If you have been involved in a situation that someone else is responsible for, and you have suffered injuries because of, then you may be able to seek compensation through a personal injury lawsuit or out of court settlement. Oftentimes, personal injury cases can be complex and confusing, and many victims may not even be aware of the fact that they are entitled to payment for their accident at all.
The team at Timothy J. Ryan & Associates is available now to help you fight for the money that you truly deserve after your personal injury. Contact us today for a free initial consultation so you can understand your rights, learn more about how we will handle your case, and get an idea of the type of success that our clients have experienced in the past in situations similar to your own.
Contact us now to get started, and read more below to see some general answers to frequently asked questions about personal injury cases in California. Keep in mind that, since each accident and injury is unique, these answers may not apply specifically to your situation.
What Is a Personal Injury?
A personal injury is any damage that a victim suffers to their person, as opposed to their property. This can include both physical and emotional injuries, from broken bones to fear and depression, and many more. For a personal injury to be eligible for a lawsuit, it must have been caused by another party's actions, negligence, malpractice, or malice.
How Can I Determine If I Am Entitled To Personal Injury Compensation?
In order for an injury to qualify for a settlement or personal injury lawsuit, it must meet a few basic criteria:
- The party responsible for the injuries (or the incident that caused the injuries) had a duty of reasonable care to the victim. Essentially, this means that the responsible party was expected to act in a certain way to keep others safe from harm.
- The responsible party failed to uphold their duty of reasonable care by acting negligently, recklessly, or in another way that caused the incident.
- There were injuries sustained as a result of this failure of duty.
- The injuries sustained caused actual, serious injuries. A serious injury is something that has an impact on the victim's life and requires special care or attention, and not just a minor bruise or scrape that will heal itself without additional attention or concern.
If you are uncertain of how these questions can be answered as they pertain to your own situation, contact us immediately for a free consultation where you will be able to get more insight into your rights and your options.
What Are Some Common Types of Injuries in Personal Injury Cases?
There are many different injuries that are common in personal injury cases, and others that are rare and unique to the situation. No matter what your injuries are, make sure that you speak with an attorney about how they will help you get the compensation you deserve for your suffering. Below are some injuries that are addressed in the California courts often:
- Fractures and broken bones
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord and neck injuries
- Road rash from motorcycle or bicycle accidents
- Sensory loss or damage due to injury
- Slip and fall injuries
- Medical malpractice issues like incorrect prescriptions or surgical errors
Every accident is unique, and the injuries that a victim receives are unique as well. This is why it is important to work with an experienced attorney to build a case that accurately represents your situation to a judge and jury.
How Much Will I Get From a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
There is no simple answer to the question of how much a victim deserves following their injuries. Damages are divided into compensatory and punitive damages, and you will work with your attorney to fight for the compensatory damages that you deserve. Punitive damages are awarded in rare cases but are determined by the jury.
Economic damages seek payments for the expenses and measurable costs associated with the injuries. This includes things like medical bills, recovery costs, surgical procedure costs, and hospital stays. In addition, they seek compensation for lost wages or paid time off used from missed work, as well as short- and long-term disability payments if the injuries impact the victim's earning capacity going forward. There are many other types of economic damages that can be included in a personal injury lawsuit, and they all depend on the actual situation.
Non-economic damages are awarded for the impacts of an accident or injury that do not have directly measurable monetary values. This includes things like the emotional suffering and distress that a victim must endure, as well as the actual pain they experience during and after the accident and through the recovery. Like the economic damages, the non-economic damages that a victim seeks compensation for are specific to their situation, and an experienced attorney will be able to make these injuries clear and understandable to the judge and jury hearing your case.
California limits non-economic damages in medical malpractice suits with $250,000 damage caps, something that is hotly debated.
Should I Accept An Offer From The Insurance Company?
Under no circumstances is it advised that you accept the initial offer from an insurance company without consulting the attorney. Insurance companies stay in business by limiting the payments that they make to victims of their clients, in order to protect their clients and their own legal interests for as little money as possible. Your situation will not be an exception. Once you accept a settlement agreement from an insurance company, you will waive your rights to pursue any additional legal action for this accident, meaning that you must be entirely confident of the amount you are accepting.
Do I Need A Lawyer For My Injuries?
There is no law that says you are required to hire a personal injury attorney, but it is highly recommended. Tort claims in California are extremely complex, and when an individual decides to represent themselves against an experienced legal team it will become even more complicated. If you have been injured and are trying to recover damages from the responsible party or their insurance company, you can be certain that they will be hiring a legal team to represent them who understands this process and will be working against you aggressively.
Contact Us Today To Learn More About Personal Injuries
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries as a result of another party's failure to uphold their duty of reasonable care, contact Orange County personal injury lawyer Timothy J. Ryan. During your free initial consultation you will be able to discuss your specific situation with a legal professional, get better insight into the California personal injury system, and learn how we can help you get the money that you deserve.