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Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ

We know there is much uncertainty involved with hiring a personal injury attorney.  To help answer some of your questions, we offer these frequently asked questions.

Is there a fee for the first meeting?

No, we do not charge for an initial consultation.  During our first meeting, we will go over the details of your potential case, find out about your life, and how it may be impacted by your injuries, as well as discuss the attorney fee structure, potential case costs, the legal process. We will answer any and all questions you have. We also want to make sure you are receiving adequate medical treatment.

Are there out-of-pocket costs?

No, there are no costs that you will need to pay upfront.  Any case costs (such as record copies, DMV records, expert witness fees, etc.) will be paid by our firm then subtracted from the settlement at the end of the case.  Our attorney fees are also deducted from the settlement at that time.  There are no costs to you unless and until we reach a settlement or obtain a favorable verdict at trial.

How much will my case cost?

Most of the time, we can settle a case without filing a lawsuit.  The costs associated with cases that are settled before involving the courts are lower than those that go to trial.  Case costs begin to rise when the lawsuit is filed, starting with the court filing fees and process server fees. 

Our firm has the financial resources to thoroughly prepare your case for a positive resolution, either by pre-litigation settlement or up to and including trial.  Cases that go all the way to trial have higher costs, largely due to expert witness fees.  We fully analyze each case and stay in communication with you about whether we feel the potential recovery supports the increased case costs.  Our compensation is directly tied to our performance.  If for some reason, your case does not obtain any monetary recovery, you are not obligated to pay our fees and costs.  We try to keep case costs reasonable as we want you to put as much money in your pocket as possible. On the other hand, it is a balancing act, as preparing properly for trial is sometimes expensive.

Who works on my case?

AutoAccident.com functions as a high-performing team.  You, the client, are a big part of the team and will be kept apprised of all critical events surrounding your case.  Our attorneys, case managers, and support staff have years of experience in the personal injury field and are well regarded in the legal community.  Please see our About Us section to get to know them better.  Though you may speak with one person most frequently, there is constant collaboration between attorneys, case managers, and support staff in order to ensure thorough and complete case evaluations and successful outcomes.

How long until my case is completed?

This question is frequently asked, and we wish we had a better answer than “it depends,” but that really is the honest answer.  There are so many variables associated with each case, from the dollar limits of an insurance policy to whether the assigned insurance adjuster is willing to present a reasonable settlement offer, to how long it takes for you to recover from your injuries and be declared permanent and stationary.  Given the many variables, it is not possible to estimate how long each case will take.  In a situation where we determine a lawsuit should be filed, at that point, the clock is essentially reset, and the timeline becomes dependent on the court’s schedules.  Many courts are experiencing a significant backlog due to the COVID-19 closures.  

Is there a time limit to file a lawsuit?

Yes. Every state has time limits (statutes of limitations) within which a lawsuit must be filed.  Some claims, such as those involving a public entity, have very short time limits - often only months.  That is why it is crucial that you contact us, or another attorney, as soon as possible following an injury.  In general, in cases not involving public entities, the time limit to file suit in California is two years from the date of the accident.

Will my case go to trial?

Most of our cases are settled outside of trial; in fact, the majority of our cases are settled without a lawsuit being filed.  However, if we are unable to reach an agreeable settlement, we will advise that the best course for your case is to file a lawsuit and begin preparing for trial.

My family member died. Can I bring a claim on their behalf?

Yes, depending on your familial relationship to the deceased.  

Will I be kept informed?

Absolutely.  At the very beginning of your case, you will be advised of the names and contact information for the AutoAccident.com team member(s) that will be your key contact(s) for case information.  We reach out to our clients regularly to provide case updates, and you are always encouraged to contact us with your questions by telephone or e-mail.  We will promptly respond.

How much money can I expect?

This is another question that has many variables, and especially at the beginning of a case, it is impossible to answer.  As the case unfolds, and after many unknowns become known, it may be possible to estimate an anticipated settlement range.  If the case proceeds to trial, the decision of the jury cannot be predicted.

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Client Reviews
★★★★★
"Me and my wife; had a car accident. We were amazed how easy, professional, friendly attorney Ed Smith is along with his staff. Everybody is amazing. Thank you so much, we are very impressed!" Alex & Dinah M.
★★★★★
"Ed Smith and his office team took on a difficult personal injury case on my behalf and for the passenger in my car. Ed is a top- notch attorney. His staff couldn't have been more helpful and kind. No need to look elsewhere. I give Ed Smith my highest recommendation." Beverly
★★★★★
"Ed and Robert have been taking great care of my husband and I for the past 5+ years. They are always there when you have a problem and a quick resolution! Even when the issues have nothing to do with them. They are willing to help ease the pain off your shoulders. They are as good as it gets! Thank you again for everything." Annie T.
★★★★★
"Very professional. Great team, staff and service all around. Mr Smith was very honest, straight forward with his advice. He gives the word "attorney" an honest reputation. I will seek his council anytime, and would recommend him at the drop of a dime." Jeremy M.
★★★★★
"I would highly recommend Ed Smith to any friends or family in need of a personal injury attorney. Ed, and his staff, are very caring on top of being very experienced in this field. The staff always keeps you informed of the status of your case and they are always easy to reach by phone." Shannon D.
★★★★★
"Edward Smith law offices provide competent, thorough, and personable help for victims of personal injury. When you first meet the staff you know you contacted the right office. This law office treats clients like people. I recommend this office to anyone seeking representation regarding personal injury." David M.