Groth Gets It-10 Questions to Ask Your Personal Injury Lawyer

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Jon Groth:

GROTH gets some of your answers. Um, let me see what we can do. Sorry, guys. We’re. We’re returning to the podcast here. We took a little break, but now we’re back, And what we’re going to do is start out with kind of commonly asked questions to see if Groth gets it is TYREE is going to fall over here.

You can hear him laughing in the background. All right. So let’s see here. We have some really interesting questions that we found online. And these are questions that just others, I’ll say, and I’m not sure even who which is the wonder the Internet. Right. You can go online and write anything, answer anything or type any question in there.

Google might think it’s important for whatever reason, but I want to make sure that at least if you’re in our area, if you’re in the Wisconsin in the Wisconsin area, I’ll see it broadly that you get an honest answer. What are some of these questions. So let’s get at it here. The first question is, um, what are your fees for a personal injury matter?

And this is a question that I think is really important to ask of your lawyer because some lawyers are going to charge a different type of fee. But most person, most personal injury lawyers in Wisconsin really in the in the United States, they’re going to take a case on a contingency fee. And that’s legalese, really, to say that you only pay your lawyer if you recover it’s contingent or it relies upon your recovery.

And then the fee comes from a portion of the settlement with the insurance company. So really, the insurance company pays the fees of the lawyer out of this settlement. For example, if you settle for $10,000 and the insurance company sends a check to the law firm’s trust account for $10,000, $3,333.33 will go to the lawyer as the attorneys fee.

That’s a one third fee. And then the remainder goes to the victim. Doctors, um, health insurance, you know, things like that. So what are the fees? The fees are usually a contingency fee, and then it’s a matter of what’s that fee going to be meaning, is it a third is a 25%, is it 35%, Is it 40%, Things like that.

A good follow up question is, um, do your fees increase at any point? A lot of attorneys who are not in Wisconsin have an escalation clause in their contract that says that maybe pre suit before a lawsuits filed, you will get charged 33 and a third percent or one third of the recovery. If a lawsuits filed, it sometimes goes up to 40%.

And I’ve seen it with attorneys who are, um, in Illinois. I’ll be honest, I was going to say, you know, south of the border, but in Illinois, I’ve seen retainers that say a third presumed 40% in suit and 50%. So 50% of the recovery goes to the attorney. If the case goes to the court of Appeals or the Supreme Court.

So it’s really important to follow up on the contingency fee to figure out what this means. All right. So that’s what are your fees? Hopefully that answers what your fees are for a personal injury matter. If I lose, will I be responsible for any case related costs? If I lose, will I be responsible for any case related costs?

I’ll say that, um, the answer is probably no. But let me just clarify that because I’m a lawyer and I have to say that legalese kind of stuff probably, um, in our contract it says the last sentence of the second paragraph says, if nothing is recovered, nothing is owed to the law firm, that means zero. So all the costs that we will have fronted all the, the checks we wrote to get a police report or the checks we wrote to get an expert report or to get medical records, you know, things like that.

Any of those funds that we used of of our own money, we will eat. We won’t ask the client to pay us back for that. If we lose, if we recover it, certainly we’ll get that money back. But the probably portion of this is if the case goes to trial and you lose, then the defense or the insurance company has the right to tax costs against the other party.

Um, what that means is taxable costs are there are statutory costs. So it could be whatever the law says about copy costs. You know what that amount is at that particular moment in time, the let’s say a deposition cost. So the cost of the court reporter had to charge for a deposition. Um, if there’s, you know, a witness fees, things like that, those are all statutory taxable costs that the defense can get back.

So you may have to pay the defense if you lose at trial. But I don’t want to scare anybody off here. But just so you understand, too, that the vast majority of our cases settle before you get anywhere near trial, um, the percentages are pretty much like 90 plus percent of cases where a claim is filed settles before lawsuits even filed.

And then of those cases where a lawsuits filed, the vast majority of those are settled before trial. And by vast majority I mean something like 95 plus percent of those set up before a trial takes place. All right. Hopefully that answers that question. Let’s look at the next one. Have you tried any personal injury cases similar to mine to juries before?

I think this is a fantastic question to ask of any attorney. Um, yeah, If it’s a civil case, like a car accident case or even let’s say it’s a criminal case where it’s a drunk driving or something like that, it’s a great question to ask because you want to make sure that the lawyer knows the strategy from the beginning to the end.

Um, so in, in this regard, I, I can’t, I can’t agree more. This is a fantastic question to ask. And also specifically, it’s it’s good to ask this because let’s say you’re involved in a motorcycle accident. Well, those are different than car crashes. If you um, we had a case where there was somebody who was ran over by a milwaukee County bus.

Well, those are very specific because they have different rules for commercial carriers or a semi accident. Have you ever tried a case that involves a semi? Those are really important. So having any kind of unique facts are important to ask your attorney about to see or to see if they have the knowledge about what that means in trial.

Because again, this goes back to kind of like, you know, when I was a kid, we played chess and I always learned it that you have to think six steps ahead or six moves ahead. It’s the same thing for a lawyer that you need to know what’s going to take place. Now, what questions are answered, what questions you need to ask, and then whether those answers or the questions are going to affect things six months from now or, you know, three years from now at trial.

All right. Great question. Um, well, I guess if we could tell war stories. I don’t want to tell war stories, though, too. I mean, we could get into that down that rabbit hole. Maybe that’s a different podcast where we can come back and you can say, Hey, Groth, did you try a case about X, Y and Z? And I’ll say, yes or no, It’s probably going to be yes, but um, yeah, we can do that later on.

I think that that might be interesting. All right, what’s the next question? How much time can you devote to my case? And on the Internet, it says many lawyers take on too many cases at once and will sit on your case while they sign up additional clients. Another question to ask personal injury lawyers is how much time they have to devote to your case.

Stressed that is an important to get the ball rolling on your lawsuit right away. I agree. I think this is a fantastic question to ask and that’s why we built out our firm in a certain way that we have a whole division or a whole team of people who are in the investigation division in our intake department. So what they do is they get the ball rolling right away, so they’re only job is to call insurance companies, set up claims, get police reports, make sure we have all the supplemental reports with police reports.

We have insurance companies on notice. We tell them not to talk to our clients anymore so our clients can just worry about and deal with their physical injuries. And any wasn’t just physical any injuries. So they get to the doctor and they get the care they need. So they don’t have to worry about the rest of the stuff.

Like who should I call to get a police report? Who should I call to get, you know, video of the scene, you know, things like that. Leave that to us. So do we have the time? I think it’s important to know that, you know, the law firm you’re hiring has a big enough staff that they can take on your case and know that all the questions are going to get answered.

And there are systems in place that we’re going to get everything we need to put our bet, our best foot forward later on. So, for example, our firm, we have an intake department, our investigation department, we have our pre litigation case managers and attorneys in paralegals, and then we have our litigation, paralegals and attorneys. Um, so you have these three areas of, of the firm that are dedicated to certain parts of your case so they can devote all their time to that specific type of, or that specific phase of a case.

All right. Great question. These are kind of fun, right? Is this fun? Yeah. Yeah, sure. All right. Let’s see the next one. Typically, how long does it take to resolve a case like mine? Boy, um, I always think, like, I’m being a not sarcastic, but I think my my response sounds kind of condescending, but it doesn’t. I don’t mean it to sound this way, but really, it’s going to take as long as it takes for you to get better.

You know, it really it’s going to take as long as it takes. As long as we don’t go beyond three years usually, right? Because in in Wisconsin, you have three years to file a lawsuit against the responsible party. That’s if you’re injured. If you were the loved one of a family member who was killed in a crash, you may only have two years to file a lawsuit, but it’s going to take as long as it takes for you to get better.

So let’s say you are involved in a crash, a make it easy January 1st and you go to a doctor. The doctor sends you to physical therapy and you’re in physical therapy for two months. So all of January. All of February, now it’s March 1st. Then you go back to the doctor for that book and for that end of treatment visit to say, okay, these are all the problems that I had and now I’m as good as I was a second before the crash and that doctors appointment takes place on, let’s say, March 15th, the Ides of March.

Um, at that point you contact our firm and then we will start to gather all the medical records, the medical bills, make sure we have any information that we need from health insurance. You know, things like that. The police report, auto insurance, all that would have been obtained way back in March or way back in January and in March.

All we’re worried about is getting all the medical records, bills and putting it together in a way that we can put the case in a an organized manner so we can get it to the insurance companies, so we can hopefully get the most we can for your you know, for your losses. So let’s say it takes a few weeks, hopefully, for the doctors to get us the records in the bills Back then, once we submitted that over to the insurance company, the insurance company by a law, has 30 days to respond to our demand package.

So we will demand that they pay you compensation for your injuries. And once that letter is sent out or emails sent out, then the insurance company has 30 days under what’s called the timely payment of claims statute six 28.46 Wisconsin Statutes. They have 30 days to respond. So now we’re let’s put that together. So you crash January 1st, doctor releases you on a boat March 15th.

It might take a few weeks to get the medical records. That’s that’s the beginning of April and then 30 days. So maybe we’re talking May in the May area as to when really hopefully the worst case scenario is when you’re going to get an offer. And the case is that hopefully going to settle. So hopefully that gives you some guidance as to what the process is like.

And I can tell you, I’ve had cases we should really have Mitch on this and he can talk about the situation. I had cases that were huge cases, you know, that were millions of dollars, and they settled within, I think, 90 days from beginning to end. And then we’ve had cases that are over. What was that one case?

I think it was like $19,000. We didn’t settle the case, but it was the insurance company was being unreasonable. The client was on board. We weren’t fretting, fighting about a lot, but we were fighting really over principle. And it took us years. It may have been May, but like four and a half years from beginning to the end because we had to put it in to suit the insurance company thought our client was lying.

Our client was obviously not lying. Um, and finally, before trial, they, they settled the case. They paid money, you know, to our client. But, you know, there’s always the extremes of these kind of cases. But it’s a great question to ask. It’s a great question to ask, so let’s stop it there. All right. What’s the next question? Um, well, yeah, this is a good segue way.

Will my case go to trial? I talked about this before, about the percentage of cases and how often cases go into suit or in trial or go to trial. You know, it’s certainly 90 plus percent of our cases settle before lawsuits filed. And in all of those cases that are put into suit, again, 95 or more percent of those cases settle before a trial takes place.

So from the beginning to the end, the the likelihood is probably I don’t know what the math is on that maybe it’s 1% or 1% chance of actually going to trial. It’s probably even less than that. All right. Great questions. What is my case worth? I hate this question. I, I really do, because you just don’t know in my my, I, I hate the question because it’s such an important question because people are really want to know, is it worth it?

And my response, again, I don’t want to sound like I’m condescending or being sarcastic or whatever, because my answer is usually it depends and it depends on a lot of stuff. So what I usually say in response to what is my case worth is, Well, you’re hiring us to make sure that we can get as much as we can for you and that we can alleviate stress and that we make sure that if you should have gotten $200 for mileage, that you’re going to get $200 for mileage because maybe you didn’t know that you could even ask for that.

So we’re going to add value to the situation, add value to the case by knowing which questions to ask, what documents to ask for, and what information to present to the insurance companies. So we’re going to put your best foot forward and make sure that we can maximize the value of your case. So what’s it worth? You really never know.

I mean, I can tell you, it gets easier to tell you the value of a case as soon as we know what the policy limits are from an insurance company for example, let’s say, um, why was this a tick tock we did or what we did about the, um, like medical bills and that kind of stuff that was.

Speaker 2:

A part of the 13.

Jon Groth:

The 13 days. Yeah. So, um, for example, let’s say you’re in a horrible accident, right? And you’re flight for life, so flight for life comes in, they take you from Burlington to freighter, and that might cost I’ll make it easier for myself $20,000. And that’s not really an exaggeration. So $20,000 and the at fold party. Um, has insurance limits of $25,000 because that’s by state law, you have to have at least $25,000 in coverage.

Well, in that regard, your case value from the at fault party is $25,000 because the person themselves probably doesn’t have any other assets to go after. We’re always going to look into that for you and figure out whether they do have the ability to pay, but they may not have any other assets to go after. So the value of that case is the insurance limits of $25,000 from the adult party.

Then it goes to whether you have underinsured motorist coverage. And if you have underinsured motorist coverage of, let’s say, $50,000, that means the max that you can ever get from the at fault and your underinsured would be a total of $50,000. In that regard, your case has a value of probably $50,000 because that’s all the insurance that there is available for your injuries.

So those are easy answers. You know, once we know what the insurance policy limits are and based their what your medical bills are and your injuries are, we can have a better idea, but we’re not going to know that until you hire us and we do some digging into the case. All right. What’s the next question? Who will handle my case?

So the Internet says you should ask who at the firm will handle the various aspects of your case. Some personal injury firms like to float senior partners in front of potential clients who are never seen again. Once the representation agreement is signed, ask who will be your contact and who you can expect to speak with when you have questions about your case.

I think this is great. This is a great question. Um, so different firms do this differently. There’s some firms have case managers that that handle the case. I’ve had people who have contacted me asking about, um, like a second opinion and they say, Hey, I’ve been talking to attorney so-and-so at this firm, and I know that there is no attorney so-and-so at that firm because it’s a, a case manager or somebody who is really negotiating and settling the case.

And because there is no attorney involved, um, at our firm, we do things differently. So we meet about every case, every single month and every week we have a certain number of meetings to discuss the cases. When a case comes in, we meet about that new case on Fridays and then again on Monday to make sure that we have a handle on all the new cases that that come into the office on any given seven day period.

And then there are meetings that take place on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays. And then we have a different meeting on Thursdays for more administrative, you know, kind of things. But, um, with this, there’s teams on every case also. So we’ll have a case manager, a paralegal and attorney on the case, an attorneys are looking over, um, every aspect of the case on a regular basis and by attorneys, I mean all the attorneys in the firm.

So we all meet and we talk about what the facts are for different cases and what the strategy should be for those cases. Um, we have reports that are run that give us information. So that’s why it’s important that you’re honest with us about what kind of information you’ve gathered that you can share with us, because we put that into our system.

And it’s, it’s pretty cool that it can our our system can spit out key facts that are going to really help us determine what we need to do next to maximize the value of your case. So, uh, the answer to this question, gosh, the answer to this question for our firm is, you know who will handle my case?

Well, it’s going to be a team. The team is going to consist of a case manager, paralegal and an attorney. And all of our attorneys have tried personal injury cases. So we’ve all tried cases. It’s just that they’re just who we are here. And that’s, you know, the the firm we’ve built is a firm that, um, we’re. LOMBARDI say, you know, act like you’ve been there before.

Well, we don’t have to act because we have been there before. All right, What is my role in the lawsuit? Um, you know, this is kind of it’s not the best question, because, um, I think this is important to clarify. Just because you hire a lawyer doesn’t mean you’re filing a lawsuit. Filing a lawsuit is a very formal process that you have to do a draft or create a summons and then a complaint and you file it with the clerk, the courts.

You have to pay money. It’s around 300 or so dollars, and you have to, uh, serve that or deliver that on the defendant’s. And there’s very strict time limits for that. If you hire a lawyer for a car crash, for example, that occurred yesterday, you’re probably not going to ever get to a lawsuit. So you’re going to have a claim opened with an insurance company, but you’re not going to have a lawsuit at that point.

So what is my role in the claim? That’s probably a better question. Your role in the claim is just to be honest, to be giving in in your time and in your documents to us. And it’s really it’s a hurry up and then it’s a wait process. So we need to be given some time in the beginning that we can gather all the information we can.

So we will send email, we’ll send a letter, we will ask for a number of documents once we get those documents, then it’s your time to wait and follow up with the doctor and make sure you’re okay. And hopefully you’re less stressed at this point because you’re given all that all that burden to us, then we will do all that work.

You need to wait. You need to get better. And then we have a a system in place to follow up with you and give you updates and then to get information from your story, give information to you about what’s going on and to get information from you so we know what’s going on, whether you’re change doctors or whether insurance change or things like that.

So your role is to communicate with us. However you feel it’s best. You know, we can communicate over letters or snail mail. You can be email, you can correspond over text. You know, we have all those, uh, really any manner of communication you want to communicate with us, we can accommodate. It could be Zoom meetings or teams meetings or face time, whatever it is.

Hopefully that answer that question. I think it did. All right. Can I speak to a past client? You know, I read this and I don’t understand this question because you we can’t we can’t break the attorney client privilege. Right. So this said, well, the answer online is this Don’t hesitate to ask a potential personal injury lawyer for references.

Hopefully, the attorney will be able to provide you with contact information for at least one, satisfy the former clients. I just think that’s that’s unusual because my client’s I, I don’t want to give anybody my my past clients information. It just sounds it just doesn’t sound right now. I know I’ve had clients who have been generous with their time and they’ve sat down and written Google reviews and they’ve done video testimonials and those kind of things.

But that’s one thing because that’s the time they dedicated. They’re willing to put themselves out there and talk into a camera or write on line what the reviews are. But to have a potential new client, call a former client. That’s where I think I, I, I, I’m not sure how I would ever answer that is somebody asked me, hey, can I have, uh, can I have a reference?

You know, um, that’s just such a that’s an unusual question. And I guess I’m maybe I’m stumped. I’m just not sure. Certainly, I’m sure I could ask some of my former clients, but I would feel really uncomfortable asking my former clients, Hey, can you talk to this new person? Um, you know, on the flip side, I think I would probably just direct them to, um, Google reviews and the videos and then have that potential new client come in the office and sit down with me and all of our staff.

And I’ll tell you, you know, I’ve been a lawyer for almost 23 years now at our own practice for 13 years. Um, I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t do a couple of things. Right, Right. So, um, I know that, um, I, I’m sure there are former clients that would be willing to talk, but I just wouldn’t feel comfortable giving this information out.

All right, Sorry. I’m just thinking about that question while I’m answering it. Just such a I. I’ve never had that ever, ever asked me. All right. Those are all the questions we found online. This is interesting. You know what? What are common questions that people think they need to ask personal injury attorneys? I think they’re all good questions except for the last ones.

The interesting question and once it’s a good a good question, I think these are, um, interesting topics. I think you certainly need to have a good understanding of who you’re hiring and why you’re hiring. So there’s an equal, um, respect for what the other person’s going to do and how they’re going to advocate for you. Um, but beyond that, I think that’s, that’s what we got.

Was there anything else you can think of we need to talk about? No, I think we’re good. Yeah. So I, personally, think Groth gets it in that regard, but I could be wrong. Um, let’s, uh, let’s end this up here and we’ll get back into the world of personal injury law, and then hopefully we’ll see you on tick tock.



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