Frequently Asked Questions
Understand Your Personal Injury Case
Some people think they should take their case to a big law firm because they think only the bigger firms can afford to do their case. We won’t flinch at spending whatever it takes to put your case together. No one has ever—or will ever—push us around by outspending us. A word about lawyers and how much it costs to bring a lawsuit:
Winning cases against large companies like FedEx, GlaxoSmithKline, GM, Ford, Caterpillar or doctors and hospitals can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Your lawyer should front the money for investigations, scientific tests, expert witnesses and other case preparation and trial costs. Your lawyer will be paid back when you are paid.
Many people think the bigger the law firm the more money they will recover. However, that is not necessarily true. Big law firms often take on more cases than they can carefully handle. We never take on more clients than we have time to represent right.
Before you hire a lawyer, you should ask about the lawyer’s trial record. Many lawyers who advertise have never tried a case. Of those who have, very few have ever tried a case where millions of dollars were at stake. We have. Jim Fitzgerald has been listed in High Stakes Litigators and is a member of the Inner Circle of Advocates whose members must have obtained multi-million dollar trial results. Membership is limited to 100 members in the United States.
Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently asked questions that may help you understand your personal injury case.
1. What is considered a personal injury?
Personal injury occurs when a person suffers an injury to their physical body, mind, or emotions, rather than their property. Known in common law as a type of tort lawsuit, a personal injury claim allows an injured person (the “plaintiff”) to hold accountable corporations, entities and other persons (the “defendant”) for compensation due to damages incurred because of an injury due to recklessness or careless conduct. Each personal injury case is unique and there are many factors that impact its outcome.
Examples of personal injury accidents include:
2. What is the time limit on filing a personal injury claim?
Every state has a set time frame for a plaintiff to file a claim. Different types of cases may have different time limits called statutes of limitations. In some cases, but not all cases in Wyoming, a plaintiff has four years from the date of the injury to initiate a lawsuit in a personal injury case. While this seems like a long time, it is always best to be proactive in contacting a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. The time is usually shorter in other states, and shorter in Wyoming in cases against healthcare providers, governments, and in wrongful death.
3. What is considered wrongful death?
Wrongful death arises when a death has been caused by the negligence, recklessness, or intentional act of another. Under Wyoming law, negligence means the failure to use ordinary care which should be reasonably expected of a person under the same or similar circumstances. In a wrongful death case, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant’s actions or inaction were reckless, negligent, or intentional.
4. What does it mean when you say your verdicts are upheld on appeal?
When a verdict is upheld on appeal, it means that a higher court consisting of five to nine judges agreed with the decision of the trial court. The Fitzgerald Law Firm has had immense success in courtrooms on appeal, holding the record for the largest verdicts ever upheld on appeal in the Wyoming Supreme Court for injuries and wrongful death.
5. How long will my case take?
Each case is unique and involves specific facts, laws, people, or organizations, so it is difficult to determine the exact amount of time any case may take. Typically, a case that involves more extensive injuries or damages will take longer to resolve. If liability in a claim is disputed, it is likely to take over a year to find a solution. Know that when our team at The Fitzgerald Law Firm takes on your case, we see it through to its resolution.
6. Have you ever gone to trial in a case like mine? How many times?
These are important questions to consider as you identify an attorney who will work best for your situation. Lawyers with high trial records drive higher settlements. When a claim is evaluated by an insurance company, they take into consideration the quality of the attorney they will be up against. Insurance companies rate lawyers based on whether or not they have trial experience, what their trial win/loss record is, and their determination to see a case through trial.
The Fitzgerald Law Firm has extensive experience in trials and has received many of the highest personal injury verdicts and settlements in Wyoming history.
7. Have you ever had a million-dollar verdict?
The Fitzgerald Law Firm is well known for our reputation of obtaining high-dollar verdicts and settlements including the largest wrongful death and injury verdict ever upheld on appeal. And, nearly half of all the verdicts in Wyoming are of one million dollars or more. You can read more about verdict and settlement case outcomes here.
8. Do you have the financial resources to start and finish my lawsuit?
Your lawyer pays the costs of your case upfront, so it is important to consider the law firm’s financial resources. Lawsuits cost a lot of money, especially if you are going up against a major manufacturer, hospital, or trucking company. Not every firm has the resources to cover the costs of hiring specialists including engineers, medical experts, life care planners, economists and others.
The answer to this question is YES WE DO. The Fitzgerald Law Firm will spend the amount of money necessary to prepare your case to the fullest, and it is one of the reasons we have been successful. No corporation, hospital or other defendant has ever gotten away with careless or reckless conduct by trying to cause us trouble with case expenses.
9. Does your firm hold any awards or recognitions?
The father-son team at The Fitzgerald Law Firm holds several awards from national and local organizations, rating services, and review networks for excellence in the field among peers, clients and case results.
- The Best Lawyers in America, 1987 – Present
- Mountain States Super Lawyers, 2007-Present
- Lawdragon 500 Leading Plaintiff Lawyers in America
- Martindale-Hubbell highest rating of “AV” since 2015
- America’s Top 100 High Stakes Litigators® 2020 – Present
- American College of Trial Lawyers, Member
- International Academy of Trial Lawyers, Member
- International Society of Barristers, Member
- Inner Circle of Advocates, Member
Founder and partner, Jim Fitzgerald has taken many cases to trial and was lead counsel in the largest wrongful death verdict ever held on appeal in Wyoming history, and the largest injury verdict in Wyoming history, and in nearly half of all the verdicts in Wyoming of one million dollars or more.