Last week on July 14 we celebrated Bastille Day (The National Day of France) and we Americans use any excuse to celebrate and party. Sometimes it is St. Patrick’s Day, July 4 , Cinco de Mayo or September 16. Whatever the date, it always involves drinking and that usually means a driver is not paying as much attention to the road. Obviously this results in more auto Accidents and DUI’s…and that is where I come in.
After an accident the most important things is gather all the info and not talk to insurance companies… and then to get better. If you are hurting you need medical attention. Our office can help you obtain a doctor to take the case on a lien in most situations. Of course, one of the first things accident victims ask is, “what is the value of my case?”
The value of a case is based in part on your medicals. However, it helps if you keep a diary of your pain and suffering. This allows us to track your visits when you write down what is hurting you. You should list what hurts from the top of your head to the bottom of your toes.
When you are contacted by any insurance company, advise them you would be happy to talk but your lawyer asked to get his permission before you talk to them. That way we are the bad guys for not allowing you to make a statement.
The insurance adjusters will tell you anything, to stop you from retaining a lawyer. They will say that if you hire an attorney s/he will take 40-50%. That is a lie, as almost every lawyer in the country charges 1/3 unless the case gets into litigation. However, your attorney will assist you in getting a fair settlement. You don’t want to settle to fast with the insurance company as some medical issues develop over time. By settling right away, you may lose out on getting money for future medical treatment and loss of earnings. However, you must be aware of the Statute of Limitation which places a time limit of 2 years to file an accident claim in California.
For many decades, my personal mission has been to help my Coachella Valley neighbors make great decisions about their legal situations. When we can’t get a fair offer from the insurance company, we file a lawsuit and start civil litigation. Civil litigation is usually litigation involving private parties, as opposed to criminal where you are prosecuted by the state. Civil could be because of damages from an accident or even for money owed.
Civil litigation is confusing for lawyers. For non-lawyers…it is a nightmare. Most lawyers, unlike our office, fail to educate their clients about what to expect.
For instance, there are 4 phases to a Civil Accident Lawsuit:
Initially a lawyer attempts to settle the matter, but may have to file a Complaint called a Lawsuit. This is the Pleadings phase, where the victim explains in the complaint what the defendant did and how much they are demanding. The defendant often files an Answer or a Demurrer (where they claim there is not enough evidence to proceed).
The Discovery phase is next, and is the most time intensive. This is where both sides share evidence. Discovery discloses facts, hopefully resulting in a settlement, dismissal or trial in front of an Arbitrator or Judge. Most cases are settled because trials, on a soft tissue accident case are so costly
The Post Trial Stage comes after the trial. On an auto accident case, if there is no insurance or not enough insurance, the lawyer must try to then collect the judgement. The judge’s ruling is just his/her decision and not an order. Now the lawyer has to try to find assets.
If the defendant disagrees with the verdict, s/he can hire an appellate lawyer to file an Appeal. It is often said if you have to try a soft tissue accident case you have lost. This is because of the tremendous costs involved. Unfortunately, a trial is always a potential crap shoot.
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REPRESENTING THE INJURED AND CRIMINALLY ACCUSED
“TOP LAWYER” – California’s Prestige Magazine, Palm Springs Life (PI/DUI) every year.
“TOP LAWYER” – Inland Empire Magazine
“PERFECT 10.0”- AVVO Peer Rating
“PREEMINENT”- AV Martindale Hubbell