Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q. What do I do if I have been injured and I am interested in discussing my case with an attorney?
A. After you have commenced treatment and are in a position to safely begin meeting with an attorney, gather information and documents regarding your injury, including your medical care. For instance, accident reports and witness statements are important documents to provide to your attorney. Additionally, maintaining a list of your healthcare providers (which you should keep updated) will also be helpful. Furthermore, it may be helpful to take photographs of your injuries.
Q. What do I do if I have been sued for TCPA violations?
A. Be mindful of the fact that after a lawsuit has been filed against you, the plaintiff will usually then attempt to effectuate service of process, which means the plaintiff will attempt to formally provide you with copies of the lawsuit papers, often times, but not always, via personal service through a process server. Strict deadlines are usually triggered with the date of service (i.e. the date you receive copies of the lawsuit papers). It is essential that you speak with a lawyer as quickly as possible to ensure that your lawyer has sufficient time to timely appear in the lawsuit on your behalf.
Q. Why are medical records important in personal injury lawsuits?
A. Medical records are important in personal injury lawsuits because the documents outline the treatment you have received for your injuries. The documents often note prescription medication and referrals to other treatment provides, as well as a medical recommendation concerning further care or treatment.
Q. What is a Statute of Limitations?
A. A Statute of Limitations prescribes the time within which you are required to bring a claim before your claim is deemed barred or waived. Statutes of Limitations vary according to the type of claim involved.
Q. What is negligence?
A. A negligence claim may arise where a person or company is negligent, resulting in harm to another and the negligence of the offending party was a substantial factor in causing the victim’s harm.
Q. Are contracts always enforceable?
A. No. There are a number of defenses that a party can assert in the context of a contract, allowing a party to potentially circumvent a contract. For instance, some defenses include undue influence, fraud, duress, mistake and novation, to name only a few.
Q. How do lawyers charge their clients?
A. There are a number of ways in which attorneys structure their fees. The two simplest include hourly and contingency billing arrangements. First, hourly billing involves an attorney charging his/her client on an hourly basis according to a pre-set hourly fee. Second, contingency billing is where an attorney retains a portion of the proceeds the attorney obtains as the client’s recovery. The contingency sum is typically agreed to in advance and is often described as a percentage or fraction of the total recovery the attorney obtains on the client’s behalf.
Q. What is the difference between a civil lawyer and a criminal lawyer?
A. Civil lawyers are involved in representing clients in civil lawsuits that generally involve money damages or even equitable relief (like injunctions), whereas criminal lawyers prosecute or defend cases where a defendant is accused of criminal wrongdoing. While criminal proceedings can involve a monetary component (like a fine), civil lawsuits tend to almost always involve money damages, where one party is attempting to recover money from another.
Q. What does premises liability mean?
A. Premises liability is basically the body of law that pertains to injuries a person sustains while on (or even around) the property that another person owns, leases, occupies or controls. By extension, a premises liability lawsuit is a case that involves claims for damages arising out of another’s ownership, lease, occupancy or control of real property (e.g. land or a building).
Q. Does California law protect my right to privacy?
A. Yes, California provides several causes of action that allow a person to recover money when their privacy is breached, including for example, intrusion into private affairs, public disclosure of private facts and false light.
Q. What are the phases of civil litigation?
A. Civil litigation generally begins with the filing of a lawsuit. Defendants are required to then formally appear in the lawsuit. Following initial investigation, the parties enter the written discovery phase, followed by depositions (of parties, witnesses, experts), motions and eventually trial.
Q. What is discovery?
A. Discovery consists of fact finding, identifying witnesses and collecting evidence (or more specifically) items which may eventually become evidence in a case. Written discovery, for example, consists of questions that are asked of a party, which the receiving party must respond to in writing. Depositions, on the other hand, are a subset of discovery, and involve in-person questions and answers.
Q. What is the difference between trial, mediation and arbitration?
A. Trials are the culmination of the filing of a lawsuit, wherein a Court hears the parties’ arguments, reviews the evidence and makes a determination. Trial can be bench trials (involving only a Judge) or jury trials (involving a Judge and jury). Mediation, however, is a form of alternative dispute resolution (or ADR) which is used by parties in order to try and reach a resolution of a lawsuit prior to trial. Arbitration, on the other hand, consists of a lawsuit or claim filed before an arbitration tribunal, as opposed to a Court. Arbitrations tend to move quicker than lawsuits filed in Court and begin with a demand for arbitration.
Q. What is a deposition?
A. A deposition is a proceeding that consists of attorneys, a court reporter and the deponent. A videographer may also be present. The deponent is the witness or other person whose testimony is obtained during the deposition. The deposing counsel takes the deposition, while the opposing attorney generally defends the deposition. There are a variety of depositions ranging from party depositions to third-party witness depositions.
Q. What is a person most knowledgeable?
A. A person most knowledgeable (or PMK) is a person designated on behalf of a corporate entity who is able to testify regarding one or more categories of information. As corporate entities cannot speak for themselves, a PMK is designated in order to answer questions during a deposition on behalf of the corporate entity.