I was just in an accident, what do I do?
If you have not already been seen a doctor (for eg. at a hospital emergency room) and you are experiencing any pain or discomfort or confusion, go to a QuickCare or make an appointment to see your own doctor. It is crucial that you see a doctor as soon after the accident as possible. You also need to follow up with any recommended treatment.
At the same time, you should contact a personal injury attorney to discuss your case.
Who will pay for my medical bills?
After you complete treating we will present all medical bills as part of the settlement demand or trial evidence to the insurance company for the at-fault driver. Meanwhile you should present your own health insurance information to your doctor so she can bill for your care. If you do not have any health insurance, we may be able to set up your care on a Lien basis with your doctor. That way you will get the care you need now and pay for it when you recover money from the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
What if I miss work?
If you have a doctor’s note taking you off work, you are entitled to be compensated for all time missed.
What to ask the lawyer before you employ them
What most people are good at and familiar with is buying stereo systems, VCRs, cars and similar goods. However when deciding on services, like legal services, many consumers lack the information necessary to make the best decision. After all isn’t that why they hire accountants and doctors and plumbers – because they do not know what these professionals know? And so it is with legal services. It is hoped that this article and attached checklist will make it easier for people to make this most important decision.
As consumer, you have the absolute right, in the initial interview, to ask the attorney various questions about his or her background and work in the area of closed head injury or other personal injury. Remember, the lawyer is applying for the position of representing you in your case. Do not be afraid to ask questions. The results of your lawsuit will likely have a very long term and life long impact. Therefore the more qualified your attorney the better the result is likely to be. Please take the information in this article with you to the initial interview with the attorney and use it in questioning the attorney about education, experience and competence in handling cases similar to yours. At the end of the interview, ask the attorney to sign it acknowledging that the answers are true and accurate.
The following questions are suggested:
1. How many cases have you been involved with over the past three years?
2. What percentage of your practice of law is devoted to handling cases and injuries similar to mine?
3. What were the results in terms of settlements or verdicts of the last 5 cases you handled that were similar to mine?
4. What associations do you participate in that deal with injuries like mine?
5. List three textbooks that you own and refer to when discussing injuries similar to mine?
6. Show me a text you have read regarding my injury within the last 6 months.
7. Name the seminars dealing with my injury you have attended in the last two years.
8. How many articles have you written over the past three years that deal with any aspect of injury similar to mine?
9. Would your law firm be able and willing to spend in advance as much as $50,000 in the investigation, preparation, and presentation of my case, if necessary?
10. How do you plan to prepare and present my case and what experts do you plan to use?
What Fundamental Knowledge of Brain Injury Should My Attorney Have?
An attorney who you are considering must know, at an absolute minimum, that doctors and neuropsychologists involved in clinical practice, diagnosis and treatment of persons with traumatic brain injury agree that a person can have a serious, permanent and disabling injury even though:
1. A person typically does not perceive a head injury for weeks and months after the trauma. Other injuries may not manifest at the time of the injury until days later.
2. Loss of consciousness is not necessary to have an altered state of consciousness or brain injury.
3. Persons may appear “ok” at the accident scene and even be exchanging insurance information.
4. Injury to the brain does not necessarily accompany broken bone or open wounds.
5. Normal skull x-ray, CT scan, MRI, EEG and other tests are expected.
6. Persons with traumatic brain injury are often misdiagnosed by general practitioners and other doctors.
7. There are reports of vision and hearing problems despite normal eye and ear exams.
8. They continue with their employment or school.
9. Problems may be described as depression or faking (which is caused by the brain damage not the other way around).
What are Contingency Fee Agreements?
In most states, including Nevada, persons with injury have the ability to hire an attorney by using a contingency fee agreement. This is a situation where the attorney agrees to be paid out of the amount recovered. In the meantime, the attorney customarily advances the case costs and receives reimbursement, also, from the amount recovered. This empowers anyone to retain the most qualified lawyer since lawyers from both ends of the spectrum enter into the same contingency agreements with consumers. This, unfortunately, is where many consumers of legal services are lead astray. Injured persons in our society have the ability to hire the most qualified attorneys and need not settle for or accept unqualified, inexperienced or incapable attorneys for their injury cases. This is especially true in cases of traumatic brain injury. A lawyer should have significant experience with and knowledge of the injury.
What if I Already Have an Attorney who I am not happy with?
You have the right to have any attorney represent your interests in a case. Frequently people hire an attorney through word-of-mouth. Sometimes these relationships work well and sometimes not. You should have a feeling of respect and trust with your attorney. If during the time you are represented you grow unsatisfied with the lawyer representing you, you can consult with and transfer your case to another attorney.