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Settling a Bodily Injury Claim (California)

Los Angeles, CA |

Was involved in a car accident February of 2011, in the state of California near San Diego, was a passenger, my driver was found to be at fault.... I received a concussion, and all the things that come along with a head injury, (vision issues, headaches) and scarring which required surgery, all total bills were at 33k.

Both parties have full coverage at 100k.

Was wondering should I hire an attorney or should I settle myself.

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Attorney answers 10


Survey research over the last three years has now established that injury claims settle for an average of 50% higher when an attorney asserts the claim. It's a no-brainer. Get a lawyer.

Answering your question does not make me your lawyer. No attorney-client relationship is created until we enter into a written agreement signed by both you and I.



Based off the brief description I provided, what would be a realistic settlement with or without an attorney?

Gordon Ralph Levinson

Gordon Ralph Levinson


Honestly, to render an intelligent opinion on the case's value, I would need to interview you for about fifteen minutes. If you are sincerely interested in my input, I am available toll-free at 1.866.643.4878 now or in the morning.


Experience shows that injured car accident victims should always consult with a personal injury attorney when they are serious about maxamizing their right to recover fair compensation for their injuries. A consultation with a PI attorney should be free.

The injuries you describe sound serious and the medical bills are pretty high. You can attempt to recover from either driver, but you can discuss your options with an attorney once they learn all of the facts.

In CA, the statute of limitations for personal injuries caused by negligence is 2-years from the injury.

You can begin your search for personal injury attorneys in your area.

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It is almost certain that you will not get as much money without an attorney as you could with an attorney because you are emotionally attached to the case, and you really have no clue what you are entitled to or how to go about getting it.

My law firm handles car accident cases all over the state of California. You can read about these cases at . If you want to discuss your case, you may call me for a free consultation at 800-816-1529 x. 1.

No attorney/client relationship is or shall be created by this response on Avvo to non-clients of The Law Offices of Norman Gregory Fernandez.


As my colleagues above have said, you should hire an attorney. Insurance companies are not looking out for your best interest, so they will always be looking for ways to undercut your claim. They have the resources and to constantly give you the run around. If you have not spoken with the other parties insurance companies already, do not speak to them until you have proper counsel.

You should contact a Personal injury law firm in your area. Most firms, including my own, work on a contingency fee basis meaning we don't get paid unless we win or settle your case. And NO attorney will settle your case without your permission.


If you still have reservations, you should ask people that settled their own claims and compare it with persons that were represented. Also, you should go with an attorney that you can trust from the get-go and one that returns your phone calls right away. Good luck.

ATTORNEY DISCLAIMER TO THE ABOVE ANSWER: The information that I have provided to you is for general information purposes only and shall not be construed as legal advice for your individual circumstance. This information is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship and you should consult with an attorney in your State directly so that the attorney has the full facts, documents, and an account from other witnesses that help support your contentions. If you like my comment, please click on the thumbs-up link below.


According to a major insurance company in Pennsylvania, unrepresented parties get 11% of what they pay to represented parties, thus, you would be best served with a lawyer. Find one with a low contingency fee, less than 30%, so you get the lion's share of the settlement, not the lawyer. Search Avvo's "find a lawyer" for a personal injury lawyer and get representation.

Licensed in PA & NJ. 29% Contingency Fee. Phone: 215-510-6755


I would highly recommend you to get a personal injury lawyer. Your settlement may be much higher with an experienced lawyer. Also your lawyer could find out if there is excess Insurance or other personal liability Insurance covering your damages.

Jasmine Gevorkyan, Esq.
Gevorkyan Law Firm
Personal Injury Attorneys
818-497-8565 Free Personal Injury Consultations 24/7

The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the State of California. Responses are based solely on California law unless stated otherwise.


You NEED to find an experience attorney and call for a free consultation right away. DO NOT try to settle this on your companies (although they claim to be "on your side) will only take advantage of you. Please check out this will prove helpful:

Daniel Buttafuoco

If this information has been helpful, please indicate below. Daniel Buttafuoco has been voted BEST LAWYER five years in a row and has represented clients all over the United States. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Daniel Buttafuoco strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in order to ensure proper advice is received.


You are about to NEGOTIATE terms of a settlement with a trained insurance claims professional. They have a huge advantage over you. They have the resources of the entire insurance community behind them in formulating their settlement strategy with you. They have the benefit of having underwriters advising them how much each and every conceivable injury is worth (most injuries).

The insurance company is not in the business of giving away money. If you do not know what you are doing and 'leave money on the table', they are not going to chase after you to come back and get more money. If you don't know the rules of the game, you lose, they win.

Also, you are also responsible for insurance medical liens and to Medicare/Medi-Cal reimbursements for past payments made on your behalf. You may also have to consider Medicare's future payment if you fall under a certain group of people that are required to do a Medicare Set Aside.

Bottom line: if it is important to you, get an attorney.


You have two years from the date of injury to file a complaint against the responsible party. There is no rush to hire an attorney right now. I recommend that you first discuss the matter with the adjuster. If liability is really uncontested, you may be able to get the policy limits without hiring a lawyer.

You say that both drivers have $100,000.00 policies. Does this mean 100/300 or 50/100? In other words, is the $100,000.00 limit the "per person" amount, with a limit of $300,000.00 "per accident", or is the "per person" amount $50,000.00, with the "per accident amount" being $100,000.00. The distinction may become crucial if other persons were injured in the collision and intend to seek compensation from this policy.

While I agree with my colleagues that persons typically do much better when they hire an attorney to represent them in these cases, there are exceptions to every rule. Your case may well be the exception. You have $33,000.00 in medical bills related to the collision. Your injuries appear to be a closed head injury with probable post-concussive syndrome. If you were employed on the date of injury, you have undoubtedly lost income due to this collision, which increases your out of pocket losses. Assuming that you did not have similar symptoms before the collision, your case could easily reach the $100,000.00 policy limits. I believe that you should first demand the policy limit from the adjuster based upon your medical bills and lost income. You should also ask your doctor to outline, to the best of his/her ability, the future medical treatment and attendant costs that you are likely to incur as a result of this collision. You should then provide this information to the insurance adjuster. This will give you the best opportunity to obtain the policy limits on your own.

If you are not happy with the adjuster's offer after taking these measures, you should then contact an attorney for assistance, providing him or her with all of the information and correspondence that has been exchanged between you and the adjuster. I do not recommend that you wait longer than 6 (six) months after the accident to contact an attorney. If the adjuster is going to come up with a legitimate offer he/she will typically do so within that amount of time.

One additional caveat: if the adjuster offers the policy limits you want to get a declaration from the adjuster's insured that they are not covered under any other policy of insurance that may provide coverage in this collision. Since you were driving in the responsible party's car, I presume that you know this person personally. If so, you probably also know if this individual has income or assets that can provide you with compensation in excess of the policy limits. If they have such assets, you should contact an attorney before settling your claim since the policy will not, in all likelihood, fully compensate you for your injuries.

Finally, if the adjuster makes you an offer that you intend to accept, whether at the policy limits or not, you should talk with an attorney to see if one should be retained strictly to negotiate your health insurance liens. However, this must be done before you accept the adjuster's settlement offer, not after.

If you would like to talk about this further, I may be contacted at 951-787-9580 (office) or 951-237-0234 (cell).

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