Experienced Springfield Litigation Attorneys
Our firm's diverse practice areas include personal injury and wrongful death resulting from auto accidents, medical negligence, birth injury, personal injury caused by defective products, and employment-related issues such as workers' compensation and workplace discrimination or harassment. We receive many questions from people who need straight, honest answers. This page includes a few of the most common questions our firm receives everyday. Contact us with questions about your specific legal matter.
How much will it cost me to hire an attorney?
We handle the majority of our personal injury and medical malpractice cases by a contingent fee arrangement.
What is a contingent fee arrangement?
The client only pays an attorney's fee if the attorney is successful in obtaining a recovery for the client. The fee is typically a percentage of the recovery obtained through settlement or trial.
What should I bring with me to the first meeting?
Anything that may help your attorney more completely understand the facts of your case. This includes letters, reports, medical records, and/or photos relating to the incident. There is no danger in bringing too much information to the first meeting. In fact, your attorney needs all of the information available to you in order to properly analyze your case.
What is a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
A civil lawsuit brought by an individual who has been physically and/or emotionally injured by another. Personal injuries can be caused in a multitude of ways; dangerous conditions on property, product defects, and negligent operation of automobiles, just to name a few.
Is it possible to settle a Civil Lawsuit Without a Trial?
Yes, in fact the vast majority of cases settle without the need for a trial. However, there is often extensive discovery conducted before a settlement can be reached.
What is Discovery?
Discovery is the period after a civil lawsuit is filed, but before a trial takes place, when the parties to the lawsuit "discover" evidence relevant to the case. Evidence is discovered through devices such as interrogatories (written questions submitted by one party to the other to be answered under oath), requests for production (written requests for documents submitted by one party to the other), and/or depositions of the parties, witnesses and/or experts. The parties may also request admissions from one another, or examinations or inspections, depending on the facts of the particular case.
Is there a limited amount of time to file a lawsuit?
Yes, each type of case is governed by a specific statute of limitation. However, there are exceptions to nearly every statute of limitation. For example, a medical negligence action must generally be filed within two years of the negligence by the healthcare provider. That time may be extended if the patient was under the "continuing care" of the healthcare provider under certain circumstances. Similarly, an individual involved in a motor vehicle accident generally has five years from the date of the accident in which to file a lawsuit. However, if the individual was under eighteen at the time of the accident, the individual would have five years from the date of his or her eighteenth birthday in which to file a civil lawsuit.
What is Medical Negligence?
Medical negligence (or medical malpractice) is one type of personal injury claim. Medical providers are required by law to provide their services within an accepted "standard of care." When a patient is harmed because a medical provider failed to act within the accepted standard of care, the patient has right to recover damages from the healthcare provider.
How do I know if I Have a Medical Malpractice Case?
Medical negligence cases can be extremely complicated. This type of case often involves a review by experts in various medical specialties before a determination can be made as to whether a bad healthcare result occurred because your particular medical provider deviated from the accepted standard of care, or some other reason. We employ nurses who assist us in evaluating potential medical negligence cases.
Can I get copies of my Medical Records?
Under Federal law, you are entitled to obtain copies of your own medical records. However, the entity providing those records is entitled to charge a "reasonable" fee for materials and time spent copying the records for you.
What types of damages can be recovered in a medical negligence action?
In a medical negligence action, there are various types of damages that you may be able to recover. Generally those damages are categorized as follows:
- Past Economic (e.g. past medical bills, past lost earnings);
- Past Non-Economic (e.g. past pain and suffering, including emotional distress and loss of enjoyment of life)
- Future Economic (e.g. future anticipated medical bills based and lost earnings over the course of your work expectancy);
- Future Non-Economic (e.g. future pain and suffering, including emotional distress and loss of enjoyment of life).
Should I call the Police If An Accident Occurs?
Absolutely. The responding officer will prepare an accident report. As part of that process, the officer will take statements from the other driver and/or witnesses, will record the weather conditions, the road conditions, visibility, and the personal information of the other driver, including the driver's insurance information. This information can prove extremely important when and if it becomes necessary to file a civil lawsuit.
Should I report the accident to my insurance company if I don't think I was at fault?
Yes. Even though you do not think you were at fault, that does not mean the other driver (or a court) will agree. As a participant, you may not be in the best position to make that call. Reporting any auto accident to your insurer is important for many reasons, not the least of which is the fact that YOUR policy almost certainly requires you to do so regardless of who you think was at fault. Don't risk losing your coverage simply because you were mistaken about who or what caused the accident.
Should I go to the Doctor?
Even if you don't think you're seriously injured, it is always a good idea to see a doctor following an auto accident. The doctor may simply confirm that you're not seriously injured, leaving you no worse off than the cost of an office exam. However, doctors are trained to diagnose and treat conditions and injuries caused by traumatic events such as auto collisions before they begin to cause extreme pain and discomfort. If you feel minor pain or discomfort initially, but wait until the discomfort or pain becomes unbearable before seeking treatment, the other driver's insurance company will almost certainly dispute that your condition was caused by the accident due to the lapse of time between the two.
What Should I take pictures of?
The scene of the accident, the damage to the vehicles, any visible signs of your injuries, and any witnesses to the accident, including the other driver.
Should I discuss the accident with the other driver's insurance company before I talk to an attorney?
How much do you charge to talk to me about whether I have a case?
What if I was partly to blame for the accident?
You may still be entitled to a recovery from the other driver based on his or her percentage of fault for your total injuries.
Springfield Attorneys Serving Clients Throughout Southwestern Missouri
From offices in Springfield, we advise and represent clients in communities throughout southwestern Missouri. Hall Ansley Rodgers & Sweeney, PC, offices are open normal business hours Monday through Friday, and we accept evening and weekend consultations by special arrangement.
Contact us to arrange a consultation with an attorney practicing in your area of legal need today.