If you have suffered from injuries after an accident that someone as caused, then you may be entitled to seek additional damages from them in the form of a personal injury lawsuit. After your accident, you may believe that you are only entitled to repayment for the actual expenses you have incurred during your treatment and recovery, but this is absolutely not the case. There are many different options that we will explore as they pertain to your specific situation, and will be certain that our case seeks all damages that you are owed and rightfully deserve.
If you are involved in an accident and are dealing with an insurance agent, it is extremely important that you understand how an insurance company works: they are not there to give you the total amount of the money that you deserve. The main goal of an insurance company is to make the minimum necessary payments that will protect their client and themselves from any future litigation while protecting their financial interests. You will deal with an insurance agent who will explore the details of your situation, and ultimately make you an offer for a settlement. While the settlement amount may seem appealing when first offered, NEVER accept this amount. If you do, you will be required to legally waive your right to seek any additional damages, and will only be compensated for a small scope of your injuries.
Instead of working with the insurance company, hiring a personal injury attorney in Irvine is the most responsible and effective decision that you can make. As soon as we begin on your case, we will take over all communications with the insurance company, the defendant's legal team, or anyone else involved. We will negotiate on your behalf for a settlement amount that we believe accurately and fairly represents your injuries, expenses, and suffering, and will attempt to do so without a full lawsuit. If these negotiations fail, then we will take the next steps and move to a complete lawsuit to get you the money you deserve.
Can I File a Personal Injury Lawsuit in California?
There are a few basic questions that you must first answer to determine if you may be able to seek damages through a personal injury lawsuit:
- Were you in an accident that someone else caused?
- Were you injured as a result of the accident?
- Did you suffer financial damages as a result of your injuries?
If you are able to answer ‘yes' to these questions, then you may be eligible for financial compensation for a variety of factors. If you are unsure of whether your situation qualifies, or if you are ready to take the next steps, then contact us immediately. We offer a free initial consultation where you will be able to lay out the basics of your situation with a personal injury attorney, who will be able to explain your options in the context of California personal injury law.
Common Causes of Personal Injury Lawsuits in California
Keep in mind that this is only an abbreviated list, and does not include every situation where someone would be able to seek damages. We understand that each accident and set of injuries is unique, and we treat each case as such. Whether or not you see a situation that resembles your own in this list below, contact us immediately to understand your options.
- Car accidents
- Slip and fall
- Motorcycle crashes
- Pedestrian accidents
- Drunk driving
- Medical malpractice
- Defective products
- Traumatic brain injuries
Again, keep in mind that if you were injured because of someone else's actions or negligence, you should explore your options with an attorney immediately.
Damages In a Personal Injury Lawsuit
There are a variety of damages in a personal injury lawsuit, each addressing a different type of cost to the victim. There are compensatory damages in the form of economic and noneconomic damages, which are intended to compensate the victim for the cost of their suffering, and in some cases, there are punitive damages, which are awarded in addition to compensatory damages for situations that are remarkably egregious or heinous. Punitive damages are rare, and are not sought after by the victim and their legal team; instead, the jury decides to award these additional damages if they see fit.
Economic damages are intended to repay the victim (or the victim's insurance company) for the actual costs associated with the accident and injuries. This includes repayment for lost wages and time missed from work, as well as any paid sick leave (PTO) or vacation time. In addition, these damages go towards medical expenses such as ambulance rides, hospital visits, surgical procedures, recovery expenses, medication, and anything else associated with medical costs. The insurance company is the first to be repaid for these damages if they had made the initial payments to cover the costs.
If your injuries are so severe that they impact your long-term ability to work and earn, then we will also factor in long-term disability costs and your diminished earning capacity. Additionally, any projected medical expenses for future issues will also be factored into this amount.
Noneconomic damages include things like your pain and suffering, depression, fear, and reduced quality of life because of your injuries. In wrongful death lawsuits, the surviving family members can also seek damages for loss of consortium. Depending on the specifics of your situation, we may include a variety of other noneconomic impacts that you are dealing with.
While economic damages are fairly simple to calculate and present as a series of invoices and financial figures, the noneconomic impacts can be somewhat more complicated to quantify. While there is no agreed-upon amount of money for a certain injury, we will work to quantify your injuries in the form of a “multiplier,” a number intended to represent the severity of the intangible impacts to your life.
When we have determined an appropriate multiplier for your noneconomic damages, we then apply that number to your economic damages in order to arrive at a final number that we are seeking in the lawsuit. For example, $100,000 of economic damages and a multiplier of 3x will result in a lawsuit seeking $100,000 + $300,000 for a total of $400,000 in damages.
Punitive damages are not very common in personal injury lawsuits and are awarded to the victim by the jury at the end of the case. They are granted in situations where the injuries were the result of extreme, malicious, or reckless behavior that deserves punishment, or if the defendant is a party with significant financial assets. In the case of significant financial assets, it is intended to act as a dissuader to the defendant to act in this way again, as the total amount of the compensatory damages may be inconsequential to them given their financial situations.
How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help?
It has been shown that stress can cause serious problems during a recovery process, and a personal injury lawsuit can be extremely stressful if you are not working with an experienced and trustworthy attorney. When you are being represented by the team at Timothy J. Ryan & Associates, you can rest easy knowing that your attorney is working hard on your case while attempting to reduce as much stress on you as possible.
During negotiations with an insurance company, you will be dealing directly with the company's legal department, who is there to ensure that payments are kept to an absolute minimum. For someone who is not experienced with personal injury law, the tactics this team may use can be confusing and intimidating and ultimately lead you to believe that you are not entitled to the amount that you rightfully deserve. When you are working with an attorney, you will not need to worry about these negotiations at all.
If your attorney is unable to reach an agreement during negotiations, it is equally, if not more, important that you have strong legal representation as you go into a full lawsuit. These cases can be extremely complicated, and require an extensive understanding of the California Civil Code to ensure that your case is handled with the detail and consideration it deserves.
Contact Us Today
Whether you are certain that your injuries require personal injury compensation, or if you are unsure of what to do following an accident, contact us today for a free consultation to learn more about your options. When you speak with an attorney from our team, you will be able to understand more about what to expect through this entire process, as well as have the opportunity to ask about how we would represent you and handle your case as our client.
Contact us as soon as possible – California has a statute of limitations on personal injury cases that legally blocks victims from seeking compensation more than two years after the injury (or one year after the injury was discovered). The sooner you act, the sooner we can begin building your case and fighting for you so that you can get back to your life and focus on recovering from this traumatic event.