If you have been involved in an accident or another situation where someone else's actions did you harm, you could have sustained injuries that have altered your ability to live a normal life, either temporarily or permanently. If this is the case, then you may be eligible to seek financial repayment for your injuries, both physical and emotional, through a settlement or a personal injury lawsuit. Personal injury lawsuits are intended to seek compensation after an accident for the economic impacts that the accident has had on the victim, as well as the noneconomic but pervasive impacts that they have had to deal with additionally.
If you have been injured in an accident that someone else caused, and your injuries have had an adverse impact on your life, we highly recommend that you contact the team at Timothy J. Ryan & Associates as soon as possible for a free case consultation with a legal professional. You will be able to discuss the incident, the impact it has had on your life, and get a better understanding of how this situation should be handled in a legal context. Even if you are uncertain of your rights or options after your injuries, a call with our team will be able to help you understand that you are not alone, that there are courses of action for situations like your own, and that there are people here to help.
Read more below about some overview information about personal injury law in California, and how these situations are handled in the California courts. Keep in mind that the following information is very high-level, and is intended to be a brief summary to give you some context, and to possibly understand how your own circumstances fit into the overall world of personal injury lawsuits. However, if you do not see anything on this page that seems familiar, this does not mean that you are not eligible. Whether or not you find anything familiar on this page, contact us immediately to learn more about your rights, how we can help, and what the next steps are that we will take.
What Does a Personal Injury Attorney Do?
If you have been involved in an accident of any kind, it can be surprising how quickly the expenses and costs can add up. This could be from medical bills, lost wages, and a variety of other things that all have a very real, and very immediate financial impact on your life. A personal injury lawyer in Santa Ana will work with you to determine all of these impacts, quantify them, and build a case where you will be able to seek compensation from the responsible party in order to make financial amends.
The world of personal injuries can be complicated and intimidating for those who are unfamiliar with it, which is why a personal injury attorney focuses on this aspect of the legal system in order to have the best possible understanding of California tort claims.
Dealing With Insurance Companies
If you are involved in a car accident or another situation where the responsible party has insurance, you may end up dealing directly with the insurance company in order to collect compensation for your situation. You will be dealing with an insurance agent who goes through the details of the accident and associated injuries, and will then return with a one-time payment meant to reimburse you for your losses. While this amount may seem appealing at first glance, it is important that you NEVER accept this offer without consulting with an attorney. If you accept this amount, you will also need to sign an agreement that voids your future ability to seek additional damages from both the insurance company and their client.
It may seem that this amount is as much as you will get from the insurance company, but you should remember that an insurance company is there to spend as little money as possible, not to pay people everything that they deserve. This amount is simply the beginning of a negotiation process. When you hire a personal injury attorney, they will manage these negotiations and work to get you an out of court settlement that fairly compensates you for your injuries, and can avoid the complications of a full trial. If negotiations fail, then you can be confident that you have an experienced professional on your side who will build a strong case to seek the amount you deserve.
When Can I File a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
There are a few basic criteria that must be met before going any further in deciding the strength of your personal injury case in California.
- The responsible party had a duty to act in a way that kept those around them safe from harm.
- The responsible party acted in a way that failed or violated this duty.
- This failure of duty led to you being injured.
- Your injuries resulted in significant damages.
In some cases, such as a drunk driving crash, it can be fairly simple to determine the answers to these questions: The other driver had a duty to drive safely and failed to uphold this duty when they got drunk and then operated a motor vehicle. While drunk, they caused an accident with you, and you were injured as a result.
In other cases, such as an injury resulting from a defective product, or certain premise liabilities, you may be uncertain of whether or not you have a case. Additionally, any insurance companies that you are dealing with will do everything in their legal power to make it seem as if you do not have any rights beyond the offer they are making you. Our free consultation is intended to help victims determine their rights simply and affordably before making any decisions that will impact their lives in significant and permanent ways.
Common Personal Injury Cases
As you can imagine from the criteria listed above, there are endless things that can result in a personal injury lawsuit. However, below are some of the more common cases that we handle at Timothy J. Ryan & Associates. If your situation is not listed below, do not be discouraged — we are here to help you no matter what the cause of your accident.
- Car accidents
- Drunk driving
- Medical malpractice
- Wrongful death
- Pedestrian injuries
- Motorcycle crashes
- Defective products
- Premise liabilities (slip and fall)
The above list is meant to be a small sample of situations what could qualify for a personal injury lawsuit and additional damages.
How Much Is a Personal Injury Lawsuit Worth?
There is no simple way to answer the question of how much money a victim should be seeking in a personal injury lawsuit because there are many different factors that go into determining a fair amount of damages. As no two accident are the same, no two damage amounts are the same either. Below are some examples of things that are included in these lawsuits, and an explanation of how they are divided.
Economic damages are the types of damages that come with actual dollar amounts associated with them. This means things like hospital bills, recovery costs, surgical procedures, medications, and other medical expenses, which are all simple to compile. In addition to these costs, we will also determine the amount of income that you have lost, caused by time out of work, diminished earning capacity as a result of your injuries, or any vacation or sick leave that you have needed to use to cover your missed work. If we believe that you will still have future medical bills or lost wages, we will seek these damages as well.
Economic damages are included in personal injury lawsuits to ensure that the victim and/or their insurance company is able to recover the immediate financial costs of the accident. We will work to ensure that any and all expenses or costs associated with your accident are included in the damages we are seeking. In addition to medical and career-related expenses, we will include any services you must pay for because you are unable to complete the duties on your own, and anything else unique to your situation.
Noneconomic damages are the other form of compensatory damages included in personal injury lawsuits, but address issues that do not have a set price attached to them. These damages can be a bit more complicated to determine a fair amount for, and an insurance company will not include these types of damages in the initial settlement offer that they will make for you. Just because there is no simple way to calculate these damages does not mean that they are not as important, if not more important, than the economic damages.
Noneconomic damages account for things like pain and suffering, depression, fear, and anger, as well as loss of enjoyment and a diminished quality of life. Since these factors do not have an accepted or calculable dollar value, we will work to determine a “multiplier” with which to present the severity of these issues to a judge and jury. Once we determine a multiplier that we believe to be fair and accurate to your situation, we will apply that number to your economic damages in order to determine the amount we are seeking.
For example: if you have $100,000 of economic damages, and we have determined a multiplier of 5x, then we will seek $500,000 of noneconomic damages, in addition to the $100,000 of economic damages, for a total of $600,000 in compensatory damages.
In some situations, a jury may find the responsible party's actions to be so egregious and irresponsible that, in addition to compensatory damages, they should additional damages as punishment. These are known as punitive damages, and are not included in the damages that you will seek, and will not be included in any amounts that you and your personal injury attorney will calculate.
Contact Us Now
California has a strict statute of limitations that will legally invalidate any claims if you wait beyond the allotted time to file your lawsuit. The sooner you contact us, the sooner we will be able to begin building your case and ensuring that you are able to move forward as aggressively as possible. Call our Orange County personal injury lawyers now, or schedule an appointment from our website to take an important step towards recovery.