Frequently Asked Questions
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Experience and outstanding results are two obvious reasons. Equally important, however, is how your case will be handled and how you will be treated as a client. Unlike larger firms that handle a variety of cases without any nature or specialization, Attorney Dunn specializes solely in personal injury. Also, unlike other law firms every aspect of your case will be directly handled by Attorney Dunn and not delegated to non-partners, associates, and staff.
Attorney Dunn is actively engaged in every aspect of your case, from the initial evaluation right through settlement or trial. Attorney Dunn is able to provide this level of service and attention to detail, because he restricts the number of cases he is willing to accept and the number of clients that he will represent. As a client you will be kept involved, as it is important that you be a participant at every stage and are counseled in the decisions that affect your case. You can expect prompt responses to your telephone calls. Over the years Attorney Dunn’s integrity and careful representation of his clients has earned him the trust and respect of insurance companies and opposing counsel. They understand that when confronted with a case to defend, they can expect that the case will be thoroughly investigated and prepared, utilizing some of the very best experts in the medical and scientific fields.
If you or someone in your family has been injured, you should seek legal advice as quickly as possible so that a determination can be made whether or not you may have a valid claim. The cause of an injury may not always be obvious, and there may be one or more parties responsible. Attorney Dunn can help determine the cause of an injury and whether someone is legally responsible. If at all possible you should avoid providing written or recorded statements to insurance companies without first speaking with an attorney in order to ensure that your rights are protected.
Determining whether you have grounds for a personal injury claim requires a careful review of the circumstances surrounding your claim for injuries by a skilled professional. Attorney Dunn will discuss with you what occurred and make an initial assessment to determine whether or not you have a claim that may be worth pursuing. Often times making this initial assessment will also require obtaining and reviewing relevant evidence, such as accident and police reports, photographs, medical records and speaking with witnesses. A reasoned decision, with your involvement, can then be made as to whether or not it is in your best interest to pursue a claim seeking compensation for your injuries and damages.
Attorney Dunn represents all of its clients on a contingent-fee basis, except in worker’s compensation matters, which is governed by Massachusetts statute. If he accept your case, you will only be responsible for paying legal fees if he has been successful in obtaining compensation for you. You are not responsible for any legal fee if there is no monetary compensation awarded to you. There is also no charge for the initial consultation. If Attorney Dunn does decide to accept your case, you will not be asked to pay legal expense or costs in advance. If based on the initial consultation, and any preliminary investigation that Attorney Dunn undertakes, it is determined that you have a claim worth pursuing, you will then be asked to sign a contingent fee agreement, which will be explained in detail to your satisfaction, and which will provide that there is no fee unless you receive compensation.
There are certain expenses, such as court costs and expert witness fees, involved in investigation of a personal injury claim, and they can be substantial. Since expenses are ultimately the client’s responsibility, it is important that only meritorious cases be pursued. Every effort is made to discuss case expenses with you before they are incurred, and no expense will be incurred unless it is necessary to determine the merits of your case, or to maximize your potential recovery.
If he is successful in obtaining compensation for your claim, Attorney Dunn receives a contingent fee of 33.3%, which is the typical fee arrangement, of the amount recovered. The fee in medical malpractice cases, although still contingent on you receiving compensation, is somewhat different and governed by Massachusetts law. This law provides for a sliding scale, beginning at 40% and sliding downward once certain thresholds of recovery are reached. Worker’s compensation cases are also handled somewhat differently and governed by statue.
There are laws called “statutes of limitation,” which prohibit the bringing of old claims. For many claims, these statutes of limitations may be as short as three years, and sometimes even less, although there are several exceptions. There may also be important “notice” provisions, which require that you take action to preserve your rights well in advance of the statute of limitation deadlines. Failing to comply with these provisions of the law could bar you from pursuing a legal remedy to recover for your personal injuries and damages. You should consult with a lawyer as soon as you are aware that you have been injured. Even if you were injured some time ago, you may still be able to bring a claim. There may be exceptions that increase or decrease the statute of limitations.
It is strongly recommended that you act quickly for several reasons. Although the statute of limitations often provides ample time, sometimes injuries or claims are not discovered until a significant portion of the statute of limitations period has already expired. Statutory notice requirements can be missed if there is delay. Other reasons include the fact that accident scenes often need to be investigated quickly, before conditions change; current photographs need to be obtained; important witnesses may need to be interviewed; and witnesses can become hard to locate after the passage of time, or their memories may fade, if there is delay.
Attorney Dunn will request all of the information needed to make an initial assessment of your claim. You can help by saving any papers or things that are related to your claim. It is particularly important for you to save “original” items that cannot be obtained elsewhere. Over the course of time, memories may fade, and documents may be lost or altered, and therefore your “originals” may become a very important part of your case. It is recommended that you keep any materials related to you case in a safe location so that this information does not become lost or destroyed.
You should not discuss your injury or the way in which it happened with anyone until you have consulted a lawyer. The statements you make might be incorrect, incomplete, or taken out of context, and may become harmful to your case at a later date. Do not file any written reports or descriptions, sign any papers, agree to provide written or recorded statements, or agree to any settlement, as this could affect your ability to recover full compensation for your injuries.
You will not have to go to court unless your case cannot be settled and must be tried. The vast majority of claims are settled before trial; however, because of the many factors involved, it is impossible to predict whether your particular case will be settled or decided by a jury. It is important that both you and your attorney be willing to present your case to the court if you are not being adequately compensated. The decision to go to trial is made after weighing all the factors involved in determining the likelihood of success if your case if decided by a judge or jury, and the amount of compensation that you might receive if successful.
The value of your claim depends on a wide variety of factors, such as the severity and permanency of your injury, disability, the amount of your medical expenses, income loss, the liability of the defendant, and whether the case is settled or decided by a jury. It is impossible to estimate the value of a claim until all aspects of the case have been fully investigated, and you should be wary of anyone who tries to tell you the value of your claim at an early stage. After Attorney Dunn has completed a thorough investigation of your case, he will be in a position to offer you his opinion as to the value of your claim and its likelihood of success.
As a general rule, you are entitled to recover for your medical expenses, even if they have been covered by insurance; any future medical bills that you may reasonably incur in the future (e.g. surgery that you may require); lost wages; wages and income that you can show that you are likely to suffer in the future, including any reduction in your capacity to earn income; scarring; disfigurement; disability and impairment; emotional injuries; and pain and suffering to date as well as reasonably likely to continue into the future.
Almost all personal injury claims are defended by insurance company lawyers and paid by insurance coverage, so the person or corporation you sue will not have to pay any money out-of-pocket. A personal injury claim is a civil case, not a criminal case. Most often the person causing your injuries refers their insurance company for handling.
Please contact Attorney Dunn if you have any questions as to how your case is evaluated and handled; what your financial obligations might be; and what you can expect if he is asked to represent you.