Questions You May Have Before Hiring Our Law Firm
Hiring a personal injury and wrongful death attorney is a deeply personal decision, one that should be made with considered care and reasoned analysis. As such, a potential client deserves to have his or her questions answered before choosing our firm or any other firm for representation. Accordingly, we have attempted below to answer some frequently asked questions from potential clients. Should you have any other questions, as we would be glad to provide any supplemental information you may need.
We do not charge for initial consultations. Moreover, we do not charge attorney’s fees for our investigation of your case after an initial consultation either.
Our fees vary from case to case, and depend upon numerous factors such as what type of case is involved, the facts of that case, how costly or difficult that case will be to litigate, and the law applicable to the situation.
Yes. We work almost exclusively under contingency fee arrangements for our injury and wrongful death cases. Under a contingency fee arrangement, the client is not obligated to pay any attorney’s fees unless and until money damages are recovered as a result of a settlement, verdict, judgment or other resolution. Our written agreement would make clear what percentage our firm would be paid in attorney’s fees. If the case is not meritorious or if no recovery is obtained, then no attorney fees shall be owed to our firm.
Many times, defendants in civil cases are large corporations or institutions which have insurance policies that pay for the defense of civil claims. Neither these defendants nor their insurance companies want to pay judgments or settlements, and they can afford very good attorneys to vigorously defend their interests, making lawsuits lengthy and difficult for the plaintiff. Because of their injuries and financial losses, many victims of negligence cannot afford to pay an attorneys thousands of dollars to pursue costly lawsuits, especially those which might require experts and which years of protracted, contentious litigation. Contingent fee arrangements allow plaintiffs to pursue justice in their cases without going bankrupt in the process. If the case is not meritorious, the client owes no attorney fees.
We practice exclusively in the areas of personal injury, wrongful death and probate. We only represent plaintiffs and petitioners in our practice areas. We have never and will never represent or defend insurance companies. Our firm does not practice in any other areas of the law. In Atlanta and throughout Georgia, we routinely represent serious injury victims and families in wrongful death matters arising from automobile accidents, tractor trailer wrecks, drunk driving accidents, commercial vehicles accidents, vicious animal attacks, inadequate security, dangerous drugs or medical devices, defective products, and premises liability. We have developed our practice for nearly two decades in these legal areas by focusing on these types of cases.
Only a judge or jury can ultimately determine whether or not your case is meritorious. Not all accidents result in successful civil cases, and sometimes an accident occurs without blameworthy conduct warranting a legal claim or litigation. Many times, there is a clear legal violation of the law but insufficient damages to bring legal action. Other times, there can be serious damages but the potential defendant enjoys an immunity, statutory protection or other legal defense.
Accordingly, the question of whether an injured victim has a meritorious case is determined based upon the facts and evidence of the event which caused the injury and the statutes and other laws applicable to that factual scenario. Each case is dependent upon the particular facts and how the law applies to those facts. Many times the question of whether a case should be pursued is a simple one and other times it is a very complex question. Part of our role is to gather the facts from the client and analyze those facts in the context of our knowledge and experience and the prevailing legal environment. We perform this analysis as part of our services, and we do not charge any attorney’s fees for this initial evaluation.
We serve all counties and cities in Georgia. We regularly handle cases throughout Atlanta and Fulton County, Gwinnett County, DeKalb County, Cobb County, Walton County, Jackson County, Cherokee County, Clarke County, Clayton County, Douglas County, Hall County, Henry County and Rockdale County. And, we often handle cases in other areas of Georgia including Athens, Winder, Suwanee, Duluth, Decatur, Dalton, Gainesville, Augusta, Rome, Cartersville, Dahlonega, Augusta, Newnan, LaGrange, Toccoa, Commerce, Statesboro, Conyers, Griffin, Peachtree City, Macon, Warner Robins, Milledgeville, Columbus, Albany, Savannah, and Brunswick. We practice law state-wide and accept cases from all areas of Georgia.
Yes. We have represented several clients in Alabama, Texas, Florida, Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina. We have also handled cases in other states too and will consider taking a case in any other state in the United States.
Yes. We handle such representations quite often. We have represented clients from as far away as Alaska and Hawaii. We represent several clients who presently live in other states who retained our firm because of an accident or death that occurred in Georgia. Also, we have represented individuals who needed to file suit against an individual or company in Georgia. We can represent out-of-state clients on matters which involve death or injuries that occurred in Georgia, and we are willing to consider traveling to your location in another state to discuss your case.
Yes. Ideally, we would prefer to meet with you face-to-face at our offices where we have the facilities and personnel to analyze your case fully at an initial consultation. However, if travel is not possible because of one’s serious injuries or other infirmities, then we will travel to your location to meet with you.
No. We have never and will never represent any insurance company.
No. Our firm is not a general practice firm. We limit our practice to our specialty areas so that we can focus intensely on mastering only those practice areas.
Attorney Charles Scholle will handle your case. Our firm has excellent paralegals and investigators who will conduct some of the routine data collection and investigation, but Charles Scholle will personally consult with you on all substantive matters in your case.
Yes. There time limits called “statutes of limitation” and vary from state to state depending upon the type of cases.
Statistically, the vast majority of cases are settled out of court. Sometimes, a case is only settled after a formal lawsuit is filed. We work with you to determine what the best means to pursue your case, whether through litigation or settlement. We typically make an effort to settle the case prior to filing suit. However, the determination as to whether and when to resolve a case is a decision for the client who can, of course, seek our recommendation.
The client always makes the decision concerning accepting a settlement or trying a case. We offer our advice and counsel on these matters, but the client makes the final determination.
The time required to resolve a case varies. In some cases, it could be a matter of weeks or months. In other cases, resolution could take much longer, even years, especially if the case is litigated. Several factors influence the case resolution process, including how the type of case, the complexity of the case, the aggressiveness of the defense, the county of venue, the judge, the caseload of the court and other factors. Sometimes, the case takes a long time because the client has high expectations as to his or her damages. Most of the factors which effect how long it will take are largely out of the control of the plaintiff or attorneys representing the plaintiff. We can typically advise the client of these factors while the case is pending.
There are two categories of compensatory damages, special damages and general damages.
Special damages are those that can be proved with actual, quantifiable, monetary amounts such as a lost earnings or income, medical expenses (ie. ambulance bill, hospital/doctor bills, physical therapy, home nursing care or rehab services, etc.), charges for the purchase of prosthetic devices or other medical products, charges for psychological counseling, and/or the costs to hire someone to perform housekeeping services which the injured party cannot perform. The plaintiff can seek to recover past special damages as well as those which she reasonably believes will be incurred in the future. “Special” damages can sometimes be referred to as “economic” damages in Georgia.
General damages are for items which cannot be quantified in monetary terms, including:
- pain and suffering;
- anguish, mental suffering, anxiety and inconvenience;
- scarring, disfigurement or physical deformity;
- physical disability;
- loss of ability to labor or earn a living;
- loss of consortium.
For general damages, the amount of recovery is subjective and is based on the “enlightened conscience of impartial jurors.” Like special damages, general damages can be recovered for the past and the future.