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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Q:Why should I hire a personal injury attorney?

    A:Simply put, a talented personal injury attorney will increase the amount and certainty of the monetary compensation you receive for your injuries. While insurance companies might cover some of the costs associated with treating the injuries you sustained, any proposed compensation usually does not extend beyond the initial costs. Some injuries can leave you with a lifetime of difficulties including pain and discomfort. You should be compensated for these hardships. With the help of a dedicated attorney, you can seek an adequate amount for all the hardships you will have to endure as a result of your injuries. If you let the insurance companies dictate the terms of your future life, they will always come up short.

  • Q:Why is it so hard to find a California medical malpractice attorney to take my case?

    A:Since 1975, the State of California has placed a cap on damages in medical malpractice claims, limiting the non-economic damages plaintiffs are able to recover. Up until AB 35 was signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom in 2022, this limit had been $250,000. Now, the limit has increased and will increase annually per the schedule below:

     ● For actions involving injuries, the cap will increase to $350,000 on January 1, 2023. It will be increased over the next 10 years to $750,000 and by 2% annually thereafter.
     ● For actions involving patient deaths, the cap will increase to $500,000 on January 1, 2023. It will be increased over the next 10 years to $1 million and by 2% annually thereafter. 
     ● For certain cases, more than one cap amount may be allowed.
     Non-economic damages are those that may not have a financial impact on the victim, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, physical limitations and change of life circumstances. While we believe non-economic damages should be equally important, the State of California’s cap has made it very difficult for victims of negligence to obtain compensation for injuries that do not involve a significant economic component, such as a wage loss or uninsured future care needs. 

     Many serious injuries simply do not qualify for more damages than this arbitrary and inadequate limit and therefore many attorneys are unable to handle these cases. This has a particularly prejudicial impact on certain classes of injured plaintiffs such as children, non-working women, and seniors, and victims who suffer the most serious harms. And even with the great efforts of advocates to reform California’s outdated law after so many years, a cap will still exist. This, along with the general complexity of these cases, tends to deter many personal injury practitioners from handling such cases.

  • Q:What is the difference between a claim and a lawsuit?

    A:Typically, a claim is filed with an insurance company in an attempt to obtain a reasonable settlement for the injuries and losses sustained by an accident victim. A personal injury lawsuit is a legal action filed before the court that seeks compensation from the individual, corporation, government agency, or insurance company for the victim's injuries and damages. There are time limits that apply to lawsuits! Do not allow your rights to lapse by inaction. Discuss your case with a knowledgeable lawyer to determine your rights and the best plan of action for your situation.

  • Q:Is it important to establish negligence?

    A:Yes, whether negligence exists is one of the most important aspects of any personal injury case. It is what your entire claim will be based on. Negligence is conduct that fails to provide reasonable care to protect another individual from harm. In a lawsuit, negligence has four aspects. The individual accused of negligence must first owe a duty of care to the injured individual. Second, they must violate that duty. Third, that act or failure to act must be a substantial cause of the injury. Finally, the damage from the injury must be proved. If all four elements are met, an individual may be held liable for negligence.

  • Q:Should I try to reach a settlement?

    A:When you try to reach a settlement for your personal injury case, you are essentially seeking to make an agreement before going to trial. This usually happens when either the defendant or the insurance company offers a certain monetary payment in order to avoid going to court. Reaching a settlement can be beneficial in some situations. However, you must be wary of individuals and/or insurance companies that may try to cheat you out of the full amount that is due to you. If you are not sure whether a settlement proposal is appropriate, you should hire an attorney. A legal professional will be able to help you determine whether or not you would receive full value for your injury by accepting their offer.

  • Q:What are the different types of damages I can recover?

    A:In a personal injury claim, the two most common forms of damages are compensatory and punitive damages. Naturally, the type and amount of damages you can receive will depend entirely on the situation, the injury and the type of accident you were injured in. Compensatory or actual damages are, as the name indicates, payments made to compensate for the loss or damage that was suffered. If, for example, you were injured in a car accident and had to pay for a hospital stay and physical therapy as a result, you can be compensated for those payments as well as receive amounts for future care, impact on your life, pain and suffering. Punitive damages, on the other hand, can be assessed in response to a criminal or malicious act involving intent. It intended to be a punishment to deter the individual or others from repeating that or similar acts. This payment would be assessed by a jury in addition to the compensatory damages. Punitive damages are relatively rare in the law.

  • Q:Can I handle my personal injury claim on my own?

    A:While the state of California does not require you to have an attorney in order to pursue compensation, having a knowledgeable lawyer at your side can have a significant impact on the amount of compensation you ultimately receive. Statistically, an individual is half as likely to recover the compensation he or she is due without the assistance of an attorney. Many insurance companies will attempt to take advantage of those attempting to handle their case on their own. They may use tactics against you to lower the amount of your claim, deny your claim, or delay your compensation until you are truly desperate. Having legal counsel on your side gives you a significant advantage. Although it may be difficult to think about financial and legal matters during these difficult times, a skilled lawyer can relieve this burden so you can concentrate on more important matters, such as your health and recovery.

  • Q:What happens if my case is not successful?

    A:There is no charge for our time or legal services unless your personal injury case is concluded successfully. At Bostwick & Peterson, we are dedicated to our clients and will do everything in our power to help ensure you receive a successful verdict or settlement at the end of your case. While every case has its unique challenges, our personal injury lawyers in San Francisco are confident that they have the skill and know-how to secure the compensation your injuries demand. When you work with our firm, you stand to lose nothing should our handling of your case not be successful. While a defendant can theoretically seek “taxable costs” from the plaintiff if the case is lost at trial, this rarely happens. We have never had this happen to a client of ours.

  • Q:Why should I choose your firm?

    A:Our firm is nationally recognized as one of the best personal injury law firms in the country. At Bostwick & Peterson, LLP, we have over 80 years of combined experience and have won over $1 BILLION in compensation for our clients. We are listed as one of the top 100 plaintiff’s trial lawyers in the USA. We had the highest jury verdict in America. Our firm was awarded the Trial Lawyers "Presidential Award of Merit" for winning the largest verdict of its type in the State of California. We also hold and have held a number of other state and national records for verdicts and settlements. Unlike many law firms, we have a proven record of success. We are proud that we have the ability to help our clients.

What Sets Bostwick & Peterson, LLP Apart? 

  • More than $1 billion recovered for our clients
  • Since January 2018, the firm has twice broken the California record for the largest medical malpractice settlement
  • James Bostwick was named Trial Lawyer of the Year by Best Lawyers® in 2012
  • James Bostwick is a Nationally Certified Specialist by the American Board of Professional Liability
  • Included in the list of "Best Lawyers in America" by U.S. News - Best Lawyers® since its inception in 1983
  • James Bostwick received the Trial Lawyers "Presidential Award of Merit"
  • James Bostwick is a member of the Inner Circle of Advocates, limited to the nation’s top 100 plaintiff lawyers
  • Record-setting verdicts and settlements in five states for medical malpractice and motor vehicle accidents

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