Frequently Asked Questions

Speaking to an attorney can feel intimidating, especially when they’re using a bunch of legal talk. The reality is with so much on the line, you need to get the facts straight about personal injury law in plain English. Feel free to contact us for free to answer your specific questions about your case.

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How do I know when I need a personal injury attorney?

If you have suffered any injury, you need the professional help of a qualified and experienced personal injury attorney. Help should be in the form of at least a personal, face to face meeting with the attorney who can evaluate your situation and advise you. Most often you will need to actually hire that attorney because of complicated laws and the difficulty to recover fair settlement money from insurance companies.

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Is My Case Worth Pursuing?

That depends on the unique facts and circumstances of each case.  If you have been injured you need to speak with an attorney.  That attorney should be able to listen to you and give you some reasonable idea of whether or not your case is worth pursuing.  It starts by speaking with an attorney.

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How Much Is my Personal Injury Case Worth?

Remember, each case is unique.  Generally, the more severe the injury, the higher the value of the case.  In some cases the degree and severity of the injury is relatively clear from the get go, such as a fractured femur that requires an open reduction with a steel rod being placed.  Other injuries are more subtle and take a longer time to fully diagnose.  For example,  neurological injuries can be subtle and are often missed by attorneys that are not experienced.  These can be devastating and life altering.  For this reason, the experienced attorney should always be alert to many different types of injuries and guide his client to the best medical providers for proper diagnosis and treatment.

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What can I claim?

You can claim what is known as general and economic damages.  General damages are those damages that compensate you for pain and suffering.  These types of damages can be very significant, in the millions, depending upon the degree and severity of your injury.  You are also entitled to economic damages.  These damages relate to medical costs and expenses, loss of earnings, loss of your vehicle, rental reimbursement, towing and storage charges, damaged clothing, etc.

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Will I have to go to trial?

Most cases settle prior to trial if your attorney does a good job for you.  However, not all cases settle.  Some do go to trial.  And, for this reason, it is most important that your attorney handles your case from the very beginning in a careful and thorough manner.  If your attorney is really good, if he is thoughtfully aggressive, if he interacts with you on a regular basis, if you are not just another number in his office, you have a much better chance of having your case settle prior to trial.

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How much does a personal injury lawyer cost?

Most personal injury attorneys provide their services based upon a contingent fee agreement.  What this means is that the attorney will not ask you to pay them for services during the course of the representation.  The attorney will represent you, do all the work and resolve your case.  After the case is settled the attorney fee will be paid out of the settlement proceeds.  Most attorneys in California have a contingent fee agreement of 33 1/3 % / 40%.  This means that the fee will be 33 1/3% of the recovery prior to litigation with the fee going to 40% after the filing of a lawsuit, if that is necessary to obtain a favorable settlement.

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How am I going to support myself and my family?

This is a tough question.  Your attorney should immediately help you apply for all available county, state and federal assistance.  In addition, you may be eligible for disability and special needs benefits.  Your attorney should also help you apply for charitable hospital and medical discounts and should be able to obtain top notch medical care for you without you having to walk into a doctor’s office with money in your wallet.  Your attorney may also be able to structure a settlement in such a way that the insurance company will settle a portion of your claim to get you some money, then resolve the rest of your claim after you have recovered.

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How long will it take to settle my case?

Cases can settle in a few months or go on for years.  It depends on the unique facts of each case and the nature and extent of the injury.  However, most cases do get settled without years of litigation.  Again, it depends on how aggressive and thorough your attorney is.  Attorneys that are constantly “working” their files, who are on top of their cases, who are active in what they do, who interact with the insurance companies and their clients have a much better chance of a full and earlier settlement than the attorney who simply “sits” on the case and at some point asks the insurance company to settle.

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Should I get in touch with my Insurance Company?

That depends.  You have an obligation to report the accident to your insurance company in a timely manner.  However, if the claim may involve an uninsured or underinsured motorist, you should first speak with a qualified attorney and if the case involves more than just a few bruises, you absolutely should retain an attorney before you speak with your insurance company and let your attorney do the talking for you.

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Will my insurance company cover my claims?

That depends on the type of insurance coverage you have. This is a complicated area.  It often relates to the specific and unique facts of your accident as the facts relate to your particular coverage. Assuming you have comprehensive/collision coverage, your insurance company should pay for your property damage less your deductible. If you have rental coverage, that should kick in. If you have medical insurance on your automobile/motorcycle policy that should pick up some of your medical bills, etc. And, if you have uninsured or underinsured motorist cover, and it applies to the particular accident that should provide coverage. However, if you will be making a claim using the uninsured or underinsured coverage on your policy you must beware that you are entering the danger zone and most likely will need an attorney to represent you. This is a tricky area.

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Should I accept the insurance company’s offer?

Never forget that insurance companies, be it your company or the other party’s company are in business to do one thing:  make money.  They are great at doing this.  They do it 24/7.  They make lots of money.  The less money they pay you, the more money they make.  This means that you should not accept their first, second or third offer.  This again means that you need to fully evaluate your situation by speaking with a qualified and experienced attorney before you speak with the insurance company.

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My case is complicated – how do i pick the right law firm for me?

Most cases are complicated even if they do not appear to be.  Often cases are so complicated that only expert forensic engineers, scientists and doctors can fully comprehend how an accident occurred or the full diagnosis of an injury.  Attorneys that regularly work with these experts have the ability to analyze the often complicated dynamics of accident reconstruction and can fully understand the trauma caused to the human body.  Picking the right law firm involves choosing that lawyer that has the experience, means and time to devote to you and your case. We will employ the absolute best technical experts to prove up your claim and we will not treat you as a faceless number.

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What should i do if I’ve been in a serious accident?

If you have been in an accident, of any kind, and you have suffered any injury (does not have to be serious) you should pick up the phone and call a qualified and experienced lawyer and get some professional advice.  At my office that consultation is free. There is no down side to doing this, so why not make the call?

At Howard Blau Law, we have more than 35 years of experience dealing with serious and complex cases against insurance companies, large corporations, and negligent individuals. Serious personal injury cases are a primary focus, with a majority of our cases involving motorcycle accidents, dog bites, fractures and neurological injuries. We serve clients in Ventura County and the surrounding including Los Angeles and Santa Barbara Counties.

Call Us For Immediate Help.

805.644.2112 or 818.888.0303