The following are the questions most frequently asked by our new clients:
Do I have a case?
How will you prove my case?
How much are your fees? How does the Contingency Fee work?
Do I have to pay costs or expenses?
What if I don’t have or can’t afford a Doctor?
Will my case settle out of Court?
How long will my case take?
Will I be kept informed of the progress of my case?
How much is my case worth?
DO I HAVE A CASE?
All personal injury claims require the presence of three elements:
- Source of payment.
If all are present, your case is probably one you will want to pursue.
Liability means fault. Whose carelessness caused the accident? More than one person could be responsible. If so, the negligence of each person is compared and used in the determination of your recovery.
Causation asks the question, what was the cause of your injuries and are they specifically related to this loss, or made worse as a result of this loss.
Damages ask the question, how have you suffered? What have you lost as a result of the accident? Often damages include your past and future medical bills, lost wages, past, present and future, pain, suffering and inconvenience due to your physical or mental condition.
Source of Payment
Sources of payments mean from who will you collect your damages? Generally, the insurance company makes payment for the negligent person or corporation. In the case of an auto accident, there may be some payments by your own insurance company through your uninsured/underinsured motorists’ coverage. If there is no insurance, we may file suit and seek recovery from the personal assets of the responsible party or corporation.
HOW WILL YOU PROVE MY CASE?
The responsibility of proving your case begins the day you select The Law Office of Frank DiCosola P.A. to represent you. The case may take a number of months to resolve and therefore evidence gathered today may not be available when the case is ready for settlement or trial. At first, liability is investigated. In the case of an auto accident or slip and fall, our private investigator, or an attorney from our firm, speaks to the witnesses, takes measurements and photographs, preserves the scene on videotape and recreates the occurrence, if necessary. In some cases, a technical expert, such as an accident reconstructionist, architect, engineer, or economist is employed. For medical malpractice or nursing home abuse cases, the medical records are obtained and reviewed by physicians or nursing experts. Often there is a need to see a specialist doctor in order to understand your injury or course of treatment.
HOW DOES THE CONTINGENCY FEE WORK?
The personal injury case is one of the few areas of law where your ability to pay an attorney is of less consequence. The Law Office of Frank DiCosola P.A. handles nearly every personal injury claim on a contingency fee basis. The fee you pay will ordinarily be a percentage of the total amount of the recovery we obtain for you. This means that if there is no recovery, there is no attorney fee owed. In an automobile case, The Law Office of Frank DiCosola P.A. never charges an attorney fee to process Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Benefits; to resolve damage to your car (Property Damage claim); and/or the costs of obtaining a rental car (Rental Car Claim).
DO I HAVE TO PAY COSTS OR EXPENSES?
There is no charge for costs or expenses to you if we do not obtain a recovery for you. The Law Office of Frank DiCosola P.A. will waive all costs incurred by our firm if we do not win your case. Upon successful resolution of your claim, The Law Office of Frank DiCosola P.A. is reimbursed for the actual costs and expenses out of your settlement.
WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE OR CAN’T AFFORD A DOCTOR?
The person best suited to treat your injury or sickness may be your family doctor, a medical specialist referred by him/her, or the emergency room. In those instances where you have no referral and/or are unfamiliar with the medical care available in your community, The Law Office of Frank DiCosola P.A. will be pleased to assist you in coordinating your medical care. Many physicians are willing to accept insurance assignments and some doctors are willing to treat patients on a promise to pay upon the resolution and settlement of your case. Feel free to consult with an attorney from The Law Office of Frank DiCosola P.A. if you need guidance in this area.
WILL MY CASE SETTLE OUT OF COURT?
There is a good possibility that your case will settle without the need for a trial. However, settlements in the client’s best interest come only from a position of strength. Strength means preparation. It means the gathering of evidence from the time you select The Law Office of Frank DiCosola P.A. as your attorney. It means having available the experts, medical and otherwise, who can present the evidence in a light most favorable to your case. A case properly prepared with sufficient support to confront and counteract an insurance company’s position is the best strategy to a favorable pre-suit resolution. Most cases settle pre-lawsuit; approximately 95% of cases settle before a trial; and approximately 99% of all cases settle after a lawsuit has been filed, but before a jury has reached a verdict.
Of course some cases must go to trial, either because the Defendant refuses to settle, or because the Defendant is not offering enough money to compensate you for your damages. Most, if not all of these cases, are tried in front of a jury. The trial generally takes place in the Florida County where the accident or death occurred. If it appears that a jury trial is likely, you will spend many hours of preparation with your attorney. Often, The Law Office of Frank DiCosola P.A. will conduct a comprehensive mock trial with you as a participant.
HOW LONG WILL MY CASE TAKE?
From the first day work begins on your case, The Law Office of Frank DiCosola P.A. will direct our full efforts toward a prompt and successful resolution of your case. The case investigation is followed by your medical treatment and a recovery period. During this time, your medical progress is monitored by the gathering of medical treatment data and reports from your doctor(s) and medical providers.
The treatment period may take a few months or more than a year depending on the type of case or extent of your injury. Final analysis usually occurs when your medical treatment has reached a plateau, often called “maximum medical improvement and/or MMI.” Shortly after your doctors have discharged you, a settlement presentation/package (e.g., demand) will be prepared and forwarded to the insurance company with a demand for a monetary settlement. This presentation will include a lengthy analysis of liability, a lengthy analysis of your injuries and other damages, and your demand for money damages.
Within four to eight weeks following the settlement demand, your attorney will know whether negotiations will lead to a pre-lawsuit settlement. If the insurance company does not offer a fair and equitable settlement, a lawsuit will be filed. Although you are limited in speed by the congestion of a Judge’s trial calendar, most cases are tried within 12 to 30 months following the filing of a lawsuit.
WILL I BE KEPT INFORMED OF THE PROGRESS OF MY CASE?
A successful conclusion to a personal injury claim requires constant communication and interaction between you and your attorney. In furtherance of this, we invite your questions during the pendency of your case and will keep you apprised of case developments in the following ways:
1) At your request, copies of pertinent correspondence will be mailed regularly to you.
2) Client/Attorney “face to face” conferences can be scheduled usually with one day’s notice.
3) Telephone conferences are always welcome.
4) E-mail is responded to daily and avoids the annoyance of missed telephone calls.
HOW MUCH IS MY CASE WORTH?
Every case is different. Many factors are part of the calculation to determine the settlement or jury verdict value of your case. In auto accident cases, slip and fall, or medical negligence claims factors such as your age, your earning history or potential, the extent of injury, and the degree of the other person’s negligence are key elements in arriving at a reasonable settlement figure. In a nursing home abuse case, the victim is generally beyond his earning years. Therefore, other factors are used to value the case.
There are various case valuation services reported on a National, State, and County level. These services report recent jury verdicts and settlement amounts based upon different fact patterns. The Law Office of Frank DiCosola P.A. will discuss the variables of your claim. Often it’s difficult to evaluate the settlement value of a case at its inception. As your case progresses your injuries and economic losses are defined better by making case values more objective and less speculative.