Personal Injury FAQ
How much do you charge to review a case?
An initial appointment to discuss the facts of a potential case is free. In most cases, where it appears that the claim is meritorious, I will advance the costs necessary to investigate and prosecute the claim. In the event we undertake formal representation, any costs advanced are reimbursed to us at the conclusion of the case, assuming I am able to make a recovery on your behalf. If there is no recovery, you owe nothing.
What is a contingency fee?
A contingency fee is a legal fee which is dependent upon the successful outcome of a claim. Most attorneys who specialize in bodily injury claims utilize a contingency fee agreement because injured clients often cannot afford to pay an attorney for services rendered on an hourly basis. The ultimate damage recovery provides a fund from which the attorney’s fees are paid. If there is no recovery, there is no attorney fee. Contingency fees are open to negotiation between attorney and client; however, most attorneys charge 33 1/3%, and in certain types of cases (claims on behalf of children, claims against health care providers, claims against the Federal Government, etc.) maximum fee limits are established by statute. Contingency fee agreements must be in writing signed by both the attorney and the client.
What is the time limit (statute of limitations) for me to make a claim for injuries?
It is impossible in this space to set forth the rules that apply in all cases. Different statutes of limitation govern different types of cases. Under some circumstances, statutes of limitation for children are longer than those for adults. Special statutes of limitation governing the filing of claims against public entities may be as short as six months from the date of injury. Where an injury does not manifest itself for many years after an event or exposure (such as during a period of latency after exposure to harmful chemicals) the statute of limitations may not run for many years. Because the running of the statue of limitations is dependent upon the facts of an individual case, if you believe that you have a claim where the statute of limitations may be running, I urge you to contact my office as soon as possible to arrange for a free consultation.
How much will I recover from a settlement or judgment?
There is no formula or standardized method for evaluating the likely settlement value or jury verdict potential in a given case. Case value is case-specific. It depends upon factors including liability, nature and extent of injuries, nature and extent of permanent disability, economic losses (including lost wage and medical bills), disfigurement, embarrassment, and a host of other considerations. While I can provide ballpark evaluations based upon results in trials and settlements of similar cases, no precise method exists for predicting how much an injured individual will recover in a given case.
Will my case go to trial?
The majority of claims settle before trial. Statewide, approximately 8 out of 10 cases settle without court or jury trial. However, because I cannot predict whether or not a case will settle without trial, our attorneys prepare all cases in the same way, assuming that if a reasonable and fair settlement cannot be reached, I am prepared to take the matter to trial on behalf of our clients.
Do you handle cases for children?
Yes. Often my work involves claims on behalf of clients under the age of 18. Special rules govern the prosecution of children’s cases. Any settlement or judgment is subject to court supervision, and all costs and expenditures must also be approved by a Superior Court judge. Special statutes of limitation govern the prosecution of children’s cases, and therefore it is important to contact my office as soon as possible to determine when a child’s statute of limitations expires.
What if I was hurt at work?
Whenever a person is hurt at work they are automatically entitled to the benefits of worker’s compensation insurance. I handle worker’s compensation; please see frequently asked questions in the worker’s compensation section. In additional to worker’s compensation, many times the right to bring an action against someone other than your employer also exists. These are called “third party cases.” Prompt investigation of third party cases is critical. If you were hurt at work and you believe it was the fault of someone other than your employer, it is critical that prompt investigation be undertaken to secure evidence, identify witnesses, and determine whether sufficient facts exist to justify a claim against another person or entity.
What if I have a claim against a city, county, state or other government agency?
Claims against public entities are subject to the California Government Code. This code imposes special administrative claim filing requirements, and provides statutory immunities and other protections to government entities. The Government Code is thousands of pages long, and for that reason, it is impossible to describe in detail all of the idiosyncrasies peculiar to claims against public entities. I have handled cases against cities, counties, school districts, water districts, states, the federal government agencies, branches of the military, and other government bodies. Because the claims filing period against state and municipal agencies is the shortest of all statutes of limitation (180 days) it is very important that a person who believes he or she has been injured through government action contact an attorney at once.
I was injured in a traffic accident by an uninsured motorist; what are my options?
Although California motorists are required to have insurance, the fact of the matter is that there are still drivers on the road who do not have insurance. By law, all California insurers must sell uninsured motorist coverage, and underinsured motorist coverage, to their customers. Under Insurance Code §11580.2, insured motorists arbitrate with their own carrier when they are injured by an uninsured motorist. The carrier then has the right to seek reimbursement (subrogation) from the uninsured motorist. I have settled and arbitrated hundreds of uninsured motorist cases and are well versed with the special requirements of the uninsured motorist law.
I have a questions that you have not answered.
I may be available to answer questions over the phone. However, the best way to find out about a particular case is to arrange for a free appointment. Please telephone us at (530) 673-5637 to schedule yours.
DISCLAIMER: The material on this website is for informational purposes only. It may be out of date, incomplete or incorrect. It does not constitute legal advice. A verdict, settlement or result described here should not be considered an indication of future results. All cases are different. The internet is not an appropriate place for sensitive attorney-client communications. Therefore, if you wish to speak to an attorney, please arrange for an appointment by phone. An attorney client relationship does not exist between you and this law firm until a retainer agreement has been signed.