Frequently Asked Question
Personal Injury & Single Event: Auto Accident and General Injury (also applies to most PI cases in general)
It costs nothing to hire a Personal Injury attorney. At Gomez Trial Attorneys, we offer free consultations to evaluate each individual case. We operate on a contingency fee basis, which means that we only get paid if you win or settle and charge a percentage of the awarded amount at the conclusion of your case.
It can be very difficult to know if you have a case. At Gomez Trial Attorneys, we offer free consultations with experienced Personal Injury attorneys. During the consultation, an experienced attorney will go over your case with you. These consultations are free with no commitment required.
Dealing with insurance adjusters can be very difficult following a serious incident. Hiring an experienced Personal Injury attorney can help mitigate this stress. An experienced Personal Injury attorney at GTA can help you evaluate your damages and fight for your compensation. If you do not have an attorney when an adjuster reaches out, do not panic. If you are in the process of hiring an attorney, then tell the adjuster that you will follow-up once you have retained counsel. If you do not want to retain counsel, it is best to have all the correct information for your claim before you begin negotiating with any insurance adjuster.
There are two categories of damages in a Personal Injury action: economic damages and non-economic damages. Non-economic damages reflect pain and suffering, while economic damages reflect economic costs such as medical expenses, lost earnings, lost earning potential, property damage, and other out of pocket costs associated with the injury. A knowledgeable Personal Injury attorney will know how to best maximize damages to provide fair compensation to their injured client.
|One of the most common questions that many potential clients ask is “What is my case worth?” The common answer for this question is “It truly depends.” No Personal Injury claim is the same, therefore this can mean a wide range of numbers when it comes to case worth. Personal Injury claims are based on sustained injuries that were a result of the defendant’s negligence. Although it is hard to predict cost of treatment, there are other factors that play a role in a Personal Injury claim, including the strength of the plaintiff’s claim, the strength of the evidence supporting plaintiff’s claim, if the plaintiff has any fault of their own, etc. Thus, a Personal Injury case can be worth a wide range when it comes to the final settlement/judgment entered in a plaintiff’s favor. There are two types of damages that may be awarded in a Personal Injury case: economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages mean the damages that you paid out-of-pocket. These costs are easily calculated because they are the specific amount that you paid for services such as medical bills, lost earnings, any prescriptions, etc. Non-economic damages are more difficult to define. However, usually these damages will include all of the emotional and psychological trauma that you have experienced as a result of the incident. Although these damages are more difficult to calculate, the amount depends heavily on evidence and the severity of the accident. These damages most commonly include pain and suffering, disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life, etc.|
It depends. Settlement can occur at any point in the life of a case either before or after filing suit. However, some situations lead to quicker settlements. For example, in claims where the injuries are minor or the liability on the opposing party is clear, settlement is more likely to occur. These cases resolve faster because, as a defendant, going to trial would be riskier and more expensive than settlement. In cases where the damages are enormous, or the liability is questionable, defendants have more incentive to not settle the case. In these situations, a settlement can be prolonged or foregone entirely, allowing the case to proceed to trial.
It depends. At GTA, we are trial attorneys who are ready and willing to take any case to trial to protect our client’s rights and interests. However, some cases do not make it to trial because they are settled, which means that you and the defendant have agreed upon an amount to resolve the matter. When to settle and for what amount is entirely up to the client.
|Hiring an attorney for a Personal Injury claim can help you as a plaintiff in many ways. An attorney can evaluate all the types of damages that you may deserve based on your injuries suffered. An attorney will advise a potential client on the possible damages that he or she may be entitled to recover, such as medical bills, pain and suffering, loss of earnings, and more. If you try pursuing your claim without an experienced Personal Injury attorney, you may miss out on recovering for damages that you are entitled to. Thus, you may lose out on the compensation you deserve. Therefore, it is beneficial to reach out to an experienced Personal Injury attorney in order to be justly compensated for your injuries. After suffering injuries related to an accident, the last thing many people want to do is negotiate with the responsible party. An experienced Personal Injury attorney is able to handle all of the communications between the responsible party on your behalf. Speaking with the responsible party can be difficult and stressful, thus hiring an attorney to act on your behalf is beneficial because they know what questions to ask and how to respond in order to progress your case. For someone who has never had experience with legal documents, it can be very difficult to understand what exactly is going on in his or her case. Court documents are critically important to each and every Personal Injury case. These documents must have as few mistakes as possible and plead all possible causes of action. An experienced Personal Injury attorney has the knowledge and capability to prepare and complete these court documents while avoiding mistakes. On the chance that your claim goes to trial, it is beneficial to have an experienced Personal Injury attorney act on your behalf. An attorney knows the ins and outs of trial preparation and the courtroom. For someone who does not have much legal experience or experience in the courtroom, this can be a very daunting task. An attorney has experience in the courtroom and is able to complete tasks that are involved with litigating a case, such as jury selection, opening and closing arguments, evidence presentation, witness questioning, expert testimony, and more.|
In California, a medical lien is a legally binding contract with a health care provider that agrees to perform their services with the understanding that payment will be made after you resolve your Personal Injury claim. By agreeing to a medical lien, the health care provider performs their services without expecting immediate payment. The provider receives their payment once you receive a settlement or a court award. If you do not win your case, you will owe the health care provider for their services. However, your attorney will likely be able to negotiate a reduction of your bill or a payment plan.
|A statute of limitations is a set deadline for filing various Personal Injury lawsuits. In California the statute of limitations for a Personal Injury claim is two years, which includes motor vehicle accidents, dog attacks or bites, slip and falls, wrongful death cases, and produce liability claims.|
|Under the Personal Injury laws of California, a victim of an accident is entitled to reimbursement of medical expenses from the party who caused the accident. However, these expenses are not paid as you incur the costs. Instead, your expenses are included in the settlement amount received for the accident. Until the claim is resolved, you are responsible for the payment of all expenses. If you have health insurance coverage, your health insurance will likely cover the medical expenses from the accident. However, you remain responsible for any copays and deductibles. Additionally, your health insurance company will expect reimbursement of any medical expenses it covered related to the accident when you receive your settlement award.|
Generally, there are no damages caps in California for Personal Injury lawsuits. This means that there is no upper limit to how much money a plaintiff can receive for their claim. However, for non-economic damages in medical malpractice lawsuits, Plaintiffs can recover up to $250,000. Non-economic damages are for intangible losses the plaintiff has faced because of their injury, such as pain and suffering.
Proving fault in California depends on your claim. It generally requires that the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty, breach of said duty, that breach of duty caused injury to the plaintiff, and that the plaintiff accrued damages. It can be difficult to determine fault in a case. During our free consultation, an attorney can help you determine your claim, and potential liability. Here at GTA, our attorneys can evaluate your claim to see if you are at fault or partially at fault. California is a pure comparative negligence state. This means that an individual is only responsible for the percentage of fault attributed to their actions. So, if you are at partially at fault, you may still be entitled to compensation for the other party’s comparative fault. Even if you are partially at fault, GTA will fight for your compensation. Speaking with an experienced Personal Injury attorney at GTA can help determine if you are at fault or partially at fault.
There is never a guarantee that going to trial will get an individual more money than a settlement. When deciding to take a case to trial, it is important to have an experienced Personal Injury attorney. It is important to look all the facts in your case to determine if it is best to go to trial. There are many factors to consider when deciding to take a case to trial. Here at GTA, we are ready and willing to take any case to trial.
Technically speaking, you do not need a lawyer to file a lawsuit; individuals may represent themselves in legal proceedings and be considered a “pro se” litigant. However, it is very risky to proceed without an attorney and your interests will likely not be best represented. Even if your case appears simple at the beginning, there is much more going on than you may realize, and things can become complicated quickly. The legal system is complex and nuanced, with many deadlines and procedures that must be closely followed. Thus, it is in your best interest to retain a licensed attorney that is experienced in litigation.
The best way to choose a Personal Injury lawyer is to find someone that you can trust to handle your case. This process is all about meeting with Personal Injury attorneys and getting a feel for who they are as a person and whether their interests align with yours. It is all a matter of personal preference.
The best time to reach out to a Personal Injury attorney after an accident is as soon as possible. The earlier you get in touch with an attorney and obtain representation the better because the attorney will be more effective in obtaining evidence and getting your claim resolved.
Yes, you can see your own doctor. There is no requirement to see an attorney-appointed doctor, nor is there a limit on how many doctors you can see after an accident. It is important for you to see a doctor after an accident and have them examine you, so your injuries are documented, and you receive the care that you need.
No. Our attorneys work on a contingency fee, which means that we receive a percentage of the final settlement or court award. Prior to taking your case, our attorneys carefully evaluate your claim to determine the likelihood of a successful outcome. If there is no settlement or court award, you are not responsible for any attorney’s fees or costs. Our team looks at different elements of your claim, and whether we can provide services that will prove valuable to you as you pursue compensation. Our goal is to obtain the best outcome in your case and maximize your payout.
A Personal Injury claim can be filed by anyone 18 years or older. In California, any adult (over the age of 18 years) can file a Personal Injury lawsuit on behalf of someone else if they have the requisite relationship. Examples of a requisite relationship include: child’s parent or legal guardian, power of attorney, decedent’s spouse, child, grandchild, or parent, or anyone “dependent” on the decedent.
The person who is found to be at fault for the incident will likely have to pay increased insurance premiums depending on the severity of the incident. However, the other person does not have to pay for the accident themselves. Rather, the other person’s insurance company would be responsible for compensating you.
California law requires all drivers to carry a minimum insurance policy of $15,000. However, some parties do not abide by this law and do not carry insurance, or your injuries exceed this minimum amount. Because of the uncertainty that arises when dealing with uninsured or underinsured parties, it’s important to have uninsured/underinsured insurance (UIM) coverage with your insurance provider. Every case is different and a knowledgeable Personal Injury attorney can help you receive the best available compensation for injuries sustained at the hands of an uninsured or underinsured party.
Generally, our firm does not take on cases for emotional distress without physical injuries. However, with a related physical injury, you may have a claim for emotional distress. You may have a claim for emotional distress if you are able to prove that the person who injured you acted negligently, their negligence was the cause of your emotional distress, and you suffered actual emotional harm.
In a Personal Injury action, your attorney will handle most matters that arise without any involvement from you. However, your involvement is necessary to update the attorney about your medical treatment; reply to settlement offers; be deposed; and if the case reaches trial, you may be required to attend and testify in front of the court. However, we hope to help you focus on healing while your attorney handles the necessary work to bring you fair compensation for your injuries.
The first step is speaking with a Personal Injury lawyer. The initial consultation is where you as the potential client will be able to ask all questions you may have as well as hearing the experienced Personal Injury attorney’s perspective on your potential case. An initial consultation is the first of the steps within a Personal Injury suit, this is when you will speak about fees or payments, damages, causes of action, and much more. After speaking with an attorney, the attorney will then begin to help investigate your case, serve the necessary documents, and file the appropriate court documents. This step contains all important aspects of the pre-litigation stage, such as drafting and sending a demand letter, requesting billing and medical records, investigating causes of the accident, and much more. Following the pre-litigation phase, some cases will enter the trial phase. It is very rare for a case to go to trial, thus most times a case will settle in the pre-litigation phase. However, if your case does not settle during pre-litigation, you will then begin the litigation process. Your attorney will then begin and complete legal court documents, including a complaint, summons, and any discovery. Trial can be a long and difficult process, but the process is made easier with an experienced trial attorney because they know how to draft and file the correct documents, motions, discovery, and much more. The last phase in a Personal Injury case is the settlement or post-trial phase. Most cases do not make it into the courtroom, thus whether you are in the pre-litigation phase or in the litigation phase you will eventually end in the settlement or post-trial phase. Most cases will settle before the case gets brought to court, thus skipping the trial step. During a settlement, the defendant will agree to compensate the plaintiff. This process usually starts by sending a demand to the defendant for compensation. The defendant will then answer with an offer. After there has been a demand with a reply, there will usually be more negotiations that take place in order to ensure adequate compensation for your Personal Injury case. If your case does go to trial and the court enters a verdict in your favor, then it is up to the court to determine how much compensation is reasonable based on the claim being brought. This will be based on the evidence presented, questioning of witnesses, allocation of fault, and much more. A case in court can be a long process, however it may be necessary if the defendant does not reply to the demand with an adequate amount of compensation. This last phase is usually the last step to the high reward of compensation.
Slip & Fall / Premise Liability Specific
Photos are a very compelling type of evidence used at trial. If you are unable to obtain photos of the location of the fall, then photos of your physical injury would suffice. Police reports, eyewitness statements, medical reports, security camera recordings, and photos of your injury are all helpful tools to prove, and win, your personal injury claim.
In most cases, it is necessary to fill out an incident report. Especially in slip & fall incidents on the property of a business, government agency, or any other incorporated company, it is required that an incident report be completed. An incident report is documented proof that an accident occurred and is used to protect your legal rights to recover for personal injury.
Mass Torts (General)
A mass tort action is a more personalized experience than a class action lawsuit. Class action lawsuits allow one person to file an action on behalf of a harmed “class,” meanwhile in mass tort lawsuits, each individual must file his/her own action. These individual actions are then consolidated into one court so that information can be shared easily between litigants. Individual litigants in a mass tort action can decide how their case will proceed and whether to settle or go to trial. Whereas, in class action, any decision made by one litigant applies to the rest of the class. Everyone in a class action lawsuit receives the same amount of compensation. However, in mass tort cases, plaintiffs are compensated based on their unique injuries and harm.
It depends. Since every case has individual circumstances, it is hard to predict. Some cases settle within a few weeks, and other cases last for years if they are more complicated and harder to resolve. Multiple factors can influence how long your case can last including whether the defendant is willing to settle and cooperate, whether expert witness testimony is required, how many litigants there are, if medical revisions must occur, compensation value, and more.
It depends on who the defendant is but many of our mass tort cases are against prominent drug and medical device manufacturers, other large corporations, or the government. Given their size and success, we rarely see defendants run out of money.
This is a mass tort case. A mass tort action is triggered by an act or omission that harms numerous people, such as groundwater contamination. The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 permits military veterans to file lawsuits if they were harmed by a thirty day exposure or more to water at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.
- Received a webinar Word Document from Paul Starita with details about the Camp LeJeune suits.
The Camp LeJeune Justice Act of 2022 was signed into law by President Biden on August 10th, 2022. It is included in the “Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act of 2022,” which amends various VA authorities in relation to health care and benefits to address the impact and effects of harmful environmental exposures that occurred during military service; human resource matters; and medical facility leases.
The Camp LeJeune Justice Act of 2022 allows military veterans to file civil lawsuits against the United States Government for harm caused by at least thirty days of exposure, including exposure in utero, to water at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina somewhere within the timeframe of August 1, 1953 to December 31, 1987.
Medical and/or on-base housing information are essential when filing this suit. If you are a Marine Corps or Navy retiree and do not have your medical records in particular, you can receive these documents by contacting the National Personnel Records Center.
The National Personnel Records Center, Military Personnel Records (NPRC-MPR) is the repository for personnel, health, and medical records of discharged and deceased veterans of all branches and services while they were in the military. NPRC-MPR also stores medical treatment records of retirees from all branches and services, as well as records for dependents and other persons treated at naval medical facilities. Information from these records is made available upon written request (with dated signature). Requests must contain sufficient information to locate the record such as: complete name as it appears on the service records, service number or social security number, branch of service, and dates of service.
GTA Specific Questions
Gomez Trial Attorneys began in 2005 with two employees, and now, seventeen years later, has approximately eighty employees.
John Gomez does not personally handle all cases, but he will always be available as a point of contact. He gives his personal cell phone number to every client of Gomez Trial Attorneys.
At GTA, being trial attorneys means that we are ready and willing to take your case to trial.
What makes GTA the best is that we always strive to put forth the best in everything we do. Whether someone’s role here is answering the phones, sorting the mail, or litigating cases, all GTA employees put forth effort daily to be the best. We provide top notch customer service, continue learning regularly, and achieve great results for our clients.
In an at-will employment relationship, either the employer or employee can terminate the agreement at any time, for any legal reason, with or without cause. Illegal termination includes retaliation and any termination based on illegal discrimination.
Illegal discrimination occurs when an employer treats an employee differently, or even less favorably, for illegal reasons. Those illegal reasons include:
- unfair treatment and harassment based on membership of a ‘protected class,’
- denial of a reasonable workplace change requested because of religion or disability,
- improper questions about medical information, or
any retaliation against an employee for exercising their rights in the workplace (e.g. submitting a harassment claim, reporting fraudulent activity, participating in an investigation, etc.).
The protected categories under California law include:
- age (40 and over),
- ancestry and national origin,
- sex and gender,
- race and color,
- religion and creed,
- disability (mental and physical),
- sexual orientation, gender identity and expression,
- medical condition (including pregnancy and related medical conditions),
- genetic information,
- marital status, and
military or veteran status.
If you complained about unlawful conduct in the workplace and your employer has punished you for doing so, you have been subjected to workplace retaliation. Retaliation occurs when an employer takes an ‘adverse employment action’ against an employee because the employee exercised their legal rights. Those rights can include submitting a harassment claim, complaining, participating in an investigation, reporting a safety code violation, reporting fraudulent activity, taking family leave for pregnancy, etc. An ‘adverse employment action’ can include:
· salary reduction,
· exclusion from staff meetings,
· unjust negative employment reviews,
· denying an employee a promotion, or
· creating a hostile work environment to force the employee to quit.
There are strict limits on what your employer can fire you for, even in an at-will employment agreement. Even if your employer had cause, you could have a claim for wrongful termination if any unlawful reason was a ‘substantial motivation’ for your termination. Those unlawful reasons include termination because of an employee’s:
- membership in a protected class,
- refusal to commit an unlawful act,
- exercise of their legal rights (i.e. filing a worker’s compensation claim, reporting wage theft, participating in an investigation, etc.),
- taking protected family time off, or
taking sick leave.
For every 4 hours you work, your employer must give you a 10-minute rest break. If you work more than 5 hours in a day, your employer must give you a 30-minute meal break during which you are free to leave the premises before the end of the 5th hour. Each break must be entirely free of any work duties, and your employer must pay you for a full hour of work for every mandatory break you did not receive.
It is never legal for an employer to make a non-exempt employee work off the clock, even if they are salaried, and even if the employer doesn’t explicitly order them to. Employers are even prohibited from allowing employees to clock in for necessary before- or after-shift work, or simply assigning more tasks than is possible to complete in your compensated hours. If you can show that you performed any uncompensated work for an employer that stood idly by while they knew or should have known you were performing the work, you can successfully sue for back pay. Violations include requiring employees to work through their breaks or to do necessary paperwork or sidework outside of their shifts.
Any employee in California must be paid overtime, unless they are an ‘exempt’ employee. Non-exempt, regular employees – even if they don’t get paid hourly – must be paid:
-150% of their regular compensation when they work more than 8 hours in a workday, or 40 hours in a workweek, and
-200% of their regular compensation when they work more than 12 hours in a workday, or 8 hours on their seventh consecutive workday.
Generally, employees are only exempt from overtime if they earn at least $58,240 annually, and they spend most of their time at work doing intellectual, managerial, or creative tasks which require the exercise of discretion and independent judgment. A typical exempt employee might be a store manager, an engineer, or an outside sales representative. However, your title, listed job responsibilities, or even an agreement with an employer that you are ‘exempt’ does not mean that you are exempt from overtime requirements. Many employers misclassify employees who should be paid overtime and eligibility depends on the facts of your situation.
If an employer has more than five employees, they are required to accommodate physical or mental disabilities. An employer must provide reasonable accommodation to apply for jobs and to perform essential job functions, unless it would cause an undue hardship on the employer. Reasonable accommodations can include changing job duties or work schedules, providing mechanical aids, or reassignment to a vacant position.
It is unlawful for an employer to fail to engage in a timely, good faith, interactive process with an individual seeking accommodation. The point of the process is to remove barriers that keep people from performing jobs that they could do with some form of accommodation.
Sexual harassment is any negative, inappropriate, or unwanted conduct directed at a worker because of their sex or gender. California law protects against a broad range of behaviors that can constitute sexual harassment, ranging from conditioning employment benefits on tolerance of unwelcome sexual advances, to the creation of a sex-based hostile work environment.
Generally, successful sexual harassment cases require either:
- the exchange of a job-related benefit for submission to or toleration of unwelcome sexual advances. Merely hinting at a job benefit in exchange for sexual favors can constitute sexual harassment, or
a workplace with sex-based intimidation, ridicule, or insults that are severe or pervasive enough to create a hostile or abusive work environment.
No, sexual acts are NOT required for sexual harassment in the workplace; sexually harassing conduct need not be motivated by sexual desire at all. California sexual harassment law protects employees against any kind of harassment based on sex, gender, pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.
Sexual harassment can be everything from sexually explicit discussions or content in the workplace to pervasive sexual favoritism. Any suggestion of an exchange of favors is sexual harassment.
A hostile work environment is essentially workplace bullying severe enough to create a legal cause of action. It is usually created by harassment, based on any protected characteristic, that is either severe or pervasive enough that an employee reasonably believes the work environment to be abusive. What constitutes a hostile work environment depends on the social context of any given workplace, but factors that can determine whether a hostile environment has been created include:
- the frequency of the conduct;
- its severity;
- whether it is physically threatening or humiliating, or ‘merely’ offensive; and
whether it unreasonably interferes with an employee’s work performance.
Our Process... Easy as 1. 2. 3!
We will determine your case and submit
We get to work
You will get regular update from us
Collect your compensation
“John helped me find doctors, he referred me to his neurologist, his physical therapist, I mean, anything I needed he was right there, every step of the way. I couldn’t have asked for a better result from all of this, I would absolutely recommend Gomez Trial Attorneys.”
“During the time I was working with Gomez Trial Attorneys, they treated me very, very well. 100% of the time, they believed me, and they were very compassionate. They felt sorry for what happened and they understood the therapy process.”
“They held my hand the whole time and kept me in the loop every aspect of my case which was very refreshing to me. They helped me get my settlement offer as fast as possible and I was able to keep my farm”
“The Gomez experience was the best experience it could be for me really, only positive things to say. They really were there every step if the way. Thanks to Gomez Trial Attorneys my dad is able to support my family as a single father”
“He opened the door for me to join his firm to help other brain Injury survivors and I never met another firm who is like this who was so understanding and caring who took the extra step and walked the extra mile with their clients and this is the best”
“I am very satisfied with the outcome with Gomez and I would definitely recommend Gomez to anybody, we tell people all the time, Get Gomez! They are really thorough with everything and they make you feel real comfortable.”
“Just helped us through, guided us through, I kept notes all those years, we had questions all the time and they would always keep us informed of what was going on. They just unlayered it, layer by layer, I’ve never seen anything like them. Thank God for them.”