Personal Injury Common Questions
What can I expect my attorney to do?
Your attorney should be there to answer your questions and concerns. Most of the time you will contact an attorney by phone to set up a consultation to review your case. When you call the Law Offices of Peter A. Jouras, Jr. the first person you may talk to is the attorney’s legal assistant. He or she will answer some of your basic questions, gather some information from you to consider whether your case can be handled by the firm, and set up a time for you to come in and consult with the attorney regarding your case.
Once you have retained an attorney to handle your case you should expect that the attorney will keep you informed about the progress of your case and any settlement offers that are made.
What are the costs involved in having an attorney help me with my case and when do I need to pay?
Most plaintiff attorneys work on what is called a contingency fee. Meaning they get paid at the resolution of your case. This is of great benefit to most people who otherwise could not afford to hire an attorney to help them
What am I supposed to do while my attorney is handling my case?
The most important thing you can do while your claim is pending is to follow the recommendations of your medical doctor and the treatment plan recommended to you. The value of your case will in part be tied to the type, duration and frequency of the medical treatment you receive.
What do I tell other people regarding my case?
It is best while your claim is pending not to talk about your case with anyone but your immediate family members. If someone asks you how your case is going the best answer is to tell them that you are concentrating on getting better and you are leaving the details about the outcome of your case to your attorney.
How long will it take to resolve my case?
This varies from case to case. There is no timeline that can be given, but in general it will take at least a couple months for your attorney to collect your medical records and do a preliminary investigation of your claim. Once this is accomplished your attorney will typically make a demand on the insurance carrier on your behalf to compensate you for your injuries, physical pain, emotional suffering, lost wages and any future care you may need. This will likely be followed by a lengthy negotiation process in which both sides try to reach an agreement on the value of your damages.
Will my case have to go to trial?
The great majority of cases resolve without going to trial and many resolve without a lawsuit ever being filed. Only you and your attorney can make the decision whether continuing your case to trial is in your best interest. If your case does go to trial you can expect that your attorney will do everything they can to make sure you are well prepared.
Bankruptcy Common Questions
Do I have to go in front of a judge and say why I am filing for bankruptcy?
No. In both Kansas and Missouri you will have to take an oath in front of a court-appointed representative called a trustee who will administer your bankruptcy estate. They can question you about your reasons for filing, but typically they do not. Their main job is to make sure you disclosed all your assets and listed all your debts.
If I file bankruptcy will I lose my house and car?
Not usually. Each state defines what is needed for a fresh financial start. Both Kansas and Missouri provide exemptions which you can use to protect certain assets, like a house or car, up to a certain amount. You should consult an attorney to determine what exemptions you qualify for.
Is there a minimum amount of debt that I have to have in order to file for bankruptcy?
There is no minimum amount of debt you need to have to file for bankruptcy relief. In general the courts look at your ability to repay the debt you owe in determining which chapter of bankruptcy you need to file, not whether you have enough debt to file.
How will bankruptcy affect my ability to get credit in the future?
Credit reporting agencies will keep the bankruptcy on your credit report for ten years. However, in general, most lenders tend to focus on the last two years of your credit history to determine whether you are a good risk for a loan. Thus, it is important following the conclusion of your bankruptcy case that you work to re-establish a good credit history by showing consistent on-time payments.
How much will it cost me to have an attorney file a bankruptcy for me?
This will vary depending on the attorney you choose to handle your case. Whomever you choose you should ask to see a contract before hiring him or her so that you understand what you are being charged and what services those charges cover.
Can I file bankruptcy without the help of an attorney?
Yes. This is called filing pro se. However, be warned that bankruptcy law is complex and not easy to understand. If you do not file the correct paperwork your case can be dismissed which can have significant consequences if you are facing a foreclosure or garnishment. Also most court personnel will be unable to give you legal advice on what to do. Thus, if you are considering filing for bankruptcy on your own because you do not think you can afford an attorney, think about contacting your local legal aid service to see if they can help. Many times such places offer sliding scale services based on what you can afford to pay. Also do not rule out the help of an attorney. Many attorneys offer free consultations and some will allow you to put down a retainer and then make payments over time.
Didn’t find the answer?
Everyone at some point in their lives likely faces a question which requires legal guidance. The Law Offices of Peter A. Jouras, Jr. never charge for a consultation and most cases are taken on a contingency fee basis which means you do not pay unless we recover compensation for you. Other cases are taken on a clear flat fee basis so you know exactly what legal representation will cost and you can make an informed decision.