Frequently Asked Questions
The following are some of the questions most commonly asked of our attorneys, followed by general answers that may or may not relate to your case specifically. For more detailed answers to any legal questions you might have, or for an evaluation of your individual case, please contact Foley Law Firm, serving Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania, today.
How Soon After an Accident Should I Contact an Attorney?
People are almost always unprepared for accidents when they occur. When serious injury or death results from someone else’s negligent actions, most victims and their families are overwhelmed by the economic, emotional, physical, and psychological hardships that they have to face as a result. It is understandable that, in the face of all this, many people either postpone contacting an attorney or decide that accepting a lesser settlement is preferable to pursuing legal action. Unfortunately, either course of action can lead to a forfeiture of the injured party’s legal right to fair and just compensation.
The right to take legal action against a negligent party following an injury is not an indefinite one. Injured parties must file a claim within the time limit prescribed by the statute of limitations relevant to their particular case. These time limits can vary depending on the type of claim that is being filed, but they generally range from one to two years. While this may seem like a reasonable length of time to ponder your options, it can pass quickly. Once the statute of limitations expires, injury victims and their families permanently lose their right to seek compensation under the law. Depending on the type of case, other, even shorter time limitations to file a claim may apply.
If you or someone you love has been seriously injured, or if you have lost a loved one and think you may have a wrongful death claim, you should consult a qualified, experienced attorney as soon as possible, even if you aren’t sure that you want to pursue legal action. It is important to remember that consulting with an attorney does not obligate you to move forward with litigation and will, in fact, cost you nothing. The purpose of the consultation is to advise you of all your legal options so that you can make more confident, informed decisions regarding your course of action. Without knowing your options, you may end up losing rights that you never even knew you had.
Many times, insurance companies and other representatives of those responsible for serious injuries will contact victims and their families immediately following an accident. Naturally, they will try to discourage these victims from consulting with or securing the services of an attorney, often by suggesting that taking legal action is too costly and time consuming to be worth the effort. They try to pressure victims into negotiations for which they are not prepared and into accepting settlement offers far below what they are entitled to. Before entering into any discussion of your injuries with an insurance or some other representative of the negligent party, you should always contact an attorney.
At Foley Law Firm, we will gladly evaluate your case and honestly advise you of its merits. We will acquaint you with all of your legal options and openly tell you whether we believe it would be wise to move forward with litigation. To schedule a consultation with one of our experienced, knowledgeable personal injury attorneys, please contact Foley Law Firm, Serving Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania today.
What Is a Contingency Fee?
Most attorneys handle personal injury cases on a contingency basis, meaning that the client does not pay attorney’s fees unless there is a recovery. The contingency fee is based upon a flat percentage of any award, whether by verdict or settlement, and is agreed upon before the litigation process takes place. At Foley Law Firm, we provide our clients and prospective clients with straightforward information about fees during their initial consultations. All fee agreements will be put in writing prior to filing a claim so that clients will not be faced with any “hidden” fees at the conclusion of the case. Aside from the attorney’s fees, there may be other fees for which clients are responsible, depending on the circumstances of the case and the type of claim being filed. To schedule an evaluation of your specific case, please contact Foley Law Firm today.
How Is Liability Determined in Accident Cases? Can I Be Compensated If the Accident Was Partially My Fault?
In most injury cases, liability is incurred by the party or parties whose conduct or actions were found to have been negligent. Negligence occurs whenever the party or parties responsible for the injury acted outside the standard of “ordinary reasonable” people. This standard is, of course, relative; an “ordinary reasonable” physician or nurse will be held to a different standard than an “ordinary reasonable” layperson who injures someone while administering emergency CPR. In certain injury cases, particularly product liability cases, the doctrine of strict liability may come into play. In such cases, it is not necessary to demonstrate specifically that the party or parties responsible for the injury were negligent; the fact that an injury ensued and the cause of the injury is clear may be evidence enough of liability.
In the state of Pennsylvania, it is possible under the doctrine of comparative negligence to file a personal injury claim even if you were partially at fault for the accident. However, if it is determined that your share of the negligence exceeds 50%, you are not eligible for compensation. If your share of the negligence is 50% or less, any award you receive will be reduced accordingly.
What Is the Likelihood of My Case Settling Before It Goes to Trial?
You should always be wary of attorneys that make reaching an out-of-court settlement their primary goal. To that end, it is a good idea to examine any attorney’s trial record before deciding to retain his or her services. At Foley Law Firm, we have a history of taking cases to trial whenever it is in the best interests of our clients. We determine in advance of filing a claim what a fair and reasonable recovery would be based on the specific circumstances of the case. If this recovery can be achieved through settlement, so be it. If, however, the only way to ensure a fair conclusion for our clients is to present the case in front of a jury, we will do so aggressively and with commitment. We trust in the ability of juries to make difficult, just decisions, as well as in our own ability to present the strongest case possible on behalf of our clients.
Is It Necessary to Hire an Attorney to Obtain the Compensation I Deserve?
Many people believe that they can maximize their recovery by filing claims on their own behalves. More often than not, this is a dubious idea. Often, cases that appear simple on the surface are surprisingly complicated, bringing into play statutes and laws with which most people are unfamiliar. Only attorneys with experience in complex litigation are truly qualified to handle serious injury claims.
Does Foley Law Firm Handle Types of Cases Not Listed on This Website?
Foley Law Firm has extensive experience handling the full range of cases involving catastrophic personal injury and wrongful death. We are able to offer superior representation by staying abreast of trends and changes in the legal field and by constantly updating our skills and knowledge. Our attorneys are willing to consider any case involving serious personal injury or wrongful death, including those not listed specifically on this site and those without clear precedent. If you have been seriously injured or have lost someone you love, and you feel that someone else’s negligence was responsible for your damages, Foley Law Firm would be pleased to evaluate your case.