Frequently Asked Questions
Do I have a case?
If you have been injured on the job, you have a right to workers’ compensation. If you have been injured due to someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, you deserve a settlement.
Why do I need a lawyer?
When you’ve been injured, you need to focus on healing and feeling well again. Your lawyer is there to ensure that you receive the benefits you are entitled to that can help speed your recovery and make up for time or money lost due to the injury. We know the ins and outs of how to make the legal system work to your advantage, and are here to fight on your behalf.
Why is it important to speak to an attorney immediately after being injured?
When you engage an attorney right away, your attorney is able to look out for your best interest. We work to get you the maximum coverage possible from insurance companies, and help you avoid mistakes that might compromise your claim.
Why hire Alan H. Fenton, PC?
For over 25 years, our integrity of purpose and depth of experience have yielded successful results for clients. We value each client and respect that every case requires a different, personalized approach. At our firm, we take the time to listen respectfully, learning how each person has been impacted by the incident we are addressing. We build successful relationships with our clients, and we understand how to make each individual we represent feel constantly informed and attended to. We understand that the relationship between lawyer and client is just as important as our practical experience in producing successful case outcomes.
We are here to provide you with all the assistance and information you need. To schedule a free consultation, call our Santa Barbara, California, office today at 805-568-1800 or reach out online with a brief explanation of your circumstances.
What is personal injury?
Personal injury is a legal term for an injury resulting in a person’s physical, mental, or emotional damage, as opposed to an injury resulting in property damage. Because the same type of injury may be inflicted by severely different circumstances, such as a car accident and a manufacturing defect, each claim is unique, and compensation may be awarded based on completely different facts and circumstances. From minor injuries to severe and even fatal injuries, our firm has the qualifications and experience to help you secure maximum legal compensation for personal losses.
What is negligence?
Negligence is a legal term referring to what actions or inactions a reasonable person would take under the same or similar circumstances. The term is therefore open to interpretation in a civil case by a judge or jury. While certain actions, such as using a deadly weapon in a crowd, are easy to identify as negligence, other actions, such as unsafe driving behavior, may be more complicated and dependent upon the actions of other people. Because negligence is a complex term to define, insurance companies will often attempt to avoid paying injured claimants their maximum compensation. This is why you should seek an experienced personal injury lawyer.
What is liability?
Liability is a legal term referring to where the responsibility lies in a civil case. The injured party must successfully prove that the defendant’s negligence caused their injuries in order to be awarded compensation. For instance, while driving under the influence is illegal, it does not automatically assign liability to the defendant. However, if the person is then involved in a car accident, they may be liable for damages and injuries caused in the accident, because a reasonable person would not drive under the influence.
Can I file a claim for someone else?
In order to file a claim on another person’s behalf, you must be the legal guardian of a person under 18, or have a legally recognized relationship with a person who is incapacitated, disabled, or dead. This can include a person filing on behalf of their child, parent, or spouse, or through a power of attorney or conservatorship.
What are statutes of limitations?
Statutes of limitations are laws that set maximum time limits in which legal action may be initiated after an incident. Because these limitations vary on a case by case basis, you should not hesitate to pursue legal remedies. This requirement is generally known as the “statute of limitations.” If you fail to file your claim within the statute of limitations you may be forever barred from bringing your claim, regardless of the merit of your claim. Therefore, even if you do not think you will be bringing a lawsuit, consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney is essential to determine if any action should be taken to preserve your potential claim.
How much compensation will I be awarded?
Because each personal injury case is unique and affects each involved person differently, there is no easy answer. With this in mind, our firm works to maximize the compensation awarded to each client by forming a complete picture of how their lives have been altered by the incident. By working with experts including medical and financial specialists, we will develop as accurate of a case as possible, and develop a fair monetary value for both material and non-material losses.
Why can’t I represent myself?
Insurance companies are, by nature, for-profit. They attempt to honor as few claims as possible and compensate the minimum amount possible in each case. This is accomplished through complex insurance contracts that are difficult for policyholders to understand. Insurance companies will minimize damages by being overly compassionate in an attempt to settle quickly. They may also try to intimidate claimants with an “all or nothing” offer. Additionally, in California, insurance companies can often significantly reduce their potential liability before the case officially begins by getting claimants to talk before they’ve hired legal counsel. For this reason, it is imperative to hire an experienced personal attorney before speaking to your insurance company.