example the state of New York tells us that in any claim the most an attorney can charge is one-third of the recovery. Other states have limitations on the amount an attorney can charge you on a particular type of case so for example Louisiana, Texas have limitations in the amount that the fees an attorney charge in a medical malpractice case and a workers compensation case. So the starting point is a third and there may be some differences based upon contract, statute, law, the state in which you reside, etc. But the important point to remember is this, is what do you get from your money right? So what a good, experienced, resourceful, capable, reparable injury attorney does for you is takes care of all of the financial responsibilities associated with the case, that means medical care, that means as necessary advancing money for lost wages, helping you to keep yourself and your family going, getting you transportation to and from the doctors and in additional it takes all the risk. So a good, reputable, qualified injury attorney will advance or spend a lot of money on a case getting it prepared for trial. Sometimes in our circumstances we’ve spent over a million dollars preparing a case for trial. If we go to trial and we lose that case we absorb that loss, you don’t. We don’t come looking to you for that money so we take a lot of economic risk and that’s great because it puts you and I in the same boat right? If you win, I win. On the other hand if you don’t win, I lose. And that’s what you want, you want a community of interest. So the important thing to remember about an attorney’s fee in an injury case is that you want to pick the attorney that’s going to give you the most bang for your buck because every injury attorney is going to charge you the same fee so pick the one that can give you the best results.
Absolutely not. You shouldn’t if anyone asks you to do that, you should run away. There’s a problem with that I think for a lawyer to take a percentage of a recovery and ask you also to put up money for any purpose, hiring experts, paying for medical care, court costs, anything of the light. That does not fit with the contingence fee agreement which is what we’re talking about. A fee in which the lawyer recovers a percentage of the recovery contingent on the outcome of the case. If you win the lawyer wins, if you lose the lawyer loses. So you should never ever have to advance a penny on your case and I would add one other thing and one other word of caution. Many many lawyers in the injury business and the ones that are not as substantial, have not been as successful as we have will ask you to sign notes or promissory notes or loan documents so that the lawyer can then borrow money against your case from third parties, sometimes a bank sometimes a finance company and when the lawyer does that he is putting you on that note and you will have an obligation to repay those costs if the lawyer is not successful what’s more is you will be charged an interest rate and often times a very very high interest rate for that type of financing. So if you are asked by a personal injury lawyer to sign a promissory note, or a loan agreement, or anything of that nature think twice before you do it, you shouldn’t have to do it, we don’t do it in our world and I don’t believe it’s consistent with the contingence fee agreement in paying a third or a 40% fee to ask a client to take on the responsibility of a loan to finance the case.
So the value of a case is probably the most difficult part of this business. It requires that you have a lot of experience, that you’ve done this for a long time and that you’ve handled a lot of cases. It requires that you’ve gone to court and tried cases. It requires that you do the legal research in order to look at what other courts have awarded other juries and other judges have awarded for similar injuries. But it also requires a lot of other subtle things. You have to hire the right experts to help evaluate a loss and a perfect example of that and one that many lawyers do not do is retaining the services of a certified life care plan and what a certified life care planner does is in the case of a serious injury evaluates your injury and the effect of that injury on your life not just today, not just tomorrow, not just next year but for the entire remainder of your life throughout your entire life expectancy and then qualifies the future medical costs, the future lost wages, the need for additional future support services maybe something as simple as a house keeper maybe something like skilled care within the home, the need to have reserves in case there is new developing experimental medical treatment that might help someone that’s been seriously injured in an accident. So the value of a case is something that the lawyer looks at based upon his experience and his research and knowing your case intimately knowing it as well as you know what you lived through determines. A good lawyer is going to tell you what the value range of a case is. When I meet with my clients we actually do a mathematical distribution what’s known as a normal distribution of potential outcomes and we tell them what the possibilities are that the outcome of this case will be in a particular range say within a million dollars and a million and a half dollars and we allow them to make a decision based upon those proportionate weights and those respected values and decide for themselves if and when an offer is made within that range whether it’s a good deal.
Absolutely. And I say that with one caveat: That’s not true in all states but in most states there’s a comparative fault system which means that even if you are partially responsible for your injuries, the accident and the injuries you can still recover for your accident and injuries but only to the extent in a proportion to which someone else is responsible for your accident and injuries so let’s use an example let’s say were in a two car wreck and the court or the judge or a jury decides that I was 10% at fault the other car the defendant was 90% at fault and my damages are $100,000 I would be entitled to $90,000 for recovery. So my recovery would be reduced by my proportion at fault and that’s the nature of comparative fault, which is the dominant rule across the country.