Questions & Answers

WHY IS A LAWYER NECESSARY?

The law requires the injured party to prove fault and damages against the at fault party. The defense of the at fault party is taken over by the insurance carrier and their lawyers – all trained professionals whose sole task is to reduce the value of your claim.
Your lawyer takes on the burden of proving your case. Robert E. Barnett and his associates investigate, gather data, evaluate complicated liability rules relating to the fault of all parties concerned, and advise you on the most reasonable action to pursue your claim. Mr. Barnett is experienced in evaluating damage issues pertaining to loss of income, pain and suffering, and all claim-related injuries. He handles lien claims from MediCal, Kaiser, other medical payment providers, and workers’ compensation. Mr. Barnett tracks the strict time deadlines involved and files the legal papers necessary to preserve your case. The expertise, knowledge and experience of Mr. Barnett and his associates provide a team approach to representation in your case. You are no longer alone to face the demands for proof by the insurance company and their lawyers and adjusters.

IS THERE A CASE?

To determine whether there are sufficient grounds to proceed with legal action, we will consider the evidence available. We will honestly evaluate the potential for financial recovery, and explain the applicable rules to you.

WHO IS THE ADVERSARY?
(Opponent)?

Usually the insurance company who represents the responsible party (defendant) is your opponent. While the insurance company adjusters are frequently friendly, you must understand that their goal is to settle your claim as quickly and cheaply as possible. Their goal is to defeat all or part of your claim if they can.

HOW SOON SHOULD I SEE A LAWYER?

Right away! The first task is an investigation to document and prove a claim. In an auto case, photograph of the vehicles and the collision site must be taken before this evidence disappears. Also statements of witnesses must be taken while memories are still fresh. Equally important is the photographing of injuries and documentation of medical treatment to prove what you have had to endure.
An expert may need to be consulted and is more effective if able to view and study the fresh, original evidence.
Frequently, photographs of the automobile involved in the accident need to be preserved, and can sometimes prove to be the deciding factor later in a case. For example, in a major truck collision case, recently won by Robert Barnett’s office, the opponent was at the scene within an hour of the collision. Luckily for our client, an independent photographer took pictures that were not obtained by the opponent, which proved the defendant was at fault.

IS OUR FIRM LARGE ENOUGH TO HANDLE A MAJOR CASE?

Yes, Usually the attorney pays the costs of the case and is reimbursed when the case settles. (Technically, these costs are considered a loan to the client.) The Barnett Law Firm has sufficient economic resources to pay for whatever investigation, experts, or resources are necessary to prove the case. Our staff is well qualified and compares to any of the work units in major law firms in Sacramento or San Francisco. Associate attorneys who are trained specialists in the personal injury field are part of the staff that works on each case.
Mr. Barnett and his staff have over 70 years of experience in successful representation of individuals in personal injury matters.

A SUBSTANTIAL AMOUNT OF LEGAL, FACTUAL AND MEDICAL RESEARCH IS COMPILED BEFORE ANY DECISIONS ARE MADE. NO CASE IS SETTLED WITHOUT YOUR CONSENT.

HOW IS THE AMOUNT OF THE SETTLEMENT DETERMINED?

This amount cannot be determined until all fault issues are concluded and the injuries are determined permanent or healed. All medical records must be obtained, all factual information gathered, and applicable legal research performed. At this point we assess the provability of the case, the conclusions of the experts and investigation, the nature of the injuries, the disabilities, the amount of the past and likely future medical bills, the lost wages, and all other factors relevant to the effect of this injury on our client. Then we research other similar claims that have been settled or tried, and use our experience and judgment to measure these factors and set a fair settlement amount.
The next step is to persuade the opponent to accept this figure. The lawyer’s ability as a negotiator and his reputation in this field for success in this field are crucial factors that will affect the ultimate outcome of the case.

IS THE CLIENT’S SHARE OF THE SETTLEMENT, AFTER COSTS AND FEES SUBJECT TO INCOME TAX?
No.
IF YOU TAKE THE CASE. WHAT IS THE FEE?

Our fee is a percentage of the recovery, if there is one, otherwise no fee is charged. We pay the costs to prove the case and are reimbursed when the case is over. A signed agreement is used to make the terms clear. Usually the fee is less if the case is settled in the early stages of the case, because the lawyer’s time and investment in the case are usually less then. We do not accept every case. Unusual cases may be subject to special arrangements.


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Barnett & Bennett Law Firm

712 Empire Street,
Fairfield, CA 94533

P: 707.425.0671