FAQ

How does your law firm charge attorneys fees?
We only work on a contingency fee, meaning that if we do not win, we do not get paid. We understand that you may not be able to pay an attorney by the hour. Therefore, we accept representation of all our cases on a contingent fee basis, meaning that if we do not win, we do not get paid. There are no upfront costs to you, we advance all costs necessary to prosecute your claim through trial, if necessary. If we don't recover money for you, you will owe nothing.

Why should I hire an attorney to assist me in resolving my personal injury claim?
Higher net recovery to you, an experienced guide on your side, relief from worry. An insurance industry research institution studied personal injury claims processed by the injured person alone versus personal injury claims handled by attorneys and determined that those represented by attorneys had a higher net recovery to themselves (more money in their pocket after attorney's fees and costs) than those without attorneys.

An experienced personal injury attorney provides you the advantage of a skilled professional who will provide you the benefit of his experience and insight to equal the playing field when dealing with insurance companies and the major corporations of the world. Hiring a personal injury attorney allows you to focus on your recovery from your injuries while your attorney focuses on holding the responsible person accountable for your injuries.

When should I hire a lawyer?
The best time to hire a lawyer in a personal injury or wrongful death case is right away. Cases are won or lost on the evidence, and the sooner the lawyer can get started taking statements from witnesses, shooting photographs of important things and preserving essential evidence in the case, the better. The fee is a percentage of the recovery, so it does not cost more, and in many cases, the fee is lower if a case is settled earlier without extensive litigation, which can result in more money to the client from the settlement.

Should I give the insurance company a recorded statement?
Generally speaking, the investigators or adjusters for an insurance company that represents the wrongdoer that caused an accident want to take a tape-recorded statement from the injured claimant so that they can use it later to limit the value of the claim. By getting the injured person to say on tape that he or she is not badly injured, or if the injured person forgets to describe any significant parts of the injuries suffered, the defense will later play the recording in court to say "the person didn't have the problems being claimed in court at the time of this recording, so they are not real or not related to this accident." In other words, the tape recording is made to use against the interests of the injured party and to try to prevent the injured person from claiming any injuries or losses later on that are not described in the recording. The best advice is never to provide such a recording!

How is a claim valued?
Every claim is valued individually, and there are many different factors that must be considered in each case to reach a reasonable value range. Some of the important considerations are: the type of injury, the length of the disability resulting from the injury, permanent or lingering pain, loss of function, scarring, past and future medical expenses, and loss of earnings and lost earning capacity. Similar cases in the jurisdiction are of some assistance in reaching a value range, and whether or not alcohol or drugs are involved in the causing of the accident are very significant.

How long will my case take?
It is difficult to predict at the outset how long a case will go on prior to final settlement because there are so many factors. Generally, in less severe injury matters cases are resolved in approximately one year, and in complex and catastrophic injury cases many cases take two or three years to settle. Trial before a jury in most personal injury and wrongful death case takes between one and two weeks. Some complex cases can take several weeks or even months.

What if I did something wrong?
In California, a plaintiff is entitled to recover the value of his or her case reduced by the percentage of fault for the accident due to the plaintiff's own negligence. This system is called "comparative fault." Even if you are partially to blame for the occurrence of an accident you may still be able to recover enough to make your case worthwhile. This should be discussed in detail with your lawyer.

Who pays my settlement?
Most drivers, homeowners and property owners buy liability insurance. The insurance company that insures the defendant pays for both the entire legal defense (including experts) and also pays any settlement or judgment against the defendant. Some large corporations and many governmental agencies do not have insurance and do pay settlements directly. In the average case, however, there is no personal payment by the wrongdoer.