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DUI Wrongful Death Frequently Asked Questions

Families that have lost a loved one in a fatal DUI accident may be understandably initially hesitant to pursue a legal battle. But survivors have legal avenues available to hold wrongdoers accountable for the deaths they cause. Winning a wrongful death lawsuit sends a message to others that drunk driving will not be tolerated, and wrongdoers must pay for the financial toll of their actions. The following are some frequently asked questions about wrongful death actions arising from DUI accidents. What is “wrongful death?” By definition, a wrongful death is a death that results from a negligent, reckless or willful act. A wrongful death claim may be brought against any person or party that may be held liable. In fatal accidents, a wrongful death claim could be brought against a number of parties, including a drunk driver, an adult that provided alcohol to an underage drunk driver, or in some cases, a bar or tavern that provided alcohol to an obviously intoxicated patron. The first step to filing a wrongful death claim is talking to a lawyer and determining if your case may be eligible to pursue a claim. What types of damages can a family recover? The types of…

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How Long Does It Take to Settle a Personal Injury Case?

If you are considering filing a personal injury lawsuit, you may be wondering how long it will take to see results. At Estey & Bomberger, LLP, we have years of experience bringing personal injury lawsuits to trial. But we also work hard to achieve settlements that fairly compensate our clients for their injuries. This post will discuss how long personal injury cases take, from filing to settlement or trial. Settling a Personal Injury Case If you have been involved in an accident and decide to file a personal injury lawsuit, it can take months or even years to reach a settlement agreement with the parties responsible for your injuries and other losses. Sometimes, insurance companies make “lowball” settlement offers within weeks or months of an accident taking place. These offers are made in an effort to dissuade accident victims from pursuing their lawsuit or case further. Many of our clients reject these offers because they are not adequate compensation for the injuries and other losses they have suffered. Often, these offers will not take into account lost wages or pain and suffering. If you choose to reject (or do not receive) an initial settlement offer from an insurance company, you…

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What Personal Injury Law Is and What It Isn’t

Often a personal injury suit is a real life performance of the David and Goliath story. On one side is a massive corporation, or an insurance company, or a reticent defendant digging in their heels – and they don’t want to pay for the cost of their mistakes. It costs more money to do the right thing, and cutting corners rather than doing the right thing is probably why the damage happened in the first place. On the other side is a single person, who may be hospitalized, but who is likely hurt and with their entire life turned upside down. There has to be an equalizer, otherwise the injured, the people who have had something taken from them because of the irresponsibility of others, would never receive justice for their pain and suffering. That is why the civil justice system exists. It is a framework built to attempt to put right what has gone wrong, and to attempt to put someone back on their feet when they have been knocked down by no fault of their own. That is the purpose of a personal injury attorney: to vindicate the rights of the injured. What Personal Injury Law Isn’t A…

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If I Hire Estey & Bomberger, Which Attorney Will Represent Me?

If your case goes to trial, you will always have Mike or Steve representing you. The great thing about hiring Estey & Bomberger is that you are hiring a team of professionals who work together to get you the best results. Each of our attorneys specialize in specific types of cases, which means that when you hire us, you will be represented by an attorney who has extensive experience working on cases like yours. We have had many clients come to us after a poor experience with another law firm. Often, that poor experience was due to the fact that their case was passed off to an inexperienced attorney or paralegal within the firm. If you choose Estey & Bomberger to represent you following a serious injury, you will be represented by an attorney who has experience handling cases like yours. How Can We Do This? Many personal injury law firms operate on what we call a “churn and burn” basis. That is, they take on any and all cases, settle with the insurance company quickly, and move on to the next case. That does not necessarily mean that these are bad law firms, or that they employ bad attorneys, but it’s not the way that…

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How Much Do We Charge for Our Legal Services?

Here at Estey & Bomberger, LLP, we charge our clients based on a contingency fee. In its most basic form, a contingency fee simply means that an attorney’s fee is based on the condition that your case wins at trial. If you win a sum of money in a personal injury action, for example, your lawyer will get a certain percentage of the profit. If you lose the case, the attorney will not make a profit. In addition, a lawsuit also entails filing fees and court-related expenses. All of this comes with a price that often has to be paid regardless of the fee arrangement. What you, as the client, do not have to pay for in a contingency fee arrangement is the attorney’s fee for the time he or she time spent on your case. Contingency fees are prohibited in certain kinds of cases, such as divorce cases, and are capped by some courts in terms of the amount of a payout or percentage an attorney can obtain. Despite this, contingency fees are a great way to structure payments for personal injury related cases. Clients who may otherwise not be able to afford a lawyer can obtain representation under…

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How Do I Know Whether I Need an Attorney After My Accident?

The experience of being in an accident is a terrifying one. The aftermath as well can be a new, overwhelming, stressful ordeal as you stumble through the slew of insurance adjusters, doctors, and lawyers. A silver lining in this otherwise bleak picture however, is that not every accident scenario requires the assistance of an attorney. How can you discern these types of scenarios and save yourself the often hefty costs of retaining legal counsel? Is Liability Being Contended? An important indicator of whether an attorney needs to be involved is the nature of the accident itself. Cases where liability is largely conceded tend to be less complex. For example, if you were involved in a car collision that was clearly not your fault and the insurance of the other driver will compensate your damages, then involving a lawyer may not be necessary. In this situation, there are few, if any, contentious issues. Retaining an attorney in this scenario will likely only work to lower your recovery amount, as you would have to pay 20-40% of your recovery amount to the attorney. Is The Compensation Offer Fair? Another important issue in the aftermath of an accident is reaching a settlement offer…

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Why am I not being compensated when I have full insurance coverage?

Although a driver may think he or she has complete coverage, there are a number of instances in which a policy may not cover the full amount of damages in a car accident. There are many different types of policies, and not having any particular one may decrease the amount you are awarded in compensation. The following FAQ explores some of the finer points of insurance coverage so you can more fully understand what different policies cover. What is underinsured motorist coverage? Under California law, any motor vehicle operating in the state must have certain minimum amounts of car insurance. The insurance must include, for example, at least $15,000 in coverage for the death or injury of another person, $30,000 for injury or death to more than one person, and $5,000 in coverage for property damage. These policies, however, are simply the minimum required amounts – any damage above this amount must be paid for at personal cost the driver who was at fault. Now, think of how much damage is in a typical traffic accident, even if no one was injured. Generally, $5,000 can barely cover a new bumper on a car, and $15,000 may be able to cover some…

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Can I Still Be Compensated for Injuries if I was Partially at Fault?

Establishing who is responsible for a personal injury is often not as easy as you might think. Many times, more than one person acted in a negligent way that caused your injury. Sometimes, even you may have contributed to your own injury through negligent behavior. Importantly, being partially at fault for your injuries does not prevent you from being compensated for your injuries. What is Negligence? Most personal injury accidents result from someone’s negligent behavior. For instance, if you are driving through an intersection and hit by someone who failed to stop at a stop light, the person who hit you was driving negligently. A person is negligent when he or she fails to behave with the same care that a person of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same situation. In order show that someone was at fault – and therefore liable – for your injury, you must show that a court that a legal duty existed to exercise reasonable care, that the person failed to exercise that care, that the harm was caused by the negligent conduct, and that the harm was within the scope of liability. Contributory Negligence If more than one person is at fault…

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Is My Lawsuit Frivolous?

Although colloquially used to describe lawsuits that seem absurd, in legal terms, the word “frivolous” is applied to claims and defenses that are illogical, groundless, or both. Frivolous lawsuits unnecessarily waste the court’s valuable time as well as the time and resources of the parties involved. There is a public misconception of concerning frivolous lawsuits, but before applying that term to any absurd lawsuit, it is important to understand what makes a lawsuit frivolous or legitimate. Frivolous Lawsuit Example: Woman vs. McDonald’s Coffee The classic and most famous example of a “frivolous lawsuit,” involves a lady and a McDonald’s coffee. Most people have heard, that a woman spilled coffee on herself because the drink was hot, decided to sue McDonalds, and received millions of dollars as a result. Contrary to popular belief, the woman did not receive “millions of dollars,” and while the premise of this lawsuit sounds frivolous, the details of this case give it legitimacy: The woman suffered third degree burns on over six percent of her body, and required skin grafts to treat her injuries. The McDonald’s coffee was served at a temperature much higher than that of a regular home-coffee brewer, the estimated temperature of 180…

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How Do I Know That the Lawyers I Hire are not “Ambulance Chasers”

“Did you hear about the lawyer hurt in the accident? An ambulance stopped suddenly!” There are no shortage of lawyer jokes, and rightly so. There are many attorneys across the country that try to capitalize on other people’s misfortunes. “Ambulance chasing,” a term used to describe attorneys that target you for representation the moment that you are injured, is one of the ways in which they do this. Although it is not unheard of to actually be chased by a lawyer while you are in an ambulance, the term also encompasses other approaches, like meeting an attorney in a doctor’s office, receiving a lawyer’s contact information from a nurse in a hospital, or receiving a phone call from an attorney at home after an accident. Now, there is nothing wrong with the attorney coming to meet you in the hospital, but this should happen only after you or a family member has contacted said attorney. Aside from “ambulance chasing” being an unseemly act, many of these attorneys will not provide you with adequate representation, nor will they put your interest first. With this in mind, here are three tips to help you avoid “ambulance chasers”: Use your instincts: Would you trust this…

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Start your recovery today

If you are hesitant to contact us about your claim, it may help you to gain an understanding of what personal injury law is, and what is is not. We are ready to help you. Whether you prefer talking on the phone, coming into our office in San Diego, or you need us to come to where you are, give us a call at 1-800-925-0723 to schedule an appointment.

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