How Much is my Montana Injury Case Worth

People are often curious what their injury case is worth. It’s human nature, but many feel guilty for wondering – worrying that it makes them look greedy or that it will give the impression they’re lying about the pain to get more cash. Unfortunately, once people get over the hump of discomfort and ask the question, I never have a very satisfying answer for them (at least early on in the case).

Montana’s law regarding damages in personal injury and wrongful death cases involves considering a number of different factors and elements which need to be assessed at different times as the case progresses. Assuming the client hasn’t waited too long to come see me, at the time of our first meeting it is very unlikely that all those factors will be determined or knowable. And without all that information, any value on a case would just be a guess.

Imagine this scenario: a client has severely damaged his knee and is scheduled to have surgery to repair it soon. There’s no way to evaluate a claim on the knee until after the surgery and rehabilitation (and often for a while after that). For one, we have no idea what the cost of the surgery will be until after it’s completed, and that will be a part of any damages claim. Also, there’s no way to know what the surgery will discover about the knee or whether complications will arise during the surgery. Assuming there’s lost wages, presumably the client will continue to miss more work so we don’t know the total for that either. And, we have no idea what the knee will be like in the future, and whether there will be ongoing problems with it and how bad those will be.

For those reasons, and easily a dozen more, it’s usually not possible to accurately evaluate the value of a case at an initial meeting. Of course, there’s always the exception that proves the rule and occasionally someone will come in with a fully ready case where they’ve reached full recovery and the liability facts are already established. In those very rare instances, I can answer the question. But the rest of the time, we’re left with the client feeling somewhat awkward but not having learned much for the question.

But the truth is that the wait is worth it, because getting the correct answer is a lot better than some pie in the sky number I pick off the top of my head based on some other case only marginally like yours. Personal Injury cases in Montana, and across the country, are all unique and different. That makes my job interesting, but it also makes it very difficult to give concrete answers early in the case.

Kalispell Car Accident Lawyers

After a car, truck, or motorcycle accident, injury victims deserve full compensation in a timely manner. At Measure Law Office, located in Kalispell, our Montana car accident lawyers will help secure the compensation you deserve in serious injury claims. We look at aspects such as future medical treatment, physical therapy, medical equipment, prescription drugs, lost earnings, and other factors. If you’ve been involved in a traffic accident in the Flathead Valley call us today to schedule a free initial consultation.

We view the client-attorney relationship as a partnership. We provide professional legal advice and help you obtain the compensation you need and deserve. And more than that, we talk to you throughout the process. Instead of handling your claim without your input, we consider you vital to every step of the process. At Measure Law Office, it really is a team effort.

Automobile, truck, and bus accidents happen every day. But when they happen to you, or to someone you know, they change lives. And car accidents may involve more than determining fault. Your case may involve issues such as determining insurance coverage, medical expenses, wage loss and uninsured motorist (UM) and underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage. We also work with your doctors to keep your case moving smoothly, and to be certain that you receive compensation for all of your injuries, including pain and suffering, wage losses, property damages and other claims.

We know that car crashes, motorcycle wrecks and ATV accidents change hundreds of lives every year. Victims may be killed or suffer debilitating injury, such as traumatic brain injury, brain damage, spinal cord injury, paraplegia, quadriplegia and paralysis.

If you’ve been involved in a Kalispell car accident, call me today at 406-752-6373 to schedule a free consultation and learn more about your options.

Can I Fire My Personal Injury Lawyer?

Yes. You can always fire your lawyer. It’s a basic tenants of legal ethics that an attorney, and that includes injury attorneys and accident lawyers, can be fired by the client at any time and for any reason. Don’t let anyone ever tell you something different.

But there’s a catch (isn’t there always?). You may owe your attorney for the work he’s done up to that point. This can come as a major shock to injury clients who believed that the attorney was working for free. The fact is that your attorney wasn’t really working for free, he was just working for deferred compensation. And in all fairness, he is entitled to be paid for the work that he’s done. Of course, you may be firing him precisely because he hasn’t done any work – so the value of the work performed can be a contentious issue.

What often happens is that the client finds a new lawyer who negotiates a reasonable division of the contingency fee for the work that was already performed. The problem with this scenario is that it reduces the ultimate payment to your new attorney, so it may be difficult to find a new lawyer. And remember, it’s not ok for a lawyer to discuss the substance of your case while you’re represented by someone else.

That’s why it’s so important to choose a good lawyer from the start. Take the time to choose someone who will take an active role in your case and return your phone calls. I’ve preached about this before, but I can’t encourage you enough to interview different Montana injury lawyers before you make your final decision. Getting good representation from the start is one of the best things you can do for your case.

Montana Trucking Accidents and Fatalities

Too many horrible personal injury cases occur because of dangerous trucking accidents in Montana. Most truckers are professional drivers and act accordingly. But like any profession, a few bad apples can make everyone look bad. And when driving massive machines like big-rig trucks, a bad driver can cause a huge amount of risk to Montanans across the state.

Federal regulations limit the number of hours that truckers can drive, and driving over these limits leads to accidents because of fatigue and exhaustion. Unfortunately, that doesn’t stop some people from breaking the rules for a little temporary gain. And that can lead to families being torn apart by catastrophic, debilitating injuries that result in permanent disabilities for innocent victims whose only crime was sharing the road with an over-tired trucker.

If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident with a trucking company, it’s important to see an accident attorney as quickly as possible. We can help you get the information you need to prove that the trucker was fatigued or negligent in his driving.

Even if you’re not sure that you need a lawyer to represent you in a trucking accident claim, why not call for a free consultation to discuss your specific situation and learn more about your options. The meeting is free and there’s no obligation. Ever.

If you’ve been injured in a trucking accident in Montana, you may have a legitimate claim. There is a statute of limitations so it’s important that you act quickly to preserve your right to compensation for your injuries. Call us today at (406) 752-6373 to discuss your options.

The Cost of a Montana Injury Lawyer

Like most Montana injury attorneys, I work on a contingency fee. This means that my payment is a percentage of what I recover for my client. If I am unable to get any recovery for my clients injuries, I don’t get paid. And the more my client gets the more I get. It keeps our interests aligned, and prevents my clients from having to pay huge attorneys fees while pursuing an injury claim.

But before you sign on with any lawyer, especially an injury lawyer, you need to understand exactly how the lawyer’s fee is calculated. For example, costs are an important consideration. Costs are things that I pay for while pursuing your claim. It may be a court’s filing fee if we file a lawsuit, or the cost of medical records, or the payment to the Court reporter who transcribed a deposition. In my retainer agreement, those costs are deducted off the top of any recovery. Then my fee is calculated on the remainder. I think this is the fairest way to do it because it means my client and I share the costs in proportion to the agreement.¬†Once the costs have been deducted, my fee is 1/3 of the recovery and my client receives the other 2/3.

The major benefit of the contingency fee is in access to justice. An attorneys hourly rate in Montana generally starts at $150/hour and goes up quickly from there. And the time required to finish an injury case would mean it could cost you a massive amount of money to get any sort of recovery in your case. But with the contingency fee, you don’t have to pay a thing unless your injury attorney is able to secure compensation for your damages.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, you need to talk to a Montana injury attorney about your accident. And you shouldn’t be embarrassed or nervous to interview the attorney in the same way he is interviewing you. Ask how the fee system works. Ask how costs will be handled. See how the math plays out. It’s an important decision, take the time to make the right one.

Do You Need a Lawyer for Your Montana Accident Case?

While I may earn a living as a Montana accident attorney, I often recommend that people I meet with not hire me for their injury case. Why? Because the truth is that not every injury case requires a lawyer. HOWEVER, the only way to know that is to meet with a Montana injury lawyer and discuss your case. That’s exactly why I offer a free initial meeting with individuals who have been injured in an accident. I want you to be able to make an informed decision about hiring me or any other injury lawyer before you commit.

Like most Montana injury lawyers, I work on a contingency fee basis. This means that I only get paid if you recover damages in your case, and I am paid out of those proceeds. However, with smaller cases, once you factor in the costs of the suit, and take out my share – it may leave a very small amount left for you, the person who was actually injured. In cases like that, with smaller damages and relatively clear liability, it may be better for you to represent yourself. But the only way we can know for sure is if you schedule a meeting to discuss the specifics of your case.

On the other hand, it’s important to remember that a recent nationwide survey recently found that people represented by attorneys recover (on average) 300% more than people who are not represented. Even with my fee taken out, you would still recover more money with my help than going it alone if those figures held true in your case. That’s why it’s so important for an injury lawyer to evaluate your specific case and advise you personally.

If you’ve been injured in an accident, please call me today at (406) 752-6373 to schedule your free meeting so that we can discuss your case and your options going forward. Know your rights, know the law, and make an informed decision.

Hiring the Right Montana Accident Lawyer for You

If you’ve been injured and are considering hiring a Montana injury lawyer, it’s a decision to take seriously. This is a person you will be working closely with for a long time in stressful and important times. You need to trust that your injury lawyer is working for your best interests. More than that, you need to KNOW that he will work hard and get you the best possible result.

But how do you do that? Here’s a hint: it may not be the first injury that you talk to. And that’s ok. Like me, most Montana injury lawyers offer a free first meeting. You should take advantage of this to meet different attorneys and find one that fits you. It’s like hiring a new employee or choosing a spouse – be picky, you’re going to be stuck with this person for a while.

But the reality is that for many people, choosing their injury lawyer will be their first contact with the legal system. If you’ve been injured, you may not have worked with a lawyer before, so how do you choose the right one for you. Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Ask family and friends for recommendations. We all know someone who has worked with a lawyer before. Find someone who had a great experience. That lawyer may not practice as a Montana injury attorney, but he can probably point you in the direction of someone he trusts. And that’s a great first step.
  2. Find someone who specializes in injury law. The reality of practicing in Montana is that lawyers tend to wear many different hats. Ideally, you want someone who devotes time and energy to injury law. While just about any lawyer in Montana would be willing to take your case, it doesn’t mean they study the cases and stay current on the law. In fact, you may even be able to find an attorney that specializes in your specific type of injury. This goes back to my suggestion that you interview different attorneys. It’s also worth asking any injury lawyer you interview whether they know of anyone who focuses more directly on your injury.
  3. Consult the attorneys website and written publications. A glitzy website and an alphabet of academic credentials do not make a lawyer good, but they may give you more information about the person you are considering hiring. A lawyer who shares his thoughts and expertise with the world is giving you a free preview of their work. Take advantage. See what they’ve written, you’ll be surprised how much you can learn.
  4. Ask the bar. The Montana Bar Association has a free service for referring clients to lawyers who practice in certain areas. While this certainly won’t guarantee a good lawyer, it’s a better place to start than the yellow pages in my opinion. You can also check with the bar to find out whether an attorney has been disciplined or suspended. Remember, knowledge is power.
  5. Interview them. Like I said before, most Montana injury attorneys offer a free initial consultation. Take advantage of this time to interview the lawyer in the same way that he’s interviewing you. You don’t have to hire the first person that you talk to, and you may not want to. But at least use the time to inform yourself about the person you’re giving intimate access to.

The bottom line is that hiring a lawyer to represent you in a personal injury case is an important decision, but a difficult one to make. Take your time and do it right the first time, you’ll be glad you did.