Frequently Asked Questions
Larson Larimer Schneider, P.C., in Denver, CO is a full-service law firm that is here to help you. We have more than 100 years of combined experience in representing clients through a variety of cases and areas of practice. Below we have answered some questions that clients often ask, but feel free to contact us with any others you may have.
What do I do after an accident?
- If you are seriously hurt, do not move any more than necessary and wait for help to arrive.
- Locate your insurance information, registration, and identification to provide to the police and other parties involved.
- Call 911 and report the accident to the police.
- Do not speak with anyone until the police arrive.
- Once the police arrive, be truthful about what happened. If you are injured or hurt in any way, let the officers or paramedics know.
- If you have a camera available or one on your phone, take pictures to document the damages, location of vehicles, and surrounding areas.
- Obtain names and telephone numbers of any witnesses that may be present.
- Get the other driver’s insurance information.
- Notify both your insurance company as well as the other driver’s insurance company about the accident.
- Go see a doctor.
- Do not sign any documents without consulting an attorney.
- Begin documenting your injuries and how these injuries have made you feel.
Should I Speak with the Insurance Company?
Based on our experience, it is in your best interests not to speak with the insurance company until after you have hired an attorney. The reason is that, although the insurance company may sound courteous and helpful, insurance companies will document and record telephone conversations with you in an attempt to gather information or obtain statements from you that may de-value your case. Insurance companies may attempt to have you sign blanket medical releases so that they can obtain your entire medical history. The insurance company will try to use this information to point to other instances where you have seen doctors in an attempt to say your current injuries were not caused by the accident. Similarly, any statements they obtain from you will be used to lower your recovery. The insurance company may also attempt to offer you an unreasonably low settlement in a way that seems fair and equitable. In our experience, any offer they make you will be substantially less than any value you can obtain after hiring an attorney with the know-how to deal with them. The insurance company may also make you a settlement offer before you know the full extent of your injuries.
How do I Choose an Attorney?
One of the first considerations in selecting an attorney is their track record. Research the firm and find an attorney who you are comfortable with. Is your case a smaller “fender-bender”, or a more complex matter involving multiple vehicles and substantial injuries? Find an attorney who is prepared to give you the representation you need based upon the facts of your case. When selecting a lawyer, find out if you will be dealing directly with the attorney or simply a staff member.
From an interpersonal perspective, find an attorney who you’re comfortable with. Your lawyer should be willing to make the time to properly meet with you, listen to your concerns, and take the appropriate action. The lawyers at Larson Larimer Schneider, P.C., are able to handle both complex injury matters as well as the “fender bender” cases. There is an old saying in the legal field: There’s no such thing as a small case, only attorneys who are too small to take them. From a tiny slip and fall case to a major car accident to an injury caused by a defective product, there is no case too big or small for us. Let Larson Larimer Schneider, P.C. be the lawyers to aggressively represent your interests while treating you with the care and compassion you deserve.
What Happens During Our Initial Meeting?
During our initial meeting, we will spend as much time as is necessary to become familiar with the specifics of your case. During this meeting, it is useful if you already have the accident report and insurance information of the other driver as well as your own. If you have already sought medical treatment, that medical provider’s information will also be helpful. During our initial meeting, we will provide you with information about your legal rights, the strength or weaknesses of your case, details about the case process, and determine whether we will accept your case. There is never a charge for our initial consultation on a personal injury case.
How Does Your Firm Charge for Attorneys' Fees?
If you decide to hire our firm and we decide to take your case, our law firm generally will work on your personal injury case on a contingent fee basis. This means if we do not recover money damages, we do not get paid. Our payment is contingent upon you receiving a settlement or a verdict.
Who Pays for the Costs?
Costs are different than attorneys’ fees. Costs are expenses that are associated with your case, and include things such as copy charges (e.g., to obtain a copy of the police report or medical records), expert witness fees, filing fees for the court, and investigation fees. Ultimately, the client is responsible for all of the costs associated with pursuing a settlement or taking a case to trial. If we accept your case, we will typically advance minor costs such as copy fees and filing fees. Whether we are able to advance larger expenses such as expert witness fees depends on the facts of each case. We will discuss all of this with you when you first come to our office and throughout each stage of your case.
Do I Have a Case?
Whether someone has a strong personal injury case varies from incident to incident. Whether someone has a case is a fact-specific inquiry. If you would like to know more about whether you have a case or not, please call Larson Larimer Schneider or fill out the case evaluator under “Do I Have Case?” link above. While we cannot make any guarantees about whether your case will be successful, one of our experienced attorneys will be glad to speak with you about your case and your potential of recovery.
How Much is My Case Worth?
If you’ve suffered personal injuries because of someone else’s negligence, there are several ways you might be entitled to compensation. The first is what is known as “economic damages,” and includes reimbursement for lost work, loss of future ability to work, repayment of your medical bills, future medical bills, and out-of-pocket expenses associated with your injuries. You might also be entitled to “non-economic damages,” which include pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, disability, and things that are difficult to put a dollar value on. Depending on the facts of your case, your spouse may also be entitled to compensation for your loss of services and love during the time you are incapacitated.
Just as it is difficult to determine whether you have a case without speaking to an experienced attorney, it is difficult to know how much your case is worth without knowing the particulars about your case. Considerations that affect the value of your case include the degree of injury sustained, what type of work you have been doing (and are no longer able to do due to the injuries), and how your injuries will affect your life from this point forward.
The attorneys at Larson Larimer Schneider are experienced at evaluating cases and determining their value. To have your case evaluated by one of our attorneys, call us today or click on the “Do I Have A Case?” button above.
What Happens After I Hire Your Firm?
One of the reasons for hiring an attorney is to take the stress out of your life. We strive to make this process as stress-free as possible. Once you hire our firm, we do a couple of things right off the bat: We make sure you are getting the medical treatment you need. We obtain copies of the accident report and any other evidence that might be important to your case. We then investigate all potential insurance coverage and notify any insurance company involved that we represent you. Once notified, the insurance companies will no longer contact you directly and will direct their communications through our office. We will also explain that it is important that you not sign any documents that an insurance company gives you, and that you should not agree to a recorded statement without having your attorney present.
Once we have determined what types of injuries you have, and which doctors will be able to help you recover as quickly as possible, we will monitor your treatment with the doctors. We obtain your medical records and bills, and submit those to the insurance company with a letter explaining why the insurance company should pay for your damages. This settlement effort is called a “demand letter,” and is submitted to the insurance company in an effort to avoid trial. This demand letter essentially outlines to the insurance company what will be presented if the case went to trial, including our theory of liability, your injuries and medical treatment, and how this incident has affected your life.
After submitting the demand letter with supporting documentation, we will make a demand to the insurance company for a dollar amount that takes into consideration the particular facts and injuries involved in your case. If the insurance company is unwilling to settle, we will have a discussion with you about whether we should file a lawsuit on your behalf. During this discussion, we will have a conversation about whether it makes sense to take the case to trial, the costs of trial, and time involved to proceed in this manner. We outline the fairness of the settlement offer, but the decision whether to file a lawsuit will always be up to you.
What Happens If I File a Lawsuit?
If you decide to file a lawsuit, we have to serve the defendant(s) with a Summons and Complaint. The Complaint details the legal and factual basis for filing the lawsuit. The Summons requires the defendant(s) to respond to the Complaint. The defendant’s response to your legal and factual allegations is called an Answer.
After the Complaint and Answer, the discovery phase begins. The parties are allowed to ask written questions of each other to obtain information for trial. Each side has the opportunity to ask live questions under oath of the witnesses as well, in an event called a deposition.
After discovery has been completed, each side prepares for trial. Prior to trial, the parties will usually meet with an independent third-party, who will attempt to settle the case in a proceeding called mediation. If mediation is unsuccessful, the case will go to trial. The entire process could take anywhere from six months to a year-and-a-half from the date of filing the Complaint.