Personal Injury

Steps To Remember

Go to a Doctor As Soon As Possible
Be Thorough In Reporting Your Complaints
Preserve The Evidence
Keep A Journal
Continue Your Treatment
See The Right Doctor
California Auto Accident Information
How Can We Help You?


Why Do I Need An Attorney?
Should I Let The Insurance Company Take My Recorded Statement?
How Much Is My Case Worth?
How Do I Know What Type Of Doctors To See For My Injury?
Am I Entitled To A Rental Car?
Am I Entitled To Get Any Money For The Time I Lost From Work As A Result Of My Injury?
How Much Do I Have To Pay To Hire An Attorney?
Can I Change My Lawyers If I Am Not Happy With Them? How Much Is That Going To Cost Me?
At JACOBS, ANDERSON, POTTER & CHAPLIN, LLP we have years of experience in successfully representing people who have been injured due to someone else’s negligence. We will do whatever we can to help you recover the compensation you deserve. If you have been injured in a traffic accident and someone else was to blame, call us today for a free consultation and case evaluation. In fact, if we handle your case, you pay absolutely nothing unless we win.
Traffic accidents happen every day in California, and no one can predict when an accident will result in a serious injury or wrongful death that may require the help of a knowledgeable and experienced personal injury attorney. JACOBS, ANDERSON, POTTER & CHAPLIN, LLP can help you no matter where you are in California. We routinely make home and hospital visits. We truly go the extra mile for our clients andwe believe our experience, past results, and personal attention make us different than most other California attorneys. Find out how we can help you by calling us today.
If you are injured in an accident, you must keep in mind two very important goals:
1.     To recover from your injury by getting the best care possible.
2.     To recover the most amount of money to pay for all your medical care, loss of income, and pain and suffering.
To achieve both of these goals, you have certain duties and there are many things that you should know and many steps that you should take. Your doctor and lawyer can only achieve the above results with your help. The best doctor and the best lawyer in the world will not achieve the maximum result possible unless you take the following steps. So pay very close attention and read this until you have mastered it.
Go to a Doctor As Soon As Possible
Do not sit at home in the hopes that your injury will go away on its own. Although that is sometimes the case, in most cases an injury that is not properly diagnosed and treated early on may stay with you for a long time and sometimes for life. Whether it be the emergency room, your own family doctor, the local clinic, or a chiropractor, it is more important that you see someone right away. Also your attorney will need to prove your injuries were caused by the accident. The sooner a doctor records your complaints, the easierit will be for a jury to believe it was the accident that caused your injury.If you do not have medical insurance or your doctor cannot give you an early appointment, either go to the emergency room or call us and we will most likely be able to find you a doctor who will see at no charge until your case settles.
Be Thorough in Reporting Your Complaints
In the first appointment, regardless of the doctor’s specialty, tell him all of your complaints from head to toe. Be as thorough as possible. Some minor symptom, such as stiffness or headache or dizziness could be a nearly symptom of a much greater problem. If months later that problem becomes more severe, your attorney can prove it was related to the accident because you immediately had complaints in that area of your body. A common example of that is spinal injury such as disc herniation. In patients who suffer from back and neck pain, most doctors try months of physical therapy and medications before an MRI is recommend to rule out spinal injury.
However, if the patient complained of radiating pain and tingling numbness early on in the course of her treatment, an attorney can prove the disc damage which is detected months later is a result of the accident. Important Note: Pain that radiates to the arms, legs and across the shoulders as well as a sensation of tingling numbness in arms, fingers, legs and toes are early signs of spinal injury. If you have these symptoms, tell your doctor immediately.
Preserve the Evidence
Take photos of wounds, lacerations, bruises, and all other physical evidence of your injury. A bruise may fade in a day. Buy a disposable camera if you have to. Also take photos of the damage to your car, broken glass, debris, skid marks, the other party’s car and other physical evidence. Such things are cleaned or may never be available later on.
Keep a list of all witnesses to the accident and how to contact them.  They may become very important to your case should the at fault person deny that they caused the accident.
Keep a Journal
From the time of your accident to the time you fully recover orto the time your case goes to trial, many important details will be forgotten.The day that you sat there and watched your friends ski but couldn’t do it yourself because of your pain may not be a significant day in your life. But remembering that experience and telling the jury how you felt that day will draw a more compelling picture in the jurors mind than any doctor can paint by describing your injury in medical terms. Keep a journal and write in it your daily experiences, restrictions, and pain. Share this information with us so that we may better understand the full extent of your harm. That will enable usto convey it better to the jury or whoever we are settling your case with.
Continue Your Treatment
If you stop going to the doctors for whatever reason, the jury will most likely assume you were feeling fine and didn’t need treatment. It will also take longer for you to recover from your injury. Your reasoning for not going may be school, kids, not having a car, not having time, etc. Your health is more important. Furthermore, by consistently treating, your attorney can prove the ongoing nature of your pain and suffering. If a certain type of treatment is not helping talk to your doctor or us about other methods of treatment. Do not sit and wait for your doctor to refer you out to other specialist. Many doctors have a difficult time giving up on you and believe they can eventually treat you. While that may be true, you owe it to yourself to get a second opinion from a specialist. If for example, your back pain has not resolved after a few weeks of physical therapy or chiropractic treatment,you should consult with an orthopedist. So long as you are in pain, you need to consistently see your doctor. If no treatment has proven helpful, only show up once a month and tell your doctor about your complaints. Ultimately, the main proof of your injury will be the visit to your doctor’s office.
See the Right Doctor
For different injuries there are different doctors that you need to go to. For some injuries, you may need to see more than one type of doctor.The following general guideline may be used as a reference. However, do not heavily rely on it as a physical examination by a doctor will be needed to truly determine which type of specialist is needed in your case.
·  Neurologist – Severe consistent headaches, dizziness and vertigo, numbness, paralysis, loss of motion and/orfeeling, loss of memory, loss of consciousness and/or change in cognitive functioning may require a neurologist’s analysis or testing.
·  Orthopedist – Spinal injuries,severe and continuous neck and/or back pain, pain and discomfort in shoulder,knees, hands and feet as well as all broken bones or other spinal and bone related injuries usually require visiting an orthopedist.
·  Psychologist /Psychiatrist – Anxiety, depression, withdrawal, fear, phobia, and other behavioral and mood related symptoms must be examined by a Psychologist or aPsychiatrist.
·  Physical Therapist /Chiropractor – While the above mentioned doctors will treat patients by medication or surgery, most everyone who has muscle, tendon, ligament and spinal injury will benefit from a course of physical therapy and chiropractic treatment.
·  Obviously there are many other specialists that have not been listed such as Opthalmologists, Otolayrngologists, Podiatrists, etc.
By following the above, you will have done your part in providing us with all the tools necessary to obtain for you the absolute maximum recover possible. Of course we do not want you to undergo any unnecessary treatment or examination as it will undermine the legitimacy of your injury claim as well as create unnecessary medical bills which may not be compensable.
California Auto Accident Information
Auto accidents happen for many reasons, and each year millions of people sustain injuries as a result of the negligence of others. Distractions surround us, increasing the likelihood of such incidents. Every year thousands of people are injured in California as a result of some type of accident of this sort.
Research studies show, for example, that the number of cellphone subscribers has grown from 94 million in the year 2000 to about 130million today. It has been estimated that 6 percent of automobile accidents are caused by drivers talking on their cell phone. This means that a total of 2,600people will die in cell-phone related car accidents this year.
Around 98 percent of reported accidents involve a single distracted driver concentrating not on the road, but rather on one of thefollowing:
·  Rubbernecking (16%)
·  Driver Fatigue (12%)
·  Surroundings (10%)
·  Child/Passenger Distraction (9%)
·  Adjusting Radio/CD(7%)
·  Cell Phone (6%)
Many causes are due to:
·  drunk driving
·  drowsiness
·  distractions
·  cell phone misuse
·  agressive driving
·  poor road conditions
·  mechanical failure
·  speeding
Drunk driving is another epidemic problem in California. Blood alcohol concentration levels are another major cause of fatal crashes. There were 16,694 alcohol-related fatalities in 2004 – 39 percent of the total traffic fatalities for the year. Of the 16,694 people who died in alcohol-related crashes in 2004, 8256 (57%) were killed in crashes where the driver had a blood alcohol concentration ( BAC ) of .08 g/dL or higher. The legal limit for BAC is currently .08 in all states in the US.
Traffic fatalities in alcohol-related crashes fell by 2.4 percent, from 17,105 in 2003 to 16,694 in 2004. Although this is definitely an improvement, it is still a lot of dead fellow citizens. To put this in perspective, it is equivalent to a fully loaded Boeing 747 crashing, and leaving no survivors, every nine days all year long – over 39 airplanes in total. The 16,694 fatalities in alcohol-related crashes during 2004 represent an average of one alcohol-related fatality every 31 minutes.
How Can We Help You?
Our Law Firm can help you recover damages for:
·  Pain and Suffering
·  Medical costs
·  Future medical costs
·  Rehabilitation costs
·  Lost Wages
·  Loss of future earnings
·  Other accident related expenses
If you or someone close to you has suffered a motor vehicle accident injury, you should speak with an experienced auto accident attorney atour office as soon as possible. We will help ensure that your legal rights to compensation are properly protected. Our experienced injury accident attorneys will evaluate all the issues related to your case, including compliance with California traffic laws, motor vehicle regulations, medical treatment, and liability assessment.
Because there are deadlines for filing personal injury claims, meeting with an auto accident attorney to evaluate your case as soon as possible is highly recommended. We make home and hospital visits and we will come to you wherever you are in the state. Again, you pay nothing up front to have us handle your case. There is never any fee unless we win your case. Call us today for your free case evaluation.
FrequentlyAsked Questions
A. For several reasons:
1.     Pursuing recovery for injuries is a legal process which requires the expertise and experience of a highly experienced injury attorney. There are many rules and strategies that take years for even an attorney to learn and acquire. Therefore, do not ever attempt to handle your legal case on your own as your recovery will generally be substantially higher even after all the costs and fees you will incur in hiring legal representation.
2.     When you have an attorney, you often can seek medical treatment for your injuries through the most competent doctors at no upfront cost. Knowing an attorney has taken your case, will give doctors the security that their bills will be paid once the case settles. This is specially important to those who have no health insurance and cannot afford to pay for the cost of the medical treatment needed.
3.     Only an experienced lawyer can assess the value of your case after learning the nature and extent of your injuries, the value of your claim for pain and suffering, and the cost of future treatment and rehabilitation. Chances are you will settle your case for much less than it is worth not knowing how much your case is really worth.
4.     Most importantly, you need an attorney because the insurance company will offer you very little money for your injury. Only a competent lawyer has the means, the knowledge, and the experience to sue the insurance companies and force them to give you the appropriate settlement that you are entitled to. Attorneys settle cases 3-17 times the amount their clients are offered by the insurance companies before they hire an attorney. Insurance companies have a duty to protect and defend their own insured (who caused the accident). They also have a duty to act in the best interest of their shareholders by saving money. You need someone on your side who has your best interest in mind.
5.     Lastly, when you have a lawyer, you don't deal with any of the hassle, paperwork, headache and worry of dealing with insurance companies. You just sit back, knowing a skilled, competent, experienced lawyer who has your best interest in mind is going to handle your case and deal with the headache.
A. No. Absolutely not. Insurance companies are never on your side. They are only trying to find an excuse to get away with paying you very little or not paying you at all. Sometimes, you have to provide your own insurance company with a recorded statement because your policy requires it. In that scenario you should consult with your attorney who will prepare you for the statement.
A. Only an experienced attorney can put a dollar value on your case and that is after you have been examined by specialized physicians and the nature and extent of your injuries are precisely determined and the cost of your present and future medical treatments are known. Furthermore, there are other factors that determine the value of your case such as, recent jury verdicts on similar cases in your area, the credibility of all parties involved, the length of time, the frequency, and the intensity of your pain and suffering, etc.
A. We can certainly help you with that. We have helped thousand of accident victims with variety of injuries. Therefore, we have an idea as to what type of doctor would probably be best for your injury. However, your primary care physician can also help you with this question.
A. If your car sustained damages as a result of the accident, the damages must be repaired by the insurance of the party at fault in the accident. You are also entitled to get a rental car for the days your car is in the body shop. However, if your car is totaled (the cost of repair is more than the value of the car), you are entitled to get the total market value of the car. You are also entitled to a rental car for a reasonable number of days (usually from the time of the accident to the time the insurance company sends you a check for to pay for your vehicle). In both cases if you do not need to rent a car, or you choose not to do so, you are still entitled to get the money for it.
A. Absolutely. You must first seek medical attention for your injuries. You should also discuss with your physician the nature of your work and why you will not be able to perform your work as a result of your injuries. If your physician instructs you to take off from work for a certain period oftime, you will be entitled to get all the money that you would have earned if you would have gone to work in that period of time. Furthermore, you are entitled to be compensated for loss of income capacity (i.e. income you would have been able to earn had you not been injured that you are now unable to earn).
A. Nothing. You don't have to pay anything upfront. You hire us on a contingency basis, which means we don't charge you anything. We even pay for all of the expenses associated with your case out of our own pocket. Also if for any reason we don't recover any money (for example if we find out later that the party at fault has no insurance), we still don't charge you anything. However, when your case settles, we take a percentage of the settlement for our fees and costs. This percentage depends on whether your case resolves before litigation or for example, after trial.
A. Fortunately you can change your lawyer anytime at absolutely no cost to you. All you have to do is call us and let us know. We will immediately send a letter to your former attorney. As soon as they receive our letter, by law they are obligated to immediately forward your file to our office. They are also forbidden from contacting you. You are not even required to inform them of your decision. Of course if they have done substantial work in your case, they are entitled to get a portion of our fees for their contribution. This will only affect our fees and will not change your recovery.