Frequently Asked Questions

How soon must I file a lawsuit in the state of California?

California requires that an action be filed within two years of the injury.  Many people are under treatment for an injury sustained and think they cannot have an attorney file a lawsuit while under treatment.  This is not true.  You should consult an attorney to understand your rights within the two year period following the occurrence of the injury.

What happens if I am injured in an auto accident and the driver doesn’t have insurance?

If the driver of the vehicle that caused the accident does not have auto insurance, your uninsured motorist coverage is what can protect you in this situation.  Unfortunately, many insurance agents do not fully explain the importance of this type of coverage.  We find situations where our clients were only covered for $15,000 or $25,000 of uninsured motorist coverage.  Your uninsured motorist coverage is the ONLY type of coverage that will pay for medical bills, if the other driver does not have coverage.  In essence, your attorney must treat your own insurance as the liability coverage in the absence of proper coverage by the person that caused the accident.  If you don’t have coverage to protect yourself, you may fall well short of covering the total cost and suffering from the accident.

I was hit by another car, but the other driver only had the state minimum requirements of $15,000/$30,000 liability coverage.   My medical bills exceeded $70,000.  What can I do?

The other provision of auto insurance that would cover you is the under-insured portion of your insurance.  This is an extension of the uninsured portion of your auto insurance policy.  You should carry a minimum of $100,000 uninsured, or under-insured coverage.  Many people carry as much as $300,000 considering the amount of cars and drivers that are on California roads that carry little or no insurance.

What should I do if I am in an auto accident?

We recommend that you always try and have an accident report filed by an officer.  If the accident occurs on private property this may not be possible.  Always get the information on the other driver, including name, drivers license number, address, phone number, their insurance company, and the name and phone numbers of any witnesses.  If you have a camera phone, take pictures of your car, the other drivers car, and several shots the area that the accident occurred.

What should I do if I or a member of my family was bitten by a dog?

Generally, you need to find out the name of the dog owner and as much information as possible about them as possible.  If they are a homeowner, or a renter, and have liability coverage, there is a good possibility that this portion of their insurance will pay for the medical treatment, pain and suffering caused from a dog bite.

How are dog bite injuries generally treated?

The first course of treatment is to clean the wound and suture it.  This starts the healing process of the body.  However, the scar tissue generally associated with a dog bite can require extensive plastic surgery, to include reconstructive plastic surgery.  The Law Offices of Jeffrey Dawson has an extensive network of some of the best plastic surgeons in the Southern California area who have experience in this type of trauma.

How long does it take to settle a case?

A typical case may take 9 months to 24 months to obtain settlement from an insurance company.  This may be longer if the case goes to trial.  The insurance companies tend to “hold on” to the money for as long as possible.  It is important to stay with the case until it your lawyer settles it.  This delay tactic is designed to try and settle your case for a lesser amount.  The insurance companies are not your friends, and they certainly are not holding you “in good hands”.

Are there any exceptions to the time it takes to settle a case?

Every case is different.  There are situations where insurance companies will settle in a shorter amount of time.   We have found that dog bite liability injury cases tend to settle in 3 to 6 months.

What should I do if I am injured in a store?

This type of case is referred to as a premises liability case.  Any injury caused by a condition at a store, or on their property can be covered by the store’s liability insurance.  If you were injured by an object falling off of a shelf, a misplaced piece of merchandise in an aisle, or perhaps a spill that caused you to slip and fall, your medical bills, loss of work, and pain and suffering are probably covered.  It is important to take information from any witnesses, including name and phone number, and to try and photograph the object or condition that caused your injury.