Law Offices of John Rosenberg A Professional Law Corporation

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(818) 530-1770

Law Offices of John Rosenberg A Professional Law Corporation

General FAQs

It is the right of every client to change attorneys if he or she desires. If you do not believe that your attorney is the right attorney for you or your case; if you have a breakdown in the attorney client relationship that cannot be resolved; or if you do not have faith in your attorney, for any reason, you should change lawyers. Only you, the client, can discharge your attorney. However, before you do so, you would be well advised to find a new attorney first. If you discharge your lawyer in the middle of a case, and if you cannot quickly or easily fin a new attorney ready, willing and able to jump right into your case, you may be left without legal representation at a critical time which may damage your position in your case and possibly make matters worse for you because you would be expected to act as your own attorney and continue to meet all court and legally required deadlines until you retain your new lawyer.

Contingency Fees Are Split Between the Two Attorneys

In a personal injury case, where the attorneys fee is based upon a contingency, your new attorney is the one who will collect the attorney's fee. Your new attorney must share his fee with your former attorney, and that fee split will be based upon factors such as time spent on your case by each attorney, the relative value each attorney brought to the outcome of your case, and the terms of the retainer agreement you signed when you hired each attorney. You should not have to pay two attorneys fees. You only pay one fee and the attorneys must share in that one fee. When you discharge an attorney, you are entitled, under California law, to all of your case materials, at no charge to you. Your discharged attorney may not charge you for copying your file. He may not withhold your file from you, or make delivery of your file contingent upon any payment, or any other act on your part. If an attorney refuses to turn your file over to you, you should contact the California State Bar and file a complaint. Changing attorneys is important if you are unable to resolve your differences with your current attorney, but be aware that changing attorneys may have unintended consequences for you and your case. Those consequences could include delaying your case so that your new attorney can get up to speed on your legal problems.
Unfortunately, insurance companies regularly use investigators to spy on accident and injury victims. They fund this expensive effort with the profits they have made denying claims and under evaluating injury claims. This is called "sub rosa" investigation. Investigators will park down the street from your home in a van, equipped with video surveillance equipment. They will videotape you coming and going from your home. They will follow you to work and shopping. They will videotape you carrying your groceries, loading and unloading the trunk of your car, gardening in your front garden, turning your head left and right as you back your car out of your driveway. They will amass tens and sometimes hundreds of hours of video in the hope that they will get some footage of you doing something that appears to be inconsistent with your claimed injuries. They try to hide the fact that they have sub rosa video in the hope that they can spring it on you during trial. For those few and relatively rare claimants that do exaggerate or fake their injuries, getting caught is right and proper. But for the vast majority of accident victims who are merely doing their best to live and work and get by as best they can with painful or chronic injuries, this spying is an offensive invasion of privacy. You should be forewarned about this acitiviy and guide yourself accordingly. Experienced trial attorneys are aware of insurance company spying and they make efforts to uncover this information before trial, keep it out of the courtroom if it exists, and neutralize its effects in the event it is produced at trial.
It is typical in a personal injury case, whether it is a car accident, slip and fall, product liability claim or medical malpractice case, for the cost of the medical care to be high and often unavailable to injured victims; even those with medical insurance. Even if you have insurance, you may need care immediately from specialists who are not in your insurance company's network or your HMO may not be willing to provide access to those specialists. Attorneys who are experienced in handling personal injury cases are in a position to help their clients gain access to the best doctors and specialists, and if a case is meritoious, obtain the agreement from the doctor to provide medical care to the client in exchange for making sure that the doctor is paid when the case is resolved. This is done through a "lien" on the case. Medical Liens Help Patients Receive The Care They Need, When They Need It A lien is a contract between the client, the doctor or medical provider, and the lawyer promising to pay the provider out of the proceeds of the settlement. In that contract the medical providers agree to wait until the case is resolved before they are paid. It is important to note that payment to the provider is NOT contingent upon the success of the case. The doctor is owed his fee for medical services regardless of the outcome of the case. It does provide an incentive for the doctor to provide care in a case where the patient does not have insurance of money to pay medical bills as treatment is provided. In the hands of an experienced personal injury attorney, who is in a position to accurately evaluate the facts of the case, the likelihood of success, and the potential value of the case, a medical lien is very likely to be paid out of the settlement or trial proceeds. Medical providers who are familiar with experienced personal injury attorneys are willing to take a "lien" on cases handled by those attorneys because of the reputation of the attorney for success and their integrity in not only consistently obtaining good results, but also of honoring those liens. The best attorneys have established their reputations for success with the best providers who are then willing to treat those attorney's clients when needed. Liens can be arranged for with doctors and specialists of all kinds, surgical centers, and facilities that provide MRIs, CT scans, and testing of all types. With experienced attorneys, accident victims get the care they need from some of the best medical providers around. They get the treatment they need to recover from their injuries and get back to their lives. And the documentation from the treatment provided is used to prove the nature and extent of the injuries suffered, which is required in every personal injury case.
In the event of a serious accident or when medical negligence results in a death, California law defines who is allowed to be a party in a lawsuit for damages. Only the persons specifically indicated in California Code of Civil Procedure § 377.60 have the right to maintain a wrongful death action. Those rules allow for a surviving spouse or registered domestic partner and children to maintain an action for the death of a husband, wife, father or mother. But in some cases, those rules can also include the children of deceased children [grandchildren], minors who were dependent on the victim and possible step children. Parents can bring an action in specific circumstances and others who may have been dependent on the victim for one-half or more of their support in the 180 days before the death. As you can see, the rules of who can sue for a death are determined by the laws of the state of California. They can be complicated and it is wise to consult with an attorney to determine, in any given case, who has standing to sue and who does not.
When you make a claim for injuries, one of the first things an insurance company will do is run your name through an index system that keeps track of all accident claims you have ever made. This index system will tell an insurance company the number of claims you have made in the past, what kind of injuries you suffered, your doctor's names and the names of your attorneys. Most people, not knowing that the insurance company has access to or already has this information, think that if they admit to having had prior accident claims and injuries it will hurt their case and open the door to the insurance company to deny the claim or become immediately suspicious of the new claim. Actually the opposite is true, and denying the prior claims and injuries tells the insurance company that you are not truthful. Once an insurance company believes that you are willing to lie to support your claim, your credibility is damaged, sometimes irreparably. If you have suffered an injury in the past, it is actually more likely that you will be injured even worse if you are injured again. Second and even third injuries help to explain, medically, why injuries in a recent accident can cause serious problems that require medical care and cause you to be disabled from working.
The practice of law is a service business. This is especially true in the field of personal injury where the lawyer is representing clients with serious injuries and losses. When a lawyer does not provide the service a client needs or expects, the laywer fails the client in the most basic and important duties. When you have retained an attorney through a written retainer agreement, you have a right to expect the attorney to communicate with you and let you know what is going on in your case. If the attorney is not living up to this reasonable expectation, you should try to meet with the attorney in person to discuss your concerns and get the information you need. If the attorney will not meet with you, or if the attorney will not change his or her conduct to meet your needs and expectations, you may want to consider retaining another attorney and discharging your current attorney. Changing attorneys is obviously not the best thing to do, but sticking with an attorney that keeps you in the dark and wondering if your important case is being handled in the best possible manner is worse. If the attorney client relationship with your lawyer becomes damaged by a lack of communication, and if your attorney is unable or unwilling to take the time and effort to listen to your concerns and fix the relationship, its time to move on. If things get to that point, don't discharge your current attorney until you can meet with another attorney and get some legal advise first. When you find an attorney you like and then retain him or her, your new attorney will advise you on how to best discharge the first attorney and arrange for the transfer of your file.
This question is, at the same time, the simplest question in a personal injury case and the most difficult to answer. If any case goes to trial 12 times before 12 different juries, you will get 12 different verdicts. Those 12 verdicts will tell you in general terms the highest amount that a jury will give you and the lowest amount. The value of any given case is somewhere in between that high and low. The factors that will push a case towards the high end or towards the low end are as follows:
  • How serious or life changing are the injuries?
  • Was surgery required, or will surgery be needed in the future?
  • How much are the medical bills?
  • Did the accident victim recover fully, or will he or she suffer for years into the future?
  • Were the inuries permanently diabling or temporarily disabling?
  • How much is the loss of income, both for the past and the future?
  • Are there any liability issues that would allow a defendant to shift blame for the accident to the plaintiff or someone else?
  • How did the injuries affect the accident victim in his or her daily work and leisure activities?
The answers to these questions will determine whether you have a case worth a few thousand dollars or millions of dollars. Beyond the above issues, there may be questions about the ability of the defendant to pay those damages. Does the defendant have enough insurance or assets to pay the damages? If not, did the plaintiff have insurance coverage in high enough amounts to pay what the defendant cannot pay, such as with uninsured motorist coverage or underinsured motorist coverage? Every case, every client and every injury producing event is different. Your attorney must seek out the information to answer all of the above questions, and from there he or she can advise you of the potential value of your case.
A very common question asked by almost all new clients is will my case go to trial? Statistically, the answer is no. Less than 5% of all cases go to trial. So, the odds are any given case is likely to settle without going to trial. This then begs the questions: why do some cases go to trial, and do you have any control over whether your case goes to trial or not? You should understand that you, as the accident victim, have a say in whether your case goes to trial or not. Your attorney needs to prepare your case to obtain the highest possible value, and take the steps to get that value, whether by settlement or trial. Part of that preparation is to give the defendant, whether it is an insurance company, a business or governmental entity, an opportunity to settle your case without going to trial. You should be given the option to consider all settlement offers, and to consider whether an offer is high enough, how much more could your case be worth, how much time and money would be required to go to trial, and what are the chances of getting more and the risk of getting less by going to trial. In other words, with the right information, you will make an infomed choice about what is best for you in your case. As to why some cases go to trial, the answer to that is universally, because the plaintiff wants more money than what is being offered and the plaintiff believes he or she can do better at trial. Conversely, it also means that the defense beieves that the case is not worth what the plaintiff has demanded, and the defendant believes that it can do better at trial. Those are the questions that all parties face in deciding whether to go to trial or not. What is your tolerance for risk and what are the chances of getting a better result at trial are the questions that you will need to answer.
This is one of the most common questions I am asked in an initial client meeting. The answer is as different as every case, and every client. While it is impossible to predict when a case will be successfully resolved, the issues and events that need to occur before a successful outcome can be reached are easily explained and described. First, your case can be settled at any time. All you need to do is say: "I want my case settled." Of course, this works only if you are not interested in getting the best possible settlement, or if you are willing to take whatever an insurance company is willing to offer at the time, fair or not. Before a case can be settled for a fair figure, your injuries need to be diagnosed and treated by your doctor. The faster your injuries resolve, the faster we can evaluate your case for settlement. An injury that heals in a few weeks can be resolved faster than an injury that takes months or years to resolve. You do not want to discuss settlement unless and until you are confident that your injury is resolved and that your doctor can tell you what kind of medical care you are likely to need in the future. Residual problems that can plague you for years require a plan for the future, and money. You short change yourself and leave money on the table if you do not make sure that you will be taken care of now and in the future. Once the injury is resolved, we gather proof of your losses incurred as a result of your injuries. This includes medical bills, both past and future, loss of income, both past and future, and other out of pocket expenses or losses. We also evaluate your general damages for pain, discomfort, suffering, disfigurement, disability and any impairment your injuries cause in your daily work and living routine. How your injuries affected your life is an extremely important element of your claim. Once this information is gathered, a settlement demand is prepared and sent to the insurance company. They are usually given 30 days to respond to the demand. Typically settlement negotiations follow, and if a fair offer is made, your case can be settled. If an insurance company refuses to make a fair offer, and if you agree to take the next step, a lawsuit will be filed. Filing a lawsuit does not necessarily mean your case will go to trial. The goal of the lawsuit is to force the insurance company to provide all reasons for their failure to make a fair offer, to demonstrate to them that you have the evidence to prove your claims and the willingness to go to trial if necessary, and to have the court set a trial date so that if the insurance company continues to refuse to make a fair offer, you can have your day in court and have a jury force them to pay you what is fair. Most cases do not go to trial. But the threat of litigation, and taking the steps necessary to bring an insurance company or a defendant before a jury is necessary to force unfair and unreasonable insurance companies to pay their obligations to injury victims.
Law Offices of John Rosenberg A Professional Law Corporation

Call Now For A Personalized Consultation
(818) 530-1770