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Q. How do I know if I have a case?
A. You will have an initial consultation with an attorney at The Summers Law Firm at no cost, the matter will be evaluated, and a decision will be made (usually at the initial conference) as to whether the case is worth pursuing. Often additional documents will need to be obtained, such as medical records, accident records, etc. in order to fully evaluate the case. If the matter is accepted, you will sign a retainer agreement. Additionally, we will need to obtain authorization from you to obtain medical records.

Q. How will I pay the attorney's fees, and who will pay the expenses?
A. In a personal injury matter, if the case is accepted, there is no attorney fee unless there is a recovery, either by settlement or after a trial. If there is a recovery, the attorney's fee is one-third of the amount recovered. This is commonly referred to as a "contingency fee" arrangement. The client is responsible to pay the expenses of the litigation (such as court filing fees, service of process, expert witnesses, acquisition of medical records, stenographers, etc.). However, these expenses can be paid at the conclusion of the case out of any settlement or judgment proceeds.

Q. How long will it take?
This depends on a number of factors, including how clear the liability appears, the number of parties likely to be named in the suit, the nature and extent of the damages (both physical and economic), whether there is insurance coverage available for the responsible party and the location or venue of the jurisdiction where the suit is brought. Like anything else, the more complex the issues the more time it is likely to take. Most personal injury matters can be resolved, either by settlement or trial within one to two years, some sooner. Complex, multi-party cases, such as a medical malpractice action can take longer.

Q. Will I have to appear in court?
If the case cannot be settled, yes. However, most meritorious personal injury cases are settled sometime either prior to a lawsuit actually being brought, or sometime during the litigation process prior to commencement of trial. Often the person bringing the suit (the plaintiff) will have to appear for a deposition (also known as the examination before trial), to answer questions regarding the claim by the defendant's attorney. This usually takes place in an attorney's office, and you will be accompanied by your attorney. After depositions, the parties are usually in a better position to fully evaluate both liability and the extent of the damages. If all the parties agree, the matter can be resolved by mediation or arbitration (known as "alternative dispute resolution" or "ADR"). Most courts encourage "ADR" to resolve pending cases on their calendars.

Q. How can I arrange to have my personal injury or medical malpractice matter evaluated?
Contact The Summers Law Firm at:
125 Wolf Rd., Suite 302
Albany, NY 12205
(518) 459-2495 - Phone
(518) 459-2571 - Fax
Email -


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