Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Can you still have a claim if the accident is partly your fault?

I often get asked whether a person can still have a claim if they are partly at fault in an accident. The answer is yes. This is because California is a "comparative negligence" state, which means that a judge or a jury will compare the negligence between the plaintiff and defendant in a personal injury lawsuit and reduce the amount of damages by the degree to which the plaintiff is responsible for his or her injuries. This is usually expressed as a percentage. So if the award of damages is $100,000, as an example, and the jury finds the plaintiff to be 10% at fault, then the award would be reduced to $90,000. So you can still have a claim for personal injury if the accident is partly your fault, though a judge or jury may reduce the amount you are entitled to, depending on the degree to which you may have been negligent.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

How much is my personal injury case worth?

One of the most important questions on a person's mind when we initially meet with them for a case evaluation is, “how much do you think my case is worth?” This is a perfectly natural question to have in one's mind. After all, people want to know what level of harms and losses they sustained. And they want to know whether it is worth it to go through a lengthy and challenging lawsuit, which can last years, especially given the recent budget cuts to the Los Angeles Superior Court and elsewhere in California.

But unfortunately, there is no easy answer to the question of how much a particular case is worth. And any attorney who tries to tell you how much your case is worth during an initial consultation is either guessing, or simply trying to tell you what you want to hear. In order to fully evaluate the case, a lawyer will consider all the facts and circumstances involved including, the nature and extent of physical and emotional injuries, the amount of damage to the vehicles (if applicable), the available medical records, police reports, the treating physicians involved, the defendant's insurance company, loss of wages or earning potential (if any), the venue, the medical expenses, the age of the client, and the likability and credibility of the client, just to name some of the factors. Typically after the attorney has reviewed all of these pieces of information and after a doctor has determined the client's prognosis, then at that point the attorney will be in a position to advise you as to the value of your case. There are, however, situations where an attorney may be able to give you a range of potential recovery in your case, but that is not typical.

What is more more important, in my opinion, is for the potential client to understand what the litigation process is, and to feel comfortable with the attorney that they hire. For example, does the personal injury lawyer seem honest, credible, and concerned about your situation? Number two, does the attorney have a proven track record in dealing with these kinds of cases? And finally, is the lawyer comfortable taking your case to trial if the insurance company or defendant does not offer a reasonable sum to conclude your matter?

The types of damages in personal injury cases

You may have heard a personal injury lawyer or someone else mention the term "damages." Damages is a legal word that refers to the loss or injury to a person or property. Generally, there are three types of damages: (1) general, (2) special, and (3) punitive. General damages means things like pain and suffering, physical disability, disfigurement, permanent scars, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of love and affection, and emotional harm. Some people calls these non-economic damages. Special damages refers to medical bills, lost wages, loss of earning potential, out-of-pocket expenses, and things of that nature. These are often called economic damages. Punitive damages are designed to punish and deter intentional and wrongful conduct, and are generally not the subject of a personal injury lawsuit.

Friday, March 8, 2013

What is a personal injury?

A personal injury--in the legal sense--is a physical or mental harm that occurs to a person as a result of another's negligence or wrongdoing. The most common injuries are those to the spine like cervical and lumbar sprains/strains, disc bulges, and disc herniations; and usually occur in car accidents or accidents in the workplace. If the wrongdoer is determined to be fault, then the person who was harmed may be compensated for the harms and losses caused by the wrongdoer.

Welcome to the Personal Injury Blog!

Welcome to the Personal Injury Law Blog! We're hoping we can provide you, the reader, with valuable and up-to-date information about personal injury topics. We plan to cover basic areas like what to do if you are involved in an accident, how to deal with insurance companies, and how to hire a competent and experienced attorney. So, of course, we'll cover the most prevalent kinds of accidents like car accidents, motorcycle accidents, trucking accidents, dog bites, slip and falls, as well as less frequent types of personal injury cases like wrongful death and products liability matters. Within that topic we'll discuss and describe common injuries like back sprain/strain, cervical and lumbar disc herniations, knee injuries, shoulder injuries, as well as less common injuries like traumatic brain injury and partial and total paralysis.

But unlike many other similar sites, we plan on delving more deeply into topics that come up frequently in personal injury matters. Instead of writing useless posts in an attempt to game Google and obtain clients (full disclosure: we are personal injury attorneys), we hope to give you quality, useful information that you can use whether or not you decide to contact us.