Law Offices of Michael Sabongui

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Many of the following questions are frequently asked by our clients and may be of help to you. If there are any additional questions that you may have, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Offices of Michael Sabongui for a free consultation.
What is personal injury?

"Personal injury" is a general term that means any kind of accident that leads to bodily injury or death. Our firm represents clients who have suffered bodily injuries or whose family member has died. We have the experience in personal injury cases, which has allowed us to maximize the benefits of our experience to get the best results for our injured clients. Not every injured person is entitled to recover damages for the injury he or she sustains. Besides an injury, the plaintiff must establish, through evidence, that the defendant is legally liable for his or her injuries. This requires proof of causation both in terms of actual, factual causation and legal causation. By dealing just with these specific types of personal injury cases, our lawyers know the nuances of the laws governing personal injury cases and insurance laws in California. Accordingly, our experience, focus, reputation and expertise allows us to put our clients in the best position to achieve fair compensation for their injuries.


Do I have a negligence case?

Negligence is the failure to act reasonably under the circumstances or the failure to do something you are required to do. In order to determine whether you have a case, we will examine the facts surrounding the accident, as well as the records with regard to medical treatment. If the facts of your case support a legal claim for which you are entitled to considerable damages, our firm will undertake to represent you.

Do I have a medical malpractice case?

In medical malpractice, in order to determine whether someone has a viable case, it is necessary to first review the medical records. As experienced medical malpractice attorneys we only take cases that have merit. At our medical malpractice law firm, a physician reviews the medical records and we frequently consult with other specialists. If the expert determines that your case has merit, our medical malpractice lawyers will handle your claim. Medical malpractice attorneys generally avoid cases that are frivolous or have no merit. The reason is simple. The economics of handling medical malpractice lawsuits makes such cases both costly and unprofitable for all involved. As a medical malpractice lawyer, we avoid such cases, and generally thrive cases with substantial merit and catastrophic injuries.

How much is my case worth?

Predicting the trial value of any case is almost impossible without thorough investigation, work and evaluation. There are many factors that can affect the value of a case. Many factors enter into the valuation of your settlement claim. Important factors include how long you need medical treatment, what kind of treatment you received, the length of time you continue to experience pain and suffering from the accident, the extent of any personal injuries you suffer, and whether you suffer permanent injuries. An experienced attorney can only give you a very general idea of the value of your case based on cases previously handled with similar injuries and will not be able to predict the specific amount you will receive. In that regard, Attorney Michael Sabongui has had extensive experience in the settlement of cases. He has settled hundreds of cases and after starting the litigation of your case, a general settlement range may be communicated to our clients. However, there are no guarantees, only what reasonably can be expected, after our lawyers have thoroughly reviewed the personal injury case, and have conducted sufficient discovery and investigations.


Will I have to go to court, or will my case be settled?

If there is no settlement offer, obviously we will be prepared to go to trial. In most cases, the choice is yours because if we take your case, there will usually be some sort of settlement offer on the table. We will carefully screen your case before accepting it, and because our attorneys have knowledge of how insurance companies operate, and because we know how to try cases and get excellent recoveries for our clients, the vast majority of our clients should receive reasonable offers to settle before trial, if we accept your case. However, because of the many factors involved, it is impossible to predict whether your particular case is one that will be settled, or one which will be decided by the court or jury.

How is a decision made regarding whether to accept a settlement or go to trial?

You will meet with our lawyers to discuss together what would be best for you and your family. Our attorneys' job is not to make the decision for you, but to evaluate any offer we have been able to obtain and provide the information to you, based on our attorneys' years of experience handling personal injury cases in California, to help you make the best decision for you.

Do I have to pay you any money when I hire you?

No. In fact, if we agree to take your case, you will not need to pay our lawyers money out of your pocket. We are a 100% contingency fee personal injury law firm. This means that we are compensated only if we obtain a financial recovery for you. In fact, if you do not recover anything from your accident and we spend money preparing your case, we absorb all of the costs, not you. If we agree to take a case, our lawyers will not ask clients to front expenses and costs.


How much of my time will this take?

Surprisingly, your personal injury claim will generally not require a great deal of your time, unless it goes to trial. After our initial interview, our attorneys will do almost all of the work for you. From time to time, we will ask you to produce certain documents to assist us, and help us prepare documents, based on questions we receive, commonly referred to as “interrogatories”. Your job is to recover from your injuries from the accident if you have not already done so. Your time commitment obviously changes if your case is the rare case that does go to trial. In that case, the final trial preparation process will require more of a time commitment, especially if your injuries are substantial.

How long do I have to bring a case?

You must file your case within the statute of limitations, a fixed period of time dictated by the law. In many injury cases in California, you are required to bring your case within two years from the date of the accident. Depending on who you are bringing a lawsuit against, such as a municipality, there may be a shorter limit, usually within 180 days, in which to file a claim. In medical malpractice cases, the statutes may vary depending on when you discovered the act of malpractice. For an explanation of these time limits, always consult with an experienced lawyer in these matters.


Do I still have a claim if my medical bills were paid by insurance?

Yes. In California, even if your bills have been paid by your health insurance, you may be entitled to be compensated for your medical bills.

How long will it take for me to receive a financial recovery in my case?

There is simply no guarantees of recovery and no definite period of time in which a personal injury case will settle or go to trial. Every case has its own unique facts. However, we will always vigorously move your case forward towards settlement or verdict at trial in a manner that avoids unnecessary delays.

Can you recommend a doctor to me, who will treat me for my injuries?

Yes. Generally, our clients will seek treatment from their existing health care providers. But if you do not have an existing health care provider or your provider requires payment before the resolution of your case, we can provide you with a list of quality doctors or health care providers who will not require payment until after the resolution of your case.


Do I need an attorney to handle my personal injury claim?

Insurance companies are in the business of making, not losing, money. As such, they will minimize their losses as much as possible. The insurance company's goal is to pay you as little as possible to settle your claim. Generally, any insurance company who represents the person(s) at fault for the accident will have a team of adjusters, investigators and personal injury attorneys working against you. If you have a serious personal injury case, you need the assistance of a qualified attorney to ensure that you receive fair compensation for your injuries.


It is also important to know that no matter how nice insurance adjusters may sound on the phone, they have one goal in mind, to pay you as little as possible. You should never give a recorded statement to the claims adjuster for the insurance company without consulting first with an attorney. The claims adjuster works for the insurance company. Their job is to help their employer and the person or business who caused your injury. It is not to help you. They may try to get you to agree to misleading statements of how an accident occurs which will be used against you if the case goes to trial.

Never sign any papers sent by the insurance company without first talking to an attorney. A release called a general release will prevent you from suing other people liable for your injuries, even though the insurance company will not compensate you for those additional claims. If your injuries are significant, there are several reasons why a good personal injury lawyer can help you. If you hire a lawyer who is willing to take a case to trial, value is instantly added to your case in a number of ways. An insurance company knows that it's almost impossible for an individual to take a serious injury case to trial without an attorney.

When should I hire a personal injury attorney?

You should retain a lawyer as soon as possible after your accident or the medical malpractice. This is because the most important time period to position a case for success, is in the early stages. In that regard, an attorney knows how to properly preserve the evidence, interview the proper witnesses, take the needed photos, prepare the necessary subpoenas and hire an investigator, if necessary. A competent lawyer who understands the nuances of personal injury cases, such as auto accidents, medical malpractice, catastrophic injury, police brutality, dog attack, and wrongful death cases, will not only prepare your case, but also ensure that you comply with statutes of limitations and other legal requirements that would bar your lawsuit.

Should I get a second opinion if an attorney thinks I do not have a case?

Yes. Different lawyers will see a potential case differently. Some lawyers will not be familiar with the type of case that you may have. Others may be uncomfortable with the types of cases you may have. Many attorneys may not be willing to spend the time and money needed to take on your case, or prepare it for trial. If your case is rejected by one lawyer, it is always a good idea to seek a second opinion from another lawyer. We have obtained quality settlements and verdicts from clients whose personal injury cases were rejected by numerous other attorneys.

Why should I pick you over any other law firm?

There is no simple answer to this question. There are many good attorneys in California. There are also many who are not so good. Mr. Michael Sabongui, a native New Yorker, prides himself on his honesty, commitment, as well as his expertise and abilities.


Mr. Sabongui has also practiced law for the past two decades and has earned the respect and reputation through his many successfully litigated cases. Mr. Sabongui has handled many multi-million dollar cases and has handled a variety of some of the most sensitive lawsuits, ranging from police excessive force claims, medical malpractice cases involving brain injuries, and wrongful deaths.

Just as importantly, you also need to choose an attorney based on your comfort level, and based on that attorney’s honesty, commitment, and experience.
At the Law Offices of Michael Sabongui, we have the experience but also work to earn your trust.  We place the highest premium on service. We will tell you exactly what you can expect. If things change, we will tell you, directly and truthfully.  We return our client's calls and e-mails, and keep you informed throughout the litigation of the case. We will always spend the time with you to make sure you understand what our lawyers are doing and why we are doing it.  As our client, you can be confident that we will always go the extra distance for you, above and beyond the law, to ensure that you get the answers and results you deserve.

If you have a case that you want to discuss, please contact the Law Offices of Michael Sabongui immediately for a free consultation and evaluation. If we cannot help you, we can also refer you to an attorney who may be of assistance.