Our collection of the most frequently asked questions
What is a personal injury claim?
Personal injury claims can come from many scenarios. The most generalized description would be in cases where a person suffers an injury in an accident and someone else may be held legally responsible for the accident and the injury. Examples would be car accidents, defective products, unsafe property conditions, negligent practices, etc. When you bring a personal injury claim, it can be resolved either through a formal lawsuit or, more commonly, through an informal settlement (before a lawsuit is filed).
Negligence — What is it?
Negligence mainly comes into play when it seems that the party that caused the injury owed a duty to the injured party and in turn breached that duty. For example: All drivers owe a general duty to other drivers to operate their cars safely, such as following the speed limit, not texting while driving, adhering to traffic signs, etc. Therefore, if you get into a car accident with someone who ran a red light or a stop sign, the other driver may be held liable due to negligence.
Premises liability — Is there liability?
Premises liability refers to someone being injured while on property owned by another person because the owner of the property failed to maintain a safe environment. In such cases, the owner of the property may be held liable and the injured party may recover for medical losses.
Product liability claims — What are the first steps?
A great many people get injured every year due to defective products. The injured parties may then use product liability law to hold the manufacturer or seller of the product liable for the defective product.
What to do if you are in a car accident
Car accidents are unfortunately very common and can have consequences ranging from dented bumpers to serious medical injuries. Taking the right steps after an accident can make a big difference in the outcome. So what are the most important things to remember after a car accident?
What is a personal injury?
A personal injury is a physical or psychological injury that a person experiences as a result of another person’s conduct, whether intentional or stemming from negligence. Some of the most common causes of personal injuries include car accidents, slip-and-fall accidents, dog bites and defective products.
Why do I need an attorney?
Accident victims are advised to seek the assistance of a personal injury attorney. Individuals who are represented by attorneys recover higher compensation awards on average than those who file claims on their own. At the Law Offices of Eslamboly Hakim, we provide free consultations to injured people and their families. Take advantage of our attorneys’ knowledge and abilities to represent you in your personal injury claims.
Can’t I just accept what the insurance company offers me, without the need for an attorney?
In a personal injury case, the insurance company involved represents the responsible party, not you. That puts you in the position of having no one representing your interests. Unfortunately, insurance companies usually attempt to minimize the amount of compensation they pay out. After all, insurance companies are profit-oriented businesses. Insurance companies realize that you cannot know the full value of your case immediately after an accident, and they take advantage of this fact by offering quick settlements. If you accept a settlement from the insurance company without legal representation, you will be unable to obtain further compensation in the future should you need additional medical treatment for your injuries.
What damages am I entitled to recover?
This will depend largely on the type of case and damages sustained. If you have suffered an injury and require medical treatment, both past and future medical expenses are recoverable. Past and future lost wages are also recoverable. Additionally, “general damages,” including pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment and emotional distress, are also recoverable.
In automobile collision cases, clients are entitled to recover for damages to their vehicle, as well as the loss of use of that vehicle.
Will the information I share with you remain confidential?
Yes. The information shared with us is protected by the attorney-client privilege and will remain confidential even after our legal representation terminates or if you decide not to retain our services.
What documents should I bring when meeting with a lawyer?
You should bring all documents in your possession that are related to your injury, including police reports, insurance declaration, photographs of your automobile, photographs of your injuries, repair records and receipts, copies of medical records for treatments related to the accident, any loss of wage information, and any information from the other party involved. Prior to our meeting, we will provide you with a checklist for any other information that we may need from you.
Should I keep any records following my injury?
It is important to keep records of expenses resulting from your injuries, including medical care, at-home care and transportation. Additionally, it is helpful to maintain records of lost work time and wages, as well as pain and suffering and physical limitations resulting from your injury.
Do I still have a valid legal claim if my health insurance paid my medical bills?
Yes. Injured people are entitled to compensation whether or not insurance companies have paid their medical bills.
How is the value of my claim determined?
The value of a claim is determined based on a consideration of the totality of the circumstances. Attorneys at the Law Offices of Eslamboly Hakim have established a track record of successful verdicts and settlements in all types of personal injury matters and will make sure that you obtain the amount of compensation that you deserve.
How soon after I am injured do I have to file a lawsuit?
The time frame that you have to file a lawsuit is called the statute of limitations. Failing to file a claim before the statute of limitations expires will cause your case to be barred. In California, the statute of limitations for most personal injury matters is two years from the date of the injury. However, claims against government entities have a much shorter statute of limitations. Therefore, due to the time constraints regarding personal injury claims, you should immediately consult the experienced lawyers at the Law Offices of Eslamboly Hakim.
What if the accident is partly my fault; do I still have a claim?
Even if an accident or injury was partially your fault, you still may have a claim based on the concept of comparative negligence. The term “comparative negligence” means that the fault of all parties is compared and the amount of the recovery for damages suffered by the injured victim is reduced by the percentage of his or her own fault. In this way, each person is held accountable for the amount of damages that they caused. If you’re injured by the negligent action of another, but you contributed to the accident by your failure to exercise reasonably prudent care, you will be found comparatively negligent. You also will be found comparatively negligent if you voluntarily expose yourself to danger — y riding a roller coaster without wearing a seat belt, for example, or working with a neighbor’s power saw or other dangerous tool if you’re inexperienced or fail to use a safety guard. This is called assumption of risk.
How long will my personal injury lawsuit take?
It is difficult to determine how long it will take to resolve a personal injury lawsuit, as each case is unique. Therefore, no general timetable can be established for personal injury cases. A personal injury lawsuit may settle in a few months without the need for trial, while others can take years It also depends on the medical treatment required as damages cannot be accessed if the injured party is still receiving treatment.
If I have a personal injury claim, do I have to go to court?
No. The vast majority of personal injury cases are settled before ever going to trial. We work very hard to get you the best settlement possible. However, if the insurance company refuses to compensate you for the amount your injuries and suffering are worth, we are willing and able to file a lawsuit so that an impartial arbitrator, judge or jury may determine the value of your case.
What is mediation?
Parties may submit their disputes to mediation. In such cases, parties meet with an independent third party who assists them in arriving at an agreed upon settlement. This is an informal and less expensive method than proceeding with litigation. If mediation is viable in your case, your lawyer will confer with you regarding this option.
Who can be held liable for a catastrophic injury?
To determine liability, it’s important to contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your case. More than one person may be responsible for your injuries. Depending on your type of personal injury, the liability may rest with a hospital, doctor, motor vehicle driver, truck driver, employer, drug manufacturer or property owner.
Should I sign a release or give a recorded statement to the insurance company?
It is never advisable to sign anything without consulting a lawyer first. If you sign a release, it could stop you from recovering monetary compensation in the future. The insurance company may contact you the day of or the day after the accident to attempt to secure your agreement to settle your case for less than it is worth or to record your version of the accident. If you comply, you may unknowingly hurt your case. Call our office so that we can help you navigate through this potentially confusing time.
What happens if I was partially at fault?
If you were only partially at fault for your own injury, you are still a partial victim. In these cases, your compensation may be lessened by the percentage that you were at fault. For instance, if you were found to be 10 percent at fault for your own injuries, you will likely recover 10 percent less than what you would have recovered if you were 0 percent at fault.
How long will it take to get a settlement?
The length of time it takes to conclude a case depends upon the unique circumstances and facts of each individual matter. Generally, clients must fully recover from their injuries before we begin settlement negotiations. This is because we need to obtain a general idea of all the medical expenses you have incurred before we can secure reimbursement for you. We aggressively negotiate with insurance companies to ensure that our clients receive the maximum possible settlement in the least amount of time. Severe injury cases take longer because we want to make sure that our clients are compensated fully for the extensive medical costs they face and the pain and suffering they have endured.
How much will hiring this firm cost me?
There is no charge for an initial meeting with the Law Offices of Eslamboly Hakim to discuss the merits of your case. If you hire us to represent you, we take cases on a contingency fee basis. That means that if we are unable to recover any money for you, you will not have to pay us anything. We only get paid a percentage of what we are able to recover for you. Therefore, the amount will vary depending on your settlement or award.
Every case involves costs. In most cases, the Law Offices of Eslamboly Hakim will advance the costs of collecting records, investigating liability and hiring experts. We will recover those costs out of the settlement we obtain for you.
What is a contingency fee?
A contingency fee is a fee charged by lawyers in most personal injury cases. It is contingent because the fee is conditioned upon your attorney’s successful resolution of your case. A contingent fee is paid as a percentage of your monetary recovery. A contingent fee is what is meant when you hear “there is no fee unless we recover for you” The client is generally responsible for out-of-pocket costs of litigation.
What is a medical lien?
Sometimes clients who are involved in accidents have no medical insurance. In such cases, doctors will expect to be paid at the conclusion of the client’s cases If so, the doctor will require the client to sign an agreement to have the lawyers pay him or her directly from the proceedings derived from your case. If your doctor asks you to sign a “lien letter,” be sure to contact the Law Offices of Eslamboly Hakim before doing so.
What should I do if I was involved in an automobile accident?
1. Immediately call the police and request that they come to the scene of the accident and prepare a traffic collision report.
2. If you are in pain, obtain treatment by a medical doctor or chiropractor or at urgent care as soon as possible. It is important to obtain medical treatment and an accurate diagnosis of your injuries.
3. Write down the other driver’s information, including name, address, phone number, date of birth, driver’s license number and insurance information.
4. Photograph the scene of the accident, including damages to all vehicles, skid marks on the road, debris and other visible evidence.
5. File a claim with your insurance provider against the other driver’s insurance provider. It is important that you seek the representation of an attorney prior to giving a statement to the other driver’s insurance company regarding the accident and your injuries.
6. Call the Law Offices of Eslamboly Hakim for a free consultation regarding your case.
How does workers’ compensation differ from a third-party claim?
If you have a work-related injury or illness, your employer is required by law to pay for workers’ compensation benefits. On the other hand, a third-party claim involves suing someone other than your employer if that party is responsible for your injuries. Many people believe that if they are injured during the course of their employment, they only have a workers’ compensation claim. Under many circumstances, however, there may also be a viable third-party claim against another party.
What is premises liability?
If you are injured due to a dangerous condition on another person’s property, you may be able to collect compensation from the property owner. It is important to consult with an attorney as soon as possible after your injury to determine whether you have a viable premises liability claim.
Why is immediate investigation beneficial to your case?
In all types of cases, the importance of immediate investigation cannot be overstated. In many instances, early and effective investigation can be the difference between winning and losing a case. Each case requires a different investigative technique and varying types of evidence such as physical evidence, photographs, witness statements, medical records and critical business records. Obtaining immediate copies of records reduces the risk that such critical documents will be altered, lost or destroyed. The Law Offices of Eslamboly Hakim’s experienced investigative team will begin the necessary investigation and document retention as soon as the case is accepted.