Can I afford to hire an attorney?
Personal injury, medical malpractice, workers' compensation, and civil rights cases usually do not require any fees paid up front. Instead, attorneys charge on a contingency fee basis for these types of cases, which means that if you reach a monetary settlement or achieve a verdict in your favor at Court, the attorney will be entitled to a percentage of your award as the legal fee. If you do not reach a monetary settlement or achieve a verdict in your favor, you do not pay a legal fee.
However, many lawyers also advance case-related expenses (ex: filing fees, obtaining medical records, hiring medical experts to testify) up front and are reimbursed for these separate expenses out of the recovery as well, assuming a settlement is reached or a verdict is achieved in your favor. In the event that a settlement is not reached or a verdict goes against you in Court, you may be asked to repay these case-related expenses. The financial arrangements of your case should be discussed with your attorney ahead of time so that you understand the fees for which you may be responsible.
When is the best time to contact a lawyer?
If you believe you have a potential case or think you may need legal representation, it is best to contact a lawyer right away. In general, cases are won or lost on evidence. The sooner an attorney can evaluate your case, obtain statements from witnesses, take photos of damages, and gather essential evidence, the better end result you will achieve.
Contact the law firm of Winegar, Wilhelm, Glynn & Roemersma today if you have any questions regarding a personal injury, medical malpractice, family law, workers' compensation, bankruptcy, or criminal defense matter. Our experienced attorneys will be happy to address your questions and concerns.
Will I have to file a lawsuit and what happens when I do?
If a settlement is not reached after you bring your claim to the attention of the defendant, you need to file a lawsuit. While you are not required to retain a lawyer to file a lawsuit, it is advisable that you do so. Moreover, filing a lawsuit does not mean you lose all possibility of settling. In fact, settlements can still be reached any time after you file a lawsuit, and even after a trial has begun. Sometimes, just filing a lawsuit can show a defendant that you are serious about your case and prompt the defendant to renew more sincere settlement negotiations.
A lawsuit begins by filing a complaint. The person filing the complaint is called the plaintiff and person against who the complaint is filed is called the defendant. The defendant must file an answer addressing the allegations contained in the complaint and must raise any defenses the defendant may have. Thereafter, the discovery period begins and later a trial may occur depending on each case's individual circumstances.
How long do I have to file a lawsuit?
Defendants are protected under the law by the applicable "statute of limitations" for each respective type of case. In short, the statute of limitations is the time period during which a lawsuit must be filed. If the applicable statute of limitations expires before the lawsuit is filed, the case will be dismissed as untimely.
For example, the statute of limitations for most medical malpractice cases is two years from when the victim discovered or should have discovered that his or her injury or illness was the result of physician negligence. Other cases have similar timelines, which is why it is extremely important to contact the experienced attorneys at Winegar, Wilhelm, Glynn & Roemersma soon after the injury, illness, or event has occurred in order to review your case.
How long does the legal process take?
Given the broad range of cases that exist, it is difficult to estimate the time needed to complete the legal process. While there are often no quick settlements, the dedicated attorneys at Winegar, Wilhelm, Glynn & Roemersma are focused on obtaining "full value" for your injury, which requires thorough investigation, evidence gathering, and litigation preparation. As a general rule, you should never count on the settlement of a lawsuit for immediate income.
What is discovery and what is its purpose?
Discovery is the exchange of information by parties to a lawsuit. Discovery occurs after a complaint is filed and is the sometimes-lengthy time period before a trial that allows both parties to "discover" information in the case. The purpose of discovery is to narrow the basis for the complaint by allowing both parties to investigate each other's claims, defenses, and supporting evidence, thereby ultimately minimizing the surprises to either party during a trial or facilitating a resolution of the case.
Common discovery tools include interrogatories and depositions. Interrogatories are written questions submitted by one party to the other, which must be answered under oath and can be used later at trial. Depositions are formal interviews where one party's attorney asks a series of questions to an opposing party or witness under oath in the presence of a court reporter. Answers in depositions must also be given under oath and can be used later at trial.
Will an attorney at Winegar, Wilhelm, Glynn & Roemersma take my case?
Because each personal injury, medical malpractice, workers' compensation, or civil rights case has its own individual set of factors which can affect whether or not the case is successful, we encourage all individuals who feel that they have been victims of negligence, discrimination, harassment, or injured on the job to contact our offices. Our dedicated attorneys carefully review each potential case because we are committed to only taking cases that can actually help our clients. Even if you are unsure about your case, the law firm of Winegar, Wilhelm, Glynn & Roemersma can help you determine whether or not you are entitled to compensation.