FAQ'S

Personal injury lawsuits are common in California as plaintiffs seek compensation for the physical, psychological, and property damage they incur after accidents. These mishaps could happen in the line of duty, on roads, in business establishments, residential areas, etc. The Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm in California caters to clients who have complaints about their injuries and wish to hold the responsible party accountable. In this article, we address the most frequently asked questions regarding personal injury lawsuits so you can get an understanding on how your attorney can help.

The trauma experienced in a car accident can have lifelong repercussions. Simply put, your body will never be the same as it was prior to the accident. Don’t wait to claim your rights, take action now.

For Personal Injury cases, the statute of limitations in California is Two Years from the date of the injury. If the injury was not discovered right away, then it is 1 year from the date the injury was discovered. If you do not take action within the time frames, you will waive your rights to litigate the matter.

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Personal injury lawsuits are legal disputes that happen after a person suffers bodily harm from an accident or injury, and someone else could be liable for that unfortunate incident. The responsible person's insurance company is required to pay restitution to the victim to cover medical bills, pain and suffering, and future expenses. For medical malpractices, your injury attorney liaises with insurance companies and hospital attorneys.

Examples of Personal Injury Lawsuits

Personal injury is a diverse line of litigation that entails many different types of cases for which plaintiffs can recover monetary damages. Our law firm is experienced in covering the following areas and more:

  • Traffic accidents
  • Malpractice
  • Dangerous products
  • Wrongful death
  • Injuries to your reputation

Two Kinds of Personal Injury Cases in California

There are two plausible methods of dealing with cases where the personal injury occurred, as explained below:

A Formal Lawsuit

A private individual, known as the "plaintiff," files a civil complaint against the defendant, alleging they acted recklessly with regards to an accident or injury that brought harm upon them. In legal terms, this action is called filing a lawsuit.

Informal Settlement

Borrowing from decades of experience, most disputes over fault for an injury are resolved outside court by way of early settlements, usually involving lawyers from both sides. There are negotiations plus a written agreement where both sides forgo any further action like a lawsuit, in favor of getting agreeable restitution.

What are the Leading Causes of Traffic Accidents?

There are many reasons for traffic accidents ranging from structural errors on the roads to nature, such as strong winds or heavy snowfall to human errors. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) links many accidents to seven major reasons as below:

  1. Driving While Distracted

The foremost factor in road accidents is divided attention while behind the wheel, and there are myriad distractions that could avert the driver's attention momentarily. For example, chatting with passengers, using a cell phone, fiddling with radio controls, checking GPS, reading, making grocery lists, etc. In 2015 alone, 10% of fatal crashes and 15 percent of deadly accidents were connected to driving without paying attention. This grim outcome goes to show the severity of this matter.

If a distracted driver harms you in any way, you must hold them accountable by proving they were distracted when the accident occurred. The Golden State outlaws distracted driving by implementing laws prohibiting drivers from operating handheld gadgets while driving. Persons under 18 cannot operate handheld or hands-free technology gadgets while driving, and contravening these laws is punishable by law. 

  1. Not Yielding to Other Road Users

Motorists sometimes do not yield for pedestrians in marked or unmarked zebra crossings, and this often leads to accidents that cause injury or even kill people. Research indicates that in California, 20% of accidents involving pedestrians happen due to not yielding the way whether there are crossing light signals or not. The driver could be attempting to make a left turn and strike down a pedestrian who is not within their line of sight.

  1. Refusal to Signal when Making Turns

Pedestrians must use crosswalks, follow road signs, and walk on the rightful sides of city and residential streets, and these laws are ratified in the California traffic laws. Despite these protective measures, people are not always aware when cars are turning at intersections, and they get hurt. In 2012, the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) surmised that 50 percent of motorists fail to signal when turning. This careless practice exposes motorists and pedestrians to accidents, and that is why you need to enlist a qualified personal injury lawyer to represent you.

  1. Cruising Above Speed Limits

Speeding is yet another significant factor in traffic accidents. A study by the University of California Berkeley derived that for every 1% increase in velocity, the risk of accidents rises by 2 percent. For every 1% increase in speeding cases, the risk of severe injury and deaths increased by 3 percent and 4 percent correspondingly. If a driver refuses to honor speed controls, they must be held accountable for causing bodily harm.

  1. Not Honoring Traffic Signals

Many motorists halt when they approach intersections but refuse to yield for other road users. This mistake accounts for 70 percent of collisions at intersections with programmed stop signs. Likewise, such mishaps occur at intersections controlled by stoplights, and pedestrians and cyclists get hurt. The Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm prosecutes such cases, so the injured party receives the compensation owed to them.

  1. Driving While Impaired by Alcohol 

The IIHS-Highway Loss Data  Institute claims that impaired drivers are responsible for an estimated 13% of accidents hurting pedestrians. When someone is drunk, their cognitive ability to process nearby hazards is undermined, so they are barely equipped to react properly to potential disasters. Impaired coordination, poor judgment, little to no alertness, and declining ability to detect things in motion are known effects of having too much blood alcohol.

The California Vehicle Code 23152 indicates the legal BAC limit is 0.08%. If a driver hurts you when their BAC is above this level, you can claim compensation based on negligence.

  1. Unresponsiveness to Weather Conditions

Traffic laws demand motorists to apply "prudent speeds" during lousy weather conditions like a thick fog, which inhibits visibility. The same reasoning applies when vehicle and human traffic become dense at different parts of the day. At the very least, the at-fault driver must share liability even when you – the aggrieved party was partly responsible for the accident and ensuing injuries.

What are the Common Injuries from Road Accidents?

Motorists or pedestrians can incur injuries of varying degrees and sometimes, death. Their gravity of damage is hinged upon factors like velocity, impact angle, the car size, and physical attributes of the cyclist or pedestrian or another driver. These accidents could lead to the following medical problems:

  1. Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)

Victims of extreme accidents often suffer damage to the head, especially when they are struck by a vehicle cruising down at a high velocity. The victim could get a minimal concussion to brain injuries that can have adverse impacts like permanent brain injury. Empirical studies have shown that brain injuries can lead to physical aggression, change of temperament, loss of memory, and a diminished capacity to manage impulses. Traumatic brain injuries can be deadly, and if this happens, the Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm can help you file a wrongful death suit.

  1. Internal Injuries

The forces of car crashes can exert trauma on specific body parts can launch internal damage that could go undetected for a while. Victims suffer significant damage to sensitive organs such as the pancreas, liver, and kidneys, and this may pave the way for bigger health issues in the future. Treating these organs requires specialized care that doesn't come cheap, especially if you don't have health insurance.

If your spinal cord is hurt, you could suffer momentary or enduring paralysis, which will prevent you from working, and the aftermath may undermine your life after the injury. You need legal assistance to make the necessary arrangements for much-needed medical care. This way, you can bolster your chances of attaining full recovery.

  1. Injury to the Face and Neck

Car accidents or other mishaps like objects falling on your head often leave a visible mark, such as scraping one side of the face. You could twist your neck due to forceful impact and have to wear a neck brace for a while. Bloody or broken noses are also collective upon impact during accidents, and this calls for a round of exams and treatments, not to mention the pain involved. These injuries are visible and may affect your ability to find specific jobs, not to mention the emotional distress from the defacement.

  1. Injury to the Torso and Rib

The torso is customarily affected during impact like being struck by a piece of equipment. Your rib section may be poked by something, thus making one or both lungs to collapse. Such problems are not easily detectable until they manifest and cause more significant health issues that could endanger your life and require specialized treatments. As your legal representatives, we can help you file a personal injury suit to hold the defendant accountable.

  1. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders (PTSD)

Victims of horrific accidents like a multiple car pile-up or other unfortunate incidents like falling off a scaffolding often suffer from Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This mental problem may present as nightmares, uncontrollable flashbacks about the accident, anxiety, being emotionally numb, etc. Sometimes victims are overcome by hopelessness, which affects their productivity and overall happiness in life.

  1. Dental Injuries

Car accidents or other severe mishaps at work often result in fractured or avulsed teeth, which negatively impact your smile until you see a qualified dentist or orthodontist. The forces of impact – direct or indirect – may knock off a few teeth, and this will necessitate restorative procedures like crowns and bridges, which don't come cheap.

Most insurance covers exclude dental procedures, which means paying using your savings or racking up additional credit card bills. These orthodontist treatments are expensive, and patients often need several rounds of treatment before the problem is fully solved. Having a judicious personal injury attorney is key to getting fair restitution from the negligent driver or even an employer who refuses to do car maintenance.

What is a Driver's Duty of Care?

The injuries discussed above usually result from human error or other factors like traffic signs not working. In the case of drivers, California requires them to uphold the duty of care and observe "reasonable care" under exceptional circumstances like pedestrian density. Refusing to exercise caution is construed as negligence, and you can sue the driver for damages.

The Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm is adept at investigating accidents to establish who is liable and gather the necessary evidence to support your lawsuit. Our private investigators will find sufficient discovery to assist you in getting the much-deserved compensation, so you don't sink into debt.

What Steps Should I Take After Encountering Personal Injury?

If you suffered a personal injury, find a trustworthy personal injury lawyer to intervene from the onset of this unfortunate occurrence. An experienced attorney can help you get proper medical treatment and also advice on what to do before and after peace officers arrive. For instance, document the scene and take the other driver's insurance information, and don't accept liability.

Remember, winning a personal injury lawsuit is dependent on how you handle yourself right from the beginning, and small mistakes can thwart the desired outcomes. You need the best legal minds right from the beginning to handle things like getting the police accident report and gather witness statements.

What is a Demand Letter?

After your legal counsel gathers sufficient proof of how an accident happened, they will write a demand letter to your insurer seeking compensation. This letter must entail a list of all expenditures with corresponding proof such as receipts and signatures, so the other side is satisfied with the proposed figure.

These demands must be supported by proper documentation such as daycare receipts if you cannot take care of your children or a note from your workplace acknowledging your leave of absence. This correspondence must show how much you have in daily wages as a direct result of your injuries. Your legal counsel will request the insurance company to communicate within a specified deadline. Insurance companies usually respond within thirty days with a monetary offer or other correspondence insurance companies like disputing the proposed compensation.

Insurance adjusters are notorious for downplaying your injuries or medical expenses, so they attempt to settle claims too quickly, hoping you will be naive enough to cosign without much consideration. If the negotiations are not making headway, the case moves to open court, where the presiding judge rules over the matter.

What Are Punitive Damages in Personal Injury Lawsuits?

Apart from the compensation for medical bills, property damage, lost wages, childcare costs, and so on, the court may ask a liable party to pay punitive damages. These additional fines are aimed at punishing wrongdoers and deterring them and others from committing similar offenses. If a reckless driver hurts you, we shall investigate their driving history and urge the court to inflict punitive damages upon them.

It is immensely difficult to get the liable person to pay punitive damages without legal assistance, so let our lawyers step in to achieve this goal.

What are the Legalities for Filing a Personal Injury Claim?

  1. Statutes of Limitations

Different states have different statutes of limitations, depending on the case. For example, California allows a one-year time limit to file defamation cases and a four-year limit to pursue debt collection. As your legal team, it is our job to ensure you file a personal injury lawsuit within 30 – 60 days and follow up with the defendant's team accordingly. They have 30 – 45 days to respond.

  1. Prove the Defendant's Negligence

Most accidents occur due to another party's negligence, but the plaintiff has the burden to prove proof. We shall verify the defendant breached their duty of care owed to you, and in doing so, they exposed you to bodily harm. To illustrate, a construction company must have protective safety gear to prevent mishaps when employees are working. If they fail to provide this and train you in safety, they could be held liable for accidents that occur you.

  1. Seek Medical Assistance

Seek medical attention right away is vital to a personal injury lawsuit to prove you are doing everything within your power to mitigate injuries. Failure to take such steps will undermine the suit as the other side could claim you are in great shape, and your life has not been affected much. Also, keep your medical records as they will be attached as evidence when seeking compensation.

  1. Contact your Insurance Provider

Call the insurance company and inform them of the accident, so they start processing your claim. You must have Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance for your car in addition to the regular insurance policy. You also need to speak to your health insurance provider to find out what expenses they can cover. Dental procedures are not usually included in many plans, so you may have to pay out of pocket.

  1. Seek Legal Counsel

Insurance companies will work tirelessly to dispute your claim or, at the very least, present a low-ball offer. Representatives are infamous for employing unsavory methods to keep you from a full settlement, such as tricking you into making official statements about the incidence then using it against you. We advise plaintiffs to refrain from divulging sensitive details or recording statements without legal counsel present, even when they are pressurized to do so.

  1. Maintain a Post-Accident Journal

The recovery process can be arduous, requiring many weeks or months to regain full health. Keeping a post-accident journal helps you to record doctor appointments, medical procedures, expenses, etc. to support your claim. It also helps to formulate a heartfelt narration of the ordeal and ensuing healing process, and how these injuries have impacted your life. Witness statements often carry a lot of weight in open court, and they can persuade the judge to rule in your favor.

When Can I Collect My Personal Injury Settlement?

After the trial goes well, efforts to start paying the settlement will commence promptly. The presiding judge may require the guilty party to in a singular check or pay through an installment plan, depending on the intricacies of your case. Simple lawsuits like falling at work where no grave injuries were involved don't usually have generous payouts so the defendant can be ordered to pay in a lump sum.

Nonetheless, complex cases involving damage to essential organs like the liver or spine typically attract more significant settlements that are paid out in installments so they are manageable. If the insurance carrier, your employer, or other entity – like the city – dishonors this agreement, the case returns to court.

How Can a Personal Injury Attorney Help?

As you can see thus far, personal injury cases are complicated, and you cannot navigate the legal system alone. Your untrained eye may overlook crucial details that could help you get a fair settlement. Hiring a personal injury attorney bolsters your chances of getting proper medical treatment and compensation for lost income now and in the foreseeable future. Also, we help you calculate projected medical expenses, so you don't have to use personal savings.

You may lose your earning power, have to abandon your craft, not to mention related losses linked to lesser economic contribution. The lawyer will seek compensation for permanent disability, emotional anguish, loss of consortium, prescriptions and medical equipment, etc. If a loved one succumbs to injury during treatment, we shall file a wrongful death suit against the driver or employer, if the accident happened at work.

Find the Best Personal Injury Attorney Near Me

The Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm understands your predicament, and we have many resources at our disposal to litigate your case. Our lawyers have a wealth of experience handling tons of personal injury cases where clients like you were injured due to someone else's negligence. The bills keep coming, and life can change drastically even after attaining full recovery.

If your loved one succumbs to injuries, we can help you file a wrongful death suit to hold the liable entity accountable, so they don't hurt someone else again. Our goal is to ensure you are appropriately compensated, so this incident does not drain your family's finances now and in the future. Contact us today at 619-625-8707 to speak to the best personal injury lawyers in California. 

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The Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm represents those injured due to someone's negligence or recklessness. We work with our clients employing compassion, expertise, and skill to get you through the legal system. If you reside in the State of California and have been injured as a result of an accident, call us at 800-492-6718 and let us help you through this difficult time. We will protect your rights and seek the best compensation you and your family deserve.