The most common question we hear is “Do I need to get an attorney for a car accident?” The short answer is that you should get a free, no obligation, case review if you’ve been involved in an accident.
The BOTTOM LINE… is that hiring a car accident attorney significantly increases your odds of receiving more substantial compensation.
According to a survey conducted by Nolo, 91% of people who hired a lawyer received compensation in their case, while only 51% of people who attempted to resolve their case without a lawyer received a payout.
The survey further found that people who hire a personal injury lawyer receive much larger payouts, on average, than people who don’t hire an attorney. The average compensation paid to a person who hired an attorney was $77,600, while folks who didn’t hire an attorney received an average of only $17,600, a full $60,000 less.
Injury attorneys generally work for a contingency fee, meaning they take a percentage of the ultimate recovery. However, even when you deduct the typical attorney fees of 33% from the $77,600 average compensation, the person who hired an attorney comes away with a net recovery of $51,992, still far ahead of the $17,600 received by the unrepresented person.
Unfortunately, there’s no magic formula we can use to accurately predict the value of your case. Each case is unique, and the worth of each accident claim must be considered on a case-to-case basis. In fact, it would be wrong of us to give you even a ball park figure.
The value of your case depends on many factors, including:
the details of your accident
the extent of your injuries
your insurance coverage, as well as the coverage of the person liable for your injury
The amount and quality of the evidence
While we can’t answer the specific question, “What is my case worth?” with a number, our legal team can help determine what types of monetary damages you’re entitled to for your injuries. When you hire Yaquina Law, our legal team immediately goes to work obtaining details about your accident, as well as paperwork related to your injuries. We also assign an investigator to your case to gather crucial evidence.
Here is the process of a personal injury case:
Chances are, we will be complete strangers when you first contact our office. We meet all new clients face to face, giving you an opportunity to interview us and learn about our credentials, experience, and our initial thoughts on the strengths, processes, and challenges that are likely to be involved in your case- before you decide whether to become our clients.
Once you decide to hire us, you’ll undergo a detailed client intake process in which we ask you for all the legally relevant facts pertaining to your case.
Thorough investigation of the facts surrounding an incident make and break cases. At Yaquina Law, we retain the services of a top-notch legal investigator. We begin investigating our cases immediately, taking care to gather and preserve evidence before its destroyed or disappears. We make sure to inspect the scene and are diligent about obtaining statements from witnesses early, while the events are still fresh in their minds.
We obtain all the police reports, accident reports, and photos.
When appropriate, we also investigate insurance coverage issues; hire accident reconstructionist experts, engineers, and other experts; and obtain independent medical opinions.
Because you can only resolve your personal injury case once; we never explore settlement until your injuries have either completely resolved or you have become medically stationary- meaning your condition is not likely to get better with further treatment or the passage of time. The exception to this rule is that we have to file a lawsuit before the statute of limitations runs out. In Oregon, the statute of limitations for most personal injury cases is two years from the date you were injured.
Once you have completed treatment or become medically stationary, our legal team will obtain and evaluate all of your medical records and wage loss information.
Using all of the information our team has compiled, we create a detailed settlement demand package to present to the insurance company. Your attorney will then negotiate with the insurance adjuster and/or defense attorneys.
If you accept their final offer, the insurance company will send a settlement agreement and/or release of claim document for your signature.
You receive a final accounting including all fees and costs. If you don’t accept their offer, the case proceeds to litigation.
Filing a Lawsuit
Filing a complaint with the court formally initiates the litigation process. The complaint puts the defendant(s) on notice of your claim, including a factual description of the incident, the theory of liability, a description of your injuries and damages, and concludes with a demand for judgment which states the amount of compensation the injured person is seeking.
After a complaint is filed, a process server serves it on the defendant. Once served, the defendant has 30 days to respond to the complaint. When a response has been filed, the case will procced to discovery.
Discovery and Depositions
Prior to trial, the plaintiff and defendant obtain further evidence from one another by exchanging documents and taking depositions. In a deposition, attorneys ask witnesses questions while they are under oath and a court reporter transcribes their testimony.
The defense will almost certainly take the deposition of the injured person. Your conduct and presentation at the deposition will influence the value of your case. At Yaquina Law, we work with our clients to thoroughly prepare them for their deposition.
In some cases, the parties use a retired judge or experienced attorney to assist the parties in reaching a negotiated settlement. Mediation is voluntary and non-binding. At mediation, everything shared with the mediator is confidential and cannot be used at trial. Mediation often results in a successful resolution to the case
Although 97% of cases settle without going to trial, at Yaquina Law we prepare each case as if it is going to trial. At trial, both parties present evidence and arguments designed to convince a jury to find for their side. Witnesses will testify as to how the incident occurred and experts will present their findings as to who was at fault for the incident. Your doctors will testify about the extent, causation, and treatment of your injuries; while the defense may hire doctors to present their own theories regarding the extent and causation of your injuries.
After both sides present their cases to the jury, the attorneys make closing arguments, the jury deliberates and decides whether the defendant is at fault, and if so, the amount of compensation to allow to the plaintiff. Either party may appeal the jury’s verdict.