Why choose a trial attorney?

Most personal injury attorneys do not take their cases to court. When you are an attorney (like Clark Karell) who is willing to go the distance and take your case to trial, you have more leverage against the insurance company.

Insurance companies will try their best to give out as little compensation as possible. When you are willing to take your case to court, those insurance companies are willing to give more.

If you have more questions about why a trial attorney is your best option, contact us!

But I don’t want to go to Court, why would I want to hire a trial attorney?

The large majority of injured individuals do not want to go to court. Unfortunately, the majority of injury attorneys feel the same way and would rather settle out than push the case through litigation to a jury verdict in order to receive fair compensation. The insurance companies know who these attorneys are and will negotiate accordingly with these firms knowing they will not have to worry about the threat of a jury trial.

Here at Karell Trial Attorneys, L.L.C., we prepare every case as if it will be going to trial and are ready to take each case to trial in hopes that you will not have to. The insurance companies will increase their offers to the firms who are willing to go to court and ask a jury to decide what is fair compensation. Insurance companies understand that they are facing a much larger risk when negotiating with these firms and they will offer more to avoid this risk of letting a jury decide.

No one knows what a jury will do, if anyone tells you otherwise, you are being lied to. While we cannot guarantee any result in any specific case, we can guarantee you the threat of being prepared for trial will only benefit your chances of a successful resolution without having to face trial.

For those of you who prefer Court, why is Karell Trial Attorneys, L.L.C. the firm for you?

Here at Karell Trial Attorneys, L.L.C., we are fully prepared to litigate your personal injury matter to a successful resolution. Karell Trial Attorneys have been a part of multiple successful jury trials, scores of successful bench trials and have recovered millions of dollars on behalf of our clients. We are fully prepared to thoroughly litigate your injury claim from the inception of the case, through initial filings, Discovery, depositions, pre-trial matters, trial, to verdict. We will be here with you every step of the way continuously keeping you up to date with all developments in your case.

We do not collect until you are satisfied with your recovery.

To find out more about how a Karell Trial Attorneys, L.L.C. could better help you with your injury claim, please contact us for a free 15 minute consultation and information session.

How can I prepare for a deposition?

Depositions can be very nerve-racking for individuals, many people will get anxious or lose sleep in anticipation of the testimony to come.

Take it Seriously

Be sure to take the deposition as a serious matter.  Get a good night’s sleep the night before, eat prior to arriving for your deposition, and come dressed professionally.  Maintain a professional outlook and demeanor throughout your deposition, including when being pressed by the opposing side.

Tell the Truth

As long as you tell the truth to the best of your memory, there is no testimony you can give in a deposition that will hurt your case.  At the start of the deposition, you will be sworn in to tell the truth.  This should be taken seriously and you should remember that you have sworn to tell the truth with each answer.  If you do not know an answer, do not attempt to make one up you think may be right, your testimony needs to be wholly accurate.

Use Relevant Documents for Reference

When preparing, it is alright to look at any relevant documents that may assist in your testimony but do know the opposing party’s attorney can ask you about all documents you reviewed for your testimony and you must answer truthfully. Further, it is important to meet with and discuss the deposition with your attorney prior to the deposition. This discussion will be privileged as attorney-client communication and cannot be discussed during the deposition.

Listen Carefully

Once in the deposition, it is important to listen carefully to the questions asked and tell the truth to the facts as you know them. Answer only the question asked and know that additional information provided will only lead to additional questions asked. Do not speculate or guess in your testimony and be careful not to let the questioning attorney bait you into admitting something that is not true. Remember that as nice as the opposing counsel is, their primary role in the matter is to limit your recovery.

As long as you tell the truth in your deposition, you will do just fine.  Do not hesitate to Contact Our Office should you have further questions or concerns regarding your deposition.

The best advice for anyone who is preparing for a deposition is simple: “Calm down and tell the truth.”

What is litigation?

Litigation is considered the process of taking legal action. In an injury claim, litigation typically ensues when the insurance company fails to make a reasonable settlement offer to the injured party.  Litigation is the last resort for an injured party to recover the true value for the injury sustained.

The Filing of a Lawsuit or a Complaint for Damages.

Litigation starts with the filing of a lawsuit or a Complaint for Damages.  The lawsuit must be filed against the Defendants individually. Outside of a few exceptions, the availability of insurance is not admissible in personal injury litigation, even though the insurance company will be the entity paying the settlement or verdict rendered in litigation.  Once the lawsuit is filed, it must be personally served with a copy of the Summons to all potential Defendants. The Defendant then has thirty (30) days to Answer, or they can be found in Default. Once the Defendant Answers the allegations contained in the Complaint, the period of Discovery begins.

Discovery

Discovery is a six-month period in litigation where each side can request information from the other side that MAY lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.  What that means, is that both sides will be able to seek information from the other side which will likely not be allowed at trial and in most instances, is not relevant to the matter at hand.  It is very important to be honest in Discovery, while most of the information sought would never be allowed at trial, this irrelevant information quickly become admissible if a party is not truthful about it during Discovery.

Discovery is obtained in multiple formats.  Requests for Admissions, Interrogatories, Requests for Production of Documents, and Depositions are the primary Discovery devices used in litigation.

  • Requests for Admissions: Requests for Admissions are general statements of fact sent to the opposing party which they must admit or deny. Requests for Admissions are a good tool used to eliminate areas of dispute in litigation.  Requests for Admission are very important and if they are not answered in a timely manner, they will be deemed admitted.
  • Interrogatories: Interrogatories are written questions asked under oath to the opposing party. Interrogatories will be asked about a wide range of topics; most will appear to not be related to the incident at hand but are used to gain a wide variety of background on a party in a lawsuit.  It is important to be completely honest and transparent in Responses to Interrogatories as these can be used against you at trial.
  • Request For Production of Documents: Requests for Production of Documents are requests for documentation which may have relevant information to the lawsuit, these requests can be served upon parties and non-parties to a lawsuit and can be quite voluminous.
  • Depositions: Depositions are informal proceedings where parties to a lawsuit or potential witnesses give sworn testimony under oath. That testimony is transcribed by a court reporter and memorialized to better develop testimony at trial.  Depositions have typically been held in person but since the COVID-19 Pandemic more have been conducted via video teleconference.  The attorneys of record, the surrounding circumstances, and the presiding trial judge will all be factors in whether or not your particular deposition is held in person or via remote setting.  For more information on Depositions, please visit our Preparing for Your Deposition Page.

Once Discovery has concluded, the parties are in a much better position to analyze both the strengths and weaknesses of their respective cases.  And make no mistake, each case will have both strengths as well as weaknesses.

Mediation

Following Discovery, the parties will typically engage in a mediation to try one last time to bring the matter to resolution prior trial.  In most instances, the parties are ordered to mediation by the court.  At mediation, the parties bring forth their arguments on the valuation of the case.

Each side will start at number, typically at a much higher or lower number than they would settle for with the understanding the parties will work to reduce or increase their number in an effort to reach a settlement amount which each party can agree to.  Mediation is it is the last time the parties will have a chance to be involved in settlement negotiations as once the matter goes to trial, it is in the hands of the jury.

While mediations have a very high percentage of success, at the end of the day the parties will be able to decide if they are able to resolve the matter at mediation or move forward to a jury trial.

A Trial by Jury

A trial by jury is the final event in litigation.  The majority of cases will settle before a jury trial but in order to ensure a fair settlement, the every case must be ready to be tried if needed. Out of approximately 100 cases in litigation, about 5 will proceed to trial.  In a trial by jury, each side will present relevant evidence to a jury of their peers.

The trial will typically be held in the jurisdiction the Defendant resides and can last a day or two to a few weeks depending on the amount of evidence presented.  Jurors will be chosen from a random panel, the parties will not necessarily be able to decide who is on the jury, rather each side will have an equal amount of “strikes” and can remove potential jurors from the panel.  The remaining individuals who were not struck from the panel will be jurors and more importantly “finders of fact” in your personal injury matter.

After all the presentation of evidence through witnesses, each party will have their turn to do a summation of the facts or closing argument in which they attempt to sway the jury to seeing the evidence presented their way.  This testimony is not evidence but will be crucial in getting the jury to analyze the evidence the way you wish for them to view it to find a favorable result.  Following each side’s closing arguments, the case will be in the hands of the jury, twelve strangers brought in to do their civic duty and decide the outcome of your case.  Jury outcomes are difficult to predict and both sides face potential risk when giving the case to a jury.

Do not hesitate to Contact Our Office should you have further questions or concerns about the litigation process.

What is my case worth?

Many attorneys out there will tell you anything to sign up your case, including giving you the false promise that they can tell you the value of your case with a simple phone call.  This is a lie.  There are numerous factors that must be analyzed before an injury attorney can tell you the approximate value of your case. Even then, any true trial attorney will tell you that at the end of the day, for good and for bad, you can never guarantee what a jury will do.

When analyzing the value of a personal injury claim, an attorney will need to look at numerous factors including but not limited to:

  • The specific facts related to the underlying injury
  • All actions and inactions of all potential Defendants which may have caused or contributed to the injury
  • Review of any additional aggravating circumstances behind the injury
  • The amount of all insurance coverage available, treatment received for the injury, pain and suffering experienced due to the injury,
  • The civil and criminal history of all potential Defendants
  • The various jurisdictions where your claim can be brought.

Bottom Line, NO attorney can tell you the true value of your case with a phone call but if you would like to speak with a trial attorney to analyze the good and the bad aspects of your case that will factor in the valuation of your case, feel free to contact our office. 

How do I deal with insurance companies after an accident?

Dealing with insurance companies’ post-accident can be a complex and sometimes overwhelming process. Their primary objective is often to minimize payouts, so it’s vital to approach interactions with caution and preparation. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to handle these interactions:

  • Immediate Aftermath: Firstly, ensure the safety and well-being of all involved. Call for medical attention if needed. It’s essential to prioritize health over immediate interactions with insurance representatives.
  • Document Everything: Before diving into discussions with insurance companies, gather all relevant evidence from the accident scene. This includes photographs, witness testimonies, police reports, and any other pertinent details. This documentation will serve as a foundation for any future claims or discussions.
  • Avoid Recorded Statements: Insurance adjusters might request a recorded statement shortly after the accident. While they might portray this as a standard procedure, it’s essential to be cautious. Consult with your attorney before providing any recorded statements. What you say can be used against you later, especially if you inadvertently admit fault or downplay your injuries.
  • Consult Your Attorney: Before diving deep into negotiations or discussions, always consult your attorney. They can guide you on the necessary information to provide and help you avoid pitfalls or tactics employed by insurance companies to diminish your claim.
  • Understand Your Policy: Familiarize yourself with your insurance policy. Understand what you’re entitled to, be it medical coverage, vehicle repairs, or other compensations. This knowledge ensures you’re not shortchanged during negotiations.
  • Be Wary of Initial Offers: It’s not uncommon for insurance companies to present a settlement offer early in the process. While it might seem tempting, especially with mounting bills, these initial offers are often lower than what you might be entitled to. Discuss any offers with your attorney before accepting.
  • Maintain Communication Records: Keep a detailed log of all interactions with the insurance company, including dates, names of representatives, and the content of the discussions. This can prove invaluable if discrepancies arise later.
  • Avoid Social Media: Refrain from discussing the accident or your injuries on social media platforms. Insurance adjusters often scour these platforms looking for inconsistencies in your story or evidence that might contradict the severity of your injuries.
  • Stay Patient: Navigating insurance claims can be a prolonged process. Stay patient and trust your attorney’s guidance. Rushing can sometimes lead to unfavorable outcomes.
  • Finalize with Care: Once you agree to a settlement, it’s typically final. Ensure all your injuries are addressed, including those that might manifest later. Don’t sign any settlement agreement without your attorney’s thorough review.

Will my case go to trial or be settled outside of court?

When you’re navigating the complexities of a personal injury claim, one of the most pressing questions might be whether your case will proceed to trial or be resolved outside the courtroom. Both scenarios have their advantages and challenges.

  • Why Settle Outside of Court: Settlements offer a quicker resolution, allowing you to receive compensation without the extended timeline of a trial. They also provide a guaranteed outcome, as opposed to the unpredictability of a court verdict. Additionally, settlements are private matters, ensuring details of the incident and the agreed-upon compensation remain confidential.
  • Preparing for Trial: Despite the propensity for out-of-court settlements, it’s crucial that your attorney approaches your case as if it will go to trial. This comprehensive preparation often includes gathering evidence, consulting experts, interviewing witnesses, and building a robust case. This meticulous groundwork can, paradoxically, encourage the opposing party to offer a fair settlement, as they’ll recognize the strength of your case.
  • Advocating for Your Interests: A well-prepared attorney will always prioritize your best interests. They’ll assess settlement offers critically, weighing them against the potential outcomes in court. If the offers don’t adequately address your damages, your attorney will be ready and willing to advocate for you in front of a jury.
  • The Power of Choice: Ultimately, the decision to settle or proceed to trial rests with you. Your attorney will offer guidance, provide insights, and detail the potential risks and rewards of each path. But you will always have the final say on how you wish to proceed.

What if the insurance company offers a settlement early in the process?

When you’re involved in an incident, especially one that results in injury or damage, insurance companies are often quick to propose a settlement. This early offer might be presented as a gesture of goodwill or an attempt to swiftly resolve the matter. However, there’s more to this than meets the eye.

Insurance companies are businesses, and like all businesses, their primary goal is to maximize profit. One way they achieve this is by minimizing the payouts on claims. By presenting an early settlement, they aim to close the case quickly, often before the full extent of damages becomes apparent.

These initial offers might be tempting, especially when faced with mounting medical bills or repair costs. However, they might not encompass the complete scope of damage you’ve incurred.

  • The Importance of Legal Counsel:
    This is where your attorney steps in. They have the expertise to evaluate the fairness of the offer considering your injuries, damages, and potential future costs. They can thoroughly review the specifics of your case, considering factors like medical expenses, future treatments, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
  • Unforeseen Complications and Costs:
    Injuries can have latent effects. What might seem like a minor injury initially could develop into a more severe condition requiring extended treatment. Early settlements rarely account for such unforeseen complications. If you accept an offer and later discover that your injuries are more extensive than initially thought, you typically can’t go back and ask for more compensation.
  • Negotiation Power:
    Your attorney can also use their expertise to negotiate with the insurance company. They can leverage the evidence, medical reports, and other pertinent details to argue for a more fitting compensation amount. Insurance companies are more likely to present a fairer offer when they know they’re dealing with someone knowledgeable about the legal intricacies.
  • Peace of Mind:
    By consulting an attorney before accepting an early settlement, you give yourself the best chance to receive adequate compensation. This not only addresses your current needs but also provides a safety net for future uncertainties.

While an early settlement offer might seem like a quick way to move past the incident, it’s crucial to ensure that you’re not shortchanging yourself. By having an attorney by your side, you can navigate the complexities of the insurance world and stand up for your rights, ensuring you receive the compensation you truly deserve.

Can I seek compensation for future medical expenses and ongoing treatment?

Yes, you absolutely can seek compensation for both your current medical expenses and those projected for the future, especially if these costs arise due to the injuries you sustained. It’s crucial to understand that injuries from accidents, especially those that are severe, can have long-term or even lifelong consequences. Sometimes, the full extent of these injuries might not manifest immediately after the incident but can evolve over time, leading to chronic conditions or necessitating prolonged treatments. 

For instance, consider a scenario where an individual sustains a spinal injury. While initial treatments might involve surgeries or physiotherapy, long-term consequences could involve chronic pain management, further surgeries, or long-term rehabilitation. In such cases, the immediate medical bills post-accident are just the tip of the iceberg. 

Your attorney plays a vital role in this process. They will collaborate with medical experts to understand the scope and duration of your required treatments. These medical professionals can provide estimates regarding the costs of future surgeries, therapies, medications, and any assistive devices or modifications you might need. Additionally, mental health impacts from traumatic incidents can also lead to ongoing therapy or counseling costs, and these too can be factored into your compensation claim. 

Furthermore, your attorney will look into the other side of the coin—loss of income. If your injuries lead to reduced work capacity or prolonged absences, the lost wages and potential future earnings can and should be included in your claim. 

In essence, the goal is to ensure that victims are not financially burdened due to someone else’s negligence. The legal system recognizes the importance of accounting for both immediate and future costs to ensure victims can recover without the looming stress of impending medical bills. 

Remember, when seeking compensation, it’s not just about recovering from the immediate aftermath but ensuring you’re safeguarded against future uncertainties arising from the incident.