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Answers To Frequently Asked Legal Questions

It is perfectly understandable to have many questions when you are involved in a legal dispute or otherwise need the help of an attorney. On this page, we’ve answered some of the most common questions that clients ask. After reading, feel free to contact Aultman Law to get your own questions answered during an initial consultation.

Which types of personal injury cases do you handle?

Our firm primarily represents victims of motor vehicle accidents (cars, trucks, motorcycles, etc.), as well as those injured on dangerous private property, such as slip-and-fall accident victims.

If I caused a car accident, what should I do?

First, check on the other driver. Second, take photos. After getting contact and insurance information from the other driver, contact your insurance company. Your insurance company will then explain how the claim will be handled. If you are sued for an accident you caused, your insurance company will likely hire an attorney to represent you.

Should I contact my insurance company if I’ve been in an accident?

Yes. Call your insurance carrier and file a claim as quickly as possible after an accident.

How long does it take to resolve a case?

It depends on the type of case and its complexity. We suggest planning on 18 months for most cases, but the lingering COVID-19 pandemic has slowed down everything, including how long it may take to resolve a case.

What is the difference between legal fees and legal costs?

Legal fees are what an attorney charges to represent someone in a legal dispute. Legal fees can be based on an hourly rate or a percentage of the recovery. An attorney should present you with a written contract explaining legal fees.

Legal costs are costs paid to third parties, such as the court clerk to file your lawsuit, expert witness fees, jury trial fees, court reporter fees and the cost of mediation/arbitration, etc. The client is typically responsible for paying legal costs upfront or at the conclusion of the case. Legal costs should be clearly stated in any contract with an attorney.

Will my case go to trial?

It is certainly possible but unlikely. The overwhelming majority of cases settle before reaching trial. In 2018, the American Bar Association reported that over 90% of civil cases settle before trial.

Can my initial consultation be done on the telephone or virtually?

Yes. We can talk on the phone or meet virtually using Zoom, FaceTime, Skype, WhatsApp or Google Duo.

How much time do I have to file a lawsuit if I was injured in an accident?

Under Washington law, you have three years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit for your injuries. However, you will want to file much sooner than that. By seeking legal help quickly, you can ensure that evidence and witness testimony are preserved.

How much time do I have to file a lawsuit for breach of a contract?

It depends on whether the contract was verbal or written. You have three years from the date of the breach to file a lawsuit for breach of a verbal contract. You have six years from the date of the breach to file a lawsuit for breach of a written contract.

How much time do I have to file a lawsuit for a construction or design defect?

The answer to this question is quite technical. You have no more than six years, but you should consult an experienced construction litigation attorney for guidance.

What should I bring to an initial consultation?

If you are coming to discuss a personal injury matter, our attorney, Jeff Aultman, will want to see:

  • A copy of your insurance policy
  • Scene and accident photos
  • Medical records
  • Medical bills
  • Property damage estimates
  • Police reports
  • Letters to insurance claims agents
  • Copies of any text messages and emails you sent or received to anyone about the accident

If you are coming to discuss a business dispute or construction defect matter, Jeff would like to see a copy of all contracts, all change orders, any photos, inspection reports, and correspondence you sent or received with anyone about the dispute.

What is the difference between an attorney and a lawyer?

There is no difference. The terms are used interchangeably. Attorneys are also referred to as legal counselors.

Have More Questions? Contact Us For Knowledgeable Answers And Advice.

With an office in Kennewick, Washington, Aultman Law serves clients throughout the Tri-Cities area. For answers to your own legal questions, call us at 509-816-5084 or reach out online to schedule an initial consultation.