Californians who have been injured because of the negligent acts of others may want to get help from an experienced Granada Hills personal injury lawyer. Attorneys may be able to recover more compensation than the victims might be able to secure on their own. Personal injury lawyers have extensive knowledge of this area of the law and understand the tactics that are commonly used by insurance companies. They might be able to negotiate reasonable settlements that fairly compensate their clients for their economic and noneconomic losses.
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How do personal injury lawsuits work?
After a personal injury accident, the victim notifies his or her insurance company as well as the insurance company of the person who caused the accident. An insurance adjuster will then contact the victim and ask for a statement about what happened. It is important for victims to minimize their communication with insurance adjusters. They are employees of the insurance companies and are trained to elicit information from victims that can help to reduce the company’s losses. Victims may also be asked to sign medical releases. Before signing anything or agreeing to make recorded statements, victims should simply tell the adjusters that they want to talk to a personal injury lawyer first.
During a consultation, an attorney will assess the potential claim and then explain whether or not the facts are sufficient to support a lawsuit. If the attorney agrees to accept the case, he or she will thoroughly investigate the incident and value the claim. The lawyer will present a range of values within which a reasonable settlement offer should fall.
The attorney will send a demand letter to the insurance company asking for a settlement in the upper end of the range of values. The insurance company may come back with a counteroffer or may dispute the fault of its insured. If the company makes a counteroffer, the lawyer may negotiate with the company to try to secure a higher amount. In some cases, settlements are reached without filing a lawsuit.
If the insurance company makes an unreasonable offer or disputes liability, the personal injury lawyer may file a civil complaint in court, which commences the lawsuit. The defendant will then have time to file an answer or reply to the lawsuit after he or she is served with a copy of it. The case will then move into the discovery period.
During discovery, both sides must exchange all of the information and evidence that they have with each other. They may also depose witnesses, the victim and the defendant. This is meant to help both sides to gain a clearer understanding of the case and the veracity of all of the witnesses, and depositions may help the sides to reach settlement agreements.
If no settlement is reached, a jury trial will be scheduled. At the trial, the victim’s attorney and the defense attorney will be able to present evidence, call witnesses and cross-examine the witnesses who are called by the other side. When the presentation of evidence is finished, the case will be sent to the jury. The jury will then deliberate before returning its verdict. If a plaintiff prevails, he or she will then have to collect the money from the award.
Types of personal injury claims
Personal injury law involves many different types of claims, including the following:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Dog bites
- Slip and falls
- Inadequate security
- Medical malpractice
- Wrongful death
- Defective products
Each of these different types of personal injury claims will have unique elements that must be proven by the injured plaintiffs in order for them to prevail in their cases.
Personal injury compensation
The available damages in a personal injury case will depend on the claim’s type, the injuries that were suffered and the extent of the losses. In general, personal injury plaintiffs in California may be able to recover the following:
- Past and future medical costs
- Past and future lost earnings
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Pain and suffering
- Reductions in the ability to enjoy life
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium claims for spouses
- Property losses
In wrongful death cases, plaintiff families may recover all of the listed damages as well as reasonable funeral and burial costs. The medical expenses in a wrongful death case are those that were incurred between the time of the victim’s accident and when he or she ultimately succumbed to the injuries.
Factors affecting the amount of damages
If the victim shared some of the blame for the accident, then his or her award will be reduced according to the percentage of fault that he or she had. For example, if a plaintiff receives a gross award of $100,000 but is allocated 20 percent of the fault, he or she will receive a net award of $80,000.
Accident-related factors that affect the amount of damages include:
- Extent and severity of the injuries
- The rehabilitation that will be required
- How much suffering resulted
- Future earnings losses
- The vitality the person enjoyed both prior to and following the accident
There are also other factors that may have an impact on the potential damages.
Contact an attorney
People who have been seriously injured in accidents that were caused by other individuals or entities may have the basis for filing personal injury claims. This area of law is highly complex, and getting the help of experienced personal injury attorneys may increase the likelihood of success. Schedule a consultation with an experienced Granada Hills, California personal injury today to learn more about the rights you might have.
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If you or a loved one has been injured, you will want a top rated Granada Hills personal injury attorney that understands how to get the maximum compensation you deserve. Our pledge is to be your partner, and provide passionate, yet skillful legal representation needed to win your case. Contact our highly trained personal injury lawyers today for a free case evaluation.