Frequently Asked Questions For Creed & Creed
Q: When should I hire an attorney?
A: It is important to hire an attorney as quickly as you can. The insurance company is investigating the case. Evidence may get old and stale. Witnesses may move. The sooner you have someone representing you, running interference for you with the claims adjuster and accumulating the evidence necessary to successfully pursue your claim, the better chance you have of getting better compensation for your injuries and other damages.
Q: If I do not hire an attorney, can I handle the claim myself?
A: Yes, you can handle the claim yourself. But unless you are well schooled in the law, settlement negotiations and proving your claim, you will be outnumbered and outgunned. The likelihood that you will be treated fairly and compensated quickly by the insurance company is so slim that your chances of winning the lottery may be greater.
Q: How long do I have to file or make a claim for personal injuries?
A: For personal injury, medical malpractice and offshore accident claims, the time period that you have to file a law suit can be anywhere from one to three years, depending on the type of claim that you have. It is important to seek the services of any attorney who has experience in handling the type of case you may have, so that he can advise you on what needs to be done and when.
Q: What happens if I do not file my claim for personal bodily injuries within the time period that the law specifies?
A: Generally, absent special considerations or facts, you claim may be barred forever.
Q: I was involved in an automobile accident a couple of days ago. I thought I was alright, but over the past several days I have begun to hurt. What should I do?
A: It is not unusual for a person to be injured in an accident and not have significant pain during the first couple of days. Many times, the pains begin and get progressively worse within 24-48 hours after the accident. If you are in pain, you should go to your doctor, so that he may examine you and recommend the treatment or medications that might help you cope with your injuries.
Q: How do I pay for an attorney to help me?
A: Like many law firms, Creed & Creed will take cases on a contingency basis. You will sign a contract granting a certain percentage to the attorney in exchange for doing the legal work necessary to assist you in resolving your claim. The attorney will front all of the necessary expenses to get your case in a position to be settled or tried. You are only responsible for repaying the contingency attorney's fees if you recover something from the at fault party.
Q: Can you settle my claim without my consent?
A: No. Any settlement or other resolution of your claim must come with your consent. Before giving your consent, the lawyer assisting you will give you a very good idea of what the settlement means in terms of dollars in your pocket after payment of attorneys fees and reimbursement of expenses. No settlement can be made without your consent.
Q: How will I pay for my doctor's care?
A: If you have health insurance, use it. You may have to reimburse the health insurance company for amounts that they pay, but you will get all of the treatment that you need and that will assist you in recovering from your injury. After all, you pay for it, you might as well use it. If you do not have health insurance, you can go to any hospital or emergency room. Otherwise, we issue letters of protection to medical providers on your behalf to ensure that you receive the appropriate medical care.
Q: What is a letter of protection?
A: A letter of protection is a letter we give to the doctor, with your permission, which asks the doctor to treat you for the injuries and wait to be paid until any settlement is made or judgment is collected. If a doctor does accept a letter of protection, then he or she is paid out of any settlement or judgment collected.
Q: How long will my claim take to resolve?
A: That is a difficult question to answer. We generally like to have you complete your medical care and treatment. Additionally, prior to settlement, it is necessary for us to obtain medical reports from your doctors relative to your injuries. You may have a serious injury that requires much treatment, in the past and in the future, and suit may be required to adequately compensate you for your injuries. The time required to settle a claim depends entirely on each individual's injury, related treatment and future outlook.
Q: Can I force the defendant to settle?
A: No. A settlement depends upon the defendant offering a sum of money, which after negotiations, you accept. It takes both to complete the deal. You may want to settle for a particular sum, and the defendant refuses. Or, the defendant may want to settle for a particular sum, and you may not agree. If that happens, there is no settlement and a lawsuit will be filed on your behalf.
Q: What if I lose my suit at a trial?
A: You owe us nothing for our time and our attorney's fees.
Q: Why do I have to go to the doctor?
A: You should go to the doctor if you are injured or hurting from an injury. This assists you in getting the medical treatment that you need because of another person's negligence. It also documents the injuries that you received and the complaints that you made. This information will eventually be used to settle or try your case. In order to settle your case with the insurance company, or in order to convince a jury to award you a certain sum of money as compensation for your injuries, we must be able to prove your injuries. It requires going to the doctor as often as necessary to treat your condition. We do not want anyone to go to the doctor unnecessarily or if it is not required. But if it is required, then you should go so that you will hopefully get better. If you are truly hurt, but do not go to the doctor, the insurance company and/or the jury will have nothing upon which to base any settlement offer or jury verdict. A doctor usually will have to testify at trial or by deposition that you were injured as a result of the subject accident, that your care and treatment was necessary and that the charges for your medical care were reasonable, and that the treatment was necessary because of the incident giving rise to the claim or lawsuit, an automobile wreck or offshore accident for example. So, going to the doctor as often as necessary is essential to the successful handling and outcome of your case.
Q: When I see the doctor the first time, what should I tell him?
A: You should tell him why you are there. Describe the accident that caused your injury; however; be careful about giving details about the accident unless you are sure of them. Describe each and all of your injuries to the doctor. Be sure to tell the doctor what hurts or causes discomfort on each visit. In all instances, be truthful with your doctor. Most importantly, follow his advice.