Do I really need a lawyer?
Hiring an attorney to pursue your personal injury claim is always recommended. Insurance companies will most likely be looking out for their own interests and you’ll be dealing with experienced adjusters who do this work on a daily basis. Without an attorney, you risk not receiving full compensation for your claim. So, you don’t need a lawyer, but having one on your side levels out the playing field and it’s much better to be represented from the very beginning.
How long will my case take?
It depends on the nature of your injuries and the time it takes you to fully recover. If there is a dispute over liability (who is at fault and legally responsible) or the extent of the injuries, or delays caused by third parties (such as the medical providers), the case can take substantially longer. Because each case is different, it is strongly recommended that you contact us for a free consultation and case evaluation to better gauge the expected length of your case.
What is my case worth?
Until we receive all the medical and other documentation, we will not predict the value of your case. The nature and extent of your injuries, time off work, and so on, all factor into the value.
What am I entitled to?
In general, you are entitled to: (1) the damages to your vehicle or the fair market value for a total loss; (2) reasonable car rental expenses; (3) lost wages for past, present, and future (if any, and caused by the injury); (4) reasonable medical expenses incurred by the accident, including anticipated future expenses; (5) actual and reasonable out-of-pocket expenses (such as car towing and storage fees); and (6) pain and suffering, and emotional distress, for the past, present, and future.
In general, the other party is not responsible for your attorney’s fees. Most personal injury cases are accepted on a contingency fee basis.
Should I see a doctor?
You should always seek medical treatment if you believe you were injured. Untreated injuries may become more problematic in the future. Depending on the type of injuries, and because of the adrenaline and excitement immediately following an accident, you may not feel any pain or discomfort until a couple days later. If you do feel pain, it is important to receive evaluation and, if warranted, treatment as soon as possible.
What if I can’t afford to see a doctor?
Your health is more important than worrying about how to pay for the treatment. Many medical providers also provide their services on a “lien” basis. This means that the doctor won’t expect you to immediately pay for the treatment. Instead, the doctor understands that you and your attorney are pursuing a claim, and the doctor will wait until a settlement or judgment to get paid. If the doctor recommends additional treatment or examination (such as an x-ray), he or she will be able to refer you to other medical providers who also work on a “lien” basis.
Can you refer me to a doctor?
Absolutely. We will try to refer you to one close to your home or work. But it is always your responsibility to exercise due diligence in seeking out any treatment or provider.
How long do I have to file a lawsuit?
The “statute of limitations” prevents you from waiting too long before filing a lawsuit. In California, it is generally two years from date of injury for personal injuries (California Civil Procedure § 335.1), and three years for property damage to your vehicle (California Civil Procedure § 338(c)(1)).
There are legal exceptions to these rules, and you should seek a free consultation and case evaluation to determine if you will be permitted to bring your claim or file a lawsuit.
Last revised 3.20.11