Frequently asked questions

How Much Will This Cost? I Don’t Know if I can Afford A Lawyer.

You need a lawyer. Your claims are important. But the expense of litigation seems daunting. You want a lawyer who shares your interest in getting results. Welcome to the Stilwell Law Firm.

We believe in you just like we believe in our abilities. Therefore, we like to use contingent fee arrangements where we carry the costs of our services until we achieve a result for you. Quite simply, we work for results.

We like these fee arrangements because they eliminate or reduce your out of pocket costs and incentivize us to maximize your recovery. It means that we work strategically, efficiently, and convincingly to get the best result for you, knowing that we don’t get paid until you do.

Contingent fee arrangements mean that the client agrees to pay the attorneys a percentage of what is won or recovered in the lawsuit. This means you don’t receive a monthly invoice, and we don’t get paid unless we recover. Contingent fees demand skilled representation. By sharing the risk and reward, a contingent fee aligns our interests with yours. And that’s how we like it. We prefer to get paid to solve your problems. Not just to work for work’s sake.

Hybrid fees use a combination of a lower hourly billing rate with a smaller contingent percentage to reward the firm for desired results. This billing arrangement maintains the alignment of interests achieved by a contingent fee, but reduces the risk to lawyer and client. Hybrid fees lower the expense of hourly representation while retaining for you a larger portion of any award. Flexibility is the hallmark of hybrid fees because it allows us to create a fee structure that meets the individual needs of your case.

What About Doctor & Medical Bills?

When you or your loved one is injured, the last thing you want to worry about is how to pay for medical care. We understand that. We also know that insurance companies and third-parties rarely pay medical bills up front and often deny responsibility. This delay can cause serious financial difficulty for persons and families who have been in an accident.

We will work with doctors and hospitals to make sure you receive the help you need.

In some cases, we can arrange a letter of protection. A letter of protection is a document that helps persons who have suffered injuries in an accident get help with medical treatment costs. A letter of protection allows the injured party to obtain medical care they otherwise cannot afford on credit or cash, in exchange for a promise to pay for the services directly out of a settlement or judgment. It forms a contract with the healthcare or medical provider to treat you for your injuries, while the doctor agrees that his or her invoices will be paid later once you recover. They are utilized in all types of personal injury claims including car accidents, slip-and-falls, on-the job-injuries or any other injury caused by negligence.

The letter makes it clear that the outstanding dues will be deducted from the cash settlement and paid to the doctor first before the settlement money is handed over to the client. In return the letter of protection will stipulate that the doctor not bill you as long as the case is in the settlement stage and not to refer your case to debt collection agencies or take other steps to hurt your credit score during that time.

When you do receive a recovery or cash settlement, any outstanding medical dues are cleared using funds from the settlement. The lawyer clears the doctor’s outstanding debt first.

This is not just a letter asking the doctor to treat you for free while your case is in court. A lawyer must pay the doctor any outstanding dues as soon as the cash settlement is received. And, if there is no recovery, then the injured person is still responsible for the bill and the medical provider retains the right to seek payment just as before.

The most important thing you can do is to immediately retain an experienced lawyer to make sure you are receiving the necessary advice, care, and treatment that you deserve.

If you have suffered injuries in an accident and are having trouble paying your medical bills, then call us for a free consultation today. We have the experience you can lean on.

What If Someone Finds Out I’m Thinking of Hiring a Lawyer?

At the Stilwell Law Firm, your confidentiality is our chief concern When you ask us for advice, we maintain your confidentiality.

We understand that you could be concerned about your employer’s reaction or an insurance company’s reaction if they find out you are thinking about hiring a lawyer. But, don’t worry. The law protects conversations with an attorney regarding potential legal advice. Nobody – not your employer, not an insurance company, not anybody — has the right to know about our legal advice or your confidential free legal consultation.

Even if you decide not to pursue a claim, our free confidential consultation will remain private.

If you or a loved one has been injured, we would be happy to help you figure out your options. Please call us for a free, confidential consultation.

What is the purpose of mediation in a personal injury lawsuit and will it work for my case?

If your claims do not settle, a personal injury or wrongful death case will usually go to trial in a year and half or two years depending on the complexity of the facts giving rise to the accident. If you are interested in reaching a resolution sooner, the best course is to try to settle your claims through mediation. Our personal injury attorneys thoroughly investigate your claims from the outset so that if you are interested in settling early on, we are prepared to do so to get you compensated as quickly as possible.

What Is Mediation?

Mediation is a way to resolve differences without going to court. It can be much cheaper, quicker and less adversarial than litigation. Mediation brings the parties together to discuss the facts of the accident, the damages suffered, and the probable outcome of a trial. The ultimate goal of mediation is to find some sort of compromise to settle the case immediately without relying on a jury trial to achieve resolution. If you do not want to settle your case, our personal injury lawyers have over 25 years of trial experience and are ready to see your case through to the end.
If you decide to pursue mediation, take comfort in the fact that mediation is not binding unless a settlement is agreed to by both parties. This means you can still go to trial if you are not completely satisfied with the offer proposed by the other side at mediation. The benefit of an early settlement is early compensation, in addition to protection against the uncertainties of a trial.

Who Serves As A Mediator For The Case?

Mediators are people who are trained in the necessary skills to work out differences between the parties. Most of the time, a lawyer or former judge will serve as the mediator of a personal injury case. The attorneys in the case usually discuss and agree on the person who will serve as a mediator, otherwise the trial judge may appoint a mediator.

How Does The Mediation Process Work?

The mediator will wait until both parties are present and then make introductions. The mediator will let the parties know that he or she is completely impartial to the dispute at hand.
Typically, each party will present their case and settlement goals to the mediator. These presentations also serve to confirm all of the issues that the parties believe are important in determining liability for the accident and the amount of damages owed to the injured party.

The client may also speak, or may defer to our personal injury attorneys to make a statement on your behalf.

Some mediators also ask questions during the opening presentations. Generally, this is not an effort to dispute the parties’ position, but a method for the mediator to obtain additional information that the mediator may believe to be important to a resolution of the case. Additionally, the mediator may use questions to find common goals between the parties in furtherance of settlement.

After each side has presented their case, mediator will often hold private sessions with each party to move the negotiations along. These private sessions are confidential. The goal of the private session is to find some common ground by exploring lots of options and to bring about solutions for each side to consider. This might lead to a final agreement to settle the problem.

By bargaining and finding workable options, an agreement may be reached, which is the ultimate goal of the mediation. If no agreement can be reached, then the case may proceed with litigation, and the mediation is over.

Are There Rules For The Mediation?

The primary rule of a mediation is that it is confidential. Often in personal injury and wrongful death cases, the mediator will make an opening statement which will set the ground rules for the mediation, so that it will move along smoothly. Additionally, the mediator may set a time frame for the mediation proceeding and confirm that each party has the time available for the process to work. Otherwise, a mediation is an open forum designed to promote negotiations to reach a resolution.

Is the Mediation Confidential?

Each mediation is completely confidential. This means that the statements that each party makes in the mediation may not be presented as evidence in Court if the case does not settle and goes to trial. Furthermore, anything said to the mediator in confidence cannot be shared with any other party without express permission.

How Long Does a Mediation Last?

Most mediations only last one day. However, if the issues are complex, or if there are many different parties with different positions, the mediation may last two days.

Where Will The Mediation Take Place?

The setting for the mediation is one that is not threatening to either party – a neutral location, usually the mediator’s office or a mediation center that possesses conference rooms that the mediator can use.

Are Mediation and Arbitration the Same?

Perhaps you have heard of arbitration to settle a dispute. Mediation and arbitration are similar except for one main difference. Mediation is not binding unless a final agreement is reached. Thus, a mediator does not have the authority to make a decision unless both parties agree to the settlement. Conversely, an arbitration is similar to a trial and an arbitrator or arbitration panel acts like a judge. An arbitrator typically possesses the authority to make a binding decision based upon the facts and evidence presented.

Call For Your Free Case Consultation Today.

Our personal injury attorneys in Houston, Texas have over 25 years of experience guiding clients through mediation and settlement, and will walk you through the process. Call the Stilwell Law Firm for your free consultation today: 713-931-1111 or 844-931-3111.