What you need to know about personal injury cases
Before Filing a Personal Injury Case
Do I have a case?
To have a personal injury case, you must prove that you have been injured through the fault of another, whether by negligence, intentional misconduct or strict liability.
Should I give the insurance company a recorded statement?
No. You should not talk to an insurance company without first consulting with a lawyer. It is common practice for insurance adjusters to request that injury claimants give recorded statements immediately following injury producing event. These recorded statements are then later used against the injury claimants.
What do I do if an insurance adjuster offers me a settlement?
Before accepting a settlement, it is always in your best interest to consult with a lawyer. Adjusters work for the insurance company, not for you, and their job is to settle the matter for the lowest possible expense to their company. A lawyer’s expertise is not only vital if you are ready to settle your case, but will also ensure that your rights are protected.
What is my personal injury case worth?
The worth of a case is based on a number of factors. For example, the nature of the injury causing event, the severity of the injury, the amount of pain the injury causes, and whether the injury has lingering effects are all issues that affect the value of a case. However, only after all the information is gathered and negotiations have begun can your case truly be evaluated.
As we determine the value of a case, we take the following into consideration, which a personal injury claimant may be entitled to recover:
- Past and future medical bills
- Past and future lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Mental and physical disability
- Disfigurement and scars
- Emotional trauma
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of love and affection
- Property damage
- Out-of-pocket expenses
Watch Our Frequently Asked Questions
How to Choose a Lawyer
Do I need a Sacramento personal injury lawyer?
For small, property damage claims with no personal injury, you probably do not need a lawyer. However, for any claim involving a personal injury, it is unwise to attempt to handle your own claim. Insurance companies do not make their profits by paying, but by not paying. Insurance adjusters are very skilled at obtaining the information they need from you to deny or minimize your claims.
There is a statute of limitations that affects your case. Depending upon the circumstances of your case, the statute of limitations requires that a suit be filed within a specific period of time. If you fail to file suit within the proper time limit, you will be prohibited from obtaining any compensation for your injuries.
Finding witnesses and gathering evidence to support your case becomes more difficult the longer your wait. Therefore, you should consult a lawyer as soon as possible. Feel free to contact our office for a Free Case Evaluation.
What do personal injury lawyers charge?
We work on a “contingency fee” basis, meaning you do not have to pay unless we collect money for you. Our fee is based on a percentage of the money collected. Typically, this fee is 33.33% for adults and 25% for children. Remember, if we do not collect for you, you do not owe us one penny (no pun intended).
How do I find a lawyer that I can trust?
We understand that any meaningful relationship is based on trust. Trust your instincts. Discuss your concerns with the lawyer and form impressions about what you are being told. Beware of lawyers who tell you what you want to hear to get your business. Choose a lawyer that answers your questions, seems genuinely concerned about your problems, and creates realistic expectations. Furthermore, retain a lawyer who specializes in personal injury cases, has the experience, ability, and means to go to trial if needed.
Consultations & Considerations
If I hire a personal injury lawyer, will he or she take most of my settlement?
This is a very common question. Most of the time you will make more money hiring a lawyer. However, the lawyer should be honest with you and tell you if his or her services will help you. We turn away cases if our fee does not help an injured victim. However, please feel free to contact our office for a Free Case Evaluation.
Must I go to Court if I hire a lawyer?
No. You decide if your case goes to court. Most personal injury cases are settled out of court.
Do you allow free consultations?
Absolutely! You may contact us by telephone, fax, or e-mail. Our telephones are answered 24 hours a day. If you have a personal injury or wrongful death case, we will schedule a consultation appointment that fits your schedule. We will meet with you in the evening or on the weekend if that is more convenient for you. We also make house calls.
The insurance company says I can handle the case myself without a lawyer. Is this a good idea?
Since a consultation is free, it won’t hurt to ask if we can help. Having worked with insurance companies on thousands of cases, we know that no matter how nice insurance adjusters may sound on the phone, they have one goal in mind above all others—to pay you as little as possible. They are trained to do this.
Insurance companies do not work for you. They are not trained, nor are they qualified, to explain your legal rights. They will not give you a fair assessment of the value of your case.
If your injuries are significant, a good attorney can help you in numerous ways. When you hire a lawyer who is willing to take a case to trial, value is added to your case. A good lawyer will seek every category of damages that applies to your case, finding ways to support those damages with evidence that will be admissible in court. Also, the threat of trial itself adds to your bargaining power. Make no mistake the, insurance company knows that it’s almost impossible for an injury claimant to take a case to trial and win without a lawyer.
Common Concerns We Hear
What if I don’t want to sue anyone?
Personal injury cases do not have to result in a lawsuit. We understand that lawsuits are not pleasant, and we strive to do all that we can to resolve your case short of filing a lawsuit. If a lawsuit is necessary, we will make the process as easy on you as possible, helping you every step of the way.
If you take my case, what will I have to do?
If you hire us as your attorney, you will be a significant part of your case. We may ask you to help us gather information and documentation to support your case. You will need to keep us informed about your medical treatment and physical limitations. If we have to file a lawsuit for your case, you will need to participate in this process. We will help you every step of the way.
I have a lawyer. Can I fire him and get a new one?
Yes, you have the right to fire your current lawyer and hire a new lawyer. It is common practice that your new lawyer and old lawyer will share the eventual fee. The new lawyer will pay your old lawyer a portion of the fee for his or her services. If there is a dispute as to this amount, an arbitrator or judge will make the final decision. The bottom line is that you should not have to pay more than your agreed fee percentage. Feel free to contact our office and we will provide greater detail.
If you have any other questions you would like answered that aren’t covered here on our Personal Injury Frequently Asked Questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us for a free, no-obligation personal injury case evaluation.
Why should I choose you as my lawyer?
Frank Penney Injury Lawyers offers experienced, empathetic and aggressive representation for personal injury victims and their loved ones. We are dedicated to providing quality services and continually challenging the court system to bring you justice. Also, personal injury and wrongful death cases are our only business. We do not attempt to handle divorces, wills, criminal cases, or any other type of case. When you do one thing all day, every day, for over a decade, you become very good at it. We have successfully resolved over two thousand settlements, including jury verdicts and arbitration awards for our clients. We have collected millions of dollars* in compensation for our clients and their families, and received countless referrals from satisfied clients.
*This does not guarantee, warranty, or predict the outcome of your case.
How long will a personal injury case take?
The time it takes to settle a personal injury case depends on the circumstances surrounding the case. The more complex the case, the longer it may take to settle. Most cases are resolved within a few months to a year. However, some cases may take longer, especially if it is denied or a lawsuit must be filed.
We have successfully represented thousands of people with a wide range of personal injury claims. Every claim is different.
This information is not intended to serve as legal advice or as a substitute for consultation with an attorney. Specific legal issues, concerns, and conditions always require the advice of appropriate legal professionals. These answers are intended to provide general information only by a Sacramento personal injury lawyer.