Do I have to go to court?
Not necessarily. Most cases are settled with the insurance companies without need to file lawsuit. However, even if a lawsuit is file, there is still a strong possibility that your claim can be resolved at or before mediation. Therefore, only a small percentage of cases actually go to full blown trial.
How long will my case take?
90% of the cases in our office are resolved in the client’s favor within three to nine months following completion of medical treatments. Although this may sound like a long time but, keep in mind that cases proceeding to trial can take up to 3 years or more.
How much is my case worth?
We are unable to predict how much your case is worth at the onset because there are many variables to review (e.g. cost of medical care, wage loss, permanent disability, percentage of fault attributable to each party, effect of injuries on your quality of life, etc.). Generally, the value of your case increases with more serious injuries (such as concussions, broken bones, permanent scarring, etc.). More serious injuries typically require ongoing medical care and sometimes surgery.
How much will it cost to consult with and hire an attorney for personal injury cases?
An initial consultation with your personal injury attorney is complimentary and, if the case is accepted, the attorney works on a “contingency fee” basis.
What does “Contingency Fee” mean?
“Contingency Fee” is a percentage of the monetary recovery “if and when the case is resolved in your favor”. The percentage is negotiable and it is usually between 33 1/3% and 40%. For minor clients (under age 18), the percentage is 25% set by law.
I have been physically injured in an accident. Do I need an attorney?
Depending on the facts of your accident, you may be entitled to compensation for injuries you suffered. The types of compensation may include no-fault medical payments benefits, lost wages (past and/or future), property damage, medical costs, as well as pain and suffering, etc. The truth of the matter is insurance companies treat unrepresented injury claimants much differently than those who are represented by a personal injury attorney.
If I am partially at fault for causing the accident, can I still get compensation?
The short answer is “Yes”. California is a comparative negligence state. Meaning, the injured person may recover money damages for the percentage of fault attributable to the at-fault party. For example, if you are determined to be 60% responsible for the cause of the accident, you will be allowed to recover 40% of your damages.
What if I don’t know who caused my injury accident? (e.g. Hit-and-Run Accident.)
If you were injured as the result of a Hit & Run accident and you have Uninsured Motorist coverage, your damages are likely recoverable in a claim with your own auto insurance company
What if the person that caused my injuries does not have insurance?
If you have “Uninsured Motorist” coverage, we can still help. Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage provides protection for personal injuries caused by an at-fault person if he does not have liability coverage or fails to carry sufficient liability coverage. Filing an uninsured motorist claim with your own auto insurance company will not cause your insurance premiums to sky rocket. Your insurance rates are adversely affected when you are at fault for causing the accident.
What is the difference between “fees” versus “costs”?
Fees are contingent but costs are not. Costs during the initial phases of the case can run between $10.00 for an accident report and up to $150.00 (sometimes more depending on volume of records associated with your file) to obtain medical records and billing. These costs are generally “advanced” by the attorney and repaid through the settlement after attorney’s fees have been subtracted.
What is “Statute of Limitation?
Generally speaking, personal injury cases are subject to a 2 year time limit in which the injured person must settle or file a lawsuit or forever be barred from seeking compensation. If your injury was caused by a government entity (e.g. Caltrans, SF Municipal Transportation Agency, etc.) the statute of limitation is 6 months.
Why do I need an attorney for an Uninsured Motorist claim with my own insurance company?
In an Uninsured Motorist claim, your insurance company steps into the shoes of the non-existent at-fault third party insurance company. Although they are your insurance company, they are not necessarily out for your best interest. Their interest is to minimize the company’s loss. Therefore, it would be your best interest to retain a personal injury attorney to help you maximize your recovery.
Why do I need uninsured motorist coverage?
Being involved in an accident is bad. Being involved in an accident with a driver that is uninsured is infinitely worse! In California, up to 1 out of 3 vehicles on the road are either uninsured or underinsured. Uninsured motorist coverage protects you from uninsured and underinsured drivers. Buy as much as you can reasonably afford. We recommend $50,000/$100,000 coverage. You would be surprised that larger policy limits don’t cost much more than smaller coverage. Therefore, speak with your trusted agent or if you don’t have one, ask us for a referral.
Why do I need an attorney to help with my “Uninsured Motorist” claim?
In an “Uninsured Motorist” claim, the injured person’s automobile insurance company steps into the shoes of the at-fault driver who did not have insurance. “Your” insurance company will be treating you as the adverse party and it will do everything possible to minimize what they pay out. Therefore, it is just as imperative to seek legal counsel in a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company as well as in an uninsured motorist claim with your own auto insurance company.