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    FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

    1. Do I need an attorney?

    If you are in need of legal advice or assistance, it is in your best interest to seek out someone with professional legal training.

    The San Francisco based Law Office of Gene Halavanau understand the complexities of traffic accidents, product liability, and slip and falls, and can provide you with the legal expertise you need to win your case. We are also available to assist you in every step of the legal process, taking the time to answer your questions and to make sure you understand your legal rights. We will never make any critical decisions about your case without your prior permission.

    2. What if I can’t afford a lawyer?

    Law Office of Gene Halavanau represents its personal injury clients on a contingent-fee basis and provides a free initial consultation to evaluate your case. If we accept your case, you pay no legal fees unless we are successful in obtaining compensation for you.

    3. If I suffer an injury what should I do first?

    Seek medical attention. If you are injured, your health must be your initial and main concern. Do not take any unnecessary risk and obtain medical treatment as soon as possible.  If you or someone in your family has been injured, you should thereafter seek legal advice as quickly as possible to see if you have a California claim for personal injury. The cause of an injury may not always be obvious, and there may be one or more parties responsible for the injury. The Law Office of Gene Halavanau can help determine the cause of an injury, and whether someone is legally responsible for the injury.

    4. What if I am contacted by an insurance company or an investigator?

    You should not discuss your injury or the way in which it happened with anyone until you have consulted an attorney. These statements might be incorrect, incomplete, taken out of context, or be harmful to your case at a later date. The defendant’s insurance companies have a tendency to be Do not file any written reports or descriptions, sign any papers, or agree to any settlement, as this may affect your ability to recover full compensation for your injuries.

    5. Why should I bring a personal injury claim?

    If you are injured through the fault of someone else, you are entitled under California law to full, fair and adequate compensation for your injuries.

    6. Is it ever too late to bring a claim?

    Yes. There are strict statutes of limitations, which prohibit the bringing of old claims. For many claims, these statutes of limitations may be two years, although there are cases with shorter and longer statute of limitations. You should consult a lawyer as soon as you are aware that you have been injured. Even if you were injured some time ago, you may still be able to bring a claim. Failing to file a personal injury lawsuit within the statute of limitations will cause the claim to expire and you will not receive any compensation for your injuries.

    7. Will I have to go to court?

    You will not have to go to court unless your case cannot be settled and must be tried. In California, the vast majority of claims (around 95 percent) are settled before trial; however, because of the many factors involved, it is impossible to predict whether your particular case is one which will be settled or one which must be decided by a jury.

    8. Will I hurt the person I’m suing by bringing a personal injury claim?

    Almost all personal injury claims are defended by insurance company lawyers and paid by insurance, so the person or corporation you sue will not necessarily have to pay any money out-of-pocket. A personal injury claim is a civil case, not a criminal case, and the defendant will generally not go to jail because of the claim.

    9. What is the value of my case?

    Unfortunately, we cannot predict exactly how much money you will win because your recovery depends on your individual circumstances and injuries. We look to a wide variety of factors, such as the severity and permanency of your injury, the amount of your medical expenses, your lost wages and duration of treatment, the liability of the defendant, and whether the case is to be tried or settled. At the start of your case, it is often impossible to estimate the value of your claim. Until your case has been fully investigated and your medical condition has stabilized, you should be wary of anyone who tries to tell you the value of your claim at an early stage.

    After Law Office of Gene Halavanau has completed a thorough investigation of your case, we are in a position to offer our opinion as to the value of your claim. We will discuss any proposed settlement with you, and give you our advice about whether to accept an insurance company’s offer of settlement or to allow a jury to determine the value of your injuries.

    10. I have been injured in an accident and don’t have medical insurance to pay for my medical treatment. Who will pay for my medical bills caused by the accident?

    Your attorney can seek to recover your medical expenses from the individual or company at fault in your accident along with other types of compensation. In many instances, your attorney can recover from your own insurance policy if the coverage allows.

    11. I was hit from behind by a driver that had no insurance at the time of the accident. Can I still obtain compensation for my injuries?

    If you have uninsured motorist coverage on your own vehicle under your own policy of insurance, you may be able to recover under you own policy. Be sure to contact an attorney for review of your situation. Payment of these types of claims under your policy should not result in an increase in your premium, or a cancellation of your coverage.

    12. Why should I hire an attorney to assist me in resolving my motorcycle accident claim?

    In most situations, motorcycle accident injuries are significantly more severe than automobile accident injuries. The failure of motorists to “see” motorcyclists causes many motorcycle accidents each year. If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident, you may be facing significant losses. Damage to your motorcycle is probably not your biggest worry as you begin to incur significant medical bills and missed time from work. Unfortunately, many motorcycle accidents result in a fatality.

    Injured motorcyclists need to contact a skilled motorcycle injury lawyer to assist them with their claim. Insurance companies must be contacted, a police report should be filed, and witnesses need to be gathered and statements accumulated. If you need legal help with your motorcycle accident claim, contact Law Office of Gene Halavanau. We will help you receive the monetary compensation you deserve.

    13. Can a healthcare provider be repaid from a personal injury settlement?

    Yes. It is a common practice for healthcare providers to be paid out of personal injury recoveries. Most health insurance policies have language which requires the insurance company to be repaid for the amount of money they have paid on medical bills if the injured person receives a personal injury settlement.

    14. What bills are traditionally included in a bodily injury claim?

    The term “bodily injury claim” usually refers to a personal injury sustained by an individual. These claims usually involve economic or special damages and general damages.Special damages are those damages which usually refer to lost wages, medical bills, rental car expenses, and other direct monetary damages. General damages traditionally refer to pain, suffering, and distress. When you are trying to settle your claim, make sure that you obtain fair compensation for all available damages that you sustained.

    15. What is a personal injury?

    A personal injury is a physical or mental injury sustained by a person as a result of someone else’s negligence or harmful act. There are many different types of actions which can result in personal injury. Some of these include:

    • Automobile Accident
    • Motorcycle Accidents
    • Defective Product Injuries (product liability)
    • Wrongful Death
    • Home Accidents

    16. What is negligence?

    Negligence is the failure to use reasonable care. In other words, negligence is any conduct that falls below the standard of care established by law to protect others from the unreasonable risk of harm.

    17. How do I know if I have a valid personal injury claim?

    A valid personal injury claim requires you to demonstrate that you have been injured due to someone else’s fault and have sustained damages. Injury claims require the injured party to demonstrate two specific elements known as liability and damages. Consulting a California personal injury lawyer can be essential in determining the validity of your claim.

    18. When should I hire a personal injury attorney?

    Retaining the services of an experienced California personal injury lawyer is essential in any personal injury claim. Retaining an attorney as soon as possible allows your legal counselor to gather critical evidence, obtain witness statements, and document the facts surrounding your accident or injury. Act quickly to preserve your rights in order to present the best evidence on your behalf.