Personal Injury FAQs

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. Since fees are contingent based upon settlement or judgment, if we accept your case the risk is ours.

Who will be handling my case?

All cases will be accepted and managed under the firm, Miller Washington & Kim. A primary attorney will be assigned to your case for its principal management. In all cases, you will always be able to contact one of the attorneys to ask questions and discuss your case status.

Miller Washington & Kim employs several attorneys and supporting staff members. Occasionally, and as necessary, your principal attorney will seek the assistance of others in the firm, including, attorneys, assistants, and interns. Other staff members may be billed at different rates. If this is expected in your case, we will explain this to you at your free consultation and case evaluation.

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. Attorneys must necessarily rely on the expertise of medical providers, your employer (for work loss), auto body shops (for property damages), and others to determine how much your case is “worth”.

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 injuries are accepted on a contingency fee basis.

Should I see a doctor?

YES! Whether you have insurance or not, it is always recommended that you 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 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. Having served the Bay Area since 1989, our firm has established long standing relationships with reputable, experienced, and trustworthy service providers. We will try to refer you to one close to your home or work.

How fast can I get my car repaired?

If you have collision coverage on your insurance policy, and wish to repair your vehicle right away, it may be in your interest to have your insurance company pay for your repairs. Sometimes, we are able to work with your insurance company to waive your deductible. If you pay a deductible, and the other driver’s insurance company accepts liability or is found to be at fault, you will generally be reimbursed.

If you do not have collision coverage or wish to have the other insurance company pay for your repairs, our attorneys can help you with that process while making your claim.

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, and generally, it is 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