Frequently Asked Questions
The Law Offices of Mark A. Doughty presents the following answers to questions frequently encountered in our personal injury and wrongful death practice. We represent clients in the Sacramento area and throughout Northern California who have been injured in motor vehicle accidents, from slips and falls on unsafe premises, from dangerously defective products, or from injuries incurred as a result of the negligence or wrongful conduct of another party.
Q. Who pays my medical bills if I have been in an accident?
A. In a personal injury lawsuit, you can recover for past and current medical expenses, as well as projected future expenses for long-term or permanent conditions or disabilities caused by the accident. Unfortunately, it may take months or even years to obtain and collect a verdict or settlement. Until then, you may rely on insurance to cover your expenses. If you have health insurance, you will not be absent any out-of-pocket expenses to doctors and hospitals, except for your annual deductible and co-pay amount up to the coinsurance limit (stop loss) on your policy. If you do not have health insurance, look to your vehicle, homeowner's, or any umbrella policy you may have. Your automobile or other insurance policy may contain medical payments coverage (med pay), which will compensate you for current reasonable and necessary medical expenses arising out of the accident or injury.
Q. Should I talk to the insurance company? Should I accept their offer if it seems fair?
A. When dealing directly with an insurance company, whether it is your own or the defendant's, always keep in mind that its goal is to minimize the amount it pays out as much as possible. Never expect that an insurance company will offer you an amount close to the true value of your claim. Even if an offer seems reasonable, it is in your best interests to consult with a Sacramento accident attorney before accepting an offer or entering into negotiations with an insurance company.
Q. How do I know how much my case is worth?
A. An experienced trial attorney is the best source for evaluating your claim and providing you with an estimate of its worth. There are many factors involved, including the specific facts of your case, the seriousness of your injuries, the level of negligence or misconduct involved, how much medical care you will need and what lasting injuries you may have over time. Extensive diagnostic tests may be required to fully evaluate your condition.
At the Law Offices of Mark A. Doughty, we help you to get the best care possible, and we never settle until we find out the full extent of your injuries.
Q. How long will it take before I receive a settlement?
A. Obtaining a settlement can stretch on anywhere between six months and two years, during which time extensive discovery and trial preparation take place, with negotiations going on all the while. A final settlement or verdict may take even longer, depending upon whether a full trial is necessary or not. Most cases settle prior to trial, but this should never be counted on. Diligent trial preparation is as necessary to obtaining a fair settlement as it is to winning a case at trial.
If you have further questions or require representation regarding a personal injury or wrongful death claim, contact the Law Offices of Mark A. Doughty today to speak with a qualified and experienced personal injury lawyer in Sacramento.