A: Give me a call as soon as you can. Do not talk to an insurance company (even your own) until after you have consulted with a lawyer. You don't want to give the insurance company any reason to blame you or deny your claim completely. If you decide to hire a lawyer, your lawyer will handle all communication with the insurance company and can figure out what insurance coverage is in place to cover your medical expenses, lost wages and damaged bike.
A: All cases are handled on a contingency fee basis. This means that if there is no recovery, there is no fee. While I'm working on your case, I will write checks for things like filing fees, expert witness fees, process service fees, medical record copying charges, etc. Costs can get expensive, especially if your case requires litigation, but I will advance these costs and then deduct them from the amount I'm able to recover for you at the end of your case. There are no additional or hidden fees for consultations, opening your file, long distance phone calls, etc. Before you hire a lawyer, make sure you find out what they will be charging you, as these hidden costs can add up.
A: The time it takes to resolve your case depends on many factors, but the primary factor is how quickly you recover from your injuries. This can take time and it is important not to rush your recovery. If you are still actively treating, it is important to have an attorney working on your case, but it’s too soon to talk about settlement because it is impossible to know the full nature and extent of your injuries. Once you are completely done treating, the extent of all your medical costs can be incorporated into the settlement. Once you accept a settlement offer, your case is over forever, so it is important to make sure that all of your damages and expenses are factored into any settlement offers.
A: No. In fact, most don't. Although most cases don't end up seeing the light of a courtroom, I prepare every case as if it is going to trial. This includes hiring the necessary experts and preparing a case strategy early on. These techniques provide an excellent foundation for negotiating with insurance companies and streamline litigation if you are not happy with the insurance company's offer.
A: The main reason to hire a lawyer is so you can focus on recovering from your injuries. My goal is to make sure you have the time and energy to make the best recovery possible, so I manage all of the legal aspects of your case. I like to meet my new clients in person at the start of the case, but after that, we can primarily talk via phone or email. If your case requires litigation, I will need your help to answer questions in writing and in person, so that takes a little more time on your part. However, I do everything I can to minimize the amount of time you have to spend on your case, even if we do need to litigate.
A: Yes. I do not charge for initial legal consultations, so give me a call and we can talk about the specific facts of your case and discuss your injuries and damages. I will give you my legal opinion free of charge and then you can decide if you want to work with an attorney or not.
A: It depends. Most of the time, insurance companies will initially offer you a settlement that is far below the true value of your case. If you have already received an offer for your injuries, call me and I will let you know if the insurance company’s offer is fair or not. Often times, I can get insurance companies to substantially increase the amount of their settlement offers.
A: Most cyclists have no idea that their own auto insurance will pay if they are hit by an uninsured or under-insured driver. If you purchased "uninsured motorist" (UIM) coverage on your auto policy, it will pay for your damages if you are hit by an uninsured driver while riding your bike or if the driver did not have enough insurance to fully compensate you for your injuries. If you are unsure how much UIM coverage you have on your auto policy, you should ask your insurance agent and consider increasing your UIM limits.
A: Yes. In many cases, actual physical contact is not required for a driver to be held legally responsibility for causing a crash. Often, riders have a split-second to take evasive action and sometimes end up going over their handlebars or hitting curbs or other vehicles in order to avoid a collision with a negligent driver. You don't have to actually get physically hit by a car to recover from an at-fault party.
A: Yes. As a cyclist who has been hit myself, I understand how overwhelming the situation can be. There are many traps waiting to ensnare those who are not used to dealing with the insurance companies on a regular basis. I am happy to advise you, at no charge, on how to evaluate your claim for personal injuries.
A: No. In these instances, your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance will often cover you if you are at fault.
A: Yes. I have offices in Seattle and Spokane, but I handle cases in most counties in Washington.