Personal Injury Lawyers
When you are injured, you and your family
are faced, often for the first time, with extremely serious medical
problems. However, it is essential that the legal aspect of your injury
be promptly and professionally considered. The law firm of Urban & Burt,
Ltd. will do all that is necessary to represent your claim for personal injury
in a skillful, efficient, and prompt manner. Our efforts will allow you
to obtain a fair and just compensation for your injury. Our goal is to
obtain for you the best results possible under the law either by trial of your
case or through settlement negotiations. The following is not intended as legal
advice, but is a guide for your reference to frequently asked questions.
Please click on a question which may answer a concern that you may have.
Have a Case?
To determine whether or not you will
be successful in receiving compensation for your claim, it is necessary that
all of the following factors be considered:
Did you sustain a substantial bodily injury?
Was another party at
Did the conduct or fault of
the other party cause your injury or
contribute to it?
Did you contribute to your
injury or the incident in any substantial way?
Does the other party have
adequate insurance or assets to justly
If the other party has
inadequate or no insurance, are you covered by
applicable uninsured or underinsured insurance?
How Much Will I
Initially, we do not know! No
ethical attorney can "guarantee" you an amount that you will receive at the
beginning of your case. Each case develops, either for better or for
worse, as the facts are ascertained. Some witnesses may enhance your case
and other witnesses may deter from your case. You need a competent and
experienced law firm to fully develop the facts of your claim and then present
the favorable facts in the best possible light while minimizing the facts which
detract from your case.
Remember, our system of justice in
the United States is an "adverserial system." This means that the
opposing attorney will try to develop facts which are adverse to your case and
your attorney will try to develop facts which are positive to your case.
In other words, you not only need a good offense, you need a good
How Does My Case
In order for both sides to properly
evaluate what compensation you should receive for your claim, the facts must be
developed both through the use of investigators and court discovery
Investigation of your claim by our experienced investigators promptly after
your injury has been sustained often leads to facts which win or lose a case.
The investigation during these "golden hours" will permit us to gain such
irreplaceable evidence as photographs of skid marks, objects or statements from
talkative opponents who are willing to give a statement while they are still
feeling remorse of injuring another human being. Additionally, we may be
able to obtain names and addresses of witnesses who are willing to come
It may also be necessary in preparing your case to seek the advice of experts
in other fields. These experts often include doctors, engineers or other
scientific experts. In addition to providing scientific evaluation of the
facts surrounding your lawsuit, these experts may be called upon to provide
testimony in court on behalf of your case.
The fees these experts charge will in some cases be advanced by Urban &
Burt, Ltd. However, you will ultimately be responsible for those costs
and in certain circumstances may be asked to pay them as they are billed by the
After the initial lawsuit is filed, further development of the facts
surrounding your claim will proceed by elaborate court rules that have been
established to help each side gain information so that an informed evaluation
of the case can be made. These procedures include:
- Each side may submit written questions to the
other side requiring written answers. Your attorney will forward to you the
interrogatory questions partially completed with answers from his files.
You should review and supplement them promptly. Your attorney will complete
the answers and send them to you for your signatureease return the
documents promptly as they must be filed within a short period of time.
Depositions - Each side may request the parties to the lawsuit or
independent witnesses to come to the attorney's office and answer, under
oath, in the presence of a court reporter, questions concerning the
incident and the injuries you sustained.
2. Production of documents
- Each side may request the production of
documents reasonably related to the claim evaluation. These documents
usually include doctors, hospital, and repair bills. Also, the opposing
party will request copies of all out-of-pocket expenses related to the
injury. Additionally, requests will be made for copies of income tax
returns and lost time verifications.
After both attorneys feel that they have
developed sufficient factual data, each side evaluates the strong and weak
points of their client's claim and then settlement negotiations begin in
earnest. Your attorneys will make a demand on your behalf to settle your claim
prior to further trial preparation. The settlement demand is either accepted,
rejected, or a counter offer is made.
If the opposing parties cannot reach an agreeable settlement figure, your case
must be presented to a judge and/or a jury for a determination of what amount,
if any, you are entitled to for your just compensation for your injuries.
Although the offer of settlement may not be exactly what a litigant wants,
settlement is often in the best interest of the client in that trial
preparation is expensive (fees for expert witnesses, doctors, subpoenas,
construction of exhibits, etc.) Also, juries are unpredictable.
How do we know when to accept the offered
settlement figure? Ultimately, the client makes the decision of accepting or
rejecting any settlement offer and the firm of Urban & Burt, Ltd. will
promptly convey all settlement offers to you so that you may consider accepting
or rejecting each offer. We will provide you with our opinion on whether or not
you should accept or reject each offer, not only considering the factors
discussed previously, but by utilizing both local and national indexes of jury
verdict awards for cases similar to yours.
Before your case goes to trial, the court
will conduct a pre-trial conference. This conference between the judge
and the attorneys is one last effort to reach settlement between the
parties. In the event the case cannot be settled, the case will be set
for trial. However, because of the backlog in the courts, the trial may
not place for up to three years, depending on in which court the case is filed.
We may be notified in as short notice as two weeks that your case will go to
trial. Because of this short notice, it is necessary for you to assist us
by keeping us apprised of your whereabouts and assist us in contacting your
It is extremely important that you take
time within two weeks prior to trial to discuss your testimony with your
attorney. Upon notice of a trial date, you should contact your attorney
immediately to set up a conference to discuss your case.
What Is My Job?
Let Us Know Your Thoughts - Your
thoughts are important to us. Give us your impressions of the case as
your case develops, because you may have more key information that is unknown
to your attorney.
Talk to No One - You should not talk to anyone about your accident
except one of the lawyers or investigators in our office. You should
always require some identification so that you are sure to whom you are
speaking. You should not even speak to your own insurance company, or to
any lawyers hired by your own insurance company without notifying us so that we
may be present, if we determine it necessary. We will generally want any
of these statements taken in our office.
Your Doctor - You should visit each of your doctors during your recovery
period and should always give them your complete complaints. You should
not minimize your ailments to your doctors, as it is one of the best ways of
knowing how to treat you. If you see any additional doctors, be sure we
are advised immediately of their names and addresses. Be sure to be
specific in relating all your complaints and how they relate to your injury
when you speak with your doctors.
Wages and Earnings Lost - Please keep an accurate record of all days
lost from work because of your injuries. We may provide you with a wage
loss verification for your employer to complete. Please have it returned
to our office promptly.
Medical Bills - Obtain and keep duplicate copies of all medical,
hospital, and drug bills. You should periodically send these bills to us
for our files. You should also keep records of any other expenses you may
have in connection with your accident, such as the hiring of extra help.
All your bills should be paid by check, or you should obtain and keep receipts.
You should utilize the statement of damages supplied by our office to
list all of your medical bills and the costs incurred in going to your doctor.
You should forward to your attorney copies of all bills relating to the injury,
even those already paid by your own health or automobile insurance
Repairs - Do not have your automobile repaired or other objects that
were involved in the accident until you are sure that we have obtained pictures
of it. After pictures are taken by this office, have your collision
insurance carrier repair your car. If it is necessary to rent a car
during the repair period, forward this receipt to your attorney.
Traffic Offenses - Never appear as a witness or plead guilty to any
traffic offenses in connection with this accident. If you are arrested,
call one of the lawyers in the office immediately and we will see that someone
represents or advises you. In the event of a coroner's inquest, union
hearing, or other type of hearing, be sure to notify this office, so that we
will be able to represent you in connection with this inquest.
Witnesses - Furnish to us immediately the correct name, address and
telephone numbers of any and all witnesses of whom you may learn.
Save Your Cast - If your injury requires a cast, brace, traction, or
other appliance, save it for evidence at trial. You should notify us that
you are keeping it and when the case is set for hearing, you should bring these
items with you.
Photographs - Send to us the negatives and prints of any photographs
pertaining to your case which you or any of your friends have taken. If
at any time you are required to be in the hospital and are receiving any type
of treatment like traction or physical therapy which can be photographed,
please notify our office so that we can have our investigator photograph
Your Address - Be sure to keep us advised of any change in your address,
as well as your home and work telephone numbers.
Keep Your Diary - Please keep a diary or weekly record of your
complaints and progress. This can be very helpful to permit you to recall
your pain and difficulties more vividly. Your diary should reflect your normal,
daily activities, highlighting the difficulties you experience in your daily
functions due to the injury. Include not only the pain that you are
experiencing, but your disposition in relationship to others. If your
marital relationship is being adversely affected by your injury, we need to
know this also.
The type of pain that you experience should
be recorded accurately, including such matters as the type of pain (shooting
pain, throbbing, continuous pain) and the areas affected by such pain, as well
as the duration of such pain.