1. What does it cost?
1.1 What is a contigency fee?
In almost all personal injury cases, we only work on a contingency fee (percentage of the case settlement) which means that we do not get paid if we do not win. We don’t charge any upfront costs, and we only get paid for our services if you recover compensation. We have always believed that everyone deserves equal access to the legal system.
2. Do I need a Lawyer?
2.1 Do I need a Lawyer?
Not every personal injury case requires a lawyer. However, if you attempt to negotiate directly with an insurance company you will lack the negotiation leverage required to force a reasonable settlement. Having an attorney means there will be “teeth” behind demands for compensation. Furthermore, attempting to resolve a case on your own prior to hiring an attorney could have a negative impact on your case if you decide to hire an attorney later. Cooper Legal Services provides a free, no-risk consultation where the pros and cons of hiring a lawyer in your specific case can be discussed.
3. How much is my case worth?
3.1 How much is my case worth?
It is impossible to tell you exactly what you case is worth as there is no such thing as a fixed price of settlement regarding any given injury. Every case is unique and a number of factors go into the valuation of your case, including the amount of available insurance, cost of medical bills and percentage of fault. Much of this information is unknown at the time of your injury, but as your cases progresses it is easier to estimate the value of a claim. Our goal is to gather this information as quickly as possible, while also helping you avoid the tactics used by insurance companies to devalue your claim.
4. Do I have to go to Court?
4.1 Do I have to go to Court?
Most personal injury cases do not go to trial. However, a good lawyer will always prepare each case for trial. We will identify the possible legal issues in your case and do the necessary research on those issues. We will investigate your case by talking with potential witnesses and looking at the possible evidence in your case. We do our very best to come to a reasonable settlement before filing a lawsuit.
5. What should I do after an accident?
5.1 What should I do after an accident?
Your health should obviously take top priority. Seek medical treatment for your injuries as quickly as possible. This will also be important documentation of your injuries when it comes time to present your case to the insurance company. After seeking initial treatment, contact our office before speaking with any insurance companies. Do not give a recorded statement. Preserve any evidence you think will help your case. We will take over all communication with the insurance companies and coordinate your medical treatments so you can focus on resting and recovering from your injuries..
6.What is the role of the Prosecutor?
6.1 What is the role of the prosecutor?
The prosecutor represents the State of Indiana against the Defendant. The prosecutor has an ethical duty to refrain from prosecuting a charge that the prosecutor knows is not supported by probable cause. Additionally, the prosecutor may not discourage defense witnesses from testifying and the prosecutor will be held to any agreements they make with the defendant or any witnesses.
Furthermore, the prosecutor has the duty to see that the Defendant is accorded procedural justice and that guilt is decided upon the basis of sufficient evidence. The prosecutor must make timely disclosure of all evidence or information known to the prosecutor that tends to negate the guilt of the accused or mitigates the offense. This means that the prosecutor must not suppress or omit material evidence and must takes steps to preserve useful evidence for the Defendant.
7. What is the role of the Defense Attorney?
7.1 What is the role of the defense attorney?
The defense attorney must diligently and zealously represent the client's best interests at trial. Although the defense attorney must abide by the client's objectives, the defense attorney is responsible for the technical and tactical issues at the trial. One of the defense attorney's main duties is to help ensure that the Defendant gets a fair trial. The defense attorney does this by functioning as a watchdog on behalf of his client by helping educate the judge as to potential inadmissible evidence and other legal issues and by making sure that the prosecutor doesn't overstep their bounds when presenting their case or objecting to the client's defense.
Interestingly enough...few people realize that, while most everything the Defendant tells his attorney is protected by the attorney-client confidentiality privilege, the defense attorney may not knowingly offer false information into evidence.
8. What is the role of the Judge?
8.1 What is the role of the judge?
The judge is a public officer who is charged with the control of the legal proceedings in the court. The judge will determine whether certain evidence is admissible or not. Furthermore, the judge will rule on preliminary matters and discovery issues that the parties have. Before a jury decides a case, the judge will instruct the jury as to how the law guides them in the particular case.
9. What is the role of the Jury?
9.1 What is the role of the jury?
Jurors take an oath to honestly, justly and impartially hear a case. Jurors have a duty to keep an open mind and must not form or express an opinion until they have heard all the evidence, the arguments of counsel, and the final instruction as to the law from the Court.
Jurors are the exclusive judges of the evidence, the credibility of the witnesses and the weight to be given to the testimony. In weighing the testimony to determine what or who is to be believed, the jury should use their own knowledge, experience and common sense to guide them.
10. What is the Sentencing Hearing?
10.1 What is the Sentencing Hearing?
After a guilty plea or verdict, a sentencing hearing is generally held so the judge can hear evidence as to what the defendant's sentence should be. In felony cases, a pre-sentence report must be prepared and the defendant must receive a copy of the contents of the report before the hearing.
Generally, the judge must sentence the defendant to the presumptive sentence set by statute unless there are mitigating or aggravating circumstances in the case.
Generally, a sentence may run consecutively (one after the other) if all the crimes arose out of 1 transaction and the offenses aren't identical.
Generally, a sentence should run concurrently (at the same time) if there were no aggravating circumstances in the case. However, a consecutive sentence is required is the defendant was still on probation, parole or imprisoned for another crime.
11. What is the goal of Criminal Sanctions?
11.1 What is the goal of criminal sanctions?
Article 1 Section 18 of the Indiana Constitution says the aim of criminal sanctions is to reform the criminal offender.
12. What about an Appeal?
12.1 What about an Appeal?
Article 7 Section 6 of the Indiana Constitution says that all defendants have the right to one appeal of their criminal conviction.
Generally, the conviction will be sustained (upheld) if there is sufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to conclude that the defendant was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
13. What is Probation?
13.1 What is probation?
Probation is a sentence imposed for the commission of a crime where...instead of being incarcerated...the convicted criminal offender is released into the community under the supervision of a probation officer under certain terms and conditions.
Probation may be revoked if a defendant violates the terms and conditions of their probation. The petition to revoke requires that the State prove that the conditions were violated by a preponderance of the evidence at a hearing before a judge. This is a much lesser standard than the "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard that the State had at trial. Probation violations are very common and the potential consequence is very serious. If probation is revoked, it is possible for the defendant to be sentenced to the original sentence!e.
14. I got a Traffic ticket - Should I fight it?
14.1 I got a traffic ticket - Should I fight it?
If you receive a traffic citation, you usually have the option of either paying the fine by mailing in the designated fee or appearing in traffic court to contest the ticket. Whether you should fight the ticket depends on many things, including whether the potential penalty is serious and whether you have a valid defense to the ticket. Look at the facts of your case objectively. Do you have valid reason for violating a traffic law or just an excuse?
There are several ways a traffic ticket can be dismissed. Some of the more common reasons for dismissal include: State's failure to make a prima facie case; State isn't ready to present its case at the time of your court appearance; Lack of jurisdiction; and Mistaken identification. Contact your attorney regarding the traffic matter and he/she should be able to help you decide whether you should fight it.
15. Do I need Professional Help?
15.1 Do I need Professional Help?
The biggest mistake one can make is to attempt to go thru the criminal process unrepresented. The prosecutor may seem like the nicest guy in the world. However, the prosecutor does not have your interest at heart. The prosecutor represents the State of Indiana and will try to get the best results for the State. The most important thing you can do is to secure counsel as early on in the process as possible.