PROVIDING YOU WITH THE RESOURCES AND EXPERIENCE TO WIN COMPLEX CASES
Frequently Asked Questions:
How do I know if I need an attorney?
If you or a loved one have been seriously injured or harmed, and you're not sure whether you need legal representation, you should contact an attorney for their perspective. At the Law Offices of Blake Maislin we offer FREE Consultations and recommend talking with an attorney because personal injury cases are too complicated to rely on the internet or the advice of a friend. Everyone's case is different — it is important to speak with someone who knows the law as it relates to your particular case and can have an objective view to separate your emotions from your best interests.
Here are some reasons why you should consider putting an attorney on your side:
Experience, time and resources to effectively handle your claim
Intimate understanding of the legal process
Increased chance of equitable settlement -- statistics show insurance companies pay more than twice as much compensation when an attorney is involved in your claim.
Accurate analysis of the value of your case and will be able to meet all of the rules, requirements and deadlines.
Experience working with insurance adjusters and knowledge of the complex insurance laws and policy provisions
How will I benefit by having an attorney handle my case?
Like hiring a qualified professional to fix your car or to prepare your taxes, an experienced personal injury lawyer will likely deliver a better outcome than if you attempted to negotiate your case yourself. An attorney understands the laws, has the negotiating skills, and if necessary the experience to take your case to trial. In addition, an insurance company is typically involved in a personal injury case which requires specialized knowledge. By hiring a qualified attorney you will increase the possibility of a favorable settlement that would significantly exceed what you can obtain on your own.
What guidelines and questions should I ask to make sure I hire the right attorney?
Your specific case will dictate the types of questions you should ask; consider the following questions a starting point:
What are your areas of focus?
Have you handled cases like mine before? How many? What were the outcomes?
How often have you gone to trial? Provide an example of one or two cases and their outcomes.*
Who will work on my case?
How long should I expect for my case to be resolved?
If I am offered a settlement and want to settle, but you disagree, are you able to go to court anyway without my consent?
Have you ever been disciplined by an ethics committee, or been suspended from the practice of law? If so, why?
What is your fee structure? Do you work on a contingent fee basis?
How will you communicate about the progress of my case?
If I have questions or need to reach you, what is the best approach? If you are not available, who is my point of contact?
What "continuing legal education" courses have you attended during the past few years? Have you taught any?
Note that it is usually not possible for personal injury lawyers to give references from past clients due to attorney-client confidentiality. However, you may wish to ask for references from other attorneys.
What fees and expenses are involved and how are they paid?
Legal representation usually involves fees for an attorney's time and costs for out of pocket expenses. Out of pocket expenses are outside charges separate from the fee that are required to support your case, for example, hiring an expert engineer or surgeon; or purchasing medical records.
To cover our fees, The Law Offices of Blake Maislin generally work on a “contingency fee” basis. This means if your case is successfully resolved, then we will take a percentage of your award to pay our fees. The contingency fee will be negotiated on a case by case basis. If you receive no recovery, then we collect no fees.
As for the costs or out of pocket expenses, these are the responsibility of the client. However, our office generally covers or fronts these costs during the course of the case and the repayment of these expenses is then paid out of the settlement. You will be informed of any expenses as the case progresses.
In some situations, if the client specifically requests, our office will provide the option to pay for our time by the hour. Monthly statements are generated and billed to you. Hourly rates and fee retainers are negotiated on a case by case basis.
Will there be a written retainer agreement?
Yes - A written retainer agreement is the best way to ensure that your rights are protected, and in many jurisdictions is required for a contingent fee agreement to be valid. We encourage you to carefully read the entire agreement and ask us for clarification on any areas that you don’t fully understand before you sign.
What damages can be awarded in a personal injury lawsuit?
Both economic and non-economic damages may be awarded in a personal injury lawsuit. As examples, compensation can be recovered for pain and suffering, medical costs, lost income capacity, lost earning capacity, and more. All damages include present and future expected losses. In addition, if we can prove the defendant's conduct was intentional or malicious, you may also be eligible to recover punitive damages.
What do I need to prove before I can file a personal injury lawsuit?
The burden of proof falls on the plaintiff in all personal injury lawsuits. This means that we must prove that your injuries were a direct result of the negligent actions of the defendant(s). In building your case, we will typically appoint expert witnesses to testify on your behalf as well as gather detailed records and accounts to prove the extent of the injuries suffered.
How soon do I need to do something? Do I need to be concerned about a statute of limitations?
All personal injury lawsuits are subject to a statute of limits and vary by state. A statute of limitation is the amount of time a victim has to file a personal injury lawsuit. In many states, the time limit begins immediately after the injury occurs or is discovered, but it does vary. We recommend that you consult us as soon as possible after an injury occurs to find out the laws in your state, and to assess your case.
How much is my case worth, and will you guarantee success?
In evaluating the "value" of your case we will consider many factors. The extent of your injury and the degree of recovery, and your financial losses – both present and future – are examples. The ability of the defendant(s) to pay a judgment and whether you played any role in causing the accident will all be taken into consideration.
We will not take your case unless we think it has a good chance of a positive outcome. Of course, we cannot guarantee success but we do commit to working aggressively to protect your rights.
How long does it usually take to settle cases like mine?
Personal injury cases can be financially devastating to the injured person and family. Lost wages and medical costs for example can put even more stress on an already painful situation. We will aggressively pursue your case to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve as quickly as possible. The time frame can be affected by the nature of the injury and how long it takes for you to recover -- or if a full recovery is unlikely – then your condition after treatments are complete.