All are very complicated matters.
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Do I have a personal injury case?
It depends. At the risk of sounding like a lawyer, it’s the truth. Most of the time people who do have a case fall into the following categories but if one of these situations does not cover what you’ve been through please reach out to The Rockford Personal Injury Lawyers: Marriett & Murati 24/7 365 at (815) 315-4967. for a free, no-obligation, honest consultation about your rights and potential claims:
If I’m injured in an accident, who pays for all my stuff?
If you’re referring to medical bills, usually you are responsible for any medical bills during the pendency of a case. If you have health insurance or Medicare/Medicaid you will generally be treated by your healthcare provider, and the insurance provider will submit a lien against any settlement or verdict proceeds earned on your case. Generally, we can try to obtain a “two” part recovery for clients. After the proceeds of a settlement or verdict are split up meaning (client’s portion, attorney’s portion, and the portion owed to medical provider(s)), we can go after a treatment providers lien and attempt to renegotiate the amount.
Usually because the insurance company would pay a fraction of what the face value of a medical bill is, we leverage that information to your benefit during negotiations. By trying to renegotiate the medical bills it functions as if your settlement or verdict award was higher because less of that money is being used to pay the bloated value of most medical bills. We do this on every case and can significantly increase the amount of money being sent back to the client if we are successful.
If you’re referring to your living expenses due to an injury – this gets tricky. Illinois is not a State that allows an injury lawyer to “help” a client by loaning them money or by paying a client’s day to day expenses or medical bills directly. Some State’s do allow a lawyer to assist in such a capacity but in Illinois it is against the rules of professionalism for a variety of reasons.
What an injury lawyer CAN do, is try to find a solution for short term assistance that may be able to help with housing, or food/clothing assistance. It is not uncommon for us to speak with lenders for a client and to explain to them why payments won’t be coming in for a while. In some cases this has kept the wolves at bay from initiating legal actions to repossess vehicles or foreclose on homes, but it’s 100% on the creditor to make a decision on these issues all we can do is relay to them the situation the client is in.
In the worst case scenario a lawyer can try to assist a client in obtaining litigation funding where a loan is distributed to a client with a lien against the proceeds of a future verdict or settlement. This is 100% the last ditch option and should never be entered into lightly. We have had clients that treated this pipeline of funding as an avenue to getting their financial recovery “up front”, except that the available credit line based on the injury is pennies on the dollar for what someone is actually entitled to. This has resulted in some situations where a client may have obtained for example a $20,000.00 case loan from a lending company, and at the end of their case after medical bills are paid, and the attorney is paid, there may not be a distribution to the client because all of their proceeds are paying off the case loan and the interest that accrues against the loan while the case is pending. On the other side, a case loan and an interest rate running may influence a client’s decision on whether to settle or pursue a case in litigation through court. In the back of their mind if they know interest on a case loan is taking dollars out of their eventual recovery, and that the longer the loan is outstanding the more money they have to pay, there can be an outside influence that pushes a client to settle a claim when there could be a higher recovery by litigating the case in court.
This is not to say that case loans are not a unique tool to deploy in certain cases, it’s more of a cautionary tale that they should only be used in a last ditch effort to stave off a foreclosure, eviction, or repossession of a vehicle, or in some unique cases to obtain medical treatment not covered by insurance if it’s medically necessary for your physical recovery.
How much do I have to pay for an injury lawyer?
That also depends. On most cases, we charge a contingency fee arrangement, which means we charge a percentage of the total amount that we recover for our client. Usually, unless a statute says otherwise we handle pre-suit or pre-litigation matters for 33.33% of the total recovery. If a case must go into litigation, where we are dealing with written discovery, depositions, arbitration, or trial our fee increases to 40.00% of the total recovery.
Keep in mind that we always try to do that “two-step” recovery for a client, so take this following real-life example:
Client comes to us after receiving an offer of 0 dollars in an auto accident case. The insurance company believes the client was at fault for the crash and will not pay for anything. We are able to conclusively show 100% fault to the insurance company’s driver, and we obtain the policy limits of $100,000.00 for the client. $33,330.00 was split to our office for obtaining the recovery for the client. The client then also had roughly $30,000.00 in outstanding medical bills leaving a TOTAL cash payout to the client of $36,670.00. We were able to then renegotiate the client’s medical bills from the $30,000.00 figure to around $14,000.00 (where we did not take an additional fee) which resulted in a secondary recovery of $16,000.00 by getting those reductions, which left the client with ALL of their medical bills paid, and a cash payout of over $52,000.00. Many lawyers will not try to negotiate reductions for clients’ medical bills. It’s extra work for the lawyer and they don’t get paid anything for it. We do everything in our power to maximize the amount of money our clients get in the end.
How long does an injury case in Illinois take?
Also, this really depends.
Some people come to us immediately after an injury occurs. We can’t do much in the way of earning a recovery for them immediately after something occurs because we don’t know the full amount of actual damages at that time and until they are done with medical treatment.
What we do though is begin preserving the claim. We talk to insurance providers, help the client get into treatment providers, handle any property damage claims, and stay in close contact with the client while they are in treatment.
As soon as the client reaches maximum physical recovery (hopefully back to the same physical place they were in prior to an injury, or as close to that as possible) we order medical records and then work with the client on what the total demand should be to recover from the insurance company. If that claim is denied, or if it’s a case where we are dealing with a fatality from a crash, workplace injury, or other incidents that left survivors behind, we would immediately consider going to the step of filing a lawsuit.
From there, written discovery is propounded (usually medical bills, medical records, notes, statements, etc., are disclosed that relate to the underlying case), then there are depositions, and ultimately a trial if an agreement can’t be reached. Many auto or MVA motor vehicle accident cases are resolved within 6-12 months, sometimes sooner. More significant injuries require longer treatment times and will often extend a case by a longer time period while the client is attempting to recover physically from an injury. So there’s no hard and fast rule of how long the process takes because everyone gets through treatment at a different speed.
In other cases, we have people who come to us after treatment is all finished, they may have used a different lawyer during a settlement negotiation where the lawyer was not comfortable filing a lawsuit, or the client tried to negotiate with insurance on their own and became dissatisfied with the offers they were getting. In those cases we may be able to order medical records, or clean up a weak attempt at settling a claim and try to resolve a case on an expedited time frame for a client.
I have other questions about my case
Personal injury is a complicated topic. We expect these questions and no one case is the exact same as another.
We’ve had cases where our client was in a vehicle driven by their significant other, where someone else without insurance collided with the client’s vehicle. We’ve made claims against “friendly” insurance providers based on the specific facts around motor vehicle crashes, and had to coach client’s through the legal frame work so that they understood what avenues of recovery exist for their physical and financial recovery.
Since every case is so unique, there’s really no way to prepare a cookie-cutter walk through of every single possible issue that can come up in one of these cases, there are simply too many variables that can impact an outcome. We offer a no obligation, free, and most importantly honest consultation on any personal injury or worker’s compensation related case. Call or text message The Rockford Personal Injury Lawyers: Marriett & Murati 24/7/365 at (815) 315-4967.
Please – use our website as a resource. This information is valuable. We provide info on many different personal injuries, accidents, Workers’ Comp issues – and what you can do if you or a loved one has experienced one.