What to do if you are The Victim of an Accident
If a victim of an accident, the most important thing for you to concern yourself with is to get well. It is your attorney's job to pursue your claim to the full extent while you are getting better, getting back to work and back to your normal way of life, if possible.
It is common for the insurance company for the other side to contact you before retaining counsel. Typically, the insurance adjuster will obtain a copy of the accident report, contact their insured, and then call the victim at home unexpectedly. He or she will be very nice (usually), and ask that you make a statement about the accident and your injury. These calls are typically taped and transcribed. The purpose of the interview is to pin you down to a version of the events and a description of your injury before you've consulted with an attorney. In fact, insurance companies have been known to send letters to victims of an accident of their insured wherein they affirmatively state it is not in your best interests to obtain an attorney. Contact your local State Attorney General or consumer protection agency to determine which insurance companies are operating in your area in this manner. This is why it is best to simply tell the insurance adjuster that you will have to get back to them later in the day. Then immediately contact an experienced personal injury attorney to have him or her deal with the insurance company directly.
Typically, most personal injury cases will be charged a fee of one-third of the recovery, unless it is in litigation, at which time the fee will be forty percent of the recovery.
Attorney fees are that portion of the settlement/judgment an attorney receives for his work in the case. Costs are expenses incurred which are necessary to properly represent you. For example, if a doctor is retained to review medical records or testify at a deposition or trial, he must be paid. Similarly, court reporters, court filings, service of process and photography are also typical expenses in a personal injury case and are the client's responsibility and will be taken out of the settlement/judgment.