Common questions

Why is the responsible person’s insurance calling me for information but doing nothing to help me?

After an accident the other party’s liability insurance carrier may get involved but it does not owe you any legal duty. Even when fault is crystal clear. This can be confusing and frustrating. Don’t speak to an insurance representative until you have consulted with a lawyer. If you do hire a lawyer, the carrier is not allowed to contact you directly again. A liability carrier does not act like your health insurance. It has no obligation to pay your medical bills as they come or help you arrange for medical care. Instead, its representatives are concerned about the other party’s legal exposure, assessing risk and preparing a defense. They are persistent to meet their own targets, not to help you. You have no obligation to return their call. If you are having this sort of trouble with someone else’s carrier, call (415) 493-8552 for a free consultation.

I’m not a litigious person. Do I really need a lawyer?

Injury claims generally involve many moving parts that must be managed carefully and effectively. A lawyer can be helpful in many ways as a guide, counselor and warrior. Initially, a lawyer can act as a shield to protect you from insurance representatives or attorneys, and to avoid unhelpful statements that could affect your claim later. Related claims must be identified. Your own health insurance plan may demand to be reimbursed, hospitals may assert a statutory right to be paid, and so on. An experienced lawyer can build and present your case and provide peace of mind in knowing no stone was left unturned. In some cases the cost of hiring a lawyer may not make sense, and we would be the first to point that out. There is no harm in discussing your problem to learn more. Call (415) 493-8552 for a free consultation.

If I hire a lawyer, will I have to go to court?

Many people are uncomfortable with the idea of entering a courtroom. Others want their day in court. Each case is the client’s cause, and each client chooses how far to push the fight. It helps to meet early on to discuss a road map of what to expect before filing a lawsuit, or after. Statistically, most cases are resolved through settlement before trial, but it takes two or more parties to accomplish that. It also requires careful preparation so everyone can fully evaluate the universe of evidence that may be admissible at trial, and how a potential jury might see it. An experienced lawyer working hard to build a case is both a counselor and warrior. The risk of a bad result at trial is what motivates corporations and insurance carriers to get serious.

If I can’t pay a retainer or attorney’s fee up front, is there some way I could hire a lawyer?

A contingent fee agreement lets you hire an attorney without paying a retainer or hourly fee. Attorneys’ fees are paid only after a client has received compensation for their damages through settlement or after a trial. Our office advances costs to prosecute cases, for example, court filing fees, which are reimbursed at the end. This model encourages us to only take on cases we truly believe have merit. Throughout the litigation process we are in one boat with our clients, rowing hard in the same direction.

How long will it take to resolve my claim?

Every case is unique, and there is no simple answer to this question. Physical injuries take time to heal. Emotional harms may take longer. A long period of disability can have devastating and lasting consequences. The situation may not return to normal for some time. Even so, the work begins right away. Evidence needs to be preserved, all the relevant players identified and much more. Having the case organized early and as complete as possible can make an enormous difference when the time to present the claim or begin litigation is right.