Frequently Asked Questions
What do you charge? Who pays your bill? When do you get paid?
We do not get paid unless we win a judgment for you. We are paid a percentage of your judgment. Our rates are competitive, and they vary depending on the complexity of a case. We believe that adjusting our percentage based on the complexity of your case allows us to give you the attention that you deserve without overcharging.
How long will it take you to tell me if I have a case or not? How long does the whole process take?
We give our clients honest and accurate information about the time frames on their case. The simple fact is that there are many factors involved in a case that are beyond the attorneys control. There are a lot of attorneys that will tell you what you want to hear. We believe that our clients deserve the truth so that they can plan as they go through challenging times. We have a proven track record of fighting on behalf of our clients to move cases forward as quickly as possible, and we won’t make time frame promises that we can’t back up.
What can I do to get money right now?
We have an extensive knowledge of all of the resources that are out there to help you through this difficult time. We help our clients understand worker’s comp and social security claims so that you get the help you need.
Help! I’m a victim of identity theft! What do I do?
Identity theft is a crime. First, contact your local law enforcement agency, so that you can report the crime and fill out any forms or affidavits. Second, contact your bank and the companies who issued any credit cards to you. If your company or business laptop, mobile device (like a tablet or smart phone), or business credit card was stolen, let your employer know immediately. Third, contact the three major credit reporting agencies, which are Equifax, Transunion, and Experian, so that they can place “fraud alerts” on your credit accounts. Fourth and finally, tell Equifax, Transunion, and Experian that you are an identity theft victim and ask each of them for a copy of your annual credit report. This is called a “consumer disclosure,” which they must provide to you for free under certain circumstances including when you are a victim of identity theft. Your consumer disclosure contains your current and past addresses, closed and open credit accounts, banks accounts, credit lines, employment history, and other personal information. With it, you will be able to tell if an identity thief opens (or even tries to open) new credit accounts in your name. Then, call Kirby Johnson, P.C., so that we can help you fight back.
The insurance company won’t pay my claim. What’s next?
An insurance company’s decision to not pay your claim is called a “denial.” Sometimes insurance adjusters will try to deny your claim on the phone and sometimes they will try to do it with a letter or an e-mail. If your health insurance company, your disability insurer, your homeowner’s company, or automobile insurance carrier refuses to pay your claim, you must get their reasons for denying your claim in writing. Generally, once an insurance company has “denied” your claim and stated its reasons in writing in a “denial letter,” the company cannot later go back and find new or different reasons for refusing to pay you. So, let’s say you make a claim, but the insurance company denies it. Ask for a written denial letter. When you get that letter, contact Kirby Johnson, P.C., immediately, so that we can help you challenge the insurance company’s decision. Alabama law requires insurance companies to deal fairly with you. Believe it or not, Alabama law requires insurance companies to find ways to pay your claim. This requires the insurance company to use diligence in evaluating your claim and to follow its own claims-handling guidelines, checklists, and rules. If you get a denial letter, call Kirby Johnson, P.C., so we can help you find out if the insurance company played by it own rules.
I think someone mistreated me or my parent. The caregivers and their supervisors will not talk to me or my family about what went wrong. Can we get some answers?
Unfortunately, medical-malpractice occurs more often than we think. Infections, falls, prescription foul-ups, surgical mistakes, and patient identity errors sometimes often do more damage than the ailment that originally led you or your loved one to the doctor, hospital, or nursing home. Because of the complexity of medical-malpractice cases, their extremely high costs, and the stout legal protections that health-care institutions enjoy, you should take immediate action to preserve your legal rights or those belonging to your family. If you believe or know you (or your family member) have been the victim of a medical error, ask the doctor, nurse, or nursing-home administrator what went wrong. Ask for a meeting with the hospital or nursing home administration. Take a trusted friend, pastor, or other family member with you to get an explanation about what happened, when it happened, and why it happened. Write a follow-up letter to the hospital administrator setting out your version of events. Ask the administrator to respond in writing. If your parent or loved one is not capable of doing these things for himself or herself, you will have to have a power of attorney to obtain any information about what happened to them. Don’t take too long to act, because the time period for bringing medical-negligence cases is very short.
What does a product-liability case even look like?
The phrase “product liability case” sounds complicated, but it’s an old and pretty simple idea: The law says that a company that makes a product must make it reasonably safe. If the company doesn’t do that, then it could be responsible for the harm it causes by making and selling an unsafe product. For example, if a car company builds a car and installs airbags in it, but the airbags do not deploy in a crash, then the company that made the car or the airbag, or the company that installed the airbag, may be responsible for the harm caused in that crash. Or, what if a toy manufacturer makes toy that contains harmful chemicals or paint, doesn’t tell anyone, says the product is safe, then sells it? If a child is harmed by that toy, then the child’s parents may would have a claim against the toy company. Other examples would be artificial Christmas trees that are supposed to be fireproof but are not, fire alarm systems that don’t send an alarm in a fire, power tools that don’t shut off when they are supposed to, pharmaceuticals that shouldn’t cause liver damage but do, and wheel chairs that should support a 250-pound person but break when 185-pound patients sit in them.
I was hurt on a machine at work. I was using the machine just like my supervisor taught me, but the machine hurt me anyway. What do I do now?
Folks who work in factories, on construction and maintenance crews, and in industrial and manufacturing settings are often told to do “whatever it takes” to get a job done. Whether it’s a stalled assembly line, a broken drill press, or a roof with a leak, the people told to fix these problems are under pressure to fix it fast, fix it right, and fix it without asking questions. Sometimes, they use equipment that they have never trained on, and other times they are told to repair a machine. Either way, the equipment’s or machine’s warnings stickers and labels don’t tell the who story about how the machine could badly hurt somebody. Alabama law says that people hurt at work while using equipment or fixing machinery can bring claims against the maker of the equipment. An on-the-job injury does not limit you to worker’s compensation.