Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) – Premise Liability, Dog Bites, Burns & Other Non Motor Vehicle Personal Injury Accidents
- I fell at a store and was injured. Why should I hire a lawyer?
- So I need a lawyer. But there are so many lawyers in California. How do I know which one to pick? Why should I hire your law firm?
- Does your law office work on a contingency fee basis on non-car and motor vehicle personal injury accident cases such as slip & fall, trip & fall, dog bite, burn and other premise liability claims and, if so, could you explain how contingency fees work?
- I just had a trip & fall accident. What should I do?
- I was just bit by a dog. What should I do?
- I was just attacked and injured by a dog, but not bit. What should I do? Do I have a case?
- What should I do if the other party’s claims adjuster calls me?
- What should I do if I told someone at the scene of my accident that I was not hurt, but now I feel pain?
- I was injured in a slip & fall accident. What kind of compensation should I receive?
- How much is my injury claim worth?
- What should I do if I think I caused or contributed to causing the accident? May I still make a claim?
- If I make a claim, does that mean I have to go to court?
- I Fell at a Store and was Injured. Why Should I Hire a Lawyer?
The simple answer is because so many insurance companies and self-insured corporations do NOT act fairly. They use claims adjusters who are trained to look for every weakness in your claim to pay you nothing or as little as possible. It obviously makes sense to try to level the playing field, or even get an advantage, by using an experienced personal injury accident attorney to handle your claim, conduct investigation, assist with medical care and negotiate against the insurance company’s or corporation’s claims adjuster.
Further, with the assistance of an experienced injury accident lawyer, you usually recover more money, while also, at the same time, receiving your lawyer’s valuable guidance with respect to dealing with insurance companies and self-insured corporations, including all of their forms and authorizations to obtain your private medical and/or employment records, managing your own medical care and release of records, and settlement.
For further information about why it may be wise in your situation to use an experienced lawyer, please contact our California Injury Accident Lawyers for a FREE consultation at 866 – INJURY – 2 or 866-465-8792 or simply complete our easy to use Contact Form.
- So I Need a Lawyer. But There are so Many Lawyers in California. How do I Know Which One to Pick? Why Should I Hire Your Law Firm?
You are right. There are many lawyers in California, but not so many who have over 40 years’ experience successfully handling thousands of personal injury accident claims, including slip & falls, trip & falls, dog bites & dog attacks, burn injuries, medical malpractice and other injury claims. Our entire law firm concentrates in handling serious injury cases and we have a proven track record in winning over 95% of our cases! Our entire firm is dedicated to not only obtaining the best monetary result possible, but also assisting our clients with obtaining medical care (often without any payment until their case is resolved) and providing excellent, compassionate service to our clients. Our senior attorney is a graduate of the UCLA SCHOOL OF LAW, has served as a temporary judge and arbitrator with the Los Angeles Superior Court, and Chairperson of the Civil Litigation – Tort Section of the Westwood Bar Association. He also was selected as the Personal Injury Attorney of the Year for 2010 by the Editorial Staff of the Business Review. We invite you to read his profile by clicking here and to read some of our many testimonials by clicking here.
For further information about our experienced injury accident lawyers and law firm, please contact our California Injury Accident Lawyers for a FREE consultation at 866 – INJURY – 2 or 866-465-8792 or simply complete our easy to use Contact Form.
- Does Your Law Office Work on a Contingency Fee Basis on Non-Car and Motor Vehicle Personal Injury Accident Cases Such as Slip & Fall, Trip & Fall, Dog Bite, Burn and Other Premise Liability Claims and, if so, Could You Explain How Contingency Fees Work?
Yes and Yes. We also handle non car, truck and motorcycle personal injury accident claims like trip and fall, slip and fall, dog bite, burn and other premise liability injury claims on a contingency fee basis.
A contingency fee in a premise liability personal injury accident case means that there is NO legal fee charged or paid by the client until your attorney wins your case and recovers money or other things of value. While many lawyers charge their clients an hourly fee, often $200, $400 or much more per hour (the amount is typically based on the attorney’s knowledge, expertise, experience, and complexity of the legal problem), and send monthly billing statements regardless of the result, with our premises liability personal injury lawyers there is NO fee on slip & falls, trip & falls, dog bites, burns and other injury accident claims unless and until we win your case and recover money or other things of value for our clients. The attorneys’ fee that is then received from the recovery is the contractually agreed percentage of the recovered funds and, with our premises liability personal injury attorneys, the initial consultation also is FREE. There also is NO charge or fee with our injury law firm for the initial consultation.
One reason we use contingency fees is that most victims of falls, dog bites, burns and other premise liability injury accidents sustain serious injuries, incur medical charges and/or loss of income and earnings, and simply cannot afford to pay their lawyers for services rendered until they obtain damages from the responsible parties and/or their insurance companies by judgment or settlement. Thus, by using contingency fees, our clients can obtain legal representation when they might otherwise not be able to afford to hire an attorney to represent them against wealthy insurance companies and large corporations.
In addition, many of our personal injury clients are just more comfortable and happy with our contingency fee relationship. Many of our clients just like not having to pay legal fees each month and also some think their injury attorneys will work much harder knowing their fees depend on the result obtained and the actual amount of the recovery. If you have any questions about any of this, please contact us now for an absolutely FREE consultation.
Insurance companies are very wealthy, some valued at billions of dollars. They have the money and resources needed to hire experienced adjusters, top investigators and expert defense attorneys to deny, delay and/or defend claims. With the help of experienced premise liability accident personal injury attorneys who work on a contingency fee basis and wait for payment, our clients of premise liability accidents now have the opportunity to level or even the fight to successfully bring their claims and oppose rich corporations and insurers. Further, expert premise liability injury accident attorneys should know many doctors and other medical specialists, such as chiropractors, neurologists, orthopedic surgeons, dentists, psychologists, and also pharmacists and x-ray and MRI facilities who will wait for payment and treat car accident personal injury victims on a lien basis (which means the doctor and other health care providers will provide medical care and treatment without expecting payment at the time of service and will wait for payment when the injury claim is resolved).
Thus, slip & fall, dog bite, burn and other premise liability accident injury victims now can receive our attorney legal services on a contingency fee basis and their medical care and treatment on a lien basis so they can actually receive immediate legal assistance and medical care and treatment without paying anything for such legal help or medical care until their claims are resolved!
- I Just had a Trip & Fall Accident. What Should I do?
There are several very IMPORTANT things to do and also, just as importantly, NOT to do when you have a trip & fall accident. Here are a few key pointers:
- Take photographs and video of the entire scene, especially what you believe caused you to fall. Remember, most cell phones have camera and video capabilities.
- Obtain the address of the location, the full name of the business, and identities of everyone involved including owner of the premises, any manager and all witnesses.
- If there are any witnesses, try to obtain their cell and work telephone numbers and their addresses as obtaining statements from them may prove invaluable.
- Obtain all appropriate medical care and, if needed, go to the closest hospital emergency room or urgent care center.
- Prepare a detailed summary of what occurred, including what caused the fall and everything that occurred from one minute before the fall until you go to sleep.
- Contact a lawyer experienced in handling serious premises liability accident injury cases. Many of our clients call us from the scene of the incident for a FREE consultation and we invite you to do this, too.
- Do NOT admit fault, as there may be factors and laws of which you are not aware (such as building code violations). Call us for immediate advice, including about what to say and NOT say.
- Do NOT speak or otherwise communicate with the other party’s claims adjuster. For your protection, you should NEVER speak with the insurer’s or corporation’s adjuster without the prior knowledge and permission of your own attorney.
For further information about your particular claim and what to do and not do, including what to say or not say to the adjuster assigned to handle your claim, please contact our California Premises Liability Injury Accident Lawyers for a FREE consultation at 866 – INJURY – 2 or 866-465-8792 or simply complete our easy to use Contact Form.
- I was Just Bit by a Dog. What Should I Do?
In California, the owner of a dog that bites someone is responsible for all injuries and damages suffered by the person bitten by the dog if the dog bite occurred in a public place or while the victim was lawfully in a private place even if the dog owner did nothing wrong or careless and even if the dog never bit anyone before or did anything vicious before. Some jurisdictions require that the dog owner had some prior notice of the dog’s vicious propensities, often referred to as the “one bite rule,” before imposing liability on the dog owner. But that is not the law in California. Instead, in California, pursuant to California Civil Code Section 3342(a), there is strict liability for the dog owner for his or her dog’s first bite and every bite.
For more information about California law on dog bites, please visit our web site section entitled, “California Dog Bite Law.”
If you are ever bitten by a dog or dogs, here are some of the things that you should do:
- First, if you are in immediate need of medical assistance, call 911 for paramedics and the police and/or go to the closest emergency room or urgent care facility. Be sure to tell all health care providers all injuries, pains and problems.
- Obtain photos of the dog(s), your injuries and scene of the incident.
- Obtain the name and address of the dog owner.
- Obtain the name and address of anyone with the dog or responsible for its care or custody.
- Obtain the name, address and telephone numbers of any witnesses.
- Note the location and address where the dog bite or dog attack occurred.
- Look for any surveillance or video cameras that may have recorded this incident.
- Report the dog bite to Animal Control for prompt investigation, including quarantining the dog to be sure it does not have rabies.
- Contact an experienced California dog bite personal injury attorney for a FREE consultation and immediate assistance, including help with medical care and treatment and also to ascertain whether the responsible parties had applicable liability insurance coverage (such as homeowners insurance or apartment renters insurance) at the time of the dog bite or dog attack incident.
- Be sure to tell your lawyers and all doctors and therapists of all other injuries, pains and problems you experience as often in dog bite and dog attack incidents victims suffer other injuries besides bites, such as twisting and falling resulting in injuries to their neck, back, shoulders and knees and also severe emotional problems including fear of dogs and walking outdoors.
- Save any torn, bloodied and damaged clothing as evidence in a safe place and provide your attorneys with photos of same.
For more information on dog bite and dog attack cases, please visit our web site pages on Dog Bite Cases and call us now for an absolutely FREE consultation. There is no FEE on dog bite cases until we win!
- I Was Just Attacked and Injured by a Dog, but Not Bit. What Should I Do? Do I Have a Case?
Yes. Some of our dog attack and animal attack cases involve situations where a dog or dog(s) attack a person causing injury, but the dog(s) do not actually bite the person or in the process of attacking another dog knocks a person down without actually biting the person. In these cases, often the injured person has a claim not only for his or her own injuries, but also for the injuries to his or her dog, usually for the vet bills and/or value of the dog when the dog is killed in the animal attack.
In such circumstances where there is a dog attack without any actual bite, California Civil Code Section 3342(a), providing strict liability for the dog owner for his or her dog biting someone, does not apply as it only applies when there is an actual dog bite.
So if there is no strict liability under this law, it becomes necessary to establish liability in some other way, such as showing that the dog owner was negligent, careless or violated some other law. Typical dog attack cases with liability include a vicious dog who previously bit someone so the owner was on notice of his or her dog’s dangerous propensities but did not take reasonable measures to prevent another attack or the dog is off leash and runs loose in violation of the local jurisdiction’s “leash law” and attacks another person’s dog and/or knocks a person down causing injuries, including to the head, neck, back, hands, hips and/or knees.
If you are the victim of a dog attack or some other animal attack, here are some of the things that you should do:
- If you suffered any serious injuries and are in immediate need of medical assistance, call 911 for paramedics and the police and/or go to the closest emergency room or urgent care facility.
- Obtain photos of the dog(s), your visible injuries and scene of the incident
- Obtain the name and address of the dog owner
- Obtain the name and address of anyone with the dog or responsible for its custody or care
- Obtain the name and address of any witnesses to this incident
- Record the address where the dog attack occurred
- Look for any surveillance cameras that may have recorded how this incident occurred
- Report this dog attack incident to Animal Control for prompt investigation as, among other things, it may have a record of prior attacks by the same dog(s).
- Contact an experienced California dog attack personal injury attorney for a FREE consultation and immediate assistance, including medical care and to investigate whether the liable person(s) maintained any appropriate insurance.
For more information on dog attacks and dog bite cases, please visit our web pages on Dog Bite Cases and please call us for a FREE consultation. With our law firm, there is NO fee on personal injury cases until you win!
- What Should I Do if the Other Party’s Claims Adjuster Calls Me?
Do NOT give any statement to the other party’s claims adjuster. Often adjusters will try to appear very friendly and helpful to try to get you to give them a statement. However, remember their job is to save money for their employers, the insurance company or the corporation for whom they work. They are NOT there to help you. They often look for any facts or reasons to either pay you less money or to even deny your claim entirely. The rules of evidence are often very technical, so please do NOT communicate with the other party’s claims adjuster and NEVER admit fault as you may make some very critical mistakes.
Thus, if you are ever called or otherwise contacted by the other party’s claims adjuster, we advise you NOT to speak to them and to contact us right away by calling us toll free at 866 – INJURY – 2 or 866-465-8792 or simply complete our easy to use Contact Form.
If you are already represented by our law firm, or any firm, and an insurance or claims adjuster contacts you, simply ask them to call us (assuming we represent you) at our direct telephone number 818-222-3400. NEVER speak to the other party’s insurance or claims adjuster unless it’s with the prior knowledge and permission of your lawyer.
- What Should I Do if I Told Someone at the Scene of My Accident That I was not Hurt, but now I Feel Pain?
The good news is that you STILL MAY MAKE A CLAIM. In fact, many of our clients tell us that they did not feel any pain right away or were perhaps so nervous right after their fall or other accident that they did not even realize that they were injured or did not think the small initial pain they felt was worth mentioning. It is not unusual for certain pains, such as low back pain, to start or get much worse several hours later and sometimes even days later. Clearly, it is much better if you do not make any statements at the scene of an accident that you are not hurt when you may have some injuries that just may not have yet developed. However, if you are injured but made any such comments, we still can help you. It is common knowledge, as mentioned previously, that some injuries and pains, especially sprains and strains associated with the neck, upper back, low back, shoulders and knees, often appear hours later. Therefore, with proper medical care, treatment and documentation, you still may make a claim. In such circumstances, you should go to the local emergency room, urgent care center or contact us ASAP for assistance in finding a doctor who treats accident injury claims, is set-up to provide proper physical therapy and knows how to write the report required by insurers and self-insured corporations to evaluate your claim. Often we can provide names of doctors, including specialists, who are located not only very close to where you may live or work, but also who will wait until your case is resolved before requesting any payment. Thus, you may not have to worry about any payments, not even co-payments or deductibles, while receiving medical care for your injuries.
For further information about injuries, inaccurate statements at the scene of an accident, delay in getting medical care and in obtaining appropriate medical care now, please contact our California Premises Liability Accident Injury Lawyers for a FREE consultation at 866 – INJURY – 2 or 866-465-8792 or simply complete our easy to use Contact Form.
- I was Injured in a Slip & Fall Accident. What Kind of Compensation Should I Receive?
If you are injured in a slip & fall or other premises liability accident in California and it is not your fault, or not entirely your fault, then you may be entitled to receive compensation for your injuries. In California, the money you are entitled to receive is usually called “damages.” Damages usually allowed in premise liability accident injury cases include money for the following:
- All reasonable & necessary medical expenses, including for ambulance, paramedics, emergency room & hospital care, medical doctors (including specialists in orthopedics, neurology, plastic surgery, etc.), chiropractic doctors, dentists (including TMJ specialists), physical therapy, X-rays & scans (like MRIs and CT scans), private nursing care, medications & prescriptions, etc.
- Medical equipment, such as braces, crutches, wheel chairs, walkers, adjustable hospital beds, etc.
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life activities
- Loss of earnings and earning capacity, both past and future losses; and, even if your employer paid you for your missed time and even if you were not working at the time of the incident, pursuant to California legal authorities you may be entitled to compensation for this loss.
- Punitive & exemplary damages when the other party's conduct was intentional, malicious or with a conscious disregard of the harm that might be caused, including when the other party knew it created or caused an unsafe or dangerous condition but intentionally ignored it or did nothing to remedy it or actually tried to conceal it.
For further information about compensation in slip & fall, dog bite and other premise liability accident cases, please contact our California Premises Liability Accident Injury Lawyers for a FREE consultation at 866 – INJURY – 2 or 866-465-8792 or simply complete our easy to use Contact Form.
- How Much is my Injury Claim Worth?
Despite what some may have heard, there is no simple formula for determining the value of a claim. If there was, there certainly would never be any need for courts or mediators to resolve personal injury cases. Nevertheless, most of our cases settle and there are certain key factors that help determine the value of a premises liability personal injury claim.
The first key factor is liability. That is, who is at fault? Also, sometimes more than one party may be at fault and that is called “comparative liability.” In such situations, the claimant usually recovers an amount based on total damages with a pro-rata reduction for his or her own share of liability, if any.
The total damages are based on the type and nature of injuries, medical care and charges, loss of earnings, pain & suffering, expected future care and other damages more fully described in our Answer to “What kind of compensation should I receive?”.
In determining damages for pain & suffering, the insurer or corporate claims adjuster will consider several different factors. For example, when handling a slip & fall injury accident case, the adjuster will consider how far the person fell, how hard was the surface and impact, and other factors in trying to decide how badly it believes someone may have been hurt. Insurers will also consider the existence of any prior or subsequent injuries and claims; the type, length and reasonableness of medical care and charges; and whether any, and how much, time from work was missed.
Then, and perhaps most interesting and arbitrary, is which insurance company and which adjuster at that insurer is handling or “adjusting” the case. Not too long ago, our firm handled two very similar injury accident claims, one of which settled for approximately $50,000.00 and the other for about $100,000.00. The only significant differences between those two claims were dealing with two different insurance companies and the desire of one of the clients to settle his claim without trial.
This is just a sample of some of the many factors that go into determining the value of a claim. It is no substitute for a careful analysis of the facts and issues that make-up each particular case. Therefore, we invite you to contact us for a FREE CONSULTATION to discuss your own premises liability or other injury accident claim.
- What Should I do if I Think I Caused or Contributed to Causing the Accident? may I Still Make a Claim?
Yes. The good news is that under California law you still may make a claim.
First, you NEVER should admit fault at the scene. Such statement may be used as evidence against you. Also, you may not know all relevant facts. For example, the owner of the premises may have violated a building code that caused or contributed to your injury.
Second, you should obtain medical care to determine the extent and nature of your injuries.
Third, you should consult with our legal team to see if we think you have a good claim. Even if you contributed to causing the accident, that may just reduce your total damages on a pro-rata or % basis of your share of liability, but NOT negate your entire claim or your rights to seek compensation for your medical charges, loss of earnings, pain & suffering, and other damages.
Over the years we have successfully represented clients who were accused of being at fault, or partially at fault, and we invite you to read our testimonial pages.
For further information about determining who is at fault, comparative liability and recovering fair compensation for your injuries and damages, please contact our California Premises Liability Accident Injury Lawyers for a FREE consultation at 866 – INJURY – 2 or 866-465-8792 or simply complete our easy to use Contact Form.
- If I Make a Claim, Does That Mean I Have to go to Court?
No. Most of our personal injury claims settle without our clients having to go to court or trial. With proper preparation and team work by our clients, attorneys, medical providers and other experts we usually are able to convince the other party’s adjuster that it is better to settle than go to trial. Further, the California Insurance Code, Section 790.03(h)(5), requires that insurers make prompt, fair and equitable settlement offers when liability is reasonably clear. It is often up to our client whether to go to trial – that is, it is up to the client whether to take the last settlement offer or to reject it and go to trial. In addition, even when the parties are unable to agree, there are some other excellent alternatives to going to trial, such as mediation, arbitration and settlement conferences. So, to either help prepare a claim, negotiate with the insurance or corporate adjuster and settle or to be prepared to go to court, the injured parties are generally wise to have an experienced personal injury accident attorney represent them.
For further information about settlements, mediations, arbitrations, settlement conferences, court and trials, please contact our California Premises Liability Accident Injury Lawyers for a FREE consultation at 866 – INJURY – 2 or 866-465-8792 or simply complete our easy to use Contact Form.