Frequently Asked Questions About Personal Injury Claims
For over 40 years, David G. Smith, Attorney at Law, has been helping injury victims in the Bay Area get the compensation they deserve after an accident. Not only does he handle every case personally, but he answers every question carefully. Over four decades, he has heard similar questions from many different types of clients. Consider some of David G. Smith‘s answers below and contact our office in Oakland for more information about personal injury claims.
Common Questions From Our Clients
How Much Do You Charge To Review A Case?
If I Hire You, What Will You Charge Me?
What Is The Time Limit (Statute Of Limitations) For Me To Make A Claim For Injuries?
How Much Is An Injury Or Death Case Worth?
Will My Case Go To Trial?
What If I Was Hurt At Work?
If The Person Driving The Other Vehicle Was Uninsured, Do I Still Have A Claim?
What About The Damage To My Vehicle?
I Have A Question That You Have Not Answered.
How Much Do You Charge To Review A Case?
An initial appointment to discuss the facts of any potential case is free. No fee of any kind is ever charged until you and I have agreed, in writing, that I will represent you for your claim.
As is the case with most personal injury lawyers, my fee is a contingency fee. The fee is only earned if your claim is successfully concluded. The reason that contingency fees are the most common types in personal injury cases is simply because most injured clients are not able to pay an attorney for services on an hourly basis. The ultimate settlement or damage recovery provides a fund from which the attorneys’ fees are paid. If there is no recovery, I receive no fee. The contingency fee agreement will be in writing and will be signed by both you and me.
There are no rules that apply in all cases, so the answer depends on your specific situation. Different statutes of limitation apply to different types of cases, and all states have different statutes of limitations. In some situations, statutes of limitation for children are longer than those for adults. Special statutes of limitation apply only to the filing of claims against public entities, and those statutes of limitations may be as short as six months from the date of injury. The laws regarding statutes of limitations can be complicated and their time periods so short that it is possible for you to lose your claim before you really even know you have one. If you have any questions regarding some difficulty with a statute of limitations, I strongly suggest you contact us or another lawyer immediately.
Until I know the specific facts of your case, this is an impossible question to answer. Speaking generally, the settlement or judgment in all injury or death cases is designed to take into account past and future medical expenses, past and future lost earnings, other out-of-pocket expenses, pain and suffering, the way in which the injury or death has affected the quality of your life, and much more. A person with a claim for injury or death has only one opportunity to collect all of his or her damages. Once your case is over, it is over. In certain cases we are able to arrange for future, periodic payments, but they are negotiated at the conclusion of the case. Nothing is left “open.” As a result, we make no effort nor overtures regarding settlement unless and until we have a clear picture from you and your medical practitioners as to what the future may or may not hold. Premature settlement can be disastrous. We do, however, vigorously pursue settlement once your case is ready.
The vast majority of cases settle before trial. Settlement values, however, are based on what we believe a reasonable jury verdict would be. As a result, we prepare all cases with the same thoroughness and attention to detail as if they were proceeding to trial. We are usually able to reach a satisfactory settlement before trial, but if the defendant or his insurance company are not reasonable, we stand ready to go to trial on your behalf.
If you are injured while working for your employer, you are entitled to the benefits of workers’ compensation insurance. While I do not handle workers’ compensation cases, I can refer you to attorneys who are certified specialists in workers’ compensation. Besides being entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, you may have the right to make a claim against someone other than your employer. If you were injured while working for your employer and you think it may have been the fault of someone other than your employer, it is extremely important that you contact us or another personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.
As you are probably aware, all California drivers are required to have automobile insurance. Sadly, there are still many drivers who do not have such insurance. All California insurance companies are required to sell uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage (underinsured means the guilty or at fault driver had insurance, but not enough to fully compensate you for your injuries). It is therefore highly likely that you have uninsured motorist coverage. In that situation your insurance company essentially becomes the insurance company for the uninsured motorist. Your insurance company behaves toward you just as if they insured the person that hit you. With certain exceptions the claim is handled as a normal personal injury claim, except that when it has been concluded your insurance company has the right to pursue the uninsured motorist to attempt to get back the money they paid you.
Some important questions to ask: Is my vehicle totaled or repairable and what does that mean? What is the “Blue Book” value for my vehicle and do I have to accept that? How do I get into a rental vehicle as soon as possible? Do I have to pay for the rental or can I have the guilty party’s insurance company pay for the rental? If I don’t get a rental, can I still get money for the loss of use of my vehicle? Where and how do I have my vehicle repaired? Do I have to pay my deductible? How do I collect towing or storage charges? As you can see, the list goes on and on. Once you hire us to represent you in the claim for personal injuries, we will help as much as we can to guide you through the process of obtaining compensation for your vehicle. As mentioned above, our fee is based on the injury case only, so all services we provide regarding compensation for your vehicle are without any charge to you.
I am available to answer questions over the telephone or via e-mail. Often one question will lead to another and I may have some clarifying questions for you, just as you may have some clarifying questions for me. As a result, I would encourage you to contact my office to set up a free appointment so that we can meet and thoroughly discuss all aspects of your particular case.