Frequently Asked Questions
It is not an overstatement to say that your selection of an attorney will play a large role in the success of your case. The aviation law practice is very specialized and highly complex. Even a talented attorney with substantial experience in other areas of litigation will be no match for the defendants’ counsel in an aviation case and you will pay the price. Therefore, look for experience in aviation cases, particularly difficult, complicated cases, and quiz your potential attorney about his knowledge of such matters as the Warsaw Convention, Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, Death On the High Seas Act, and the forum non conveniens defense. We invite you to review our material detailing the extensive aviation law experience of Wisner Law Firm. Most aviation cases do not reach trial, but are settled after difficult battles on legal issues fought out in legal briefs and at oral arguments before trial and hi appellate level courts. Ask your potential attorney for examples of appellate or other legal briefs he has personally written and ask about his experience at oral argument on dispositive motions. Again, Wisner has written and argued on numerous occasions before many federal and state trial and appellate courts, including the U.S. Courts of Appeal. Pin down your potential attorney as to who will handle your case. The interview with the attorney you think you are retaining may be the last time you see him or hear from him. At Wisner Law Firm, we promise you personal attention. Although Wisner Law Firm uses a team of associated attorneys and experts to successfully prosecute its clients’ cases, Floyd Wisner, the principal of the firm, will be directly responsible for your case. Lastly, look for a good fit. The litigation process will take several years. Consider whether your attorney is someone who cares about you, understands your loss, and will work with you and for you to accomplish your goals.
The written attorney-client contract between Wisner Law Firm and you will clearly set forth the attorneys fees’ you will owe. Wisner Law Firm charges a contingency fee which means that you will pay Wisner Law Firm the stated percentage of the gross amount we recover for you by way of a settlement or trial. The percentage is dependent upon such factors as the difficulty of the case and estimated time to obtain a recovery. You will owe a fee only if we succeed in obtaining a recovery for you (and this is always our expectation). You do not owe any fee if we do not recover any amount for you. There also will be costs which will be incurred in the course of the case for such matters as experts, travel, court filing fees, court reporters and depositions. Wisner Law Firm will advance these costs on your behalf and you will reimburse the firm for such costs at the close of the case. These costs generally do not exceed 5% of the amount recovered. Generally, U.S. law does not allow the winning party to recover its attorneys’ fees from the losing party. Therefore, in the unlikely event we are unsuccessful in your case, you will not be responsible for the defendant’s attorneys’ fees.
The determination of which state in the U.S. and which court within that state, federal or state, to bring your action is the first crucial decision we at Wisner Law firm will make. The choices are limited by the law on jurisdiction and venue. This law is quite complex and difficult to fathom for the uninitiated. Where there is a choice to be made, we carefully research and consider choice of law rules, differences in potentially applicable law, the history of verdicts and settlements in similar cases in the various jurisdictions, and the judges who may be assigned. We make an informed reasoned choice designed to maximize the chances for success for our clients.
Before even filing suit, Wisner Law Firm conducts an investigation of the available facts, in consultation with our team of experts, and identifies all parties with possible responsibility for the aircrash. We file suit against all culpable parties who are subject, in any way, to U.S. jurisdiction. We also look beyond the most obvious defendants to obtain recovery from often overlooked component parts manufacturers and aircraft lessors.
Our first step is a comprehensive interview with you. We want to know about you, and where you have suffered the loss of a family member, we want to know about that person. We understand the difficulties of this interview and we are sensitive of that fact. We will ask for such materials as income tax and other earnings records, medical records, and personal items such as cards and photos. We will devise a legal strategy, with the assistance of our team of experts, and we will then serve interrogatories, or written questions, and document requests upon the defendants. Next, we will commence depositions, or recorded statements, of the defendants’ key employees and other witnesses to learn the defendants’ positions and to gather information to support our case. We will appear in court where necessary to compel the defendants to respond and to pursue motions for other relief. Often, defendants interpose motions seeking the dismissal of the case and we vigorously contest all such motions. Our goal is to prepare the case for a trial and to keep the pressure on the defendants.
After the first interview discussed above, you may be required to assist us in answering interrogatories or in responding to document requests from the defendants. You also may be required to give a deposition to the defendants where you will be questioned about your loss. We will prepare you extensively for this and we will be at the deposition with you to protect you. After this point, the degree to which you wish to participate will be up to you. We will keep you advised as to the progress of your case through regular reports. You also will be immediately advised as to all settlement offers. We will give you our advice as to settlement, but the final decision will be yours. We will not agree to anything without your approval.
Of course, there are no guarantees. However, in our first discussion with you, we will give you our frank and honest opinion of your chances for success and we will continue to so advise you as the case progresses. Obviously, as our fees are contingent on a recovery, when we accept a case we fully expect to be successful and we are very proud of our record of success.
The amount of the recovery depends upon the facts of each case, such as the deceased’s earnings, number and age of dependents, applicable law and the strength of the case. We at Wisner Law Firm promise you that we will take all steps to maximize the amount of your recovery and we will continue to aggressively pursue the defendants until we accomplish that goal.