Frequently Asked Questions
If you are looking to start a personal injury case, there are a lot of questions that may arise. Here is a list of the most frequently asked questions that we hear, and hopefully can answer for you before you move forward with a case.
Question: What is my case worth?
Answer: Bad news and good news! The bad news is, unfortunately, there isn’t a cut and dried answer to this question. The short answer is, it’s complicated and requires a complicated equation to answer. Many components contribute to the value of your case. The good news is, there are some general principles that you can try to apply to your circumstance to get a rough idea of what your case is worth. In the end, we recommend that you speak with an attorney about your specific circumstances. Your Advocate will be able to sit down with you and calculate your distinct damages and help you know what your case is worth. Essentially, what your case is worth can be divided into two separate categories, (1) economic damages and (2) non-economic damages.
Economic damages. These are easily quantifiable damages, meaning there is an exact bill or number to which you can refer. This category will include things like medical expenses (prescriptions, specific doctor recommended items, etc.), as well as your lost wages.
Non-economic damages. This category is far more difficult to determine because it often includes things that are hard to compute. Non-economic damages are intangible. It might include things like age, disfigurement, disability, general impact on life, etc. Your personal injury attorney is very important in this respect. He or she will be able to demonstrate how the accident has ultimately altered your life. Non-economic damages are vital to a case because you have to try to adequately take into account things like pain, suffering, and ongoing problems.
Again, if you have any questions about your individual situation, call an attorney at The Advocates. The consultation is FREE and can help you better understand any concerns you might have.
Question: How long do I have to decide to pursue a case?
Answer: It is important to recognize that a case does have a sort of time limit. This time limit is known, legally, as the statute of limitations. Different states have different time limits depending on the incident. For instance, the time limit for filing a lawsuit for a breach of contract is different than a personal injury statute of limitations. In Utah, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases is four years.
While a four-year period may seem like a long time, it can sneak up on many people. We receive many calls from people who have been seriously injured and have waited longer than the allotted period. Unfortunately, in these circumstances, there isn’t much we can do. The statute of limitations is fairly strict about this time limit. After the time has passed, the window for filing a case has been closed.
Between the time of the accident and before you consider whether or not to pursue your case, one of the most important things you can do is schedule a free consultation with a personal injury attorney. Your attorney will be able to evaluate your case and help you determine whether or not it is worth the time and stress of pursuing.
Question: Can I change my attorney if I don’t like mine?
Answer: We understand that sometimes things don’t work out with another attorney you have hired. We get calls all the time about this exact issue. We hear that people don’t feel like there is good communication, they don’t bond well with their current attorney, the attorney isn’t working hard enough to protect the client, or the attorney isn’t willing to fight and move the case forward. Sometimes, we are instrumental in helping the person understand the process and have explained that their current attorney is doing a good job but maybe could do a better job of explaining things to their clients. Other times, the service and work are less than they should be. We are happy to talk to you about your current representation and see if we might be able to help in any way, whether it is to call your current attorney and have a frank discussion about the case, or taking representation over from them. When this happens, we are very willing to work with the former attorney to get the file from them and find an agreeable way to compensate them for the work they have already done on the case. Every case is a little bit different. We are happy to answer your questions and see if there is a way to help, regardless of whether we take your case over or not. We just want what is best for you.
If you are not satisfied with the representation by your current attorney you can always let them go and retain a new attorney. However, there are a few things you should consider. First, review the contract with your current attorney. There may be financial conditions written in your contract that you will want to review and understand. Second, changing attorneys can sometimes burden your case, depending on where it is at in the process. For example, firing your attorney one day before the trial can potentially prejudice your case and ultimately the outcome. Finally, it’s advisable to address your specific concerns with your attorney first and give the attorney an opportunity to correct his/her defects in representation before retaining a new attorney. If they then fail to meet your expectations, it will make for an easier parting of ways.
Question: What should I look for in an attorney?
Answer: Which attorney you choose can have a significant impact on many aspects of your case. One of the first things we recommend is choosing an attorney who has experience. The more experienced an attorney is, the better they are at evaluating what your case is worth. With a personal injury attorney’s experience comes specific examples that your attorney can use as a point of reference. At The Advocates, our attorneys have handled thousands of cases. It is very likely that your Advocate has handled a case just like yours. As a client, you can feel assured knowing that your attorney has the experience necessary to go to bat for you.
Another chief concern in finding a high-quality attorney is finding a good communicator. One of the foremost complaints to the Utah Bar Association about attorneys is poor communication. When handling a sensitive case, you want an attorney who will handle your case delicately. You want your attorney to be there when you need them. When you’re worried about something, you want an attorney who will help resolve your anxieties. At The Advocates, we value communication. We believe good communication with our clients is one of the most important parts of the attorney-client relationship.
Question: What does my attorney expect from me?
Answer: We understand we are helping you during a challenging time of your life. Sometimes the stress and burdens of your accident can make everyday tasks a challenge. We are sensitive to this. We will do our best not to ask or expect anything that is beyond what you are able to do. We strive to be understanding. Rest assured, we will do our best to communicate what we need from you. Your attorney will expect you to be prompt and attentive when our staff tries to communicate with you.