Frequently Asked Questions
Your health is the most important thing. After an accident you should be seen by a health care provider to be sure that none of your injuries are life-threatening and your long-term health is not at stake.
If you are thinking about bringing a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company, you should not talk to the insurance company. This is because the adjusters who are attempting to contact you are not on your side and are only looking out for the insurance company’s interest. They will take anything you say and attempt to use it against you or try to minimize your injury. Ultimately, although the adjuster may act friendly, their job is to save the insurance company as much money as possible. By hiring a personal injury attorney you will have an expert in the law you is only looking out for you and your interests.
The insurance company’s goal is to settle your case for as little as they can. The adjuster’s job is to make sure you do that. The adjuster knows the laws and will try to use those to minimize the value of your case. Similarly, if there is a law that will help you, the adjuster will not bring that law up. Ultimately, the insurance company and the adjuster are not on your side. By hiring an attorney, you can assure you are being properly represented and there is someone looking out for your interest.
The attorneys of Fitzpatrick, Skemp & Associates, LLC understand that a personal injury can be a great financial stress. This is on top of the physical and emotional stress which the accident caused. Because of this, your first meeting with the attorneys of Fitzpatrick, Skemp & Associates, LLC is free and if you hire us as your attorney, you will hire us on a contingency fee. Additionally, your attorney at Fitzpatrick, Skemp & Associates, LLC will not get paid until your case settles or goes to trial.
Good question! There are four components of your personal injury claim. The first is the damage to your property. The second is the value of your healthcare services whether medical or chiropractic. The third component of your claim is your lost wages. This included both wages you have lost in the past (such as missed work) and wages that you may lose in the future (if you are never able to go back to the same job). The fourth component is pain, suffering, and disability for the pain and inconvenience caused by the accident.
All four of these components are highly unique to the individual case. What may be a minor injury with few medical bills and no lost wages might be a very large personal injury claim with extensive medical bills and long-term loss of earning capacity to another person. Hiring an attorney will help you evaluate the case and ensure that you receive maximum value for your personal injury claim.
In Wisconsin, an injured person shall be awarded a sum of money “that will fairly and reasonably compensate [injured person] for the pain, suffering, and disability [the [injured person] has suffered from the date of the accident up to this time as a result of the accident.”
“Pain, suffering, and disability includes any physical pain, humiliation, embarrassment, worry and distress which [injured person] has suffered in the past.” Additionally, the jury is to consider “what extent [injured person] injuries impaired their ability to enjoy the normal activities, pleasures, and benefits of life.”
Everyone’s pain and suffering is unique to them and their case. Because every client who hires Fitzpatrick, Skemp & Associates, LLC works closely with an attorney who has had thousands of similar cases, the attorney at Fitzpatrick, Skemp & Associates, LLC will be able to maximize your pain and suffering award.
Typically, if a case settles before a lawsuit is filed it will take four to six months after the client is done seeing a health care provider. This is because your attorney can not begin to attempt to settle your case until you are either done treating or a health care provider has stated that you have suffered an injury that will require ongoing medical care in the future. If the case is not settled and a lawsuit has to be filed, it typically takes another twelve to eighteen months for the litigation process to take place.
Just because a lawsuit is filed does not necessarily mean there will be a jury trial. Once a lawsuit is filed with the circuit court both parties have to undergo discovery and mediation prior to getting a jury trial. For most cases it takes twelve to eighteen months to get in front of a jury.
Discovery is a court ordered process where both sides have to disclose certain information to either side. The most common forms of discovery are interrogatories (written questions to a party which are answered under oath), request for production of documents (a chance for both sides to request certain documents that are in their possession) and depositions (a chance for an attorney to ask another party questions in person, under oath, and in front of a court reporter) after discovery is done, parties typically mediate their case.
A deposition is the chance for the other side’s attorney to ask you question under oath. Because the questions are under oath, they may be used later during a trial. Although your attorney cannot help you during the deposition or answer any of the questions, your attorney will be present at the deposition and can object if the questions in inappropriate. Additionally, your attorney will help you prepare for your deposition.
Mediation is a process where both sides meet with a neutral third-party who attempts to settle the case. Although mediation is voluntary, and the third-party neutral has no formal powers or a stake in the case, mediation is very effective in getting the insurance company to make its best offer. Typically, if a lawsuit is filed, the vast majority of cases schedule at mediation.
If your case does not settle at mediation, the next step is a jury trial. That is when the jury panel, or twelve members of the community, will hear your case and decides who is at-fault for your injuries and what your damages are. Typically, during a trial, the jury will hear from the injured party, the injured party’s medical providers, and perhaps a member of the injured party’s close family. If there is no recovery at the jury trial you will not owe your attorney anything as there is no fee unless we win.
No. The Attorneys at Fitzpatrick, Skemp & Associates, LLC believe that in order to properly represent our clients we should treat all cases as if they are going to a jury trial. Therefore, the contingency fee percentage does not change if the case goes to a jury trial. If you case is going to a Jury trial you will discuss the case and the trial several times before the actual trial. This is done to ensure that you, and the witnesses, are ready and fully prepared for the trial.
Simply put, a contingency fee means that our attorney’s fees are a percentage of what you are awarded. The typical contingency fee is one-third (1/3) plus the attorney’s out-of-pocket expenses; however, that can vary from case to case. If nothing is recovered nothing is owed to your attorney. This means that you will never be put in a situation where you will end up owing your attorney money.
Attorney William SkempMelissa, Source: Avvo
"Mr. Skemp was so thorough in handling my case.
He was literally the junk yard dog I was hoping to hire and fought for me the whole way. Even when I felt like giving in. His staff is so helpful and kind as well. "
Attorney David FitzpatrickGeorge, Source: Google
"If you been denied SSI, call them they will fight for you and pay nothing unless they win."
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Attorney SCOTT BUTLERAbby, Source: Google
"We hired Attorney Scott Butler after a motor vehicle accident. Immediately a weight was lifted off our shoulders, as he handled everything with the insurance companies, medical paperwork, etc so that we could focus on healing and getting on with life. He is highly attentive, kind and genuine. His communication is fabulous-frequently reaching out just to check on us, prompt in returning calls/emails. Couldn't have had a better experience with our case. My family would highly recommend Scott Butler to anyone."