You may be considering whether you should handle your personal injury or employment law situation on your own, or whether you should hire an attorney. In some cases – if your damages are minimal, you have some free time, and/or don’t mind forgoing maximum compensation – it may make more sense to handle things on your own. However, it is important to keep in mind that insurance companies are not on your side and will always attempt to pay you as little as possible in a personal injury settlement. In fact, insurance companies will commonly blame you for the incident and dispute the severity of your personal injury damages (or even dispute whether you sustained any damages at all). For many, if not most, personal injury and employment law cases, it is often a good idea to hire an attorney. An experienced attorney can save you time and hassle by handling everything related to your case. This is important, as people who have been injured in an accident or illegally wronged by their employer often need time to heal, attend medical appointments, or look for a new job. A skilled personal injury or employment lawyer also knows how to maximize the value of your case, by collecting relevant evidence, interviewing witnesses, conducting inspections, obtaining records, consulting with experts, performing investigations, evaluating case value, negotiating settlements and making legal arguments as to why the settlement amount demanded is fair. An attorney can also help a client receive proper medical and emotional care, even if a client doesn’t have any health insurance, and can help a client avoid common pitfalls by skillfully maneuvering around the judicial system.
Most attorneys either charge by the hour or on a contingency basis. For personal injury and employment cases, the vast majority of lawyers handle cases on what’s known as “contingency” – meaning that they will get paid based on a percentage of the recovery if there is compensation recovered for the client, but is paid no fees if there is not. The percentage normally varies based on the lawyer and the stage the case is in when it is resolved. If the case is settled before a lawsuit has to be filed or before there is a demand for arbitration, typically the fee percentage for a personal injury case ranges from 33% to 40%, and from 33% to 45 % for an employment case. Once a lawsuit or demand for arbitration is filed, the range typically increases to 40% to 45% for a personal injury case, and 40% to 50% for an employment case. If the case goes to trial, then there is typically a jump from 45% to 50% for either a personal injury case or employment case. The percentage of the fee increases with more advanced stages of the case because the amount of work an attorney must do increases substantially and so do the costs. The longer or further a case goes, the greater the risk to a contingency fee attorney, as typically the attorney will not be paid (or reimbursed for costs in some cases) unless there is a recovery for the client. It is important to note that “attorneys’ fees” are different from “costs” and even though a lawyer may claim that you will not owe any “fees” unless you win (compensation is recovered), you are still expected to pay for the “costs” of the case. The Ramirez Legal Group will not charge you “attorneys’ fees” or “costs” unless we win.
“Attorneys’ fees” is what the lawyer charges for their services (i.e., for their legal representation). “Costs”, on the other hand, are expenses incurred for your case. The costs of a personal injury or employment case may include things such as court filing fees, processing fees charged by your doctors to send your attorney your medical records, lawyer mileage to and from court, charges from companies to serve pleadings and subpoenas on other parties, court reporter fees, deposition transcript fees, fees charged by expert consultants such as accident reconstructionists, etc. Attorneys make no money off of the costs of your case. Rather, most attorneys working on a case on a contingency fee basis will front the costs on behalf of the client, and then once there is a recovery, will deduct what they covered from the proceeds of the client’s settlement or trial/arbitration award. So, in essence, “costs” are interest-free loans made by an attorney to their client to cover the expenses of their case.
After collecting some preliminary information from you, we will begin searching for and obtaining necessary documentation and evidence, and deal with the insurance companies. If you need treatment, whether it be for physical injuries or emotional distress, we will make sure you receive what you need when you need it. Once the extent of your damages is apparent, we will set out to settle your case. If the party(ies) that caused your damages refuse(s) to adequately compensate you, we will then file a lawsuit with the court or demand arbitration, depending on the situation. Your attorney will be there to advise you and answer questions every step of the way. We handle the entire process for you so you can focus on getting your life back to as normal as possible.
Personal Injury FAQ's
It depends. If you were injured as a result of a car accident that wasn’t your fault, the answer is yes, in the majority of cases. If you were not injured or if you feel the car accident was your fault, then the answer is no, in most cases. If you have been injured in a car accident that you feel was not your fault, a lawyer can usually save you a lot of time and frustration as well as maximize your compensation.
It depends on many factors such as the severity of your injuries, the insurance policy limits or financial viability of the at-fault party, the strength of the evidence in your favor, your credibility, and the skill and motivation of your lawyer. Contact us to have a lawyer evaluate your case.
Depending on the facts of your situation, you may be entitled to compensation for the following: past and future medical expenses; past and future lost earnings/wages; lost earning capacity; car repair and rental expenses; physical pain and suffering; emotional distress; loss of enjoyment of life; humiliation; disfigurement; mental anguish; funeral expenses (wrongful death); inconvenience; grief; anxiety; and physical impairment.
Yes. Regardless of your immigration status, if you have been injured due to someone else’s fault, you may be eligible to receive compensation for certain damages such as past and future medical expenses, car repair and rental expenses, pain and suffering, emotional distress, anxiety, loss of enjoyment of life, inconvenience, and more. However, you may not be eligible to recover for lost wages or earning capacity.
Employment Law FAQ's
It depends. Employment law cases are very detail-driven and can be complex. Although California and federal law offer many protections to employees, not all employer conduct that is unfair is necessarily illegal. On the flip side, there are some things your employer or someone at work may be doing that you would be surprised to learn are prohibited by law. Also, sometimes there are certain steps you should take in-house with your employer before it is a good idea to pursue a legal claim. The best thing to do is to request a free consultation with a skilled employment attorney to find out whether you should hire an attorney.
In California, you should consult with a lawyer if you feel you have been discriminated against, harassed, retaliated against, or fired because of your race, color, ancestry, national origin, religion, creed, age (over 40), disability, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, medical condition, genetic information, military or veteran status, or marital status. In some cases, actions by your employer that you think are discriminatory may not be illegal, and actions you may think are legal, are in fact illegally discriminatory. An experienced lawyer can advise whether you may have a viable case based on your unique circumstances. In most cases, if you do have a viable case, hiring a lawyer can maximize your compensation and prevent your case from being thrown out because of the red-tape and pitfalls inherent in employment discrimination cases.
If you have been treated unfairly at work AND that treatment is illegal, you may be entitled to different types of compensation under federal and/or California law. California law often offers more protection than federal law, and you may be entitled to compensation for: past and future lost wages; past and future lost benefits; unpaid wages, including for overtime; reimbursement for expenses; emotional distress; physical pain; loss of professional reputation; penalties against your employer; attorneys’ fees; interest; and reinstatement to your former job and position.