Frequently Asked Questions
- How much will I have to pay a lawyer up front?
- Don’t most lawyers get the same results?
- What separates a good lawyer from a bad one?
- What is a P I Attorney?
- What determines the value of my case?
- How long before I will be compensated for my injuries?
- Do all cases go to court (trial)?
- What's the difference between settling and trial?
- My current lawyer doesn’t seem to be doing a very good job. Can I change attorneys?
- Can I see my own doctor?
- Can I get money before my case is settled?
- Do you have any questions?
How much will I have to pay a lawyer up front?
Nothing. The cases we take on are almost always taken on a contingency basis. What this means is that YOU DO NOT HAVE TO PAY ANY MONEY UP FRONT. This is valuable to many clients because, in the majority of cases, injured parties are already strapped for cash due to time lost on the job, incurred medical expenses and stacking monthly obligations. Furthermore, NO money is owed to the firm unless we are successful in obtaining money for you. If you have been asked by an attorney to pay money up front – for any reason, you might want to consider changing firms.
Phone (818) 543-1900 for additional information.
Don’t most lawyers get the same results?
No. Just as all doctors are not alike, nor are all attorneys. While most lawyers have received a similar education, and while most lawyers are required to pass the California State Bar Exam, different lawyers have different capabilities.
It is not unusual to meet lawyers who have been practicing law for less than 5 or 10 years. And while 5 or 10 years of experience may seem like a lot, more often than not, such lawyers have not yet reached their professional stride. In fact, most personal injury lawyers are said not to have reached their optimal level of expertise, unless they have practiced personal injury law for at least 15 years. You can understand why having a lawyer with over 30 years of personal injury experience is so valuable.
Litigation experience in handling complex trials is crucial. Jury selection, retention of the most qualified experts and understanding clients needs and concerns are all critical steps in trial preparation.
Area of practice is another factor. We see website after website and resume after resume of lawyers stating that they handle trusts, personal injury, business litigation, criminal defense, family law and so on when each of these areas is a specific field in and of itself. Just as a medical doctor will specialize in one area of medicine, such as pediatrics, orthopedics, etc., to maximize results, you want your attorney to focus on personal injury law.
With over 30 years of personal injury experience, attorney William Salle will obtain the results you deserve. Be sure to view our Client Results page. Phone (818) 543-1900 for additional information.
What separates a good lawyer from a bad one?
Experience coupled with a track record of strong results is critical in choosing an attorney. As previously mentioned, education is not nearly as important as results produced on behalf of clients – even though our attorneys have graduated from top ABA-accredited law schools. Further, attorneys that focus in a particular field of law is a strong indicator of a firm that is not trying to be all things to all clients. Good personal injury attorneys are experienced and focus on personal injury law. For you, the client, this translates to bigger verdicts and settlements. Phone (818) 543-1900 for additional information.
What is a P I Attorney?
The letters "PI" stands for "Personal Injury." Personal Injury cases may include, but are not limited to, motor vehicle accidents (including trucks, cars, and motorcycles), slip and fall accidents occurring on peoples property, burn injuries, animal bites, product liability, pedestrian and bicycle accidents and so forth. Please view the link Types of Cases Handled. for a brief description of each type of Personal Injury handled by this firm. Phone (818) 543-1900 for additional information.
What determines the value of my case?
The value of a case varies based upon a number of factors which include the severity of injuries and the effect those injuries have on you – including how they impact your daily activities, lost time from employment or other duties, the amount of related medical bills both current and future, and so on. If an attorney ever tells you that your case is a "slam dunk," "we're going to take these guys to the cleaners," or makes any other similar statements get away from this lawyer as fast as you can. Statements like the above or other "guarantees" are indicators of a lawyer that should be avoided. Value is very difficult to determine until all information has been received and reviewed by a highly experienced and competent attorney.
Look for the attorney who listens to your concerns. Listening is one of the most valuable traits of a qualified professional – especially at the early stages of an attorney-client relationship.
The value of a case does not rise or fall based on how well a lawyer can "sell you" on using his or her services. Cases, in large part, are valued by how well an attorney manages them. Phone (818) 543-1900 for additional information.
How long before I will be compensated for my injuries?
In general terms, personal injury cases are governed by a 2-year statute of limitations. Although it is important to gather information concerning liability (fault) as quickly as possible, generally a lawsuit will not be initiated until after the injured party has finished receiving treatment for his or her injuries.
Completion of treatment is important because it permits the attorney to better understand the full nature and scope of the client's injuries, which then enables the attorney to better represent the client. In cases involving relatively minor injuries, we usually see about a 9 to 16-month time frame. Where more serious injuries have occurred, especially those that may have long-term implications, cases may take longer to resolve.
If you would like to find out about obtaining advances against your case, click here. Phone (818) 543-1900 for additional information.
Do all cases go to court (trial)?
No. As a matter of fact, most civil cases in the United States are settled before they ever get to trial. The costs of trial preparation, retaining experts and the trial itself can be significant. However, it is critical that you employ an attorney who has the knowledge, experience, resources, and commitment to take your case to trial if the circumstances require it. What this knowledge and experience mean to you, is you will get the results you deserve whether your case is settled or litigated through trial. Phone(818) 543-1900 for additional information.
Whats the difference between settling and trial?
The answer depends on many factors. You should assume that your case will go to trial. You and your lawyer must approach your case from the beginning as if it will so go trial. If the other side sees that you are ready, willing and able to go trial they are more likely to make a reasonable offer without trial. While your attorney can guide you on whether or not to accept an offer, ultimately, the decision to settle or go to trial is yours. You must decide to either accept the highest offer that can be obtained or to fight in court to try to obtain a better result.
A trial, in the most general of terms, is similar to what we see on television or the movies. It consists of the parties and witnesses being question by the attorneys, followed by those attorneys arguing on behalf of the plaintiff (the injured party) or the defendant (the party causing the injury) before a judge and/or a jury. Trials usually result in verdicts – either for the plaintiff or the defendant.
Settlements result from situations where neither the plaintiff nor the defendant wishes to spend time and money arguing over the issues and where enough money is offered by the defendant, that the plaintiff (the injured party) is satisfied with the economic result. As previously mentioned, the majority of cases are settled before they go to trial.
However, remember – it is very important that your attorney handles your case as though he/she EXPECTS IT TO GO TO TRIAL. When defense firms realize they are dealing with experienced litigators, they are more likely to settle cases in a manner more beneficial to the injured party since they know the injured parties lawyer is both ready and willing to take the case to trial.
Settling may or may not be right for you in your situation. This is a matter that any quality attorney will address with you during discussions of your case, however, ultimately the decision will rest with you. Phone (818) 543-1900 for additional information.
My current lawyer doesn’t seem to be doing a very good job. Can I change attorneys?
Yes. A client has an absolute right to change lawyers at any time. However, you should not arbitrarily switch lawyers just because it appears to you if your case is moving too slow or simply if you have not heard from your lawyer lately. These things do not necessarily mean that the attorney is not working hard for you.
You should contact your lawyer if you are not sure about the work he or she is doing. You should ask specific questions and obtain satisfactory answers. Your lawyer should meet with you on request to discuss your case. If you cannot reach your lawyer nor do not get satisfactory answers to your questions you should consider changing lawyers.
You also have the right to review your file at any time. You can read your file and ask for copies. If your lawyer will not allow you to review your file, you should consult a new attorney. Phone (818) 543-1900 for additional information.
Can I see my own doctor?
Yes. As a matter of fact, it is preferable. However, if you do not have your own doctor, we can refer you to a qualified, experienced, physician who can address your specific needs – such as orthopedics, neurology, etc. The important thing is not to delay necessary medical care. The mere fact you may not be in immediate pain now does not mean you have not been injured. Phone (818) 543-1900 for additional information.
Can I get money before my case is settled?
Many injuries result in missed work time. Further economic harm results from medical and regular monthly bills going unpaid. The good news is that, under certain circumstances, there may be a way to get money before your case is settled. There are private companies that advance money to injured parties. These are private companies specializing in case advances. You need to know however the interest rates they charge can be very high. We are not affiliated with them nor do we receive any compensation from them. We answer this question here as a service to you because it is frequently asked during client interviews. If you are interested in learning more about Personal Injury Advances please call us at (818) 543-1900.