At Eric Ratinoff Law, we represent plaintiffs in personal injury matters ranging from car accident injuries, medical malpractice, product liability, traumatic brain injuries, and many other areas of practice.
Eric Ratinoff has been a dedicated advocate for the injured for over twenty years, and the Sacramento injury lawyers at his firm are equipped to handle complex legal issues, including wildfire litigation, and fighting insurance companies that have wrongfully denied compensation.
Below is a list of questions clients frequently ask before hiring us as their personal injury attorneys.
Do I have a personal injury claim?
To have a personal injury claim, you must be able to show four things: first, that you have been injured, either physically or emotionally, second, that the responsible party was negligent; third, that his or her negligence caused your injury; and fourth, that the injury resulted in damages that can be compensated financially.
Do I still have a claim if the accident is partly my fault?
Yes. In most cases, you can recover money even if you are partly to blame for the accident. In California, this is known as “comparative fault.” It means the amount you recover in damages may be reduced by the percentage you are found to be at fault for the resulting injury. Be honest with your lawyer about all of the facts. Doing so, even if there are bad facts that may mean you are partially at fault, will help minimize the risk that the bad facts will reduce the amount of money you receive.
When should I hire a personal injury attorney?
If you have been physically injured, you or your caretaker should consult with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Hiring an attorney soon after your injury will ensure that important evidence and documentation may be properly collected, and that you receive the right result for your case. It’s also important to protect your legal rights before the statute of limitations expires, which dictates how long you have before you are no longer allowed to file a lawsuit regarding your injury. Although it varies state to state and depends on the type of injury and defendant, in some cases this time period can be as short as 6 months after the injury.
Cost of a personal injury attorney
Our personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis, meaning you will not pay any legal costs or fees until there is a settlement or a winning verdict at trial. We advance all upfront costs. After your settlement or verdict, your attorney will receive a percentage fee of the total case recovery, in addition to case costs. If there is no settlement or winning verdict, you won’t be charged any legal fees or costs.
Some people are hesitant to hire an attorney because of the fees they will eventually have to pay, if and when a settlement is reached. However, hiring an experienced attorney can actually increase the amount of financial compensation you receive for the accident. Generally, even after the attorney’s fee and costs are paid, you will have more money in your pocket than you would if you attempted to represent yourself. We are committed to getting you the maximum just verdict or settlement that we can.
Who pays the medical bills I’ve accumulated from my injury?
Ultimately, the party responsible for causing your injury will have to reimburse you for all medical bills incurred from your accident. However, this only happens when you resolve your case. Through the process of your case, one of the most important things you can do – both for your personal recovery and the outcome of your case – is to get the right medical treatment and to see the proper medical experts. One of the things we do for our clients, when appropriate, is to provide access to the best care possible to help you recover from your injuries. We can help arrange medical treatment for you with expert medical doctors, physical therapists, chiropractors, orthopedic surgeons, spine surgeons, neurologists, etc. During the course of your treatment, several options exist to pay for your medical bills, including:
- If you were in an auto accident, your auto insurance policy can cover some or all of your expenses. This is commonly known as “Med Pay.” This is optional coverage that can pay your medical expenses up to the limit of the policy, which is usually up to $5,000. Your auto insurance rates will not increase if you use this coverage.
- If you have health insurance, you can use this to pay for your medical services.
- If you have no insurance or other way to pay for medical treatment, some health care providers will allow you to receive treatment subject to a medical lien against your case.
Your medical treatment is critically important to the ultimate outcome of your physical recovery and your case. We will help you navigate through this difficult process, discuss all the options with you, and help you determine what is in your best interest given the facts and circumstances of your situation.
Will I have to pay my health insurance company back for bills?
Some insurance policies contain a provision called “subrogation,” which means that you are not entitled to receive double payment for your bills. A recovery made from your case will generally include payment for all medical bills incurred as a result of your injury, including those already paid by your health insurance. Since the at-fault party is responsible for all of your damages, your insurance company may have the right to be reimbursed for any payments it made. However, we can help you significantly reduce the amount of money you must repay for your medical bills when you receive financial compensation from the negligent party. It is important to note that this area of the law is complicated and often changing, so it’s important to have an attorney with experience in this area to best protect your interests.
What type of compensation does a personal injury claim cover?
Compensation for your injuries depends on several factors, including the nature and extent of your injuries, physical and emotional pain and suffering, the change in your quality of life, economic hardship or financial loss, decreased earning potential and physical impairment. This is why we invest a great amount of effort to get to know your story and how your injury has affected the fabric of your life. Depending on the type and extent of your personal injury, you may be eligible for compensatory damages, which may include the following:
- Property damage
- Medical bills
- Lost wages, including overtime
- Out of pocket expenses (transportation charges, etc.)
- Pain and suffering
- Physical disability
- Permanent scars
- Emotional trauma
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of love and affection
- Mental disability
Financial compensation for personal injuries
You are legally entitled to be fully compensated for your injuries to the extent the at-fault party is responsible for causing your injuries. According to the law, you are entitled to “be made whole,” which means you should be returned to the same position after the settlement as you were in immediately before the injury occurred. Since no one can possibly go back in time and prevent the injury from happening, the law requires the negligent party to adequately financially compensate you for your injuries. This compensation is called “damages.”
You should never expect to get adequately compensated for your injuries by what the insurance company will offer. Insurance companies are in the business of making money. Their business model is to collect premiums and pay out as little as possible for insurance claims. Their adjustors and attorneys work diligently toward one purpose only, and that is to minimize the amount they have to pay you to make you “whole.” Often this means they will not even agree to pay you for all of your medical bills or lost wages, claiming the bills are excessive or the medical treatment was unnecessary. In serious injury cases, they may dispute the nature and extent of your injuries and the impact your injuries will have on your future and type of medical treatment and care you will need for the rest of your life. In essence, they will try to minimize your claim no matter what happened to you. Fighting the insurance industry and obtaining the best possible outcome for your case requires the assistance of an experienced and well-respected attorney. You can be certain the insurance company’s lawyers will know the amount of experience the lawyer you’ve hired has and will treat your case accordingly. Our attorneys have the knowledge, experience, and the long history of success fighting powerful insurance companies and large corporations. When they hear from us, they know they’re in for a fight.
I don’t want to bankrupt somebody. What happens to the person I sue?
Although a lawsuit generally has the negligent party’s name on it, you are actually pursuing their insurance company’s money. The insurance company not only has to pay for the harm the person caused (up to the policy limits), but also has to pay for the at-fault person’s lawyer. In the vast majority of cases, the person sued does not have to pay anything, since their insurance company pays the settlement or verdict amount, as well as the legal fees.
Free Consultation for Your Personal Injury Claim
Whether your injury was caused by an accident, medical error, or you are seeking help with a difficult insurance denial, we are here to help. We make the process as simple as possible for you so that you can focus on healing, which is the most important part!
Many people fail to seek legal representation due to the cost of hiring an attorney. Don’t let this be your case. We offer an initial free consultation to discuss your situation, and we represent clients on a contingency fee basis. This means that we advance all upfront costs and do not charge any fees unless and until we win a recovery on your behalf.
As you await representation, we strongly encourage you to keep track of everything related to your injury. This will advance your case and help us answer your questions more thoroughly.
During your initial free legal consultation with Eric or another attorney from our team, we will listen to your story and ask a number of questions. You will have the opportunity and are encouraged to ask your own questions about the legal process, our experience with matters like yours, and anything else you want to know. Then we will discuss whether or not your potential case is a good fit for our firm, and if it is, we will explain our contract and fee agreement. While there is never any pressure for you to sign with our firm during this consultation, we are unable to conduct an investigation or do any work on your behalf until a contract has been signed.
We encourage everyone to do your research and make sure you hire the lawyer who you feel is best suited to represent you. A personal injury lawsuit is no walk in the park, and you want to be certain to make that journey with someone you trust.
Contact a Sacramento Personal Injury Attorney
If you’ve been injured due to the negligence of another, it’s time to seek legal advice to protect your rights. Don’t try to go at it alone. Discuss your situation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Sacramento at Eric Ratinoff Law Corp. We have a proven track record and are committed to getting the best results we can achieve for our clients. Contact our injury lawyers today by calling (916) 473-1LAW (916-473-1529) .