Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do I need a lawyer for my injury accident case?


People who handle cases themselves risk being taken advantage of by insurance companies and even medical practitioners.  They often make irreversible mistakes like blowing a statute of limitations or winding up upside down on their property damage or injury case.  That means they may legally be entitled to nothing or they owe someone else more than the other party is willing to pay.  

With all the stress, worry and physical pain you are under it almost never makes sense to try and handle a case on your own.  

To win a case, you need knowledge, experience, leverage, and financial resources. By hiring a lawyer, your chances for success go up significantly. You’ll get access to trusted experts and investigators that will give you the advantage you need to get the best resolution for your case.


Should I retain a local lawyer?


Hiring a lawyer who knows the community where you live, work, or where your accident happened means they have the local knowledge and connections to get you the result you deserve. Familiarity with local insurance adjusters, insurance company defense lawyers and their strategies, and the local court system means your lawyer will have a distinct advantage.


What should I do about my job if I am in an injury accident?


If you are unable to work for any amount of time, get a work release from your medical practitioner. 

You can also use sick leave or vacation time if you cannot work.  At the end of your case, you are entitled to be reimbursed for your use of sick leave or vacation time.  

If you are out of work for an extended period of time, you can get help from your doctor to be placed on disability.  

If you can no longer return to your work or lose your job, we have experts who can develop a plan for your new career.  

If you never return to any form of work, we work with economists who can project your income losses over your working life so that your payout reflects this.  

We advance all the costs for this work and only get reimbursed if you win.


How long will it take to finish my case?


In most cases, you do not want to settle your case if you are still receiving treatment.  Sometimes there is not enough insurance and you will need a lawyer to help you make a decision about what to do if you are still in need of care. 

In California, we have statutes of limitation which spell out how long you have before you must file a claim or lawsuit in order to preserve your right to recover money for your losses.  Statutes of limitation vary depending upon the kind of case you have. If a lawsuit has to be filed, your case can be settled any time prior to trial. It is not unusual for a case to take up to two years to get to trial.


What should I do about treatment for my injuries?


If you have health insurance, use that coverage first.  If you have a primary physician, see them. If you don’t have a primary physician, establish care with one.  

If you don’t have insurance, many medical practitioners will agree to be paid out of your settlement funds.  

If you’re having any trouble navigating your medical care, we can help you find your way.


How do I pay for my medical care?


You might have more options than you think to pay for your medical care.

It is not unusual for an injured person to have some combination of private health insurance, Medicare, Medi-Cal, medical coverage through their auto insurance, or health coverage from some other source.


How can you help me ensure my medical bills don’t get out of hand?


You can maximize the amount of money in your pockets by choosing the right insurance to pay your bills.  Negotiating with the doctors and hospitals and making sure that their bills are in keeping with the most reasonable rates is also possible. 

A lawyer with good working relationships in your community can work out compromises and payment terms with hospitals, Kaiser, chiropractors, surgeons, physical therapists, neurologists, osteopaths, anyone in the healing arts, and all the participants in the medical services you may need after an accident. This ensures that you keep the biggest portion of any settlement. 

A lawyer in practice for many years will also have the ability to have your medical practitioners defer getting paid by setting up liens against your settlement so you will not incur up-front medical bills and so you will not have negative consequences to your credit rating while your case is pending.


How do I know how much my case is worth?


The law says that if you can establish that someone else caused an accident that resulted in you being injured then you are entitled to collect your medical expenses, wage losses, and pain and suffering.   While this may sound simple, it is anything but.  

I have settled cases where the medical expenses and wage losses were small, but the injuries were permanent and severe.  I settled a dog bite case for 7 figures because of permanent disfigurement and permanent residual injuries, even though the medical bills were quite small by comparison and there was no provable wage loss.  

On the other hand, I have seen people run up medical bills that exceed the value of their cases because they do not have the help of my services.  Over the years I have handled cases for people that have settled for under $10,000 and cases that have settled for as high as $5 million.  

Recently, I helped a client who was originally offered $500 by the other side and we settled his case for $10,000 in a few months with less than $2,000 in medical bills.  

Having done this work for over 30 years, I have become an expert in the value of cases.  Yours might be worth more than you think.


How does everyone get paid?


We handle injury accident cases on a contingency fee basis.  That means I only get reimbursed for my costs and fees if I recover a settlement or verdict or judgment for you.  I advance all the costs in your case.  

If I can settle a case prior to filing a lawsuit I agree to a lower percentage and my costs are a fraction of what they would be if we have to file.  I also will reimburse any of your outstanding medical expenses or insurance repayments as part of your settlement.  

Everything runs through a special trust account governed by the State Bar of California.  You will know exactly how much you will net from any settlement before you agree to resolve the case.


What about the damages to my car?


That depends. If your car is totaled, you need to do internet research to determine fair market value.

If your car is in storage, you need to make sure your insurance company knows where it is so they can limit storage costs.

If you had a rental car, you need to make sure that any repairs get moving as soon as possible. 

If you choose me to represent you in your personal injury case, I will help you, at no cost, with your property damage claim as well.