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Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Do I Have to File a Claim?

The statute of limitations, or time limit, for filing a personal injury claim varies based on the nature of the accident. In most cases, however, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims in California is two years. However, certain things may extend or shorten the statute of limitations – for example, medical malpractice cases involving minor children can have a statute of limitations of two years after the minor’s 18th birthday. On the other hand, claims involving the government could have a statute of limitations as short as six months and a notice of claim period of only 30 days, depending on the circumstances.

In short, it’s in your best interest to contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible following an accident. If you’re struggling with the effects of medical malpractice, don’t assume the timeline already passed – contact us and schedule a consultation today.

How Can I Afford an Attorney?

The Law Offices of Howard Kitay offers its legal services on a contingency-fee basis. This means we do not require payment of attorney’s fees upfront. In fact, we will cover the cost of your legal proceeding. Under a contingency-fee plan, you’ll only owe attorney’s fees if we win a settlement or court judgment on your behalf. We’ll discuss attorney’s fees, if applicable, in your contingency-fee agreement for legal services. Our initial consultation is always free – contact us and schedule a review of your legal options if you suspect your injuries are someone else’s fault.

What Should I Do After an Accident?

We always recommend seeking immediate medical treatment after an accident. Focus on treating your injuries and beginning the healing process – not how you’ll pay for it. Don’t make treatment choices based on your perceived inability to pay. This is why personal injury claims exist – to compensate for the costs of medical bills, lost wages, and other economic and non-economic harms. Do whatever your health care provider deems medically necessary to make a full recovery, and talk to a personal injury attorney about your legal options following an accident.

Should I Call My Insurance Company After an Accident?

It’s always a good idea to call your insurance company after an accident. Following an accident, however, an insurance company might ask you for information or to sign documents. We recommend the following:

  • Never agree to recorded statements unless a personal injury lawyer is present. Claims adjusters can use your words against you in order to settle for less than you deserve.
  • Don’t sign any medical releases unless an attorney says it’s okay. You’ll want to wait until your medical records show the full extent of your injuries before allowing any insurance company access to them.
  • Don’t sign any settlement offers from an insurance company. Often, initial offers do not adequately represent the degree of your injuries, pain, and suffering. Instead, they offer a starting point for negotiations.

What Kinds of Damages Can I Receive From a Personal Injury Claim?

Personal injury claims compensate for both economic and non-economic losses you may suffer as the result of an accident or injury. Examples of these damages include:

  • Medical bills
  • The cost of future medical care
  • Lost wages
  • Loss in earning capacity, if applicable
  • Cost of accommodations to a home, in the event of permanently disabling injury
  • Therapy and rehabilitation costs
  • Physical pain
  • Emotional distress
  • Suffering
  • Loss in life quality

The extent of your settlement will depend on the nature of your injuries, severity of the accident, and other circumstances. A personal injury attorney can help you recover damages for the full extent of your economic and non-economic damages.

Can I Get a Rental Car Following an Accident?

It depends. Rental reimbursement is an optional coverage under California insurance law. If you or an at-fault driver have rental reimbursement coverage, you may be able to use it to obtain a vehicle while your car gets necessary repairs.

Can My Car Accident Claim Cover the Property Damage?

Yes. California is an “at-fault” state when it comes to car accident insurance. If you’re at fault for an accident, your liability insurance will compensate for property damage according to the limits of your policy. If another driver is at-fault for your property damage, you will file a liability claim against their insurance company to pay for repairs.

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