Do you care enough about your accident or injury case to make an educated decision on whether to hire a lawyer?
If you're reading this, then the answer is probably “Yes.” To help answer some basic questions and assist you in this process, we’ve personally drafted the following questions and answers to help you along the way. These are not “canned” questions and answers and are written by actual members of the firm.
Q. The other driver’s insurance adjuster wants me to give a statement about what happened in the accident. Should I agree to do this?
A. No. There is no requirement for you to give a statement to the other driver’s insurance company. The other driver’s insurance adjuster does not represent you and does not have your best interests in mind. The other driver’s insurance adjuster would love nothing more than for you to give a statement and to be able to use something in your statement to hurt the value of your case or give grounds to completely deny your claim. Do not give a statement to the at fault driver’s insurance adjuster without speaking with our firm first.
Q. Does the other driver’s insurance adjuster also represent my interests in this accident?
A. No. The other driver’s insurance adjuster does not represent you, and has a duty to pay you the least amount possible and to even deny paying you a settlement if at all possible. Do not think for one second that your conversations with the adjuster are not recorded and/or documented and that the adjuster is not constantly building a case against you.
Q. The other driver’s insurance adjuster wants me to sign a release so they can get my medical records from the accident. Should I agree to do this?
A. No. The insurance adjuster will not only use this release to get records related to you claim but will also use the release to get medical records un-related to your accident. Why, you ask? The answer is simple. The insurance adjuster wants to be able to argue that some or all of your injuries from the accident were “pre-existing” prior to the accident. This will allow the adjuster to justify giving you a low settlement offer or completely deny your claim. Do NOT sign anything from the insurance company without talking to our firm first.
Q. Should I go ahead and try to negotiate my own claim first, before hiring a lawyer?
A. No. Over the years, we have had clients ranging from experienced blue collar workers to college educated professionals who got in “over their heads” trying to handle their own accident claim. These were all intelligent people who were experienced and respected in their own fields of work. However, that does not equate to having legal experience handling automobile accident cases and the multiple areas of law that surround an auto accident case. Why would you want to gamble with your case instead of letting a competent lawyer meet with you for free to evaluate your case?
Q. I tried to handle my own claim and now I realize that I need help. Is it too late to hire your firm to help me?
A. Probably not, as long as there is not a statute of limitations issue with your claim.This happens a good bit throughout each year and we are glad to help take this burden off your shoulders. You shouldn’t be embarrassed about it and we won’t beat up on you too bad for trying to handle your own claim! However, it would be best to contact our firm before you take any other action on your claim.
Q. I see the advertisements of your competitors on television or billboards every morning and on billboards driving down the road. Can your firm provide the same level of service as your competitors?
A. Yes. Absolutely. However, you won’t see any members of our firm appearing ina commercial smashing things with sledgehammers, standing on top of a big rig, wearing boxing gloves, snapping our fingers and having a check magically appear or telling you that we’re already your lawyer. The truth of the matter is that getting a good result for a client is the direct result of hard work, knowledge, experience and dedication. It has nothing to do with the embarrassing things some lawyers will do on television to get your attention. It’s the opinion of our firm that these television antics by other lawyers “cheapen” the practice of law and these types of commercials are embarrassing and demeaning to the profession. It’s certainly not what it takes to be successful in your case and it’s not the image that we want to promote for our firm.
Q. I see advertisements for lawyers on television who have multiple office locations. Will a bigger law firm help me get a better result than your firm can get?
A. Absolutely not. Ask yourself this basic question: Unless you’re having an “out of body experience,” how can you be in more than one place at a time? I can only speak for our firm, but I will tell you that we don’t believe we cangive our full attention to 3, 4, 5, 6 or 10 office locations. Again, speaking for our firm, we refuse to compromise the level of services we offer to our clients by spreading ourselves thin while attempting to man multiple office locations.
Q. I made an appointment to speak with another law firm who I see advertising on television every morning and who’s billboards I see everywhere I go. When I go to my appointment, I did not get to meet with the lawyer I saw on television. If I make an appointment with your firm, who will I meet with?
A. Any clients scheduled to meet with an attorney will meet with James Shelnutt (who appears in a majority of the firms advertisements) or Davis Varner whose bio can also be located on the firm’s website. If you schedule an appointment with our firm, you can also request to see a specific attorney.
Q. My auto accident case is a large, serious case. Due to the severity of my case, should I go to a larger city to find representation?
A. No. Good lawyers are not defined by the geographical location of their office. Good lawyers are defined by their knowledge, experience and past results. While no firm can guarantee a particular result, our firm has extensive experience handling large cases and getting excellent results. We have the knowledge and resources needed to handle large cases ranging from surgery, to traumatic brain injury to the death of a loved one. Give yourself the benefit of meeting with one of our lawyers before spending the time and money to drive to a distant city in hopes that lawyer’s office address will get you a better result.
Q. I’ve already hired another lawyer but I’m not satisfied with that lawyer’s services. Can I hire your firm to take over my case?
A. Possibly. We often have client hire us who previously had another attorney working on their case. Whether or not we can agree to take over your case from another law firm will depend on how far along the case has come and several other factors. If you want to change lawyers, then it’s certainly worth making an appointment with our firm to discuss it.
Q. It’s a little intimidating for me to come to a lawyer’s office and be questioned about my case. Can you easy my concerns?
A. Yes. The lawyers and staff at our office are just like you with families, friends and lives of our own. We experience the same things in life that you experience. We are approachable and kind people who care about our clients and want what’s best for you and your case. You are not “just another client” and you will see that when you meet with us.
Q. What do I need to bring to my first appointment?
A. Any documents in your possession that are related to your case. This includes the accident report, medical bills (if you have them), letters from the insurance company, your personal notes, photos (if any), etc. If you do have your medical records, then please bring them. However, it’s not absolutely necessary to have your medical records for the first meeting since we will be obtaining all your medical records and bills during the course of your case.
Q. Will I need to talk to the insurance adjuster any more after I hire your firm?
A. No. Your days of arguing with an insurance adjuster are over! That’s our job. We will take over the job of fighting with the insurance company while you focus on getting better and moving on with your life.
Q. Will I get more money with an attorney?
A. One of our goals as a law firm is to get you the very best financial result that can be obtained, based off the unique facts of your individual case. While it’s been our experience that many people do get more money by hiring a lawyer, no ethical lawyer can make that guarantee to every client.
Q. What are the benefits of hiring an attorney?
A. Hiring an attorney gives you many benefits well beyond any settlement amount amount you receive. One benefit is relieving you from the stress of arguing with an insurance adjuster. We will gladly take over that burden from you. Another benefit is that you’re not having to take time from your schedule to gather medical records, get witness statements, deal with your health inurance company or do the many other things necessary to handle your claim. There is a lot of value Another benefit is the sense of security that you receive by knowing your case is being handled by competent professionals who have your interests in mind and, of course, we want to get you the best monetary result possible.
Q. Why should I hire your firm?
A. You should hire our firm for several reasons. First, we have the experience and knowledge to represent you. We have represented thousands of people in injury and death cases and have dedicated a majority of our practice to a handful of areas of law. Second, is dedication. We’re dedicated to our clients and care about our clients and their cases. We’re not influenced by what attorney or insurance company is on the opposing side of your case and we will never be “bought out.” Third, we are aggressive lawyers. While we are kind to our clients, I can guarantee you that we are not so nice to the other side. While we always strive to be professional and to conduct ourselves in a respectful manner, we don’t take anything off anyone and will not hesitate to fight for you. Finally, we want your case and are asking you to take the time to meet with us before deciding on which law firm to hire.
Q. Can you make a home or hospital visit?
A. Yes. We will be glad to come and see you. To arrange a free consultation, please contact The Shelnutt Law Firm online or call 256-547-4988 today.