Personal Injury Frequently Asked Questions

Do I really need a lawyer to pursue my case?

There are some people who have attempted to pursue their own personal injury cases, but this can be very difficult. You will be up against seasoned experts from the insurance companies who will more likely than not attempt to compensate you far less than the actual value of your case. Handling your own personal injury matter is like attempting to perform surgery on yourself. You could probably do it, but the results will likely be undesirable.

How long will my case take?

The length of a personal injury case, from beginning to end, is oftentimes determined by the severity of the injuries and how long it will take to fully recover from the injuries. If the injuries are very minor and there is enough insurance to cover the full extent of the injuries, the case should be resolved within three to six months. If the injuries are very serious and there is little insurance monies to recover, the case can also be resolved quickly. However, when there are major injuries, insurance disputes, disputes over fault, and prolonged medical treatment, the personal injury case can last substantially longer.

What am I entitled to in a personal injury action?

In a personal injury action, you are entitled to your actual out-of-pocket expenses, such as repairs to your vehicle or the fair market value of your vehicle. You are also entitled to rental expenses or the loss of use of your vehicle. You are entitled to have your reasonable medical bills paid, if the injuries are in fact sustained from the accident. You are also entitled to your loss of earnings for the past, present and future, in the event any loss of earnings is incurred. Lastly, you are entitled to damages for the pain, suffering and emotional distress you have suffered from an accident. The at-fault party or insurance company is not responsible for your attorney's fees.

Should I be seen by a doctor?

If you were injured in the accident, you should seek medical attention which would be appropriate for your injuries as soon as possible. With some types of injuries, you may not experience any pain or discomfort for a day or two following the accident. In any event, it is best to use common sense – if you are in fact injured, the sooner you seek medical treatment, the better off you will be in the long run. It is best to rule out a more serious injury by seeking medical attention as soon as you begin to feel pain or discomfort.

Do you have doctors to refer me to?

Yes. Most attorneys have doctors who they are familiar with and who have established themselves as excellent physicians in areas close to the client's work or home. An injured client should never wait for a referral to a doctor if you are in need of a doctor immediately. Family doctors or emergency hospitals are available for immediate medical attention and should be utilized for that purpose.

Who pays for the doctor bills?

In personal injury cases, many doctors will take a case on a "lien" basis. This means that the doctor will not require any monies from the client during the course of treatment, but will wait until the settlement of the case to get paid. If liability or cause of the accident is undetermined or is questionable, it is sometimes best to use your private medical insurance for all of your medical needs. Assuming that it is determined that the at-fault party is responsible for the accident, the insurance company for that party will be responsible for all reasonable medical expenses incurred. Insurance companies will not pay for medical reports or record reviews, treatment that was not related to the accident, medical expenses which are unreasonably high, and for unnecessary medical exams. Your doctor should consult with your attorney regularly in order to make sure that the medical expenses being incurred are reasonable and customary.

When should my personal injury claim be filed?

Under normal circumstances, California law provides for a two-year statute of limitations in most personal injury cases. This means that you must file your personal injury claim within two years of the date of your injury, or a reasonable period of time from the discovery of the injury. However, certain types of personal injury cases may call for a shorter or longer period in which a claim must be filed. For example, when minor children are involved, the statute of limitations may run longer. On the other hand, claims against government agencies must be filed within six months of the injury. In addition, a notice of claim must be filed with the public entity before being filed with the superior court. No matter what your injury may be, it is important to understand that each case is different and that a personal consultation with an experienced attorney is always advised.

How much is my case worth?

Prior to reviewing all of the evidence in a personal injury case, it is nearly impossible to accurately predict the true value of your case. There are some lawyers who will "ball park" the case, which we believe is a mistake. Until all medical documentation has been reviewed, photographs examined, liability determined, loss of earnings determined, and future need for medical care and expenses are evaluated, the value cannot be determined. In other words, all facts and evidence of a case must be at the disposal of your attorney in order to make a clear, informed and professional opinion.

How much are attorney fees in personal injury cases?

Our fees are contingent on a successful recovery. In general, this means that if you do not recover through a settlement or verdict, then you will not be charged. If you do recover, we charge a negotiable percentage of your recovery, which will depend on the facts and complexities unique to your case. We discuss the details of this arrangement with you during our first conference. Assuming there is an agreement between you and our firm, we will represent your interests through settlement and/or trial as necessary.

For more information, contact Vititoe Law Group, online or call 818-851-1886 to schedule a consultation.

What You Should Know About Personal Injury Cases

Every personal injury case is different, but what the majority share can be very detrimental to their victims. The injured person may be saddled with medical bills, earn less income or not be able to work at all, suffer pain, and, still have to keep-up with everyday living expenses. This creates stressful situations and the insurance companies are well aware of these facts. This is why insurers may initially approach personal injury victims with monetary offers, which are usually low-ball figures. Not only are you a victim of personal injury, but also, a victim of the insurance companies' greed doing what they can to avoid paying out just compensation.

When you are injured, the insurance company will typically do everything it can to pay out as little as possible. You should consider not speaking with an insurance representative right after an accident and should never sign documentation provided by the corporate entities until you completely understand what you are agreeing to. While it might be tempting to go for what seems to be easy money, it might have a very adverse impact on your ability to purse just compensation. You should strongly consider speaking with an experienced personal injury attorney to learn about your legal rights and which options are available to you. The sooner you consult an attorney, typically the better the result, because time is not on your side.