Do I need a lawyer?
If you have been injured, you probably need to retain counsel. The first step is to seek a consultation with an attorney who can explain the law as well as the rights and benefits that you may have available to you. You need to make an informed decision. You need to get information from someone who represents your interests and not those of an insurance company. Simply put, if you will be dealing with an insurance company you will be at a disadvantage with regard to knowledge and experience. Without a competent and qualified attorney, you risk being victimized all over again. Once you have hired the Law Offices of John P. DiBartolo, Jr., you can focus on recovering from your injuries while we focus on the legal aspects of your claim.
Do I need to speak with a lawyer right away?
There is no reason to delay. It is never too early to know your rights. It is not prudent to assume that an insurance company, even your own, will put your best interests first. There is a phrase used in the insurance industry to describe dealings with a person who has no legal counsel - "controlling the claimant." As the phrase suggests, the goal is to control you and the information you receive. This is best accomplished with a friendly demeanor and the suggestion that you do not need an attorney. Do not be controlled; be informed.
Should I give a statement to or sign a Release for any insurance company?
No. You should only give statements to an insurance adjuster or sign Releases at the request of an insurance company after you have spoken with a qualified personal injury attorney. Unfortunately, your choice of language in a recorded or written statement to an insurance company may, and likely will, be used against you in the future.
How much will it cost to speak with Attorney DiBartolo?
That question is easy. Initial consultations are free. In fact, we work on a contingent fee basis - which means that we only earn a fee when we successfully obtain a settlement or award for a client.
Would my consultation be confidential?
Yes. Everything you say to Attorney DiBartolo or his staff is completely confidential regardless of whether we ultimately handle your case.
How much does Attorney DiBartolo charge for his services?
Our fee for services is pretty standard. The contingent fee charged, in cases other than those involving medical malpractice, is not to exceed one-third (33.33%) of the gross amount of your settlement or award. A number of other firms increase their fees if they file lawsuits or proceed to trial. Although lawsuits and trials require substantial time of any attorney, Attorney DiBartolo believes that increasing his fee might inappropriately discourage his clients from pursuing their cases as far as may be necessary. Consequently, our fees are never a factor in our clients' decisions regarding whether to pursue litigation.
What is my case worth?
A case value is an assessment of your damages. There are two main types of damages suffered by someone who has been seriously injured: economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages are comprised of money lost-wages not earned, medical bills, and other expenses incurred. Non-economic damages involve pain and suffering, inconvenience to a person's life, permanent disfigurement, loss of use of a body part or function... among other things. Estimating the value of your non-economic damages includes considerations such as: the type of injury that you sustained, the time period during which your injury impacted your life, the way in which your life was impacted by your injury, and whether you make a full recovery.
How long will it take to resolve my case?
That depends upon a number of things. First, no negotiation begins until you have concluded your course of treatment and you have recovered completely from your injuries. If you have sustained permanent injuries, negotiation will not begin until your physicians feel that you have reached a point of maximum medical improvement (when further treatment will no longer improve your condition). Until that time, we have no means of knowing how long your life will be affected. The time period during which your life was altered is a significant factor in the determination of the value of your claim. Beginning the negotiation process without knowing the full nature and extent of your injury would be inappropriate.
Once you have recovered to the extent that you will, we begin the negotiation process. How long a negotiation may last is often dictated by how far apart the two sides may be. Some insurance companies are slower to increase their settlement offers than are others. Seeking a negotiated resolution involves a balance between persistence and patience. We work diligently to secure compensation but avoid the appearance of being too eager. We will never rush a settlement nor delay a negotiation.
Will I have to go to court?
Although there is no way to know for certain whether your particular case will require litigation, the overwhelming majority of cases are resolved without the need for a lawsuit. Additionally, only a small percentage of cases that become the subject of lawsuits actually proceed all the way to trial. That said, every case we handle is prepared as if it will go to trial.
I am not sure that I am comfortable bringing a claim, is it the right thing to do?
Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do to truly give you back what you have lost. However, the law permits people who have been injured through the fault of another to bring claims for monetary damages. Our system of civil justice holds responsible parties accountable for their actions and promotes public safety by forcing corporations to make safer products, improve workplace safety, clean the environment and improve the quality of health care. Our system encourages people to drive safely and to maintain their property properly.
To retain an attorney and exercise your legal rights does not mean that you are litigious. Simply put, having the ability to bring a claim is the reason why we have insurance. We all pay premiums for various types of insurance so that if we suffer harm, we will be covered or if we cause harm to another, they will be covered. Our tort system is a hallmark of our civility and an enduring testament to fairness and the rule of law.