Personal Injury FAQs

PERSONAL INJURY FAQs

I have been in an automobile crash, what should I do?

If you are not in need of immediate medical attention, you should call the police, or have someone else call on your behalf and make sure that an incident report is filed. You should obtain the names, addresses, and phone numbers of any witnesses to the incident. Take photographs of the other party’s driver’s license, insurance card, and auto registration. Also take photographs of any injuries you received in the incident as well as of the damage to all vehicles involved in the incident.

If you do not feel well after being involved in a crash, seek immediate medical attention. Many types of injuries are not immediately apparent and it is very important that you take care of your health first and foremost.

How much time do I have after being injured in an incident to decide whether or not to sue?

Personal injury cases are subject to a statue of limitation, which limits the amount of time a person can wait before initiating a lawsuit. Different types of cases have different time limitations. In California, the statute of limitation for personal injury claims is two years from the date of the incident. Property damage only claims are subject to a three-year statute of limitations from the date of incident. It is important that if you wish to pursue a claim against a third-party responsible entity, you do not wait and act immediately.

What is this going to cost me?

We represent personal injury clients on a contingency-fee basis. This means that if we do not recover any compensation on your behalf, you do not have to pay us a fee. We understand that the last thing you should have to worry about is paying for legal services up front when dealing with consequences following a traumatic event such as a car crash. If we recover compensation for you, our fee is a percentage of the amount recovered. Call us to find out more.

What damages am I entitled to recover?

In California, the following are recoverable depending on the specific circumstances of your case:

  • Medical expenses for past and future medical care;
  • Lost income;
  • Permanent damage, which includes physical disability and disfigurement;
  • Emotional damage, including depression, anxiety, and stress resulting from the incident;
  • Loss of consortium, which refers to the loss of affection or companionship with your loved one.
  • Property loss or damage;
  • Loss of use;
  • Out of pocket expenses such as towing, rental car, co-payments, deductibles.

What if the other party in an automobile crash does not have insurance?

In California, the following are recoverable depending on the specific circumstances of your case:

  • Medical expenses for past and future medical care;
  • Lost income;
  • Permanent damage, which includes physical disability and disfigurement;
  • Emotional damage, including depression, anxiety, and stress resulting from the incident;
  • Loss of consortium, which refers to the loss of affection or companionship with your loved one.
  • Property loss or damage;
  • Loss of use;
  • Out of pocket expenses such as towing, rental car, co-payments, deductibles.

What if I did not have automobile insurance at the time I was involved in the incident?

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 auto crash and the crash was not your fault, 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.

Are employers responsible for automobile crashes caused by their employees?

In most instances, yes. As long as the employee was in the course and scope of their employment at the time of the incident, the employer would be responsible for the acts of its employees under the legal doctrine of Respondeat Superior. The added benefit is that employers typically carry insurance policies with higher coverage limits which is critical in cases involving severe injuries.

Will the information I share with you be confidential?

Yes. The information you share with us is protected by the attorney-client privilege and will remain confidential. This protection will apply even when our legal representation terminates or if you do not retain our firm. Because your communications with us are privileged, it is important that you make full disclosure of all pertinent facts with respect to your personal injury claim (such as prior injuries) so that we can fully access your case. This is further important so the defense does not catch us by surprise in the middle of representation, which could be detrimental to your case.

What should I bring with me for my meeting with a lawyer?

You should bring all documents in your possession that are related to your injury. For example, you should bring a copy of the police or incident report, a copy of your insurance declaration page, photographs of the damage to your automobile, photographs of your injuries, copies of medical records for treatment related to the incident, correspondence from the insurance companies, estimates and repair records and receipts for your automobile, receipts for towing and car rental, and any wage loss information.

Will the person who caused my injury be punished?

Personal injury cases are civil actions and defendants in civil actions are not subject to jail time or criminal fines as punishment. Those are common in criminal actions. However, in some cases, juries and courts can award what are called “punitive damages,” which are designed to punish defendants who have behaved recklessly or intentionally against the public’s interest. The goal in ordering the payment of punitive damages is to discourage such defendants and others from engaging in the same kind of harmful behavior in the future. One of the most common situations where punitive damages may be available is when a person is injured by a drunk driver.

Do I still have a claim if my health insurance paid my medical bills?

Yes. Since a personal injury claim includes claims for payment or reimbursement of medical expenses and general damages such as pain and suffering, you can still present a claim even though your health insurance paid your medical bills. In addition, keep in mind that your health insurer will likely seek reimbursement for any amounts it paid for medical care on your behalf related to the incident. When you retain us, we will work with your health insurer to settle any reimbursement claims so that you do not owe any at the conclusion of your case.

Should I speak with the insurance adjusters?

Do not speak with any adjusters, including providing recorded statements about the incident or your injuries, until after you speak with a personal injury attorney. Anything you say to an adjuster may be used against you to reject or reduce the value of your claim. Insurance companies and their employees are not on your side, and one of their main goals is to settle your claim for the smallest sum of money possible. Also as important is that you do not sign any documents until you talk to an attorney about your case.

I was injured in an incident that was partially my fault. Can I still recover compensation for my injuries?

Do not speak with any adjusters, including providing recorded statements about the incident or your injuries, until after you speak with a personal injury attorney. Anything you say to an adjuster may be used against you to reject or reduce the value of your claim. Insurance companies and their employees are not on your side, and one of their main goals is to settle your claim for the smallest sum of money possible. Also as important is that you do not sign any documents until you talk to an attorney about your case.

Can I get a rental car after an auto crash?

Yes. You are entitled to a rental car while your vehicle is being repaired or until an offer is made if your vehicle is deemed a total loss. There are usually two ways to get a rental car. The most straightforward way is if you have rental car coverage under your own insurance policy. If so, your insurance company will usually pay up to the stated limit for a rental car provided in your policy.

The other way is to have the insurance company from the person that caused the car crash to pay for your rental car. Keep in mind that the other person’s insurance company will not pay until it accepts liability for the incident. In addition, once it accepts liability, it will pay for a rental car on a reimbursement basis only. This means, you will have to pay for the rental car out of pocket first and then seek for the other party’s insurance to reimburse you.

Under any of these two options, you will not be reimbursed for extra car insurance that you may choose to get or for gas expenses.

I was recently in a car crash. My car is not driveable, and I need a car right away to get to work. Can I get a rental? I don’t have rental coverage on my policy.

As long as you were not at fault for the collision, you can get a rental car, but in most instances you will have to pay out of pocket first. Once the other party’s insurance company accepts liability for the collision, you will be reimbursed for your rental car expense. Alternatively, you can borrow a relative or friend’s car and claim Loss of Use of your vehicle. This means that you will get compensated for loss of use of your car at a rental rate for a car comparable to yours, even though you did not actually incur a rental car expense.

What can I do if the insurance company’s offer to settle my claim is unreasonable?

The only recourse a person has outside of accepting a settlement from the insurance company is to file a lawsuit. In California, a personal injury claim must be settled or a lawsuit filed within two (2) years from the date of incident, or you will forever lose your right to pursue your claim. Our firm will go over the various options available to you in litigation and explain the various steps in this process.

I was hurt in an auto crash while I was a passenger in an Uber. Can I make a claim?

Yes. Regardless of whether the incident was caused by the Uber driver or the other third party involved, you can present a claim to the appropriate responsible party and get compensated for your medical expenses, lost wages, and general damages such as pain and suffering.

I have hospital bills as a result of a car crash and I don’t have health insurance, will my bills be paid?

You are entitled to have your medical expenses for injuries caused by a third party to be paid by that third party regardless of whether you have health insurance.

Can I make a loss of earnings claim even if I used my sick pay/vacation pay for the days I missed due to my injuries?

Yes. Since you had to use your sick/vacation pay because of missed work due to the fault of another, you are entitled to be compensated for this loss.

A police officer placed me at fault for an accident, but the report is incorrect. Is there something I can do about this?

It is important that you review any Traffic Collision Report, especially those sections containing statements attributed to you, to ensure they are accurate. If you disagree with any of the facts as stated in the report, you should contact the officer that authored the report to request a corrected report or to file a supplement.

I had some personal items in my trunk that were damaged because of a crash. Can I get money for those items?

Yes. You are entitled to either the cost of repair or the fair market value of any personal property that was damaged as a result of the fault of another. You need to present evidence supporting the amount of your damage such as receipts.

Yes. You are entitled to either the cost of repair or the fair market value of any personal property that was damaged as a result of the fault of another. You need to present evidence supporting the amount of your damage such as receipts.

Yes. For example, if you had preexisting lower back pain that was made worse in terms of intensity and/or frequency by a rear-end car crash, you can make a claim for that increased injury. Just because you had a preexisting condition does not exonerate the responsible party from compensating you for the additional damage you were caused.

I was driving for work when another person rear-ended me. Can I make a claim against that person’s insurance or am I limited to making a worker’s compensation claim with my employer?

You can definitely make a claim against the third party that caused the crash without ever making a worker’s compensation claim. You can also file a worker’s compensation claim and any amounts that you receive including the value of benefits such as medical care, will have to be reimbursed back to the worker’s compensation insurer from your third-party claim.

I want to make a claim against a governmental entity. Are there any special rules that apply?

Claims against governmental entities are subject to shortened claim notice periods. Generally, you must present your claim for damages within six (6) months from the date of the incident. If you do not do so, you may forever lose your right to pursue your claim. Many governmental entities such as the County of Los Angeles, City of Los Angeles, and Metropolitan Transportation Authority, to name a few, provide claim forms on their respective websites that you can download and fill out to present your claim. If you retain us to represent you, we will present the necessary claims on your behalf.

I was injured intentionally by another person. Can I pursue a claim against that person?

Yes. Depending on the specific facts of your case, various causes of action may be available to you, such as assault, battery, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. If you prove your case, you are entitled to payment for medical expenses, lost wages, and general damages such as pain and suffering, among others.