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Personal Injury FAQs

If you have suffered an injury and are contemplating filing a lawsuit, you likely have a lot of questions. Most personal injury lawyers offer a free consultation where they will discuss the circumstances surrounding your injury, the degree to which you were hurt, and the amount of compensation you may be entitled to. While a lawyer will be able to answer all of your questions about your particular case, below are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions people have regarding personal injury lawsuits:

How much does a personal injury lawyer cost?

Personal injury lawyers generally work on a contingency basis, meaning they only get paid if they win or negotiate a settlement for your lawsuit. Contingency fees in California, which are governed under state law, are set in advance and generally amount to 33 percent of the total judgment in your case. In many personal injury lawsuits, your lawyer can negotiate these fees as part of your total settlement or judgment.

How long will my personal injury case take?

The amount of time it will take to settle your personal injury lawsuit will depend on both the circumstance surrounding your injury and the degree of damages you have suffered. In some cases, your personal injury lawyer may be able to negotiate a settlement without ever having to file documents with the court. Other cases may involve months of depositions and investigations into the accident, as well as lengthy negotiations with either the insurance company or their lawyers.

If my insurance company denied my claim, can I still get compensation?

It is not uncommon for insurance companies to deny claims involving personal injury accidents. If you have been denied, contact a personal injury lawyer right away. Your lawyer may be able to get the insurance company to change their decision, and you may still be able to get compensation for your injuries through a personal injury lawsuit.

What if I am partially at fault for my accident?

Under California law, you are still entitled to compensation for injuries, even if you were partially at fault for the accident in which they occurred. Under the legal theory of contributory negligence, the amount you can recover may be diminished by the degree to which you were at fault. For example, if it is determined that you were 20 percent at fault for your injury, the at-fault party would still have to pay 80 percent of the total damages you suffered.

What if the person who caused my injury does not have money to pay?

Once you have been awarded a judgment or your lawyer has negotiated a settlement in your personal injury case, the California courts offer several suggestions on ways to collect the money you are owed, regardless of whether or not the at-fault party has the actual cash on hand to pay. For starters, it is likely that they themselves will not be paying, but rather their insurance company will pay your damages. In the event a particular person is responsible for payments, you may be able to put a lien on any personal property they have until the judgment is paid, get money from any business or other assets they own, or have their driver’s license suspended until the debt is paid.

What if my injury never gets better?

Personal injury lawyers understand the serious and potentially disabling injuries that can occur in this types of accident. Your lawyer can help get you compensation for your future lost wages, as well as money intended to compensate you for the lost opportunities or enjoyment in life you had prior to your disability. Facing a serious injury is something you should not be forced to manage alone. A personal injury lawyer will defend your rights, hold responsible parties accountable, and assist you in getting the compensation you deserve.

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