Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions About Working with a Florida Personal Injury Attorney

Q: How does the attorney get paid in an injury case?

A: No legal fees are owed unless the law firm makes a financial recovery for you. The fee is a percentage of the recovery based on several contingencies that are clearly spelled out in a written contract.

Q: Who pays for the costs of handling my case?

A: The William Schneikart Law Firm will advance the costs of litigation, which under ordinary circumstances will be paid back only out of a financial recovery made for you.

Q: During my free consultation, will I meet directly with my attorney?

A: Yes! Unlike many law firms where your meetings are with a paralegal or a case manager, at the William Schneikart Law Firm you will meet directly with me. I personally attend every consultation. I suggest that you never retain a lawyer whom you have not met.

Q: How long will my case take?

A: Generally, a personal injury case should not be concluded until after you have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI). This determination is made by your treating physician and not by your attorney. MMI is that point in your treatment when your physician believes that you will not significantly improve in the future. At that point your doctor determines and describes the nature and extent of any permanent injury that you have sustained. Ordinarily it takes anywhere from six months to a year for physicians to determine that a patient has reached MMI. Thereafter, your case may be concluded by settlement within a few months or through litigation in court over a period of a year or so.

Q: How much is my case worth?

A: Although this is a common question, you should be wary of anyone who has a ready answer for this question early in a personal injury case. Once I can determine: 1) the extent of your permanent injuries; 2) the type and cost of past, present and future medical care; and 3) your lost wages and lost earning capacity, I can venture an opinion as to a possible jury verdict range.

Q: Can I handle my case myself without a lawyer?

A: There is, of course, no requirement that an injured person hire an attorney. Indeed, insurance companies and adjusters often go to great lengths to keep injured people from seeking legal advice. Adjusters are experts in the personal injury field and have their own best interest in mind. A legal consultation is always a good idea and few non-lawyers can deal with insurance adjusters on an equal footing. The threat of going to trial is what often prompts the insurance company to pay and that threat is less if you do not have a lawyer.

Q: If I am hurt, when should I see a lawyer?

A: You should have a legal consultation absolutely as soon as possible. Insurance adjusters may try to get you to do or say something that will harm or ruin your case. Evidence and witnesses may be lost if your lawyer is not on the job right away. There is nothing to be gained by delay.

Q: Can I discharge my lawyer and hire another one?

A: Yes you can discharge a lawyer retained under a contingency fee agreement. There may be certain advantages or disadvantages in doing so and a second legal option would be helpful before taking such a step.