We feel it’s important to provide you with answers to some of the most commonly asked questions.
If your question is not addressed here, please feel free to call our office directly at 716.882.AUTO (2886) or email us at email@example.com.
Any information contained on this website is not intended to be construed as legal advice. You must speak with an attorney personally or meet in person to obtain proper legal advice. Please contact our office to speak with one of our partners or to schedule an appointment. If it’s more convenient, we’ll come to you.
How do I pay for my legal fees?
We take personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning our fee is a percentage of the sum recovered. This means that if there is no recovery for you, you owe us nothing for our services. You will only be responsible for costs and disbursements, if any, that were incurred in the prosecution of your case.
How do you decide if you’ll take my case?
We carefully evaluate each potential case. We determine which cases to accept based on our evaluation of the facts and merits of each case, no matter how big or small. Unfortunately, we cannot represent everyone who contacts our office.
How do I pay for the expenses of the case?
In most cases, Bergen & Schiffmacher, LLP will advance the expenses of the case, such as medical reports and investigators. The expenses are then reimbursed to our firm at the conclusion of the case.
How much is my case worth?
The value of each case is different and must be evaluated separately. We take a great deal of time to come to a proper evaluation of your case. The partners at Bergen & Schiffmacher, LLP have been evaluating cases and representing people for more than 20 years, however we cannot ethically guarantee you a recovery.
How long will my case take?
Some cases can be completed in a few months and others may take longer. If we can resolve your case without filing suit, it typically takes less time. But we will not settle your case before we believe that we have obtained the maximum amount of recovery. If litigation is necessary, each court differs in the time it takes to bring your case to trial. While litigation tends to take longer, we make every effort to push the case to a fair and reasonable conclusion as quickly as possible.
Will I be consulted before my case is settled?
Absolutely. You’re an integral part of our “team” approach. And we won’t settle your case without your consent. You may rely on us for legal advice and opinions, but the final settlement decision is yours.
Someone representing a personal injury lawyer came to my home and said I should “sign up” with their attorney. Should I?
In most states, it’s illegal for a lawyer, or lawyer’s representative, to call you on the telephone or come to your home, hospital room or anywhere else, without your invitation, to solicit your business. It’s also illegal for an attorney or attorney’s representative to pay, or for any person to receive, money, gifts or other compensation for referring a case to a lawyer or for becoming a client of a lawyer. Any person committing such acts should be reported to the Erie County Bar Association and/or the District Attorney’s office.
What about the lawyers I see advertising on TV?
Lawyers can advertise on TV about how good they are, how much money they’ve collected for their clients, and that they’ll get you money. In our experience, some attorneys do not make good on what they promise the public in their commercial advertisements. In some personal injury law firms, you never even meet the lawyer they claim will handle your case. Instead, your case is handed off to an attorney with no litigation or trial experience or completely outsourced to another law firm who knows nothing about your file until the very last minute.
You should meet with the attorney that will ultimately be trying your case and his or her experienced and certified paralegal personally. Do not be afraid to ask about the experience of your attorney or his or her staff.
At Bergen and Schiffmacher, LLP, Joseph Bergen and Todd Schiffmacher will be the ones handling your case from the very start to the very end. They work and strategize together, ensuring that they’re truly maximizing the value of your case.
The insurance company keeps calling me and wants to take a recorded statement. Should I give one?
It’s common practice for insurance adjusters to call injured claimants to take a recorded statement before the victim has an opportunity to have their injuries evaluated and treated and before they can speak with an attorney to learn about their legal rights. Often, you may not be thinking clearly because you’re either still in shock or under the influence of medication prescribed by your doctor. That’s exactly what the insurance company wants!
Under NO circumstances should you talk to an insurance company without having an attorney, at least on the telephone with you, to protect your rights. You’re not required to give a statement regardless of what the insurance company may tell you to the contrary. But you have an obligation to immediately report any automobile, motorcycle or truck collision to your insurance company and to cooperate with it.