Frequently Asked Questions
There is no substitute for the advice of an experienced personal injury lawyer.
At the Law Office of William H. Jackson your initial consultation is free!
Do I need a lawyer?
We think you do. Lawyers have spent many years studying the law and court procedures. They are experts in resolving legal problems. You have the right to represent yourself in a legal case, but we advise against it.
Have you examined by the appropriate medical specialists in order to prove your injury claim and obtain the professional treatment you deserve.
Be your representative in all discussions with the insurance company.
Explain your options in terms of the handling of your case.
Tell you what you need to do in order to obtain a fair settlement.
Protect your legal rights.
Develop a legal strategy designed to ensure that you get maximum compensation.
Negotiate a favorable settlement of your insurance claim.
Help you understand the court system.
Explain the law that applies to your case.
Advise you about the strengths and weaknesses of your case.
And save you time, stress and money.
When should I get a lawyer?
Don’t delay. You should meet with a lawyer as soon as possible after your motor vehicle accident, and certainly before you talk to the insurance company.
A lawyer will protect your legal rights and give you the best advice on how to get a fair settlement. Even if you have already met with the insurance company or have been negotiating with them for some time. It is always wise to consult with a lawyer before settling your injury claim.
How do I choose a lawyer?
As with all professional relationships you should feel comfortable with the lawyer that you choose to represent you. This includes feeling like you can talk freely, ask questions if you don’t understand something and feel confident that your lawyer is listening and will respect your point of view.
Personal injury cases can be complicated, frustrating and time consuming. As a result, you need a lawyer who is both supportive and understanding. Someone who will take the time to get to know you, understand the impact your injuries have had on your life and explain your case to you as it unfolds.
A friend, family member or co-worker may have recommended a lawyer or you may have seen advertising on behalf of a particular law firm. A particular lawyer may be a respected member of your church or community. Whatever the case, it is very important that the lawyer you hire have special expertise and experience in dealing with the type of legal problem you are faced with.
How much will it cost me?
You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain. At the Law Office of William H. Jackson it won’t cost you anything until we have settled your case with the insurance company. It’s that simple. Unlike other law firms, we don’t ask you for money “up front” to cover our legal fees or disbursements (e.g., the cost of medical reports or court document filing fees) until we have settled your case.
Contingent fee arrangements in civil cases have long been commonly accepted in the United States, and may in fact be the only practical means by which an individual with a claim can afford to obtain the services of a competent lawyer.
“Contingent” means an attorney only collects if there is some type of recovery for the client, typically a settlement or jury award. If nothing is recovered for the client, no fees are paid the attorney. The attorney is compensated for the legal work performed by taking a certain agreed percentage or amount from the recovery, regardless of the time or effort involved.
This does not mean that the litigation is risk-free. Expenses, such as expert witness fees or copying charges for medical records, are commonly not covered by contingent fee arrangements and must be paid by the client regardless of the outcome of the lawsuit. Depending on the nature of the case, expenses can easily run into several thousands of dollars.
Nevada law requires that before entering into a contingent fee agreement, your attorney provide you with a disclosure statement detailing the specifics of the contingent fee, the manner in which other litigation costs will be handled.
How long will my case take?
It is hard to say how long it will take to resolve your case. It would not be right to reach a settlement with the insurance company until you are back in good health, and that may take months or several years. We will work on your case until you have recovered from your accident and have received the settlement you deserve.
Do I have to go to court?
You probably won’t have to go to court. Most personal injury cases settle long before trial. We are very skilled negotiators and will try to reach an agreement with the insurance company before your trial date. If we cannot settle your case, we will take it to court and let a judge decide. We have a great deal of trial experience and we will handle your case until it is resolved.
I met with my insurance adjuster and signed a bunch of documents. Did I have to? What are they used for?
The documents the insurance company requires you to sign give them permission to obtain your full medical and employment history. In many cases, this is not necessary and allows the insurance company to gather information which has no connection to your injury claim.
The insurance company will also request you to sign a statement about the accident and your life. Often times, items contained in your statement are used against you later. For example, if you forgot about an old injury, you may be accused of hiding something. Alternatively, if you tell them about an old injury, your insurance adjuster may assert that your accident has nothing to do with your current symptoms. A lengthy statement is not required and an experienced personal injury lawyers will not provide one to the insurance company.
If you hire a lawyer after signing authorizations for the insurance company, they can be revoked. By doing so irrelevant information can be withheld and your privacy protected.
As your case goes on you may have to reveal details from your medical history. A lawyer will make sure you only have to reveal what is legally required.
What does an insurance adjuster do?
An insurance adjuster works for the insurance company. One of the insurance company’s goals is to pay out as little money in claims as possible. This means that in every case, including yours, the adjuster is looking for ways to save their company money.
The adjuster’s job is to win your confidence, gather information with an eye to minimizing your claim and pay you as little as possible for your injuries. While doing all of this the adjuster may suggest to you that they are “your” adjuster and he or she wants to be fair.
Beware of the insurance adjuster for the other side—you may well be asked to provide a statement of your recollection of the accident. This is almost always tape-recorded, and it is not so much a statement by you as an interrogation by the adjuster. We strongly encourage people to talk to an attorney before agreeing to any type of statement other than to officers of the law.
What if I’m injured and the accident is my fault?
There is no payment for pain and suffering if the accident is your fault. However, you may be able to obtain reimbursement for medical expenses if you have “Medical Payments” coverage on your own insurance policy.
Does my medical insurance need to get involved?
If your medical insurance has paid your medical expenses for treatment of injuries suffered because of an accident, then the medical insurance company may have a right to collect part of the covered expenses out of the compensation you receive from your lawsuit. Before you even talk to a lawyer, you may receive notice from your medical insurance provider of a subrogation right against any proceeds you collect as a result of a personal injury claim.
What if I do not have medical insurance?
You do not need medical insurance to obtain the treatment you deserve. The medical providers will supply you with the necessary treatment and withhold charging for their services until you receive your settlement from the insurance company. They place what is called a “Doctor’s Lien” on your case which is simply an authorization given by you and your attorney that the medical provider will have priority in reimbursement for their services once the insurance company compensates you for the accident.
What type of damages are available in personal injury cases?
To sue for damages means to attempt to recover compensation for a loss and/or injury. In Nevada, damages might be awarded for the nature and extent of the injury (and whether it is temporary or permanent), medical expenses past and future, pain and suffering past and future, mental and emotional anguish past and future, scarring and disfigurement, lodging and transportation, loss of companionship for an injured spouse, nursing care, lost wages and other expenses.
What is the value of my case?
The value of a case involves variables such as the amount of medical expenses, wage loss, damages that may occur in the future, scarring and disfigurement, evidence as to the degree of fault, where the accident occurred and where the case is filed. Case values are established with a settlement or, if there is no settlement, by a jury, judge or arbitrator.
Prior to settlement, can I get a loan or advance to help pay for my day to day expenses?
The Nevada State Bar prohibits an attorney from making any loans or advances to their clients. However, several private loan companies lend money to you with the security of getting their money back out of your settlement. Your attorney will have to sign documents agreeing to pay them out of the final settlement. Loan companies will write a check to you if the attorney agrees to honor the loan documents the funding business has you sign.
We recognize that it is very difficult to get your life back in order after an accident. Although these loans may help you get your life back on track, we urge our clients to avoid taking out a loan unless it is absolutely necessary. The private loan companies charge a high interest and may leave you with little to no compensation at the end of your case.
Will the attorney help me obtain compensation for the damages to my car?
Unlike many firms, the Law Office of William H. Jackson has a department dedicated to help you settle your property damage claims. Our property damage department goes out of their way to make sure you obtain fair compensation for the damages to your vehicle. We also assist in getting you a rental car while your vehicle is being repaired. Our knowledgeable staff deals directly with the insurance estimators and body shops to make sure your property damage claims are being properly handled. This service is completely FREE as we never take a fee from your property damage settlement.