WHAT IS A CONTINGENCY FEE?
It is quite common for a personal injury or medical malpractice case to be “taken on contingency.” This means that your lawyer gets paid only if he or she wins your case. The lawyer’s fee is a percentage of your settlement or verdict. We discuss the merits of your case as part of your free consultation, so you know whether it is in your best interest, financially, to use the services of an attorney or to negotiate directly with the insurance company. We also advise you of our fees in advance.
WHAT ARE DAMAGES, AND HOW DO THEY FIGURE INTO MY COMPENSATION?
Damages are your compensation. In most personal injury cases, there are damages for medical expenses, loss of wages, loss of earning capacity, pain and suffering, property loss, loss of consortium, and loss of enjoyment. These are called compensatory damages, and are intended to compensate you for what you lost as a result of your accident. When the negligence or recklessness on the part of the liable party is especially egregious, punitive damages may also be pursued. Punitive damages are above and beyond compensatory damages, and are meant to punish a party for the egregious behavior.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A VERDICT AND A SETTLEMENT?
A settlement is a voluntary agreement with the insurance company as to what your compensation will be. A verdict means that the case has gone to trial and the amount of your compensation has been decided by a jury. Your personal injury attorney will help negotiate a settlement, but you have the final say as to whether you want to accept it or not. If the case goes to court, your lawyer will use trial skills and testimony of expert witnesses to present your case to the jury and obtain the best possible compensation on your behalf.