What Should You Expect During an Initial Consultation With a Personal Injury Attorney?

  • By James Rush
  • 05 Jun, 2017
What Should You Expect During an Initial Consultation With a Personal Injury Attorney

If you’ve been injured because of someone else’s negligence, one of the first things you should do is find a personal injury attorney who can help you recover the compensation you deserve. But, before you begin officially working with an attorney, you will most likely meet with him or her to discuss your case in more detail. What happens during this initial consultation with a personal injury attorney? Here’s what you should expect:

Talk About Your Case

First and foremost, a personal injury attorney will ask you questions about what happened so he can determine if he thinks you have a strong case. You should expect to answer questions related to the accident, your injuries, evidence you have gathered, and medical treatments you have received. It’s recommended that you bring any relevant documentation to this consultation so the attorney can review it. This can include medical records, photographs of your injuries or the accident scene, and a police report.

An attorney will also want to know whether you have talked to anyone else about what happened. For example, if you have given an official statement to your insurance company about a car accident, the attorney will need to know this.

Provide You With Legal Advice

You will also receive legal advice during your consultation with a personal injury attorney. For instance, if you have been involved in a car accident, an attorney may explain how you should be documenting expenses and carefully following your doctor’s orders. He may also advise you to stay off of social media and wait until you have officially started working with an attorney before you talk to the insurance company.

Discussion of Possible Outcomes

After learning more about your situation, the attorney will go over possible outcomes of your case. For example, he may go over the difference between settling out of court and taking the case to trial. He may also ask you which outcome you would prefer. Some people do not want to go through the hassle of a trial, so it’s important for an attorney to know this upfront.

Introduction to the Law Firm

If the attorney is interested in taking your case, he may try to persuade you to work with him by telling you a bit about his law firm. This is a great way for you to learn more about the people you will work with and what sets them apart from other lawyers in the community. You should use this as an opportunity to ask about the attorney’s experience handling cases similar to yours. If he doesn’t have any experience in this particular area, he’s not the right attorney for your case.

Now that you know what to expect, it’s time to schedule your initial consultation with a personal injury attorney. Contact experienced attorney James Rush at Rush Injury Law today to set up a free consultation regarding your case. To get in touch with our law office, call 415-897-4801 or fill out the online form on our website, www.rushinjurylaw.com .

By James Rush 02 Dec, 2017

One term that may be mentioned repeatedly in your personal injury claim is maximum medical improvement (MMI). As a personal injury victim it’s important to understand the meaning of this term and how your MMI will affect your case. Here’s what you need to know:

What is Maximum Medical Improvement?

MMI refers to the point at which a patient’s condition is no longer expected to improve even with further treatment. Many patients reach MMI when they have fully recovered from an injury. For example, a patient with a broken arm has reached MMI when his bones have healed. However, other patients are not so fortunate. For instance, a traumatic brain injury victim may reach MMI when he is still in a coma if the doctor does not believe that his condition will ever improve past this point.

How Will MMI Affect Your Case?

Personal injury attorneys typically do not begin negotiating with the at-fault party’s insurance company until the victim has reached MMI . Why? If the victim has not reached MMI, it is very difficult to accurately calculate the value of the claim.

To illustrate why waiting until the victim has reached MMI is important, consider a spinal cord injury victim. The victim may have to undergo numerous surgeries, rehabilitation, and months of physical therapy before he has reached MMI. If the victim had settled shortly after he was injured, there is no way he would have known how much to ask for to cover his medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Now that he has reached MMI, he knows exactly how much he has incurred in medical expenses, how much time he has taken off of work, and the pain he has experienced as a result of the injury.

Plus, now that the victim is no longer expected to improve, he can determine how his life will be permanently affected by his injuries. Perhaps he can no longer engage in the activities that he once loved or perform the duties of his job. All of this will add to the value of his claim, which is why it’s so important to wait.

Remember, there is no going back once you accept a settlement from an insurance company. If you accept an offer before you have reached MMI, you cannot go back and ask for more compensation after realizing you made a bad decision.

James Rush at Rush Injury Law has dedicated his career to helping personal injury victims recover the compensation they deserve. Let James Rush guide you through the legal process to ensure you make the best decisions for your future. Contact our office by calling 415-897-4801 or filling out the online form on our website www.rushinjurylaw.com to request a free consultation.

By James Rush 30 Nov, 2017

A passenger in a car has little control over what happens on the road if another person is behind the wheel. Sadly, many passengers are injured in car accidents caused by negligent drivers. These injured passengers have a right to recover compensation from the at-fault parties, but many do not know how to initiate this process. If you have been injured while someone else was driving, here’s what you should do after a car accident:

Seek Medical Attention

If you are seriously injured, call 9-1-1 and ask for an ambulance so you can be transported to a hospital for treatment. If your injuries are not severe, be sure to visit a doctor after leaving the scene of the accident so all of your injuries are documented.

Gather Evidence

Injured passengers that are able to stay at the scene of the accident should use this time wisely by gathering evidence. In order to recover compensation, you will need to be able to prove which driver was at fault for the accident. This is much easier to do when you have evidence from the scene of the accident, such as photos and witness statements. Ask witnesses for their contact information and take as many photos as possible of the cars, property damage, and traffic signals in the area. Don’t forget to also exchange information with all of the drivers involved in the accident.

Contact An Attorney

Filing a personal injury claim to recover compensation is not an easy process. Plus, it can be even more stressful if you are trying to deal with an insurance company as you recover from your injuries. For this reason, it’s best to get in touch with a personal injury attorney and let him handle the case. Do this as soon as possible so he can advise you on what you should be doing to strengthen your case.

Settle With the Insurance Company

Your attorney will review the details of your case to determine which driver was liable for the accident. Then, he will contact the at-fault party’s insurance company to discuss a settlement. If both drivers were at fault, claims will be filed with both insurance companies. Just like drivers, passengers are entitled to recover compensation for their medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. It may take months to settle with the insurance company, so be patient and let your attorney fight to recover what you deserve.

Were you injured as a passenger in someone else’s vehicle? If so, a personal injury attorney can help. James Rush at Rush Injury Law will immediately begin reviewing the case to identify the liable parties. Then, he will aggressively pursue the compensation you deserve. Contact our office by calling 415-897-4801 or filling out the online form on our website www.rushinjurylaw.com to request a free consultation.

By James Rush 27 Nov, 2017

Shortly after an accident, an insurance adjuster from the at-fault party’s insurance company will get in touch with you. The insurance adjuster’s job is to gather evidence related to the accident and negotiate the terms of a settlement with your attorney. How does the negotiation process with the insurance company work? Here’s what you need to know:

Initial Offer

In most cases, the negotiation process begins when your attorney requests a certain amount of compensation from the insurance company. Your attorney will determine how much he should ask for by calculating the value of your claim. Since this number will be the starting point for the negotiations, expect it to be on the higher end of what you expected.

Insurance Adjuster Responds

It is very rare for the insurance adjuster to accept the first offer. Instead, the adjuster will respond by explaining the problems with your claim. For example, he may ask why you waited so long to receive medical treatment after the accident. He can also question the severity of your injuries or your choice in healthcare provider. His goal is to poke holes in your case in order to lower the value of the claim.

Answer the Insurance Adjuster’s Questions

Your attorney will provide explanations for all of the issues that the insurance adjuster has with your claim. For instance, if the severity of the injury is being question, your attorney can provide medical records and written statements from your healthcare providers to prove that your injuries are severe.

Counteroffer

After reviewing your response, the insurance adjuster will usually make a low counteroffer. Insurance adjusters make this low offer in the hope that you are eager to settle for any amount of compensation.

Negotiating Back and Forth

At this point, both sides have made an offer. The negotiations will continue until your attorney is able to get the insurance adjuster to agree to a fair settlement. About 95% of personal injury cases are settled during these negotiations, however it’s possible that yours will be part of the 5% that are not. If this happens, your case may go to trial, where a jury will get to decide how much compensation you should receive.

Have you been injured? If so, it’s important to let a personal injury attorney handle the negotiations with the insurance company. James Rush at Rush Injury Law is a skilled negotiator who will not back down until he has recovered the compensation you deserve. Contact our office by calling 415-897-4801 or filling out the online form on our website www.rushinjurylaw.com to request a free consultation.

By James Rush 24 Nov, 2017

Property owners can be held liable if someone slips and falls due to a safety hazard on the property. But, this does not mean that everyone who slips and falls while on another person’s property will be able to recover compensation for their injuries. Property owners typically put up a fight if they are blamed for someone’s injuries. Here are some of most common defense strategies in slip and fall cases:

Shared Fault

In some cases, the defendant is willing to admit that the accident was partially his fault. But instead of accepting the totality of the blame, he claims that the plaintiff was partially at fault as well.

California is a pure comparative negligence state, which means plaintiffs can still recover compensation even if they were partially to blame for an accident. But, the amount of compensation plaintiffs receive will be reduced if they were also at fault. For example, a plaintiff that is found to be 20% at fault for the accident will only receive 80% of the compensation she is awarded. The goal of this strategy is to put some of the blame on the plaintiff in order to reduce the amount of compensation the defendant is ordered to pay.

New Hazard

A property owner can also try to escape liability by arguing that the hazardous condition was fairly new, so there’s no way he would have known about it and had enough time to get rid of it. For example, let’s say a customer spills his drink on the floor and walks away without cleaning it up. Two minutes later, you slip on this puddle of liquid. The hazardous condition had only been in existence for two minutes at the time of the accident, which is not nearly enough time for a property owner to take action.

Trespassing

Property owners are typically not held liable for any injuries sustained by people who were trespassing on the property. If you were not legally permitted on the property at the time of the accident, the property owner will use this strategy to prove he should not be held liable for your injuries.

Have you been injured in a slip and fall accident? If so, James Rush at Rush Injury Law can help. James Rush won’t let any of these defense strategies stop him from recovering the compensation that you deserve. Contact our office by calling 415-897-4801 or filling out the online form on our website www.rushinjurylaw.com to request a free consultation.

By James Rush 20 Nov, 2017

Clients always ask how much compensation they will be able to recover by filing a personal injury claim. The amount of compensation that a personal injury victim is awarded can depend on a number of factors, including the severity of the injury and how the injury was treated. But, it’s important to know that the sky is not the limit when it comes to personal injury compensation. Here’s what you need to know about damage caps for a personal injury in California:

Economic vs. Non-Economic Damages

Before learning about damage caps, it’s essential that you learn about the differences between economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are awarded to victims that have suffered losses or incurred expenses as a result of their injuries. For example, a victim may be awarded compensation to cover her medical expenses or the income she lost because her injuries prevented her from going to work.

Non-economic damages are given to victims to compensate them for their pain, suffering, loss of companionship, and other anguish they have experienced as a result of their injuries.

Caps on Economic vs. Non-Economic Damages

There are no caps on economic damages in the state of California, so victims don’t have to worry about not being able to recover enough to cover their expenses and losses. However, there are limits on non-economic damages in certain types of cases.

Medical malpractice victims cannot recover more than $250,000 in non-economic damages. This is a significant limitation since many medical malpractice victims suffer a great deal and deserve more compensation for their pain. But fortunately, there are no limits on economic damages for medical malpractice victims.

There are also limits on non-economic damages in car accident cases involving uninsured drivers. An uninsured driver usually cannot recover any non-economic damages in a personal injury claim—even if the other driver is insured and found to be completely at fault for the accident. The only way that an insured driver can recover non-economic damages in a car accident claim is if the at-fault party was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the accident.

If you have been injured by the negligent acts of another person, let personal injury attorney James Rush at Rush Injury Law help. James Rush will work tirelessly to recover as much compensation as possible from the at-fault parties. Contact our office by calling 415-897-4801 or filling out the online form on our website www.rushinjurylaw.com to request a free consultation.

By James Rush 19 Nov, 2017

Dram shop laws come into play when someone is injured by a person who is under the influence of alcohol. In some cases, the individual or business that served the person alcohol could be held liable for the damages that he caused while under the influence. If you have been injured by someone who was under the influence of alcohol, it’s important to understand how California’s dram shop laws could affect your personal injury case.

Dram Shop Laws in California

Businesses that serve alcohol to someone who later injures another person are not held liable in most personal injury cases in California. That’s because the dram shop laws only hold these parties accountable when the at-fault individual is a minor who was obviously intoxicated when he or she was served alcohol.

For example, let’s say an intoxicated 17-year-old crashes into your car. You may be able to hold both the intoxicated driver and the bar that served her alcohol liable in a personal injury lawsuit if it can be proven that the bar should have stopped serving the minor alcohol because she was obviously intoxicated. However, if the driver was 45 years old instead of 17 years old, the bar cannot be held liable.

Social Host Liability

What if the intoxicated person was served alcohol at a private residence instead of a bar or restaurant? The social host , or the person who served the individual alcohol at a private residence, cannot be held liable in most cases. But, there is one exception to this rule. A social host who knowingly serves a minor alcohol can be held liable for any injuries the minor causes as a result of his or her intoxication.

Consider the example above one more time. If a friend’s parent served the 17-year-old alcohol prior to the accident, the parent can be held liable since she should have known the driver was a minor. It doesn’t matter whether the minor was obviously intoxicated or not—all that matters is that the social host knew or should have known that he or she was serving alcohol to a minor.

Have you been injured by an intoxicated individual? If so, contact personal injury attorney James Rush at Rush Injury Law today. James Rush will aggressively seek compensation from all of parties that are liable for your injuries. Contact our office by calling 415-897-4801 or filling out the online form on our website www.rushinjurylaw.com to request a free consultation.

By James Rush 15 Nov, 2017

Before leaving the scene of a car accident, it’s a good idea to ask witnesses for their contact information so your attorney can get in touch with them later. Witnesses can play an important role in car accident claims. Here’s why:

“He Said, She Said”

Car accident claims often turn into “he said, she said” arguments where both sides refuse to take blame for the collision. But, a witness is a neutral third party who can provide unbiased information about the accident. This evidence is often enough to prove that one party’s story is more accurate than the other party’s version of events. Therefore, a witness can be incredibly useful when it comes to proving liability in a car accident claim.

Injuries

If the at-fault party’s insurance company does not believe that you were injured in the car accident, a witness may be able to help. Witnesses who were at the scene of the accident can comment on your physical and mental state in the moments immediately following the crash. For example, a witness can help you prove that you truly did sustain a concussion by describing how confused and disoriented you seemed after the accident.

The Importance of Credibility

The witness must be seen as credible in order for his or her testimony to impact your case. A witness who is related to you is not going to be as credible as someone who has no connection to the parties involved.

The viewpoint of the witness at the time of the accident can also affect his or her credibility. A witness who had a clear view of the entire scene and saw the accident occur will be seen as more reliable than a witness who was driving by and only saw the aftermath of the accident for a few seconds.

Witnesses who constantly change their story or second guess their initial observations will also not be seen as credible. The other party will assume the witness is either lying or suffering from a bad memory that cannot be trusted.

A credible witness can strengthen your case, but an unreliable witness can do more harm than good. Let an attorney interview each of the witnesses from the car accident scene to determine which should be used to support your case.

If you have been injured in a car accident, contact personal injury attorney James Rush at Rush Injury Law today. James Rush will immediately begin to conduct an investigation into the car accident so he can gather evidence that proves the other party is liable. Contact our office by calling 415-897-4801 or filling out the online form on our website www.rushinjurylaw.com to request a free consultation.

By James Rush 14 Nov, 2017

Personal injury victims may be compensated for any expenses they have incurred or losses they have suffered as a result of their injuries. Two types of losses that victims may suffer after an injury are loss of income and lost earning capacity. What’s the difference? Here’s what you need to know:

Loss of Income

Victims are often forced to take time off of work in order to recover from their injuries. During their time off, they lose the income and other benefits that they would have received if they were able to work. For example, a car accident victim may have to take a week off to undergo surgery to treat the injuries she sustained in the accident. The income that she lost by not being able to work for a week can be recovered by filing a personal injury claim.

Lost Earning Capacity

Loss of income refers to money that the victim has already lost as a result of an injury. On the other hand, lost earning capacity refers to the person’s reduced ability to earn money in the future. Victims who recover compensation for this loss have often suffered serious, life-changing injuries. For instance, someone with a paralyzing spinal cord injury may be unable to work for the rest of her life. As a result, the defendant may be ordered to compensate her for all of the income she is no longer able to earn.

Proving Loss of Income and Lost Earning Capacity

To prove loss of income, you must provide a record of your absences from work as well as your pay stubs. It may even be helpful to provide a letter from your doctor that states why it was necessary for you to take time off of work during your recovery.

Proving lost earning capacity is a bit more challenging. Your healthcare providers may need to testify to explain how your injuries will affect your ability to work in the future. But, that’s not the only challenge that you could face when recovering this type of compensation. Calculating your lost earning capacity can also be difficult. There are a number of factors that must be taken into consideration when making this calculation, including your income prior to the accident, the number of years you would have been able to work if you weren’t injured, and any potential bonuses, raises, or promotions you may have been able to earn.

Has your work been affected because of a personal injury? If so, let personal injury attorney James Rush at Rush Injury Law help. James Rush will fight tirelessly to recover compensation for your loss of income, lost earning capacity, and more. Contact our office by calling 415-897-4801 or filling out the online form on our website www.rushinjurylaw.com to request a free consultation.

By James Rush 09 Nov, 2017

Injuries can occur at any time, but there are many types of injuries that occur more often in the winter season than any other time of the year. Here’s a look at some of the most common personal injuries that people typically suffer during the winter:

Slip and Falls

According to the National Safety Council , falls are the third leading cause of unintentional deaths in the United States. Many of these falls occur in the winter when the ground becomes more slippery due to ice and snow. Even a small patch of ice can cause someone to fall—especially if that person is not wearing the appropriate shoes.

Car Accidents

Icy weather conditions can also make it more difficult for drivers to control their vehicles, which often leads to an increase in car accidents during this time of the year. But, the weather isn’t the only reason why car accidents are a major problem in the winter. More people tend to hit the road around the holidays to see friends and family. The more drivers there are on the road, the more likely it is that an accident will occur.

People also tend to celebrate the winter holidays by consuming alcohol. Sadly, many people get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol. This means that not only is there an increase in drivers on the road, but there could be an increase in intoxicated, dangerous drivers, too.

Burns

The number of burn injuries also spike during the winter season. Some of these burns are due to defective holiday lights, which can cause painful electrical burns if they are in poor condition. To avoid this type of injury, be sure to never use holiday lights with exposed wiring or damaged cords.

Artificial trees, space heaters, and candles also contribute to the rise in burn injuries in the winter. Be sure to keep all heat sources away from your tree, regardless of whether it is artificial or real. If the tree is real, keep it well-watered so it doesn’t dry out. A dry tree can easily catch fire if it is too close to candles, space heaters, or a fireplace.

If you are injured this winter due to another person’s negligence, seek legal representation from personal injury attorney James Rush at Rush Injury Law . An injury can put a damper on your winter, but we will do our best to lift your spirits by recovering the compensation that you deserve. Contact our office by calling 415-897-4801 or filling out the online form on our website www.rushinjurylaw.com to request a free consultation.

By James Rush 06 Nov, 2017

People who have been injured in a car crash, slip and fall, or any other type of accident caused by another person’s negligence have the right to file a personal injury claim. But, there is a limit on the amount of time that victims have to take legal action. These time restrictions, known as statute of limitations, vary by state. Here’s what victims should know about the statute of limitations for personal injury cases in California:

Most Cases Have A Two-Year Statute of Limitations

There is a two-year statute of limitations for the vast majority of personal injury cases in the state of California. This means that victims have two years from the date they were injured to file a lawsuit against the at-fault parties. For example, a victim who is injured in a car accident typically has two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit.

But, what if you don’t realize that you are injured immediately after the accident? In this case, the two-year time limit would begin on the date that you discovered your injuries, not on the date of the accident.

Medical Malpractice Cases

The two-year statute of limitations does not apply to medical malpractice cases. Anyone who has been injured by a negligent healthcare provider has three years from the date the injury was sustained or one year from the date the injury was first discovered, whichever occurs first.

Personal Injury Cases Involving Minors

The standard two-year statute of limitations is not applicable to personal injury cases involving minor victims. Minors have two years from the date they turn 18 years old to file a personal injury claim. For instance, let’s say a minor is injured in a car accident when she is 16 years old. Her parents can either file a lawsuit on her behalf or the minor can file a lawsuit on her own beginning when she is 18 years old. If she chooses to file the lawsuit on her own, she has until her 20th birthday to do so.

The rules are different for medical malpractice cases involving minors. The statute of limitations is three years for medical malpractice cases involving minors between the ages of six and 18. If a minor is under the age of six, the statute of limitations is either three years from the date the injuries were sustained or the date of the minor’s 8th birthday, whichever occurs later.

It may seem as if you have plenty of time to take legal action, but the years will go by faster than you can imagine. If you have been injured, it’s recommended that you contact personal injury attorney James Rush at Rush Injury Law right away. Contact our office by calling 415-897-4801 or filling out the online form on our website www.rushinjurylaw.com to request a free consultation.

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