Below are some questions that I am frequently asked by my clients. If you have a questions that isn’t answered here, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
First things first: take care of your injuries. Seek medical attention at the hospital or from qualified physicians. Your health is the most important thing you have – don’t neglect it. Once you have sought treatment and you know you have an injury, you should call an attorney. In California, in most cases, you have two years to settle your claim or file a lawsuit for personal injury, but don’t delay longer than you have to. As time passes, memories may fade and witnesses can become hard to find.
Don’t speak about your condition or your case, except with your doctor. Don’t talk to the insurance adjusters. Things you say to the insurance companies, to friends or witnesses, can be taken out of context by insurance adjusters and their lawyers. They will use anything you have said against you later.
Most important: don’t sign any papers or agree to any settlement until you talk about it with a lawyer you choose. You don’t have to sign the Medical Release Authorizations or give a recorded statement, and in most cases, you should refuse.
First, to determine if you have an injury claim, determine if you have been physically injured. Have you been to the doctor or a hospital? If you have been treated by a medical provider they would likely verify that you were injured.
Next, ask did some other person or entity cause your injury?
Yes. If you’ve been injured, you have the potential to receive “compensatory damages” –money to compensate you for:
- Medical bills
- Lost earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Any resulting physical disability, disfigurement, or scarring
- Emotional distress
- Mental disability
- Property damage
In rare cases, you might also be able to win “punitive damages” – money that a judge or jury requires a defendant to pay in addition to the compensatory damages. Punitive damages are meant to punish a defendant that acted especially badly.
Only if a claim with the insurance company does not yield a significant offer of settlement. And, only after consultation with you regarding what the requirements and ramifications are when we file a lawsuit.
Finding the right lawyer can be tough! Your lawyer should have experience with your type of case. Your lawyer should have a track record of success. Your lawyer should have the respect of his or her peers. Your lawyer should be willing and able to fight vigorously for your interests while acting with solid ethics and professionalism. Your lawyer should speak clearly with you, respond to your questions in a timely manner, and put you at ease.
- I’ve handled thousands of personal injury cases since 1998, and had a great deal of success for my clients.
- If you’ve been injured, you’ve got enough to deal with. Focus on healing – not on wrangling with insurance adjusters and their lawyers. Let me deal with the insurance adjusters and lawyers. Feel confident that I will always behave ethically and professionally.
- I am a lawyer, and I know the legal and insurance world can be filled with jargon. If you call or come in for a consultation, I’ll take the time to explain things in a way you understand. I’ll let you know whether I think you have a strong case, and whether you would get the best result handling the claim yourself, or having me represent you, or if another lawyer would be a better fit for your claim.
At The Law Office of Brett Peterson, your initial consultation is always free. It will cost you nothing to speak with us regarding your potential claim. If you hire us, the fee is contingent on our successfully resolving your case. You will not have to pay any attorney fee until the end of the case; at that time I will take my fee from the insurance company proceeds.