Personal Injury Information
How do I know if I have a personal injury case?
While it’s not the only requirement, the injury needs to have been someone else’s fault, and caused by their negligence. Physically visible injuries are not necessary for a personal injury case; attacks of defamation, emotional distress, or the expectation of harm would all be grounds for filing a personal injury lawsuit against that person. Another thing to consider is whether the injury created compensatory damages, such as medical bills or lost wages. If all of these things are true, then you have a personal injury case.
How much is my case worth?
The value of a personal injury case varies based on the amount of damages the injuries have cost you physically, financially and mentally. Additionally, the law firm you choose can have a huge impact on the amount you recover. Panish Shea & Boyle LLP is considered to be one of the top plaintiff’s law firms in the country and we regularly receive referrals from other personal injury lawyers because of our track record of getting very large settlements and verdicts.
How long will my case take to settle?
Every case is different, some can settle very quickly while others may take years to complete. This often depends on the insurance company you are dealing with. The insurance company will try to pay you as little as possible to resolve your claim and often will offer pennies on the dollar for what your case is actually worth in order to try and get you to settle quickly. If you want to get fair value for the harm that was caused, then it will take longer to settle. This is because, after you’ve hired an attorney, it takes time to assemble all of your medical records, and a case usually isn’t filed until you’ve been released from treatment. On top of all this, California has no law or deadline for insurance companies to respond to a demand package, so waiting on this may take a while. Our attorneys take great pride in standing up for our clients and making sure they get the maximum compensation possible for the damage that was caused, even if that takes a little longer.
After the settlement, how long will it take for me to receive the compensation?
In general, it can take anywhere from several weeks to several months for you to receive your settlement check. This variance in time results from several factors, including how long it takes for the attorneys to negotiate the final settlement paperwork, if you have medical liens that need to be negotiated and how long it takes the defendant and/or its insurance company to process the payment.
What are the main stages of a personal injury case?
After sustaining the initial injury, your personal injury case can go through many steps. The first one of these is, get treatment. If you don’t seek treatment for your injuries immediately, then you may not have a case at all. The next thing you’ll need to do is find an attorney. Having an attorney will help you get full compensation, even for a small claim. Once you do hire a lawyer, they will review every aspect of your case and medical records. This is why it’s important to keep all bills of any treatment you received.
Most of the time, a personal injury claim is settled before a lawsuit is even filed. Typically though, your lawyer won’t make a demand until you have reached the point of maximum medical improvement. If a lawsuit does get filed, then there is the discovery process, which gives both sides the chance to submit document requests and interview witnesses. This can take up to a year to complete. After this, mediation and negotiation begins, which is typically where settlement offers are made. If it does get all the way to trial, which can last more than a week due to the judge’s schedules.
What steps will my personal injury lawyer take for my case?
Other than collecting your medical records, there are many things your personal injury lawyer will do to adequately prepare and handle your case. In a typical injury case, your lawyer will need witness statements, police reports, and even a visit to the actual accident scene. This will help them gather evidence in order to build a successful case and make sure that you are fairly compensated for your injuries.
What types of questions are asked during deposition?
Going through a deposition can be a nerve-racking thing, even if you’ve done everything properly. Being prepared for the types of questions the defense attorney might ask you if the case goes to trial can make a big difference in the settlement you get:
- What types of injuries and illnesses have you had prior to the accident?
- Have you previously been involved in any other lawsuits or legal claims?
- Were there any witnesses to the accident?
- Did you file an insurance claim?
- What is the nature of your injury?
- What is your job history?
- How has your injury affected your life?
- When was your last treatment?
Always answer questions honestly and truthfully. Your lawyer will be there to assist you in preparation and during the actual questioning.
How soon should I file my personal injury lawsuit?
The general answer here is “as soon as possible,” but the statute of limitations in California on filing a lawsuit for personal injury is two years.
What is negligence?
Someone acting in a careless way, or even not acting when they should have, would qualify as negligence.
How do I prove negligence in a case?
There are four elements that comprise negligence, and you have to prove all of them for someone to be found negligent:
Duty - The defendant owed a legal duty to the plaintiff. This can encompass many things, such as a doctor providing care, or another motorist driving their car. The defendant does not have to know the plaintiff to owe them a duty.
Breach - The defendant breached that duty by failing to act as a “reasonably prudent person” should. In other words, the defendant should have known that their actions would likely cause injury to others.
Causation - That action was the direct cause of the plaintiff’s injury. If someone was driving drunk or distracted, that unsafe action would qualify as causation.
Damages - Harm was done to the plaintiff as a result of the defendant’s actions, and the court has the ability to pay the plaintiff.
What if I was partially to blame for my injuries?
California is a comparative negligence state, meaning that if you are found to be 25% at fault in a $100,000 settlement, you would receive $75,000. California also follows the pure comparative fault rule, which means that even if the defendant is found to be 99 percent at fault, they can still collect on damages. An example of this would be a drunk driving defendant proving negligence on the part of the plaintiff because they had a tail light out.
How does a Contingent Fee work with my personal injury case?
Contingency fees allow injured parties to hire an experienced personal injury attorney without having to pay any upfront legal fees. This allows the injured party to focus on recovering, giving them peace of mind instead of more bills. In these contingent arrangements, the law firm will cover all of their costs of investigations, securing medical records and expert witnesses, depositions and a whole host of other fees and incidental costs.
The Los Angeles personal injury lawyers at Panish Shea & Boyle LLP handle many types of cases
If you don’t see the category for your type of case, please call us at (310) 477-1700 to discuss your legal matter
and whether we can help you. Also serving Orange County, Riverside, and San Bernardino.
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