Q:

How are you paid?

A:

I am paid a contingency fee (a percentage fee) applied to any recovery made on behalf of the client and I am reimbursed any advanced costs expended on the case. “Advanced costs” do not include normal business expenses like photocopying, but, instead, it covers expenditures made that are reasonably necessary to prosecute your claim such as purchasing police photographs, medical records, depositions and etc. My standard contingency fee is one-third (1/3).

Q:

Will I have to pay you out of my pocket for anything?

A:

No. You only pay me if there is a recovery. If there is no recovery, you do not owe me anything, including the reimbursement of expenses. If there is a recovery, then I am paid the 1/3rd contingency fee and I am reimbursed for any out of pocket expenses that I advanced for you. Unless a lawsuit is filed, normally the advanced expenses are minor or do not exist.

Q:

How long do I have to file an auto accident claim?

A:

When filing a claim against a third-party who caused your injuries, you have 2 years from the date of the last payment issued for your no-fault benefits. If you represent someone who died as a result of the negligence of another then your statute of limitations is 1 year. If the person at fault does not have insurance or not enough insurance to satisfy your claim, you may need to present a claim of Uninsured Motorist Benefits or Underinsured Motorist Benefits and then the statute of limitations can be only 1 year.

If you were driving a motorcycle at the time of your accident and you do not have no-fault, your statute of limitaitons can be one year. There are circumstances that can change the statute of limitations, so please contact the Troutman Law Office to be sure you are not outside the statute of limitations.

Q:

Will you meet me in my home or other location?

A:

Yes. In fact, most of my clients request that I meet them at home or at work and I am happy to provide this service.

Q:

How long does it take to resolve my claim?

A:

It varies. Normally, I do not want to resolve your claim until you have reached your maximum medical improvement (a term of art meaning a point in time when your medical condition will no longer improve), which can delay a resolution for a year or more depending on the nature of your injuries and treatment. Normally, if a case is settled prior to a lawsuit being filed, it will be resolved within 6-12 months from the time you retain me. If a lawsuit is necessary, then it will take a year to reach the trial date, but many cases are settled at some point during the litigation. Statistically, over 90% of all cases settle without the necessity of a trial.

Q:

If a lawsuit is filed how do I participate?

A:

You participate by providing information to me, by attending a deposition (a statement where you answer questions posed by opposing counsel), mediation (an organized settlement conference with a mediator) and trial. Of course, if there are settlement negotiations, then you will decide what to offer or demand.

Q:

If I have a question, what is the best way to communicate with you?

A:

Either by phone (including texting) or email. I am also willing to come to your home or work if necessary. You will not have any difficulty getting ahold of me, if you need me, and I will prepare you for each step of the claim process so that you will not have the need to contact me often. Not many of my clients contact me asking me what is the status of my case because, under most circumstances, I have told them in advance the status of the case. There is no go between in communicating with me. No talking to a secretary, case manager or paralegal. 

Q:

How are you different from other personal injury lawyers?

A:

Simplified and direct communication (you have my personal cell phone number and you are expected to use it) combined with over 30 years of experience handling motor vehicle accident claims will distinguish me from most other personal injury attorneys. It is my goal to make you feel like your case is the only case I am working on because I am on top of every aspect of your case. Finally, I understand that this claim is yours and not mine and you will be treated accordingly. This means you are intimately involved in making the big decisions regarding your claim and I am there to simply execute our agreed upon game plan. I listen to your objectives and I work to achieve them instead of acting like the claim belongs to me.

Q:

Do I have to file a lawsuit to make a claim for personal injury related to a motor vehicle accident?

A:

No. There is no requirement that you ever file a lawsuit. Before a lawsuit is even considered, an informal claim is made with the insurance company for the at fault driver or person causing your accident. A lawsuit, which involves the filing of papers in a court of law and possibly a jury trial, is only considered if the at fault insurance company refuses to pay your claim or refuses to pay a reasonable amount for your claim. Even if the at fault insurance company offers you an unreasonable amount, it is your choice whether you file a lawsuit to obtain a reasonable result. The Troutman Law Office will never try to force you to file a lawsuit or file one without your permission. We understand that the claim belongs to you and it is your decision on whether to file a lawsuit.