FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Are there Statutes of Limitations that require you to timely settle or file your case?
In Wisconsin the law requires a personal injury case to be filed within three years of the accident. While there are some exceptions, this is the prevailing rule. Other states may have shorter limitations and it’s important to understand this.
Some types of claims have built-in limits that require even quicker action or the case is forever finished. An example is when a claim is made against a municipality or a state. In those cases, a written notice is required that must be filed and then a claim filed within a certain time. If the defendant driver is a Federal Government employee, the time limits are very strict and unforgiving. This can be devastating because you may not know the man or woman that hit you was actually considered a Federal Government employee. You wait for your injury to mature all the while the claim has expired because you or your lawyer have failed to comply with the Federal Tort Claim Act.
When you have an accident resulting in personal injury, see the Maeder Legal Team immediately. Time is not on your side; rather, it’s always on the side of the insurance company. These restrictive time limits are, in some cases, as short as 90 days. We know the rules and we’ll comply with them so you won’t lose your claim due to lawyer negligence. Unfortunately, the law doesn’t require insurance companies to advise you of the maze of limitations surrounding many types of cases, so if you fail to comply, then you’ll lose. In fact, the insurance company will attempt to make you believe that time is on your side, all the while your case is actually going down the drain.
Are pre-existing medical conditions a bar to recovery?
Many law firms refuse to take cases where the injured person has had the same medical problems before the accident as those sustained in the crash. This is foolish. Simply because you had a bad back before the accident, for whatever reason, does not mean you can’t successfully recover for those injuries sustained during a collision.
The Maeder Legal Team will search and analyze to find those distinctive medical facts that explain the different nature of your present condition from your previous one. The law calls this an “aggravation of an existing condition or injury” and provides for compensation for that increase in your pain and suffering and disability, that can be proven. That is the catch!
You must have a skilled group of lawyers with the resources and time to obtain necessary records, interview your prior medical professionals (such as orthopedic specialists, chiropractors, physical therapists, counselors, neurologists and neurosurgeons) in order to define the exact line between what you’ve had before and what you now have. You need a law firm that can “prove it”. When necessary, this means hiring an independent radiologist to examine your prior MRI or x-rays to find the small, but critical, difference before and after the crash that was missed by your regular radiologist.
The Maeder Team understands that sometimes a pre-existing medical condition can actually make a person more vulnerable to further injury and have proven this many, many times in the past.
Is it easy to change lawyers if you are not satisfied with your present attorney?
With all of the advertising that personal injury lawyers do today, it’s easy to get misled into hiring a “so-so” lawyer. This is a lawyer or law firm that touts its great settlements or verdicts and uses “celebrities” or actors to define it. Usually, they’re headquartered in large cities, have loads of lawyers working for them, and have multiple local offices. Furthermore, they’re dedicated to making money. While they may have some good lawyers in the firm, your chance of getting one of these is slim to none. Unfortunately, they have a tremendous monthly financial budget to meet by constantly seeking new clients and settling existing claims so they can finance the next months “rent”. They excel in reducing you and your case to “just another number”.
Typically, you’ll feel the result of this attitude after the first 30 days with the firm. Your calls are returned by a secretary or an “investigator” or, worse – not returned at all. Your questions are not getting answered nor are the problems being handled. This kind of relationship is expected with ‘so-so’ lawyers because the large staff is not compensated in relationship to their dedication to excellence. Rather, these “staff lawyers” quickly learn they’re also, “just another number” – same as you. So, if they win a large settlement through their own hard work, they’re still paid the same. Sadly, they learn they’d rather spend the extra hours that excellence demands doing other things than work on your case.
However, this is not true of the Maeder Legal Team! We’re all involved in doing outstanding work all of the time and get paid accordingly. We’re resolute in demanding of ourselves the time to work on your case, with individual attention, so that no stone is unturned and no strategy is failed to be exploited. Furthermore, we respond to your questions and fix your problems during the time you’re waiting for the conclusion of your personal injury claim. That is precisely why we’re rated in the top 5% of all of the personal injury firms in the nation by Martindale-Hubbell – the most coveted award a law firm can achieve.
Will I pay twice?
We understand that because of all the glitzy lawyer advertising, you can easily hire the wrong lawyer. After talking to your friends or loved ones, you may have been told “you should have hired the Maeder Legal Team”. Evidently, this happens often because we’ve had clients contact us who have had a lawyer but wanted to switch and hire us. The big question they’ve all had is, “will I pay twice?”
The law provides a formula for dividing up the total fee between the two law firms, so the client only pays once. Additionally, we make it easy by contacting your present lawyer and arrange for the transfer of the file without any confrontation between you and your lawyer. That way, your prior lawyer will be compensated for his/her expenses as well as for the time already spent on the case.
Oftentimes, the prior lawyer is relieved that the Maeder Legal Team has taken the case over, because they realize they’ve been “in over their head” with the complexities of the case and the law involved. Also, in many cases, the original lawyer has done nothing more than to notify the insurance company of the lawyer’s retainer and perhaps gathered a few medical records. It’s common to find very little information in the file, no analysis of the real issues of the case, and no communication between the lawyer and the client. Rest assured, this changes as soon as we are retained!
With us, the client is immediately informed as to the issues, work to be done, the status of the medical treatment, and what must be completed so that the case can move forward. In other words, for the first time the client feels connected, informed, and knows the case is back on the ‘legal highway’ to its ultimate destination – either a reasonable and fair settlement, or trial. More than 90% are settled because of the Maeder Legal Team’s winning track record in the courtroom.
Who does the heavy lifting?
The tragedy of a personal injury isn’t limited to just the pain, suffering, and physical disability it causes. It’s also not limited to the anxiety and uncertainty for your future that you must suddenly face. Nor is it limited to the loss of income and added expenses caused by the crash. Rather, it includes the feeling that you’re suddenly in “deep water”, you’ve lost your way, and are dealing with issues for which you’re not prepared. So, you hire a law firm and learn your problems are now multiplied because that firm isn’t keeping you up-to-date on what is happening to your case, you have no idea when it’ll be over, or what kind of settlement you can expect. Actually, no one seems to know the answer to the question: “What the Hell’s going on?”.
We hear this complaint about other law firms on a routine basis and suspect it’s just the “tip of the iceberg” because most injured persons feel trapped by the contract they’ve signed and believe they’re “locked-in”. This is not true.
You have the legal right to change lawyers and we can make that happen with no pain to you. After you retain us, you’ll have the sense that we’re taking care of you and your family, that we know what questions you have before you’ve asked them, and you’ll get regular reports of what to expect and how to be prepared to perform your part of the case. You’ll be prepared for a settlement conference or mediation, or a deposition (sometimes necessary if the suit is filed), so that you can comfortably and knowingly answer questions posed by the defense attorney before a court reporter. We’ve attended thousands of depositions and know beforehand the questions asked by the insurance company. This means you can craft your response with accuracy and be both honest and effective. You’ll spend the time required before the deposition with the Maeder Team, so you have the confidence necessary to do your part.