Hiring an Attorney:
Choosing a law firm is an important, and personal decision. With seemingly endless TV ads for firms in and around the Atlanta area, your selection can be a bit overwhelming. What you can’t glean from those ads is how they regard the personal aspects of an attorney-client relationship – and you can’t ask a TV ad some simple questions. If you’re looking for a Personal Injury attorney, give our office a call and we will provide the service you want and deserve. You will speak with Ron Smith directly and experience, first hand, our commitment to treating you with dignity, respect and compassion. (Visit our “Testimonials” page to read what our clients are saying.)
After our initial case consultation, we will prepare a contract, which you can sign electronically or in person, formalizing our representation. From the moment we receive your signed contract, you can put your mind at ease because you’ll have us by your side until your case is resolved. Within a week or so, we will send you our “Welcome” binder packed with information and folders to help you collect and keep track of bills, records, receipts, etc.
Investigation and Preparation:
While you focus on recovering from your injuries, we will immediately start gathering information and evidence to form the building blocks of your case. This typically starts with finding and notifying the defendants that you are pursuing a claim, contacting any witnesses for additional insight about the incident, and sending Letters of Representation to parties and providers connected with your case. An effective investigation starts with an experienced legal team, who know what questions to ask and to whom they should be asked. Here is a sample of the evidence we collect:
During the investigation stage and throughout your case, we are managing the complexities that come with it, juggling ongoing interaction with the many people, companies and organizations involved in building an injury case. This includes: defendants, witnesses, other parties to your claim, insurance companies, defense attorneys, medical providers, physical therapists, process servers, police departments, ambulance companies, court reporters, mediators, judges, clerks of court, cell phone providers, product experts, and accident reconstructionists – just to name a few. We will also ask you for information that your case binder will help you keep track of.
After you have completed all medical treatment and are released from care by your doctors, we begin the negotiation process for settlement. We will review all of your medical records, medical bills, prescription receipts, and lost wages documentation to calculate your monetary losses and talk with you to determine total damages for which we will demand.
Next, we prepare a demand package to send to the insurance company initiating negotiations. The demand package includes a letter explaining your case and the amount we are demanding on your behalf, along with all the evidence supporting it. Once the insurance company receives this information, an adjuster will evaluate our demand and respond with an initial offer. As most negotiations go, we know this is rarely their best offer, so we must evaluate if we need to file suit or try to solicit a better offer. This can take a while, as both sides take time to consider each response.
Our job is to get the highest offer possible from the insurance company. If they do not offer an amount that is acceptable to you, then we will discuss your options, which might include mediation or filing a law suit.
Pre-Trial: Before filing suit, we will have a conversation with you explaining the litigation process, potential costs associated with filing, and possible outcomes. If you decide to proceed with the filing, we will prepare the necessary paper work and file it with the court to begin the litigation process which can sometimes be a very lengthy process.
After filing comes the “Pre-Trial Discovery” phase. During Discovery, both sides will send requests to each other requesting answers to specific questions, asking for various documents and records, and asking for admissions, which essentially establishes certain facts. This is also the time when both sides will request depositions of witnesses, parties, medical providers, and anyone who may provide insight to the accident, your medical treatment, and/or how the accident has impacted your quality of life. You will likely give testimony in a deposition as well. Depositions are taken in front of attorneys for both sides and a court reporter who transcribes everything spoken during the deposition. Discovery is six months or more.
It is not uncommon for both sides to continue settlement negotiations during Discovery. If an agreement is still not reached, we take your case to trial.
Trial: After Discovery is completed and all appropriate court documents are submitted, the Clerk of Court where the lawsuit was filed will place our case on a judge’s trial calendar, indicating a period of time during which our trial will begin. While the court clerks work very hard to provide advance notice, sometimes there are several cases listed on the calendar before ours, so we remain prepared to be called at any time. At trial, we will present your case before a judge or a judge and jury who will deliberate the facts of your case and return a verdict.
Recovery: We represent clients on a “Contingency Fee” basis, meaning we don’t get paid unless you do. Our fees are contingent upon a client receiving a recovery for their case, whether through a negotiated settlement or an amount awarded at trial. Working on contingency comes with risk to an attorney. Up-front costs paid by a law firm can be in the thousands of dollars for obtaining records, ordering evidence, case investigation, expert witnesses, depositions, court costs, and more.
Throughout the Process: We understand that some of the most common complaints in this industry are that clients do not feel like their questions are being answered, or that they are not receiving updates on their case. This will not be an issue at C. Ron Smith Attorney at Law. We are committed to keeping the lines of communication open throughout the stages of your case and wouldn’t have it any other way.