Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know if I have a legitimate personal injury claim?
If you have been injured in any type of accident which was caused by the negligent and careless acts of another person or business entity, you have a legitimate personal injury claim. Under California law, even if you were partially at fault or negligent in causing the accident you can still file a personal injury lawsuit or make a personal injury claim. The value of your case will be reduced by the percentage of fault that can be assessed to you in causing your accident or injury. A personal injury claim can arise out of a car accident, a truck accident, a motorcycle accident, a pedestrian accident, a dog bite, construction accident, defective products, medical malpractice, slip and trip and fall, or the wrongful death of a loved one.
During a free consultation by phone or in the office you can tell me A Palm Springs personal injury attorney serving the Coachella Valley, and Southern California all the facts of your case. I will give you the opportunity tell me everything you think is important so that I can determine whether or not some person or business entity was at fault for causing your injuries and whether that person or business entity should be held liable under the personal injury laws of the State of California. After that is determined, we can then decide the best and most reasonable way to handle your case and help you obtain a fair and reasonable out of court settlement with your approval that ensures that you get the result you deserve under our legal system. If the insurance company won't offer a reasonable settlement, we will move forward to a jury trial to pursue justice for you in the courtroom.
How long will my case take before I receive any money?
Since many accident victims heal from their injuries within a matter of months I find that most personal injury claims resolve within six to twelve months from the date my firm is hired. Over 97% of all personal injury claims settle before actually going to trial. If the insurance company plays hardball and continues to make lowball offers that are unfair and unreasonable for the injuries and losses you have suffered, we take your case to trial and use our more than 40 years of jury trial experience to get you the justice you deserve. If you have been injured due to the negligence of some person or business entity in the Coachella Valley, your case will most likely be set for a jury trial in the Coachella Valley within 18 months. In other parts of Southern California, the time it takes to get to trial will generally take longer than 18 months.
Since most cases do settle outside of a courtroom, the actual time it takes to settle a personal injury claim will necessarily vary depending on the nature of the injuries involved and the actual time it takes for your injuries to heal or for your doctors to determine that your injuries will be permanent. Before we settle a personal injury claim, we must have medical opinions and reports from your treating doctors to advise us as to the real status of your injuries and whether or not you, as an injured accident victim, will require medical care in the future. We must know all the possibilities and probabilities about your medical conditions so we can reasonably evaluate your claim. Obviously, a personal injury claim should not settle while you, the accident victim, are still under the care of a doctor who is not yet ready to offer an opinion as to when you will be healed or whether or not you will ever be healed from your accident related symptoms. Some accident fact patterns are very complicated and require extensive investigation and what is called pre-trial discovery during which depositions are taken of witnesses and expert witnesses. It has never been my practice or the practice of my firm to "rush" settlements.
An accident victim must understand that once your case is settled, you can never reopen your case and try to get additional money damages for your original accident related injuries. Therefore, the time to settle your personal injury claim requires an in-depth discussion between you, the accident victim, and our firm so that you, the client, have a complete understanding of what is involved in settling your case.
How much money will I receive for my personal injury claim or lawsuit?
The actual potential value of any personal injury claim that is settled out of court is determined by the nature and extent of the accident victim's injuries, the medical expenses, the loss of income, and the pain and suffering that the accident victim endures because of the fault of another person or business entity. Every personal injury claim is different because accident victims are different ages with different occupations and abilities and disabilities. The actual monetary amount of any settlement which should represent a fair and reasonable amount of compensation for all injuries and losses suffered by the accident victim cannot realistically be determined until all of the evidence is accumulated.
The lawyer must consider all the losses you have suffered along with the medical bills you have paid and are responsible to pay in the future. If your ability to work is restricted on a temporary or a permanent basis, your loss of income damages will vary depending on the nature and extent of your work restrictions. If you need medical care in the future or for the rest of your life, your lawyer must consider those factors. When we become your lawyer, we must make certain that the value we place on your case is fair and reasonable and provides you with the money that fairly, reasonably, and adequately compensates you for all your losses. That is why when you hire our firm, I will utilize my over 40 years of personal injury experience to seek the largest amount of monetary compensation possible for your particular case. Every case is unique. We have settled cases for amounts under $10,000 and for amounts over $5 million.
Every case is different. Every client is different. It is our goal to treat each client individually based on the particular facts involved in your case. That is why no attorney should ever attempt to tell a potential client the value of their case until the attorney has a chance to review all the evidence of the accident, all the medical records, all the medical opinions, all the income information, and fully understands how the accident has impacted that potential client's life.
Do I need a personal injury attorney to handle my personal injury claim, or can I just settle my case with the insurance company?
Any accident victim may settle their own case with the negligent party's insurance company without using an attorney. There is no law that says that an accident victim must use the services of a personal injury attorney. An accident victim should know that insurance companies and their adjusters are not in business to offer accident victims fair and reasonable settlements. Insurance companies have a bottom line. The bottom line for insurance adjusters is to settle claims as soon as possible and as cheaply as possible. Insurance companies and their trained adjusters know the value of personal injury claims. However, they will never tell the accident victim what they, the insurance company, thinks is the real value of the case.
The insurance adjuster will make the accident victim think he or she is being fairly compensated, but in fact in most cases the accident victim is "selling their case short." So, yes, you can settle your own case without hiring a personal injury attorney, but you may not get nearly as much financial compensation as you deserve. At least, an accident victim should consult with this firm during an initial free consultation to determine what the best course of action to follow is in order for you to have your legal rights protected and receive the fair, just, and reasonable money compensation you are entitled to.
What are some of the reasons that I want to hire a personal injury attorney to handle my claim instead of doing Web research and trying to learn how to handle my own case?
Negotiating with an insurance company, whether it is the accident victim's insurance company or the negligent party's insurance company, is what I can do for you if I become your attorney. Insurance companies simply are out to make as much money as they can. The more money they collect in premiums while paying low settlements increases their profits. Naturally, an insurance company makes more money collecting premiums than they pay out to their own insureds or to accident victims on behalf of their negligent insureds. Because you as the accident victim do not understand the complexities of personal injury law and evaluating personal injury claims, you may therefore find it quite difficult to receive a fair settlement for your personal injury claim. An experienced personal injury attorney can exert the proper legal pressure on claims adjusters and insurance companies while investigating your case.
Your lawyer can provide the insurance company and their adjusters with strong legal reasons and supporting evidence to pay higher settlements that are more realistic in view of all your injuries and losses. When the insurance company reaches their limit as to what they will offer to settle a specific claim and we decide that the offer is too low, I will then use all the experience, talent, and ability that I have gained in more that forty years of handling personal injury cases to take your case in front of a jury and present that jury with the necessary proof they need to render a verdict that is fair, just, and reasonable for the specific facts of your case. The seriously injured accident victim who tries to take on the insurance companies without the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer is like fighting someone with one hand tied behind your back.
How much money do you pay for my services?
This law firm handles all personal injury cases, including any type of accident case or medical malpractice case or wrongful death case, on a contingency fee basis. That term means that you do not pay my firm any fees or litigation costs that we advance unless and until we settle your case out of court with your approval or win your case in front of a jury. Our attorney's fees are a certain percentage of the settlement or verdict based on the specific facts of your case. Once we accept a case we advance all the costs of investigation and litigation. You will never have to repay our firm any of those costs unless and until we win your case in court or settle it out of court. During your initial free consultation with this firm, all your questions regarding the percentage of attorney's fees charged for a case such as yours will be discussed and explained to your satisfaction.
What kind of cases does this firm handle?
Our law firm handles all types of personal injury cases arising out of injuries occurring in Southern California, the Coachella Valley, and the individual cities within the Coachella Valley such as Palm Springs, Palm Desert, Indio, Cathedral City, La Quinta, Desert Hot Springs, Rancho Mirage, Coachella, etc. We also handle cases occurring in the high desert area such as Yucca Valley and the Morongo Basin. The type of personal injury cases we handle include, but are not limited to the following: car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, wrongful death cases, dog bites, construction accidents, defective products, medical malpractice, slip, trip and fall accidents. All of these cases are handled on a contingency fee basis which has been previously explained.
I was offered a settlement by the insurance company – how do I know if I should take it?
Attorney Regar usually doesn't advise personal injury accident victims to accept a settlement offer from an insurance company without at least getting a free initial personal injury consultation. The settlement offer the insurance company made to you was probably low because that is the standard practice utilized by insurance companies when dealing with accident victims who represent themselves. If at a later date after you accepted a low settlement you find out that you need further medical treatment and that your injuries did not disappear, you have unfortunately lost your legal rights to ever receive more money than was paid to you by the insurance company. Insurance adjusters know that you as an accident victim really don't know the value of your case and they take advantage of you. At least consulting with an experienced, competent, and aggressive personal injury lawyer helps level the playing field and may keep you from accepting a "low ball offer" which you may later regret.
How much money should I receive in my case?
It's impossible to honestly tell a potential client during the initial visit to our office how much that potential client should receive for their personal injury claim because it depends on various factors that develop during the case. My firm does know how to identify and discover all potential sources for reasonable and just compensation and to go after the maximum amount available in your particular case. The value of your case will include the amount of your medical expenses past, present and future, your loss of income past, present and future, any impairment of your earning ability and capacity, and any property damage that you suffered. Additionally, the most important part of your potential recovery is the money that you should be paid to adequately compensate you for all the pain and suffering, and the loss of the enjoyment of your life resulting from your accident. Our goal is to maximize your potential recovery. That is what this firm is all about. Insurance companies don't like us, but they respect us.
I was in an accident. What should I do now?
There are several things that you should do immediately to help yourself and assist you in ultimately receiving fair and reasonable compensation for your personal injury claim. The first thing that you should do is get proper medical attention for your injuries. You should make certain that each doctor you see for your injuries records each and every symptom that you have in the medical chart. If during the first visit the doctor asks you, "How are you?", don't say I'm fine if in fact you are hurting. Everything you tell the doctor can find its way into your chart. So an innocent reply that "I am feeling fine" can be recorded by the doctor that the patient says "the patient is feeling fine." Make certain you get the Traffic Collision Report. Read the report. Very often the police officer records incorrect information in the Traffic Collision Report. If there are errors in the report, you should contact the police agency and discuss making changes in the report that are in fact consistent with the facts of the accident. Get the names, addresses and telephone numbers of all witnesses to the accident. Take photographs of your injuries and of the damage to your motor vehicle if it is still available. Take pictures of the accident scene.
If you are disabled because of your injuries, have a friend of neighbor take the photographs described above. Notify your own insurance company immediately if you were involved in an automobile accident. Do not give a written or recorded statement to an insurance adjuster representing the person or business entity that caused your injury. Insurance adjusters are not your friends. You're not in good hands with insurance adjusters. If you give them a statement you may say something that you will later regret. That is why we advise that you contact an experienced, qualified personal injury attorney to discuss your case with you during an initial free consultation before you allow an insurance adjuster to take advantage of you.
Don't be a victim twice. Take advantage of our free initial consultation to fully discuss the facts of your case. Of course, you should cooperate with the police during any investigation. You should cooperate with your own insurance company during their investigation. Do not talk about the accident facts or your injuries to strangers or neighbors. Do not post cute or frivolous comments about your accident on Facebook or Twitter or through any other social media. All personal injury claims are governed by a Statute of Limitations, which means that you have certain time periods during which you must file your lawsuit in order to protect your legal rights. That is another reason why after a personal injury accident or a medical malpractice caused injury you should immediately contact an experienced personal injury attorney such as Barry Regar. I will review your case in its entirety with you during an initial free consultation. You will leave my office with a full understanding of your legal rights.
How do I choose the right personal injury attorney for my personal injury claim?
Many personal injury accident victims choose their lawyer based on referrals from friends, family members, or professionals who know of the identity of a specific personal injury lawyer. Some people choose a lawyer based on advertising that they may have seen either on television, in the phone book, or on the Web. Learning about an attorney's services through advertising is a good first step to finding a lawyer for your particular case. However, before you actually hire a lawyer, you should meet the lawyer in person and ask the lawyer all the questions that you have regarding your case and what that lawyer can do for you. Listen carefully to the answers. Decide whether or not you think that lawyer has the experience, the ability, the talent, and the presence to be the best advocate and representative for you.
Ask any lawyer that you are considering how many personal injury cases they have tried to a jury? How many personal injury cases have they handled over the years? Ask that lawyer to tell you about some of the lawyer's most difficult cases and the results that that lawyer obtained. I invite any potential client to ask me the tough questions and to judge my answers. Before you hire me, you should feel that I have the experience, ability, talent, knowledge, and aggressiveness to provide you with the kind of legal representation you will need to get the maximum recovery available in your case. Don't hire a lawyer to represent you in a personal injury case unless that lawyer can convince you that that lawyer knows his way around the courtroom and has had many successful jury trial verdicts. Some lawyers that advertise that they are personal injury lawyers have very limited jury trial experience.