Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorneys

An injury can have devastating consequences on anyone’s wellbeing. All aspects of an individual’s life can be impacted in a matter of seconds, ranging from finances to health and even emotional stability. Things are even more frustrating when the damage is caused by someone else’s recklessness or malice. Fortunately, personal injury law exists to protect you and your property during these types of circumstances.

Types of personal injury

The majority of civil litigation cases in the United States are related to tort law. Personal injury law covers a wide variety of different situations:

Accidents:

Although some accidents are impossible to prevent, in many cases the incident may have occurred due to someone else’s negligence, even if they did not act intentionally. Accordingly, personal injury law applies in these instances.

Defective Products:

When a person is injured due to the malfunction of a product such as a car, medical device, power tool, pharmaceutical, or even food; the victim may choose to file a personal injury claim against the manufacturer.

Intentional acts:

Tort law is applicable when the defendant acts intentionally in a negligent or malicious manner, causing some type of damage to the plaintiff. If the perpetrator is proven guilty, it is even possible that a criminal investigation will be conducted.

Defamation:

Words can cause as much or even more harm than a physical injury. If another individual’s or company’s defamatory statements cause damage to your image or that of your business, you can file a personal injury lawsuit to seek compensation.

The basics of personal injury law

Personal injury law, also known as tort law, refers to civil lawsuits that occur when a person acts wrongfully, and as a result, injures another individual in any way. In fact, the term ” tort ” comes from the Latin word for twist, wrong, or harm.

These types of lawsuits are purely civil, meaning that the government is not involved by any means. Usually, in this sort of lawsuit, the plaintiff seeks some form of compensation, which is typically monetary, for the damages caused by the defendant.

Personal injury law is based on the doctrine of negligence. This indicates that all members of society have a duty to act responsibly, to avoid harming others. Of course, this doesn’t mean that all accidents arise from some kind of negligence; the doctrine admits that certain accidents cannot be avoided. Therefore, in tort law case the plaintiff will have to prove that the defendant’s actions must be regarded as negligence and that another person in his/her position would have acted in a different way. 

If the legal action is successful and the plaintiff is able to prove the negligence of the other party, the defendant will have to compensate the victim for all damages. Now, some damages can be calculated easily, such as property damage and medical expenses, but personal injury law also states that other more abstract types of damages must be compensated as well, such as emotional distress, pain and suffering, and even loss of earning capacity. In these instances, expert testimony may be required to determine the necessary compensation.

Common personal injury cases:

Common personal injury cases:

Motor vehicle accidents:

Motor vehicle accidents are one of the most common causes of personal injury. More than 6 million motor vehicle accidents occur in the US each year, which equates to more than 16,000 accidents every day. If you are injured due to the negligence of another driver, you can file a personal injury claim to recover damages.

Slip and fall:

According to the law, property owners must keep their facilities reasonably free of hazards. So, for example, if you slip and fall in a store due to a wet floor that was not properly signaled, you can file a personal injury claim to obtain compensation.

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Premises liability:

Similar to the above, if you suffer any other type of injury due to the dangerous or defective condition of another party's land or property, you may be able to sue the owner for compensation.

Product liability:

Defective products, or those with inadequate warnings, can be very dangerous. If a product causes you harm instead of working as intended, you can hold the manufacturer responsible through a lawsuit.

Dog bites:

Los Angeles California is a "strict liability" state, which means that if a dog bites you and causes you significant injury, the owner will be liable for the incident. Therefore, you can file a personal injury claim to recover your damages.

Medical malpractice:

The negligence of a healthcare professional in Los Angeles can result in terrible injuries. There are various forms of medical malpractice, such as misdiagnosis, inadequate treatment, surgical errors, medication errors, pharmacy errors, etc. If you are injured due to medical negligence, you have the right to seek compensation.

False accusations/defamation:

If your reputation is damaged due to false statements, you may be able to sue for compensation. However, you will need to prove that the statements had a significant negative impact, such as financial losses, for you to pursue this type of claim.

Assault and battery:

If another person intentionally assaults and physically harms you, the perpetrator may face criminal charges, but you can also file a personal injury claim to recover damages.

Wrongful death:

If a loved one dies due to someone else's negligence, recklessness, or malice, you can obtain compensation for your family through a personal injury lawsuit.


The personal injury settlement process

These are the steps you should take to settle your personal injury claim:

Get medical treatment

Your health is the most important thing. After suffering a physical injury, the first thing you should do is seek the medical attention you need.

Talk to a personal injury attorney

Working with a personal injury attorney is critical if you suffered anything beyond a minor injury. An attorney will have the experience and knowledge to represent and advise you throughout the process.

Attorney investigates your claim

The attorney will gather all available information about your claim to prepare a solid case in your favor. This may take some time, depending on the severity of your situation.

Settlement negotiation

If your lawyer believes your claim can be resolved outside of court, he/she will send a demand to the other party to that effect. The other party will then evaluate the situation and negotiate with your attorney to reach a settlement. Most cases are settled in this instance, without a formal lawsuit.

Lawsuit is filed

If a settlement cannot be reached, you and your attorney will proceed to file a personal injury claim in court.

Discovery phase

During the discovery phase, the legal teams on both sides evaluate the legal claims of both parties. During this process, interrogatories, document requests, and depositions of all relevant testimonies are sent. This can take anywhere from 6 months to a year, depending on the complexity of the case.

Mediation and negotiation

After the discovery process, attorneys for both parties will try to negotiate a settlement before going to trial. In some cases, a third-party mediator is appointed to mediate between the attorneys.

Trial

If mediation does not work, then the case will go to trial. Both sides will present their arguments to the court, and a judge will decide the outcome of the case.

Personal Injury FAQ

If you or a loved one suffered an injury due to someone else’s negligence or recklessness, you may be able to obtain compensation through a personal injury claim.

After being injured in an accident, people often have questions about the personal injury process, and about the steps they should take to protect their rights in a situation like this. However, you must keep in mind that each case is unique. Here is some general information about personal injury claims. To learn more about your specific situation, you should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney.

What do I do after an accident?

After an accident, the first thing you should do is seek the medical attention you need. Then, if possible, try to take pictures of the injuries you suffered and get the contact information of the witnesses to the incident. Make sure you don’t admit that you were at fault for the incident, even if it seems like the right thing to do at the time. Remember, anything you say can be used against you at a later time. If your case is particularly complex, you should consider working with an attorney to obtain compensation. Initial consultations are usually free in most cases.

How long does a Personal Injury claim take?

There is no reliable way to predict how long your personal injury claim will take to resolve. Like many other aspects of an injury, this will depend on the specific details concerning your case, such as:

  •   The complexity of your claim.
  •   The severity of your injuries.
  •   The number of parties involved.
  •   The willingness to settle.

Generally, simpler claims can take a few weeks. While litigation of more complex cases may take a year, or even longer.

What can I recover in a personal injury case?

The basis of personal injury claims is to make the claimant “whole”. That means that, if he wins, the plaintiff must receive monetary compensation for the “damages” suffered from the injury, to restore him to the position he might have been in had the accident not occurred.

The damages may be monetary, such as medical bills, repair or replacement of property, lost wages, and loss of earning capacity. Or non-economic such as pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, emotional stress, and inconvenience.

Should I hire an attorney for my personal injury case?

If your case is simple, it may be possible to resolve it without involving an attorney. However, if there is a lot of money at stake, if your injuries are more severe, there are many parties involved, the facts of the accident are complex, or the other party is disputing liability, you may need to work with an attorney to protect your rights.

How much is my case worth?

Every case is unique. There is no way to determine exactly the value of your case until a thorough investigation has taken place. However, you can ask a personal injury lawyer near you for an estimate, based on similar cases to yours that they have handled in the past. Lawyers cannot assure you that you will get a specific amount, so any estimate you receive is likely to be somewhat vague.

What do I do if an insurance company calls me?

Talking to an insurance company adjuster before or during your personal injury process is a very bad idea. They may seem friendly and polite, but what they really want is to get a statement that releases their insured from liability for the accident. The most sensible thing to do is tell the insurance company representative to talk to your attorney.

What if I was partly at fault for the accident?

California law states that the victim can pursue compensation from other at-fault parties, even if the victim was partly at fault for the accident. Under this standard, damages are divided according to the “percentage of fault” of each party involved. Therefore, even if you were 80% at fault, you can pursue compensation for the remaining 20%.

What if the accident happened at work?

If the accident happened on the job, you may be able to apply for workers’ compensation benefits instead of going after a personal injury claim. Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, so even if you were at fault for the accident, you can still receive benefits to cover your medical expenses, lost wages, etc.

However, you are free to waive your workers’ compensation rights and pursue a personal injury claim instead. In this case, you may receive much more money, but you will also be risking receiving nothing at all.

How do I pay for an attorney?

The vast majority of personal injury lawyers work for something called “contingency fees. This means that you won’t have to pay out of pocket for the services of a lawyer, but rather they will receive a percentage of your settlement money once your case is resolved. This percentage is usually between 30-33% of the total amount.

However, you are free to waive your workers’ compensation rights and pursue a personal injury claim instead. In this case, you may receive much more money, but you will also be risking receiving nothing at all.