Monthly Archives: January 2016

8 Things to Consider When Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney

When you are injured as a result of somebody’s negligence, you could find yourself facing high medical bills and other expenses. Fortunately, you have the option of filing a personal injury claim to receive compensation for these expenses. Although it is certainly possible to file a personal injury claim on your own, you stand a much greater chance of recovering an adequate compensation amount if you work with an experienced personal injury attorney. How do you know if a particular attorney is right for you? Keep the following in mind:

Do you Feel Comfortable Speaking with the Attorney?

Your attorney is somebody you will be working very closely with throughout the personal injury claim process. He or she should be somebody you feel you can speak with openly and express your feelings and concerns.

Did you Meet the Attorney in Person?

If you cannot arrange an in-person meeting with a prospective attorney, work with somebody else. Your attorney should make your case a priority and if he or she cannot spare time to meet with you for a consultation, he or she will likely be unable to make time to see you while your claim is pending.

Did you Receive a Price Quote During your Consultation?

If an attorney is unwilling to discuss his or her price or billing method, do not work with him or her. Some attorneys bill by the hour and others work on contingency – ask your attorney which method he or she uses during your consultation. If he or she works on contingency, he or she will receive a portion of your settlement. Find out the percentage he or she receives from clients’ settlements. If your attorney bills by hour, ask for an approximate price quote.

Does the Attorney Follow Up your Emails and Phone Calls?

Similarly to being able to meet you in person, your attorney should make time to communicate with you. Although your attorney is busy and might not be able to respond immediately to your calls and messages, he or she should reply to them in a timely manner.

What is the Attorney’s Previous Record Like?

Your attorney should be willing to discuss his or her previous record with you. Ask about both successful and unsuccessful cases and listen to how he or she discusses them with you. Listen for insight and introspection, rather than bragging or making excuses for unsuccessful cases.

Were you Promised a Specific Outcome?

Your attorney should never promise that you will win your case or that you will win a specific amount of money. There are no guarantees in law, and if you are given a guarantee, you are not working with an honest attorney.

Does the Attorney have Experience Handling Cases Like yours?

You might meet a personal injury attorney who has a great record with car accident cases, but no experience handling dog bite claims. Consider working with this attorney if you were involved in a car accident, but if you were bitten by a dog, move on. Personal injury is a broad area of law and if you can find an attorney who has experience handling your specific type of claim, you have a much greater chance of seeing a favorable settlement.

Work with an Appleton Personal Injury Lawyer

Choosing the right personal injury attorney to handle your case can mean the difference between having your claim rejected and receiving an appropriate settlement amount for your losses. Contact our team of Green Bay car accident lawyers at Hammett, Bellin, & Oswald, LLC to schedule your initial legal consultation with our team.

Changes are Coming to How Wisconsin Courts Prosecute Bodily Injury Claims

We live in a constantly-evolving society. When new technology and cultural trends make old laws and procedures feel inadequate or even inappropriate, our legislators work to create new laws that better fit with our changed reality. This happens at all levels of government – municipal, state, and federal level laws are subject to amendments, repeals, and new legislation to clarify or update old laws.

In Wisconsin, new legislation has been proposed this year to change how claims of bodily injury are prosecuted. If passed, this legislation will change how personal injury claims are handled. One of the most critical changes with this legislation is the change to the collateral source rule, which could make it more difficult for personal injury victims to recover full damages for their losses. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident caused by another party’s negligence, work with an attorney who is aware of how these changes can affect your claim.

The Collateral Source Rule

One of the most significant changes to come with this proposed legislation is a change to Wisconsin’s collateral source rule. Traditionally, the collateral source rule states that when an individual is injured in an accident caused by another party’s negligence, the compensation that the injured party received from his or her own health insurance provider cannot be used to reduce the amount of money the negligent party must pay to the victim. In other words, a negligent party may be required to pay “sticker price” for a victim’s injuries, even if the total expense experienced by the victim is below that number because of the benefits he or she receives.

The proposed changes of AB539 would alter this to allow fact finders involved in personal injury cases to consider evidence of these benefits, known as collateral source payments, and evidence of the insured’s subrogation requirements when determining a compensation amount. Admission of this type of evidence may be used to refute that the amount of money a claimant is seeking is reasonable for his or her losses. It does not make statements for the exact amount of money paid by the claimant or the amount of compensation he or she received as collateral source benefits admissible. In short, this gives defendants a better ability to gauge the amount of money a claimant is seeking for his or her personal injury damages.

Work with an Experienced Appleton Personal Injury Lawyer

If you have been injured in an accident, you need to work with an experienced Green Bay personal injury lawyer to get the monetary compensation you deserve. A competent personal injury attorney is well-versed on the changing legislation and the laws applicable to his or her clients’ cases. This is why it is critical that you work with a bodily injury attorney at Hammett, Bellin & Oswald, LLC – we stay up to date on Wisconsin’s evolving laws to serve you best. Do not wait to schedule your initial legal consultation with our firm.