Personal Injury Law
Once you have suffered from an injury, you as the victim, have a right to compensation.
We can help with healing your wounds.
Personal injury is a legal term used to describe physical or psychological injuries. These injuries can rise from car accidents, dog bite cases, slip and fall cases or other types of incidents that cause an injury. Once you have suffered from an injury, you as the victim, have a right to compensation. This means that you are awarded money to help you heal from your injuries. Who pays, and how much, involves a process known as a “claim.” A claim can normally be resolved with the insurance company for the person who caused the injury, however, sometimes the claim is not resolved, and a lawsuit must be filed in the county where the accident or “loss” occurred. There are certain time limits to filing a lawsuit. This is known as a statute of limitations and it varies by state and type of claim.
What to do immediately after an accident?
The first thing to do after an accident is to seek treatment for your injuries. Make sure you or someone that you trust is able to keep a record of where you are treating for your accident. You should also obtain insurance information for the person(s) that caused the injury or accident. If you have physical injuries, e.g., dog bite wound, and if feasible, it is a good idea to capture photographs of these injuries. These photographs will help you when filing a claim with the insurance company and beyond. After treating for your injuries, you should consult with an attorney prior to talking to anyone about your claim. The insurance company for the person that caused the accident may try to record your statement. It is always a good idea to have the guidance of an attorney prior to consenting to any recorded statements.
Here is a list of reminders of what to do immediately after an accident:
- Stay at the scene and remain calm.
- Check for injuries and immediately call 911 if anyone is hurt.
- Notify the police even if no one is injured. The police will evaluate the accident and generate a police report that can later be used to assist you with your claim.
- If the accident is minor, and it is safe to do so, it is advisable that you move the vehicles to the shoulder and turn the vehicle’s hazard lights ensure the safety of all motorists.
- Gather information about all the drivers involved in the accident. Talk to witnesses, if any, and get their contact information.
- If possible, take several photos of the damage to your car and the surrounding area.
- Do not admit fault for the accident to anyone.
- Do not leave the scene of the accident until the police authorize you to leave.
After leaving the scene of the accident:
- Contact your insurance company as soon as possible to report the accident.
- Obtain a copy of the accident report from the police.
- Get a property damage valuation.
- If you were injured in the accident, keep detailed records and bills related to your treatment.
- Contact a personal injury attorney to help maximize your compensation.
California is one of the few states with “strict liability” laws when it comes to dog bite cases. This means that a dog owner is found liable for his or her dog even if reasonable steps were taken to prevent a dog bite. This means that the owner of a dog cannot argue that he or she did not know that the dog was dangerous or that it had the potential to be dangerous. The law in California has two basic requirements:
- The victim was bitten, and
- Was in a public place or “lawfully in a private place” when the bite happened.
Most counties have an animal control department which is generally associated with law enforcement. Animal control is generally responsible for investigating dangerous animals, animal attacks, and the treatment of animals.
How do I file a claim?
Filing a claim involves time, patience and experience. Most injury victims require treatment for injuries. This can include, x-rays, medication, surgery or and physical therapy. In most cases the victim should complete all aspects of treatment prior to presenting a claim to the insurance company. The insurance company’s sole job is to resolve your claim for the least amount of money
How do I file a lawsuit?
Filing a lawsuit is complicated and should be handled by an experienced attorney. Most rules for filing a lawsuit are published by the court having jurisdiction over your case. There are fees associated with this process. Make sure you consult an attorney to discuss the ins and outs of this step of a case.
Do I need a lawyer? How much will a lawyer charge me?
This short answer here is, yes. A lawyer with an established reputation and experience will be able to resolve your case with little to no stress to you. After an accident, it is preferable that someone else take over the legality of resolving your claim. An experienced attorney will organize your case including, medical records, photographs and medical bills. This will all be combined into a “demand letter” and will be used to maximize your recovery.
Attorney fees vary by stages of your case. Our office handles personal injury claims on a contingency basis. This means that we only get paid if we recover money for your claim. The percentage charged by our office will depend on what stage your case is in. For example, the fee will be less if the case is resolved prior to filing a lawsuit in court. Similarly, the attorney fees will be less if the case is resolved prior to preparing for a jury trial. You will have all of these details outlined in a fee agreement which will be signed by the attorney and the client.
If you have been injured in an accident or dog bite, please contact our office for a confidential and thorough consultation.