Frequently Asked Questions
- Do I have to pay you any money when I hire you?
- What is a contingency fee?
- What are costs?
- How long will it take to resolve my case?
- What is a deposition?
- What is a mediation?
- What is a collateral source provider and why do I owe them anything?
- How does the process work and why does it take so long?
No. In fact, you never pay for a Tampa personal injury attorney out of your pocket. Our law firm handles personal injury cases on a contingency basis and is compensated only if we obtain a financial recovery for you. In fact, if you do not recover anything from your case and we spend money preparing your case, we absorb all of the costs, not you. Our lawyers never ask our injured clients to advance expenses and costs.
Our Tampa injury lawyers accept personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis. Instead of billing our clients on an hourly basis, a contingency fee means we are entitled to a percentage of the settlement or trial award. If you do not receive any compensation for your damages, then you will not be responsible for the payment of any attorneys' fees or costs. The contingency fee contract form that you sign with our law firm has been approved by the Florida Bar.
Costs must be paid to successfully prosecute your claim. A few examples of costs would include court filing fees, photocopying, investigation fees, fees to obtain copies of medical records or public documents such as accident reports, expert witness fees, and the cost of service of subpoenas and taking depositions. Our firm advances these costs on your behalf and recoups the costs only if we receive a settlement in your case. If we are unsuccessful in resolving your case, the client will owe no costs.
Costs can range from a few hundred dollars for a simple claim to hundreds of thousands of dollars for complex litigation. It is essential that costs be expended in order to successfully pursue a case and maximize the value of the claim. As a general rule, the more serious the injury, the more costs that must be expended. Accordingly, it is very important that your Clearwater personal injury attorney have the financial resources to advance whatever costs are necessary – even tens of thousands of dollars – to properly prosecute your case. At Alley, Clark & Greiwe, we have those necessary financial resources to pursue expensive and complex cases.
It will depend on the case. Typically, motor vehicular accident cases are resolved in 12-24 months after the plaintiff has reached maximum medical improvement. Medical malpractice cases, however, may take two to three years. Sometimes products liability cases such as pharmaceutical and medical device claims may take even longer. Please keep in mind that our law firm does not get paid until you get paid, so we are motivated to pursue your case as expeditiously as possible.
Once a lawsuit has been filed, a Tampa personal injury attorney is entitled to take the depositions of the plaintiff and other persons possessing knowledge relevant to the case. It is a sworn statement under oath concerning the issues of the case. It is normally conducted in one of the lawyers’ offices without a judge being present. The testimony is then recorded on paper and can be used in the trial of the case. As plaintiffs, we will also schedule depositions of employees of the defendant, fact witnesses, and experts in order to prepare your case for trial.
A mediation is a settlement conference which takes place prior to a case proceeding to trial. Each side appears with their lawyer and before a person known as a mediator. A mediator is often a retired judge or a lawyer practicing in the community. Both sides present their cases to the mediator who will then work with the parties, as a group and separately, to explore whether an amicable settlement of the claim can be reached. All information disclosed in the mediation conference is confidential and cannot be used in trial. If the parties are unable to settle the case during the mediation, then the case proceeds to trial.
It is important to remember that your health insurance carrier, also referred to as your collateral source provider, is entitled to be reimbursed for benefits paid on your behalf for medical services related to your personal injury claim. Under the law, your Tampa personal injury attorney is required to notify your collateral source provider that you have a personal injury claim for which you may receive settlement proceeds or be awarded money as the result of a jury verdict. This applies whether you are insured through a private insurance company or a government agency. This has become a highly complicated area of the law in recent years and our Tampa injury lawyers often hires others to assist in limiting amounts reimbursed to the insurers and endeavoring to protect eligibility for future benefits.
Typically this collateral source process involves an attorney sending notice to your insurance company. When the insurance company responds to the notice, the insurance company will either advise they have no subrogation interest or will assert a subrogation lien. Along with the subrogation lien, the insurer must also provide documentation for the charges included in the lien. This is called an itemization or a statement of benefits. Typically, the insurer will include charges for medical services that are not related to the injury related to your personal injury claim. As a result, your Tampa injury attorney must work with the insurer or an agent for the insurer to narrow the lien to only those items that are actually related to your personal injury claim. In some cases this can be a lengthy process. Essentially, your attorney or lien resolution administrator must educate the insurer about your claim and the related injuries before coming to an agreement regarding the lien amount. Unfortunately, this process can delay the disbursement of settlement proceeds because all subrogation liens must be resolved prior to disbursement.