If you have recently been injured in an accident caused by another person, you're not alone: the CDC reports that accidental injuries are responsible for nearly 40 million doctor's visits each and every year. As a victim, there's a good chance that you have a number of questions about the personal injury process. In the material below, we've answered a number of questions we commonly hear from injured victims when they first reach out to us for help.
For more information about personal injury claims or to discuss the specifics of your case, you should contact our office today to schedule a free case evaluation with a personal injury lawyer in Los Angeles.
What you need to know about personal injury cases
Check out our infographic below to learn more about personal injury cases and how victims receive compensation.
What does personal injury include?
Personal injury is an extremely broad area of law that deals with compensating people who have been injured by the negligence of others. Negligence occurs when a person fails to use the degree of care that would ordinarily be exercised by a reasonable person in similar circumstances. In addition, under a legal doctrine known as negligence per se, an individual can be deemed negligent as a matter of law if he or she violates a safety rule and causes the kind of harm that the rule was designed to prevent.
Personal injury claims can arise from any type of accident that causes injuries. Some common examples of incidents that can result in personal injury claims include:
- Car, motorcycle, and truck accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Injuries caused by defective products
- Hotel and resort accidents
- Premises liability cases
- Nursing home abuse and neglect
- Medical errors
- Inadequate security
Sometimes, certain personal injury claims are sub-categorized more specifically. For example, medical malpractice and product liability claims are specific types of personal injury claims. There are lawyers and law firms that specialize in handling specific areas within personal injury generally.
Who pays in a personal injury claim?
In a personal injury claim, the at-fault party will pay for the victims' accident-related losses. These losses often include medical expenses, property damage, lost quality of life, lost income, and physical and emotional pain and suffering. Most personal injury claims are resolved by reaching a settlement agreement with the at-fault party’s insurance company, but there are certainly cases that end up going to trial.
It's in your best interest to retain an attorney to represent you, even if you are certain that your case is going to settle. Insurance companies are incentivized to settle every claim for as little as possible, and will gladly deny your claim entirely if they can find any reason to do so. Fortunately, you can be represented by an attorney throughout the entire process, and a lawyer will know how to get the insurance company to pay you what your claim is actually worth. In the event that the insurance company fails to make an adequate settlement offer, your attorney will most likely file a lawsuit against the person or party that caused your accident.
How long does a personal injury settlement take?
As a person who has recently been injured in an accident, you are likely wondering how long it will take to settle your case. This is particularly true if you are dealing with out-of-pocket expenses related to your accident and are losing income because you are unable to work. Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to this question, as every personal injury case is different. The personal injury settlement process can have many twists and turns, and settling a case can take anywhere from a few months to several years. Some of the factors that can influence how quickly your case will be resolved include:
- The amount of damages involved
- The strength of your case
- The nature of the case
- The insurance company’s policies
- The limits of the at-fault party’s insurance policy
If you are struggling to make ends meet after your accident, it may be a good idea to look into accident settlement funding. Insurance companies are aware of the fact that accident victims often need money sooner rather than later and may engage in delay tactics designed to get you to settle your case for less than it is actually worth.
How much is your personal injury case worth?
The amount of compensation that you are able to obtain through your personal injury case also depends on a variety of factors. Victims are able to recover compensation for both their economic and non-economic losses, and the amount victims receive can vary tremendously. Some personal injury cases are worth thousands of dollars, while others result in 7-figure settlements or verdicts. Some of the factors that may influence the amount of compensation you are able to recover include:
- Your age
- Your occupation
- The nature and extent of your injuries
- Your prognosis
- Whether the at-fault party’s conduct was particularly egregious
When you meet with an attorney, he or she will conduct a thorough analysis and let you know about how much you will be able to recover.
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