Orange County Personal Injury Attorney
With Offices in Huntington Beach
Do you need legal help?
Orange County Personal Injury Attorney
With Offices in Huntington Beach
Do you need legal help?
- Georgia Cunradi
- D. Franklin Welch
- J. Weber
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Orange County Personal Injury Attorney
Accidents are always frightening, and often take an emotional and psychological toll, in addition to causing physical injury. When you’re injured in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you deserve compensation.
If you’re reading this, you’ve probably been injured by someone’s careless or negligent behavior. You may be in pain. You’ve probably missed work, causing you financial problems. You’re also probably feeling a lot of stress as you search for someone to help you with a personal injury claim.
We are here to help. Our firm offers free legal consultations. Call our Orange County personal injury lawyer today.
Don’t worry about having the money to pay upfront for answers about a claim. Just call us as soon as possible and schedule a free legal consultation.
The information below will give you a good overview of your personal injury claim. We’ll start with showing you the many ways you can damage your claim without realizing it. Then, we’ll share a client story to give you an even better idea of what to expect when filing a claim. Be sure to read to the end to learn as much as possible.
Common Personal Injury Claim Mistakes
It’s unfortunate that there are many ways to damage your personal injury claim. Go through the mistakes listed here to keep from making the same errors yourself.
Not Going to the Hospital After the Accident
Waiting or failing altogether to see a doctor after an accident is more common than you may realize. Sometimes people feel the surge of adrenaline and cortisol that accompanies traumatic events and think they’re okay when they’re not. These stress hormones can give you a temporary boost of energy and strength, while dampening your ability to register pain.
See a doctor after being in an accident, whether or not you feel a lot of pain. You may have internal injuries that could threaten your health and even your life. Let a medical professional decide whether or not you’re fine.
Getting a medical exam will also provide you with an important dated record of your injuries. The closer the date and timestamp of this record are to the accident, the stronger your proof will be that the accident caused your injuries.
Expect the insurance company to attempt to save money by paying you as little compensation as possible. If you can’t prove when and how you were injured, they can devalue your claim. Get to a doctor as soon as you can after an accident caused by the negligence of another.
Not Sticking to the Doctor’s Treatment Plan
Your doctor’s treatment plan is intended to help you heal as quickly as possible. Treatment plans can take a number of forms, including things like medication, physical therapy, occupational therapy, or chiropractic.
If you don’t pay attention to your treatment plan after being released from the doctor’s office, you are again risking your health and the value of your claim.
Straying from your treatment plan may mean skipping medications, or failing to show up for occupational therapy, for example. It could also take the form of returning to strenuous activities you are not yet medically cleared for. Anything you fail to do, or do that you shouldn’t do, will help the insurance company blame you if your recovery stalls.
Don’t let the insurance company take advantage of you. Take your doctor’s treatment plan seriously.
Giving the Insurance Provider a Recorded Statement
After your injury, you can expect a call from the insurance company asking you to give them a recorded statement. Agreeing to do so is a mistake.
You may think that giving your statement is just standard procedure in processing your claim. You may be worried your claim will stall if you don’t comply. The insurance adjuster is not going to clear up your misconceptions, because giving them a statement is to their benefit.
What the company is looking for is any information they can use to lower the value of your claim. Adjusters are well trained in conducting interviews and good at getting people to open up. If you take this call, you will be at great risk of saying something you don’t even realize they can use to devalue your claim.
Imagine that you’ve been talking with the adjuster for a while, and they seem to care about your wellbeing. They casually ask you if you had your seatbelt on when you were injured in the car accident.
You answer, “Oh yes. Back in high school, I used to not wear my seatbelt, but I broke my arm in a car accident. That’s all it took to change my mind.”
You know what the adjuster heard? They heard that sometimes you don’t wear your seatbelt. You may suddenly find them challenging whether you actually wore it during the accident. Are you sure you wore it? How do you know you had it on but unclicked it after the crash? How much of the crash do you actually recall?
Protect the value of your claim by declining the call with the insurance. Better yet, let your Orange County personal injury lawyer handle it for you.
Failing to Hire a Lawyer as Soon as Possible
Sometimes people wait to find a lawyer because the statute of limitations for filing gives them what they consider plenty of time. What you must remember, however, is that evidence is not going to stick around that long. The scene of the accident will get cleaned up, witnesses may change contact information, and evidence may even get lost.
Even if you reach a witness, if months or even a year or more has passed, a witness’s memory of the event is not going to be any sharper than it was right after the event. You can count on the insurance company pointing that out, especially if your case ends up before a jury.
Sometimes people wait to look for an attorney because they plan to handle their claim on their own to “save money.” Statistics show, however, that people who take on their personal injury claims without an attorney are awarded far less than those with qualified lawyers.
An experienced personal injury lawyer will know the pitfalls your claim is vulnerable to and be able to navigate around them. If the insurance company sees that you do not have an attorney, they are likely to use delay tactics and refuse a reasonable settlement. If they can wear you down, you will be likely to accept far less than you should— or even give up appealing denied claims, ending up with nothing.
Without an attorney, the insurance company doesn’t have to worry about being dragged into court. You simply won’t have the leverage that a personal injury attorney does to motivate the insurance company to cooperate.
It’s critical to seek a qualified Orange County personal injury lawyer to take on your claim as soon as you can. The quicker your attorney can get started, the stronger your claim will be.
Hiring the Wrong Personal Injury Attorney
When you hire a personal injury attorney, it’s vital to hire an experienced personal injury attorney. Like doctors, lawyers have specializations, or practice areas. Just as you would seek out a surgeon who specializes in the type of surgery you need, make sure you seek out an attorney who spends a good amount of their time handling personal injury claims.
In addition, make sure you hire a trial attorney. Most claims are settled before reaching the courtroom, but if yours needs to go before a jury, you’ve got to have someone by your side who can win.
These days, it’s easier than ever to find feedback on attorneys by going on the internet. Take advantage of this and check out the success record of the attorneys you are considering, as well as their reviews and client testimonials.
Orange County Personal Injury Client Story
We are sharing the client story below to help you further understand how a personal injury claim works. We’ve edited names and details to protect our client’s privacy, but you’ll still get value from the information. Be sure to read to the end to learn as much as possible. When you’re done, please give us a call so we can talk about your specific claim.
On a cool evening in March, Oscar Sanchez pulled out of the rental lot at LAX in a small bright green Hyundai. He headed east on the 105 to the 405 and then south toward Huntington Beach.
His best friend, Adrian, was home from the Air Force on a five-day leave and was due to ship out again the next morning. When Adrian arrived in Orange County, Oscar was in the middle of midterm exams in Boston. Adrian knew this, and understood why Oscar couldn’t be there.
What Adrian didn’t know was that after wrapping up his last exam that morning, Oscar managed to fly back in time for a surprise dinner with the guys.
It had been over a year since Adrian shipped out to basic training, and this was his first trip home. He’d had spent his leave with his parents, little sister Ava, and two of Oscar’s other childhood friends, Joe and Eli. The four had been inseparable since fifth grade; the kind of “Stand by Me” friendships movies are made about.
When Oscar got off the highway, he checked in with Eli on speaker phone.
“Almost there, E,” said Oscar.
“Awesome. He’s just coming up now with Joe from the parking lot. Which reminds me, when you come up park on Gothard and walk over so he doesn’t see your car. He has no idea you’re not still in Boston.”
“Okay, I’m in a lime green Hyundai,” said Oscar, as his stomach growled so loudly Eli could hear.
“Dude, really?” Eli laughed.
“Hey, I’m starving,” Oscar said, realizing he hadn’t eaten since breakfast. He’d been in such a rush to catch his flight, he’d skipped lunch. He couldn’t wait for that cheesesteak.
“No, I mean, lime green? Is that how they roll in Boston?” Eli teased. “Sounds hideous.”
“No, man, it’s apparently how they “roll’ in LA these days, bro,” Oscar shot back, laughing. “And it’s what Hertz had on short notice. Besides, it’s growing on me.”
“Whatever, man, when we go out tonight, I’m driving,” Eli laughed. “Gotta go, he’s coming in.”
Oscar made good time, and saw Eli’s Mustang in the restaurant’s lot as he entered the intersection.
That’s when a back Audi A5 flew through the light and slammed into the driver’s side of Oscar’s rental.
Both cars careened across the intersection. The sound was like a thunderclap and Adrian, Eli, and Joe turned to see the intersection littered with wreckage from two crumpled vehicles in the westbound lane of Fountain.
Eli’s eyes registered the lime green Hyundai and the blood drained from his face.
“Dude, what is it?” Adrian asked, as Eli shot out the door and ran into the intersection.
Oscar woke up in the hospital disoriented and in pain. He had three cracked ribs and a fractured left hip and left arm. His neck was sprained and he had signs of a traumatic brain injury.
Adrian was at his bedside. He explained that Oscar had been in a coma for twelve hours.
“Man, how are you in Boston?” Oscar asked. “Aren’t you supposed to be in Texas right now?”
“I’m okay, bro, I got an emergency extension until the beginning of next week. And you’re not in Boston, you’re in LA.”
Oscar’s memory ended at taking his midterms, with no recollection of leaving New England. He remembered everything from before midterms, but then there was a blank.
The doctors said Oscar’s memory loss was likely be due to the swelling in his brain. They were monitoring him closely, and the swelling was slowly subsiding. Between the broken hip and the brain injury, however, Oscar was almost certainly headed to rehabilitation before he could go home.
The rest of the week went by quickly. Adrian visited every day, and they spent hours catching up. Eli and Joe also stopped in frequently, along with Ava, Adrian’s little sister.
“Hey, your little sister’s not so little anymore,” Oscar said to Adrian, after Ava left. “Man, we used to tease her. “I’m glad she didn’t write me off. She’s really smart. And pretty.”
“Nah, she laughs about the old days. You know, she always had a crush on you, bro,” Adrian said. Oscar blushed and looked away, but he was smiling.
Oscar ’s brain swelling continued to subside, and he was able to begin physical therapy. His balance, however, was definitely off. It was too soon to tell if the problem was due to his broken hip or the brain injury. It would take time to sort out, and the doctors scheduled Oscar to transfer to rehab in ten days.
At the beginning of the following week, Adrian stopped by to say goodbye before flying back to base. He was reluctant to leave Oscar in the hospital.
“You gotta get back to it, bro. I’ll be fine, I promise,” said Oscar, as Ava entered the room.
“Besides, I’ll be around to help,” Ava said brightly.
“Okay, but listen, give these guys a call,” Adrian said, handing Oscar our card. “You already told me you don’t know what’s going to happen to your scholarship if you can’t finish the semester.”
Oscar called us that afternoon. He said he needed to know what it would cost to hire us for a personal injury claim, how much his claim was worth, and how long it would take.
How much does it cost to hire a lawyer?
We met Oscar the next afternoon in his hospital room. Ava sat beside him with a legal pad in her lap.
“This is my assistant, Ava,” Oscar said with serious expression that dissolved into a mischievous smile. Ava laughed and rolled her eyes.
“What I need to know before we move forward is how much you charge. I’m not exactly rolling in money right now, and I’m not going to be able to get back to work or school for at least six weeks,” Oscar said, suddenly somber. “This is definitely setting me back.”
Our lawyer replied that his question was completely reasonable and one we get all the time. “We work on a contingency fee model, Oscar. That means we cover all of your claim expenses, including investigation, administration, and if necessary, litigation, should your case end up in court. We only get paid when we resolve your claim successfully.”
How much is my claim worth?
“Okay. You can stay. For now,” Oscar said, as everyone laughed. “But seriously, what’s a claim like mine even worth? I have no idea how any of this goes.”
Our lawyer explained that it’s actually impossible to estimate the value of a claim before understanding the details and the damages.
“The truth is, Oscar, there are no cases exactly like yours, because every claim is unique.
“Before we can tell you the value of our claim, we’ll need to conduct an accident investigation and accurately assess your damages. We can get started gathering evidence and interviewing witnesses right away, but the other part of the equation will come from you.
“We’ll need you to reach maximum medical improvement. That means, recovering to the point of your previous ‘normal’ health. If this isn’t attainable due to your injuries, then you’ll need to recover to the point of a new ‘normal.’ This is going to mean that you don’t need any additional surgeries, and the doctors are clear on what any future care for your injuries will involve.
“When you reach maximum medical improvement, we’ll understand what your economic and non-economic damages are. That’s when we will truly know the value of your claim.
“Reaching this point will require you to put all of your energy into recovering, Oscar. That’s your job right now; we’ll take care of your claim and deal with the insurance company. Get as much rest as you can and follow your treatment plan.”
“Don’t worry, he will,” Ava said. Oscar took her hand and agreed, “I will.”
How long will my claim take?
“How long will Oscar’s case take?” Ava asked.
“Because determining your case value is going to depend largely on your damages, Oscar, your case timeline will depend on how long it takes you to arrive at maximum medical improvement. When you get there, we’ll know your damages and send a demand letter to the other driver’s insurance company. From that point on, the timeline of your claim is going to depend on whether or not they are willing to negotiate a fair settlement.
“If they agree to compensate you fairly, your claim can be wrapped up without additional delay. If, however, they refuse to settle, we’ll take them to court.
“Please don’t stress over this possibility, though. Our firm has a long, successful record of attaining full and fair compensation in personal injury cases, including those involving car accidents. The insurance company is probably aware of our reputation, and may be all the more willing to negotiate to avoid arguing your claim against us in front of a jury.
“Either way, we’re more than up to the challenge. That’s why whether you retain our firm or another, Oscar, we strongly recommend you choose a personal injury trial attorney with experience winning car accident claims both in and out of the courtroom.”
Oscar was satisfied with the answers he received during his free consultation and retained our firm. Today, we are happy to say that the settlement we got him was over seven times what the insurance company initially offered.
Call Our Orange County Personal Injury Lawyer Today
We hope the information above has answered some of your car accident claim questions. No two cases are exactly alike, so please call our Orange County personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to schedule a free legal consultation. Let us take the burden of navigating your personal injury claim off of your shoulders. Call us today.
Tim Ryan took my small personal injury case and turned it into a “win” for me. I appreciate his time, patience, and professional expertise in resolving this neighborhood dog injury issue for me. I feel safer because of Tim Ryan. Thank you!