Some of the Most Frequently Asked Questions
We know you want to seek justice for your injuries or those in your loved ones, but we also know you will want some vital pieces of information before you consider embarking. Arnold & Itkin works hard to leave the logistics out of your already wide range of burdens that are direct results of your wrongful injuries. We want to assure you that from your first step to the final verdict, we are right there by your side, doing all of the leg work so you can simply focus on your recovery.
Although our team can answer more specific questions you have regarding your case, below are some common questions many of our clients have at the introductory stage of their cases:
Personal Injury Questions
What do I need in order to qualify for a verdict or settlement?
The only necessary aspect in order to qualify for a personal injury suit is an injury – or death of a loved one – that you believe to have been the result of negligence in another party. If this is the case, it is important that you do not discuss it with anyone else besides a trusted attorney, as you may be swayed that your case does not hold water or be otherwise intimidated out of filing. Our team will use our experience and our knowledge to assess whether or not you have grounds for a personal injury suit. If your case is strong enough, we may be able to obtain a settlement, which is the agreed upon compensation between plaintiff and defendant before the case ever sees a courtroom. If it cannot be settled out of court, we will take it to trial, where compensation is still possible but in the form of a verdict decided upon by a trail’s jury.
Would I be able to afford legal representation?
Our firm prioritizes your justice over ability to play, which is why we offer contingency fee arrangements to make payment easier for our clients. Contingency fees are the standard agreements for personal injury cases; essentially, our firm will cover all the expenses, risks, and investigative costs of your trial. You pay us nothing, and in return we receive a portion of your verdict or settlement if you win. You bear no risk and lose nothing if you do not receive a jury award or settlement. For commercial litigation or non-injury cases, our firm also offers flat hourly fees and other billing arrangements to suit your needs. At the time of your free case evaluation, we will have the information we need in order to offer the most beneficial payment agreement available for your particular case.
How soon do I need to file a claim after my injury?
There are two legal entities in place that enforce the time allowed from the event of a wrongdoing to the official charge against the responsible party. The first, known as a “Statute of Limitations,” is different in each state, and also from each type of complaint. Statutes of Limitations, however, can be flexible to extensions depending on individual circumstances, unlike Statutes of Repose, which are much more strict and definite than their counterpart. If your injuries are still sustained, the chances are that it is not too late to file a claim. The sooner you do, however, the greater our chances of compiling compelling evidence in favor of your case. Contact our offices as soon as possible to increase your odds of a favorable verdict or settlement.
What if the accident is in part my fault?
Being partially at fault does not eliminate your right to compensation if it can be determined that another party had a greater hand in the accident. It is important that you do not discourage yourself from filing a suit for this reason: your attorneys, the courtroom, or the settlement table are better suited for determining who is truly at fault for your accident.
Will I be mistreated from my employer if I speak with legal representatives?
Many injured workers continue to work with their employer after the accident and are afraid of mistreatment after talking to a lawyer. As well, many workers also hope to go back to work for their employer after the settlement or verdict and fear that a suit will burn that bridge, so to speak. In the first case, every client has “Attorney-Client Privilege,” which protects you from your boss or employer from knowing that you have met with an attorney and what you chose to disclose to your attorney. As long as you are a client of ours, and the information you have given us is for legal, advisory reasons, you will be protected.
Property Contamination Questions
What exactly does a remediation plan entail?
Also referred to as land remediation, these are widespread plans designed to restore land back to the state it was in before its contamination. Generally, these plans are devised from input in a number of different, essential parties involved, including: environmental scientists, the owners of the land contaminated, the oil or fracking company responsible, and legal representatives on both the side of the plaintiffs and the defendants. If representing your land in a remediation plan, it would be our job as a firm to work between you and the other parties, ensuring that the parties responsible do everything in their power to restore the land’s quality and do so at their own expense.
For what damages can I recover compensation?
They will vary from case to case, depending of the scope of the damages. Most of these cases, however, are extensive and will require the recovery for air, water, and soil pollution, destruction of the historical use of the property, future diminishing of the property’s market value, cost of cleaning up the property, cost of having to relocate during its destruction or restoration, loss of the property as whole if damaged irreparably, and other costs. Our firm will catalogue all relevant damages and work to make sure that each is properly accounted for in your compensation.
What are some ways in which oil and fracking procedures can damage property?
When really done incorrectly or irresponsibly, oil, gas, and fracking procedures can damage every aspect of the land, including the quality of its air, soil, and water. Once these are contaminated with the toxic chemicals and gases used by these companies, it can cause widespread illnesses in the neighboring communities. Because fracking occurs at such deep levels below the earth’s surface, it can also disrupt sedimentary rock layers, leaving an area of land more vulnerable to quakes. This may be more difficult to fix, but should be included in the plan to clean up the land.
Business & Commercial Litigation Questions
Can I get my money back from a financial advisor?
Many investors lose their money to irresponsible financial advisors and shrug their shoulders as if it is simply a risk you take in investing. While it is true that not all investments are successful, it’s also true that not all financial advisors acted according to their obligations. If it can be proven that your financial advisor misrepresented an investment, mishandled your return on that investment, or otherwise deceived you in any way, it is possible to recover your lost finances and possibly receive further compensation. Additionally, if there is any discrepancy between your contract and your financial advisors' actions, it may constitute a breach of contract suit. Our firm has extensive experience in commercial and business litigation and is eager to hear about your case and how we can help restore justice to you and your finances.
What if another business purposefully impedes my flow of clientele?
This would technically call under the category of commercial “interference,” which refers to the intentional, negative manipulation of a business or service’s image or reputation for the purpose of diminishing its success. The specific name of this charge would be “Tortious Interference with Business Relations,” and would be relevant in the event that another party has given false testimonies or otherwise defames an individual or company, resulting in the loss of business. Another common type of interference pertains to the agreement made between two parties. A “Tortious Interference With Contract” would be filed in the event that another party manipulated you into breaching the contract or otherwise made it impossible for you to meet your end of the contract.
How exactly does a Non-Compete clause restrict my future employment?
The non-compete clause (NCC) is generally used to protect an employer from an employee disclosing sensitive information in the future when said employee moves on to a different employer within that same industry. For some pharmaceutical and tech companies, these agreements make sense, but they should always be constructed reasonably. A reasonable non-compete clause can easily be enforced in the event that you violate it. However, our firm has seen non-compete clauses that require an employee does not move to a competitor for 20 years. These can be contested as unreasonable can be made null and void with the help of a competent and dedicated legal team.
What experience does your firm have in business law?
Many of our fellow attorneys at Arnold & Itkin LLP worked in the business arena before going to law, having experience from the business perspective in complex contract negotiations and transactions. Additionally, many of our legal professionals studied business law both in their undergraduate and Juris Doctor programs. The overall combination of business industry practice and knowledge, and legal prowess leaves us quite confident that we can represent you as either a defendant or plaintiff in the most sophisticated of business or commercial litigation.
Insurance Claim Questions
How do I know if an insurance company is engaging in prohibited practices?
Insurance companies, while they seem professional and ethical by nature of their important role, are still subject to practical violations for which they will be held legally responsible. These practices are known as bad-faith insurance practices, and include refusing a policyholder’s claim, even with evidence supporting it, neglecting to investigate a claim or denying a claim without proper explanation, purposefully delaying the payout of a claim, only paying part of a claim while attempting to settle the remaining amount, and strategically and unreasonably requesting documentation in order to impede the process and delay your payment. If you are experiencing any issues with your insurance company that sounds related to the ones listed above, our team would enjoy hearing about them in you free case evaluation.
What can I do while I wait?
While your insurance company delays the payout process, there a few things you should do in preparation for any further hassle on their part. First, you will want to compile all documents and invoices regarding your insurance policy and the property damaged for which you want to receive reimbursement. Your insurance company may require that you submit a Proof of Loss document or even endure an Examination under Oath. Both of these will require airtight proof of the loss of your property due to the event in question, whether it was an accident at the fault of another party or a natural disaster. In order to be successful in these, you will need the proper documentation and the help of an exceptional legal team.
Would it make a difference if my damage was caused by a tropical storm
instead of a hurricane?
Many policyholders fear that damage done by a really bad storm will not be covered in the same manner as by an actual hurricane. The reason that in most cases it will not matter, is that both of these storms tend to cause the same types of damages: flooding, wind, debris, mud, and mold. On the whole, insurance policies will the treat these damages to a home or business the same, regardless of the technical categorization of the natural disaster that caused it. All policies, however, are unique to the individual property insured. Consult our insurance attorneys for any difficulty or discrepancy present between you and your insurance provider.
How much time do I have between the event and officially filing a claim?
Much of the damage to property in the Gulf Coast comes from tropical storms and hurricanes, wherein the property owner’s insurance provider fails to pay out in the wake of the event. When this occurs, it can be considered a breach of contract, or a case in which one party has not held up their end of the agreement. In these cases, there are statutes of limitations that vary from state to state. Luckily, Louisiana residents have by far the most flexible statute of limitation of any other state in the Gulf region, allowing for 10 years between the event and officially filing a suit against your insurance provider.