Frequently Asked Questions
Here to Answer Your Legal Questions
Any accident or injury brings questions. It’s our job to get you the answers you need. Some of the more frequently asked questions can be answered in broad strokes. But how these answers apply to your specific case may vary.
You deserve an individualized approach that is custom tailored to your specific accident and injury. Whether you are dealing with a personal injury, car accident, wrongful death, or an assault case, our legal team has the resources and expertise to help you.
When the at-fault party flees the scene of the accident, it adds another layer of difficulty to your case. Even if the offender is eventually caught, many people flee because they have no insurance.
Adding uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage to your insurance policy can help protect you. But even with this coverage, it’s best not to attempt your case alone. Our attorneys can walk you through the steps you need to take after any hit-and-run accident.
In California, the statute of limitations for most personal injury cases is two years. If a public entity (like a city bus driver) is at fault, the statute of limitations can be as soon as 6 months after your accident. If you are a minor at the time of the accident, it some cases the statute begins to count down starting at the age of eighteen. Statutes can vary depending on the type of case, so it is important to consult with a personal injury attorney after your accident so you don’t lose your chance for rightful compensation.
Not all accidents require a lawyer. Many people think if they don’t feel injured there’s no reason to call. This simply isn’t true. Injuries can take days or even weeks to appear after an accident. It’s imperative to protect yourself.
Don’t talk to the insurance company and close the door to future medical treatment without first speaking with one of our personal injury attorneys. Even if we can’t take your case, we can help give you the advice you need to move forward on your own.
At Sweet James, we don’t ask for any money up front. We work a contingency fee. This means that our payment comes out as a portion of your settlement.
It’s normal to hesitant about hiring an attorney, especially if the person at fault is a neighbor, family member, or friend. If you’re injured, their insurance is responsible for covering your medical bills and damages. Holding them accountable is another story. The insurance company is in control of the money. Without the pressure of a reputable injury attorney, the insurance company has no incentive to treat you fairly. Hiring a personal injury attorney will get their attention.
No, you don’t have to wait for the police report before consulting us. Depending on the county, it can take weeks or months to receive a copy of the police report. We can request a copy of the police or incident report for you.
Whether you visit your primary physician, an emergency room, or an urgent care facility, it’s important to consult a doctor in the first 48 hours after an accident. The benefit of a larger facility is that they are more likely to be able to perform an ultrasound, CT scan, MRI, and other imaging equipment.
Every accident is different and needs an individual approach. Your health insurance is a good resource for treating your injuries. However, our attorneys can get most of our clients’ treatment with a specialist close to them in a timelier manner.
Don’t wait out your injuries just because you don’t have insurance. Our attorneys can help you find doctors who will accept payment after your case has settled. Call to learn, if we can help you.
Insurance companies have no interest in finding you medical care because it can potentially strengthen your case. When injury victims are on their own (without legal representation), they are less likely to seek treatment. With no medical care or expert opinion about your injury, your claim is significantly devalued. You deserve to be whole again. Talk to a lawyer to learn how to hold the insurance company accountable.
Of course. Pain medication shouldn’t be a crutch you rely on. If your current treatment plan isn’t working for you, it is important to explore other options. We will make sure you see the doctor or specialist you need.
When you’re involved in an accident, you have two separate claims: property damage and bodily injury. You will have two separate settlements and sign two different releases. Accepting property damage settlement offers will not affect your bodily injury claim in any way.
If you’re already negotiating your property damage, make sure the release you sign doesn’t include language about your general damages. If you’re concerned, call us immediately.
The only possible way to maximize personal injury settlements is to specialize in personal injury. Our entire firm is built around you. Our infrastructure is purposefully designed to help people who have been injured in accidents.
With this exclusive focus we understand what works and what doesn’t when fighting an insurance company. And just as importantly, these companies know who we are.
We’ve built a reputation among insurers, doctors, and other attorneys as a firm that won’t stop fighting until you get the settlement you deserve.
If you did not have auto insurance at the time of your motor vehicle accident, you are entitled to compensation for your property damage and medical treatment. However, under California Proposition 213, you are barred from recovering non-economic losses for compensation for pain, suffering, inconvenience, physical impairment, disfigurement, and other non-pecuniary (not out of pocket) damages.
California Proposition 213 limits the options for accident victims who didn’t have insurance at the time of the collision. While you are excluded from non-economic damages, a good attorney can make sure your property damage and medical bills are compensated. Depending on the exact circumstances of your accident, we may be able to help you recover additional money.
Because Proposition 213 accidents are more complicated, it’s best to contact an attorney as soon as possible after an accident occurs.
In California, at least one in five drivers does not have auto insurance. If you have “uninsured motorist coverage” on your car insurance policy, you can file your claim through your own insurance company. If you do not have this coverage, your only option is to recover compensation directly from the party at fault.
It’s extremely important to add UM (uninsured/underinsured motorist) coverage to your insurance policy. However, if you have only basic coverage and were hit by an uninsured motorist, you may still have options.
Our accident attorneys can help walk you through the details of the accident and find the best path forward.
Uninsured motorist provision takes effect when you’ve been in a collision with a driver who does not have insurance. Your property damage and injury claim will go through your own insurance. Underinsured motorist or “excess coverage” covers costs not covered by the settlement from the other party’s insurance. For example, if you end up with $40,000 in medical bills and the party at fault has a policy limit of $15,000, you can turn to your insurance to cover all or part of the remaining bills.
After an accident, you’re probably worried about your rates, and understandably so. Rest assured. If you’re not at fault, your rates won’t go up. Hiring an attorney to handle the personal injury portion of your claim can push them to determine liability quicker. If you have property damage, uninsured/underinsured motorist, or med pay coverage, your insurance company can be a great asset to your claim.
No, a statement can only hurt your case. Anything you say will go on record and can be used against you when it comes time to settle your case.
It’s best to talk to a lawyer before you have a single conversation with the insurance company. Remember that the job of an insurance adjuster is to save money for the insurance company — they are not there to help you.
There is a lot of paperwork to fill out after an accident. It is important to read every document thoroughly. They may send you medical release forms or general damage settlement offers, that will hurt your claim. As a rule, don’t sign anything from your or the other party’s insurance company without first consulting an attorney.
If you have full coverage and can afford the deductible or have a deductible waiver, use your own insurance to repair your vehicle. You don’t know what the other driver told their adjuster. In most cases, this is faster than waiting for the other party’s insurance to determine liability. If you’re found to not be at fault, you’ll get your deductible back.
It’s common for people to feel that they are not being offered enough for their vehicle when it’s deemed a total loss. Although you may have been able to drive your 12-year-old car for another decade, unfortunately, you will only be offered the fair market value of your vehicle. If you provide documentation for recent engine work or similar repairs, these improvements may be taken into account when evaluating your claim.
The less the insurance company pays you, the more money they make. Insurance companies do their best to pay you as little as possible in all circumstances. If they can justify paying you less than your car is worth, that’s what they’ll do. The same goes for any medical treatment you receive or other costs you incur due to an accident.
Companies will especially take advantage of victims with no legal representation because they tend to be less informed of their rights. Unfortunately, a majority of accident victims will accept the insurance companies’ low-ball offers because they think an attorney will complicate things.
Don’t let the insurance company minimize the money they owe you. Call us today and we will help you hold them accountable.
It’s common for insurance companies to deny liability, even in cases where a police report places their insured at fault. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, it is possible to get the insurance company to alter their decision and accept full or partial liability. In these claims, it is particularly important to consult with an attorney who will exhaust every option to build a strong claim against the party at fault.
No. Most insurance companies will present a low first offer. A lot of companies will make offers before you’re done treating. Once you accept money for your injuries, you cannot submit further bills. This is another reason why you need a skilled and experienced personal injury attorney on your side. We supply the insurance company with all the documentation related to your medical costs, possible future treatment, lost wages and pain and damages. You just need to focus on recovering.
Yes, but not if you’ve already accepted a settlement. Never accept a settlement offer for your bodily injuries before all your treatments have been completed and any anticipated medical bills have been taken into account. The goal of your claim is to reach pre-accident health. Before discussing a final settlement offer with the insurance company, make sure to talk to your doctor about any necessary future treatment. The insurance company should take your doctor’s recommendations into account when preparing your final offer.
If you are a passenger in an accident caused by your driver, you should be able to seek compensation through that driver’s insurance. Some restrictions may apply. We know this may be a sensitive matter, so it is important to consult with an attorney.
If you’ve been involved in an accident in California but live elsewhere, you need an attorney licensed to practice law in California. We have helped many people injured while traveling in the state. Managing your case from far away will not adversely affect your claim.
We are able to represent clients in cases that occurred in California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and Washington. If your accident took place out of state with an out-of-state defendant, we may be able to represent you or help you find a licensed attorney. Call to learn about your rights and options moving forward.
After an unexpected accident, it’s understandable that you need money as soon as possible to cover the expenses that come. There are several factors that could be delaying your settlement and it often takes time to get the best settlement possible. The right attorney will ensure that your claim gets the attention it needs.
It’s assumed by many that calling our firm suggests you’ve decided to commit to us. That is not the case. At Sweet James, we are here regardless of whether you hire us. Our team works to answer your questions and help you move forward based on what is best for you.
You should be deeply suspicious of any law firm that tells you what your case is worth. Your settlement will depend on how the accident occurred, the damage to your vehicle, the insurance limits of the at-fault party, your own insurance coverage, how well you respond to medical treatment, and dozens of other factors.
There simply is not a good way to estimate the value of your case when it is in the initial stages. What we can tell you is that we have a proven track record of getting more value for you and your family than other firms are able to achieve.
We are always looking for talented people who are passionate about helping others. If you would like to explore opportunities at Sweet James, please visit the careers page.
Too often, people decided to give the insurance company a chance to do the right thing after an accident. As time goes on adjusters find ways to devalue your case and close the doors to medical treatment and compensation.
By the time we get a phone call, many accident victims have a much narrower range of options than if they’d called our attorneys immediately after the accident.
Advertising on the radio allows us to reach people before an accident occurs and help them understand that trusting the insurance company is not a good idea. Even if you don’t want to hire an attorney, call our experienced team so that we can help you avoid some of the more common pitfalls in handling a case alone.
Because every accident is unique, it’s always better to get answers that are custom tailored to your specific circumstances. Call (800) 500-5200 to speak with a member of our team. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for a free case evaluation and strategy session.