Frequently Asked Personal Injury Questions
Below you will find answers to many of the frequently asked questions related to the many types of personal injury cases that The Robert Reeves Law Group deals with on a daily basis. Take some time to browse the listed topics, and click on the one most closely associated with your specific question. If you still cannot find your answer, give us a call. We will be glad to answer your question, and schedule a consultation regarding your question at no cost to you.
The legal issues surrounding personal injury cases can seem overly complicated, and even scary to some people. There is no need to feel that way. Explore the answers to the questions you may have in the topics listed below, or give us a call to get immediate attention on your specific case.
Our time is not billed to you unless we win your case. If you, or a family member, have suffered from a personal injury you may be feeling vulnerable. Taking legal action to ensure that you are treated with the compassion, and respect that every person deserves should not add any level of stress to an already trying time. Unfortunately, it often does. Fortunately for you and your case, however, we offer hospital and home visits, night and weekend appointments, no charge unless we win, help with medical attention, any transportation arrangements that may be required, and the utmost level of respect and compassion while we help you maneuver towards the best outcome possible after an unfortunate accident.
Explore the following issues, or give us a call and start taking steps towards your best outcome possible.
I Have Been In An Accident, What Should I Do?
First, seek medical attention immediately. Many types of injuries, including serious injuries, are not immediately apparent and may be worsened if not treated promptly. If you have sustained injuries that incapacitate you, chances are that the police or nearby witnesses will call for medical help.
If you are capable, you should promptly visit your doctor or an emergency facility. If possible, call the police, or have someone else call on your behalf and make sure than an incident report is filed. You should obtain the names, addresses, and phone numbers of any witnesses to the accident. Take photographs of any injuries you received in the accident. Also, take photographs of the damage to your vehicle if you were involved in a car accident.
Do I Need To Speak With An Attorney?
Yes. If you have been injured in an accident, you should consult a well-regarded personal injury attorney to ensure that you are well-represented. Do not talk to the other party’s insurance company. Have your lawyer speak to the insurance carrier. Their intent is to make profits. The less money insurance companies pay out on claims, the more profit they make.
Insurance companies will often attempt to settle a claim for far less than it is worth, hoping that the victim has not yet consulted with an attorney. If you want to maximize the amount of your recovery, you should contact an experienced and well-respected personal injury law firm as soon as possible.
Should I Speak With The Insurance Adjusters?
No. You should not speak with insurance adjusters or provide them with a recorded statement until after you speak with your personal injury attorney. Insurance adjusters are not on your side. It is an insurance adjusters’ job to settle your claim for the smallest sum of money possible. Any comments you make to an adjuster may be used against you to reject or reduce the value of your claim.
How Long Do I Have To File A Lawsuit?
In California, for incidents that occurred after January 2003, a victim generally has two years from the date of an accident to settle the claim or file a lawsuit. If a lawsuit is not filed within this two-year statue of limitations, the victim’s claim may be lost forever.
There are exceptions to this rule, so you should not wait to contact a personal injury attorney. For example, if the accident involves a government entity, a claim must normally be filed within six months of the date of the accident. If the injured party is under the age of 18, the two-year statute of limitations normally does not begin to run until the minor’s 18th birthday. Therefore, a lawsuit must be filed before the victim’s 20th birthday.
What If The Other Party In An Automobile Accident Does Not Have Insurance?
If the other party in an auto accident does not have insurance, you may be able to obtain compensation for your injuries from your own auto insurance company under your Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage. Uninsured motorist coverage is optional insurance coverage that you purchase from your own insurance company. If you have uninsured motorist coverage, your insurance company is required to pay you all of the damages that you would have been able to recover from the other driver if that individual had insurance.
Many drivers in California only have the minimum $15,000 liability insurance required by law. If you have uninsured motorist coverage and the other driver does not have enough liability insurance to cover all of your damages, you can then make an underinsured motorist claim against your own insurance company and seek the balance of your damages.
What If I Did Not Have Automobile Insurance At The Time I Was Involved In The Accident?
California law requires all drivers to carry a minimum of $15,000 of automobile liability insurance. If you did not have the required amount of liability insurance at the time of your accident, your rights to recover damages are severely restricted by California’s Proposition 213. Proposition 213 was passed by the voters of California in 1996 and provides, among other things, that uninsured motorists are not entitled to recover any non-economic damages resulting from an automobile accident, even if the other driver was completely at fault. Non-economic damages include compensation for pain, suffering, inconvenience, physical impairment, disfigurement, and other damages.
What Kind Of Information Or Documents Will The Firm Need From Me?
You should provide your attorney as much information as possible regarding your accident. If you have copies of the police report, medical records, or medical bills, you should give copies to your attorney. If you do not have copies, our office can obtain them for you.
How Do I Pay The Attorney Fees?
Personal injury cases are normally handled on a contingency fee basis. This means that the law firm representing you is paid a percentage of the recovery you receive. The firm normally advances all trial preparation costs and the fee is only paid if you win your case and receive a recovery.
How Much Will I Recover For My Personal Injury?
It is difficult to determine how much you will recover until you have finished treatment with your doctor and all facts of your case have been thoroughly investigated. In general, you are entitled to receive compensation for your medical bills, property damage, past and future lost earnings, and pain and suffering. See our page entitled “What Is My Case Worth?” for a more detailed discussion of all of the factors involved in valuing a case.
I Was Injured In An Accident That Was Partially My Fault. Can I Still Recover Compensation For My Injuries?
Yes. California follows “comparative negligence” rules. The amount of your fault will be compared to the amount of the other party’s fault. The amount of money you are awarded will be reduced by the percentage that you were at fault. For example, if a judge or jury determines that you were 25 percent at fault for the accident and the other party was 75 percent at fault, you will be entitled to recover 75 percent of your damages.
Will I Have To Go To Trial?
Probably not. The vast majority of cases are settled before trial. A settlement avoids the costs and delays of a trial and may result in a greater net recovery. However, it may be necessary to go to trial to receive the maximum recovery for an injury. It is important for an accident or injury victim to hire a law firm with skill and expertise in taking cases to trial. A skilled trial attorney will be able to maximize a client’s recovery should it be necessary to take a case to trial.
DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.