If you’ve been injured in an unexpected accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you likely have a lot of questions. At Selarz Law Corp., we believe in keeping our clients informed so that they can make knowledge decisions regarding their rights and their futures. With this in mind, we’re proud to offer a number of helpful legal resources, including answers to frequently asked questions about personal injury claims in Los Angeles and the state of California. Our personal injury lawyers are well-versed in the legal process and, while a more in-depth discussion should be held to discuss the specifics of your case, this personal injury FAQ can provide you with answers and information that can serve as a valuable starting point. Browse our FAQs to find answers to common personal injury questions or contact Selarz Law Corp. today for a free, confidential consultation with one of our Los Angeles personal injury lawyers.
How do I know if I have a personal injury case?
Generally speaking, you have grounds for a personal injury claim if the accident or incident that caused your injuries was the direct or indirect result of someone else’s negligence or wrongful actions. For our purposes, “someone else” includes another person, a group of people, a company/business, a product manufacturer, a government entity, or any other party. “Negligence” includes careless or reckless actions or inactions, whereas “wrongful actions” typically involves illegal/illicit behavior.
For example, if you were hit by a drunk driver and suffered a herniated disc that required extensive medical treatment and rendered you unable to work for a month, you have grounds for a personal injury claim because the drunk driver was acting wrongfully by driving while under the influence of alcohol. If you were hit by a car while riding your bicycle and the driver of the car was texting at the time of the collision, you have grounds for a personal injury claim even if you only suffered relatively minor damages.
As long as you can prove that another party owed you a duty of care, that the other party breached this duty of care, and you suffered damages as a result, you are eligible to seek compensation. In certain circumstances, such as defective product and dog bite cases, you do not necessarily even need to show that another person/party acted negligently. It’s always best to speak to a qualified personal injury lawyer about your legal rights and options.
The other person’s insurance company offered me a settlement; should I take it?
Generally speaking, it is not a good idea to talk to any adjusters from the other person’s insurance provider until you have first spoken with a lawyer. However, if the liable party’s insurance company did reach out to you and offered you a settlement, it is in your best interests to avoid accepting this settlement until you contact an attorney.
Insurance companies are businesses and, just like any other business, their primary goal is making money. One way they do this is by limiting how much they pay out in personal injury and property damage claims. Any settlement they offer is likely to be much less than you are owed. They may even try to get you to admit fault and could use this to deny your claim.
It is always best to speak to an experienced personal injury lawyer who can help you clearly understand the compensation you may be entitled to receive. At Selarz Law Corp., our legal team is happy to sit down with you to discuss your personal injury claim and determine how much it may be worth. Your initial consultation is entirely free and there is no obligation to hire us after the consultation. Contact us today to learn more.
How much does a personal injury lawyer cost?
At Selarz Law Corp., we offer contingent fees. This means that there are no upfront costs when you work with us. Instead, we handle all of the expenses associated with your claim and, at the successful conclusion of your case, our attorneys are paid via a pre-discussed percentage of your recovery. Our attorneys’ fees are only paid if they recover a settlement or verdict on your behalf. In the unlikely event that we are not successful in securing compensation for you, you do not pay.
This means that there is really no risk in speaking to an attorney at our firm about your potential case. Reach out to us today for a free, confidential consultation.
Will I have to go to court if I hire an attorney?
Not necessarily; not every personal injury case goes to trial. That being said, you may be required to attend various hearings and legal proceedings. For the most part, however, your attorney will handle the vast majority of case preparation, settlement negotiations, and pre-trial planning. If the liable insurance party refuses to offer a fair settlement, your case may proceed to trial. If this happens, you will likely need to be present at certain courtroom proceedings.
How long do I have to file a personal injury claim in California?
In most cases, the time limit for filing a personal injury claim in California is two years from the date of the accident/injury or two years from the date that you became aware of or reasonably should have become aware of your injuries. This is known as the statute of limitations and there are exceptions.
If you wish to pursue compensation in a claim against a government agency, whether it’s a local or state government agency, you will need to take action within six months of the accident/injury. Additionally, there are different procedures for bringing a claim against a government agency; it’s highly recommended that you speak to an experienced attorney who can help you navigate this process.
There are other exceptions to the two-year statute of limitations, such as instances of sexual assault or child injuries. It’s always a good idea to act quickly in reaching out to a lawyer who can help you determine your legal options and whether or not you have grounds for a claim.
How much is my case worth?
Unfortunately, it is not possible to say exactly how much your case is worth without you first discussing your circumstances with an attorney. The factors involved in your case—such as the extent of your injuries, the cost of your medical treatment, whether or not you had to take off work, whether or not you became disabled, if you developed a mental condition (such as PTSD) following the incident, and more—will determine the value of your claim.
We encourage you to reach out to the Los Angeles personal injury lawyers at our firm for a free consultation regarding your case. After meeting with you and hearing your story, our legal team will be better able to provide you with a clear understanding of what you can expect from the legal system. Remember, no attorney can guarantee a specific outcome for your case but, at Selarz Law Corp., we are committed to doing absolutely everything in our power to recover the maximum compensation you are owed.
What if I was partly at fault for the accident? Can I still recover compensation?
While every situation is unique and every case is different, you may still be able to recover compensation if you were partly at fault for the accident under California’s rule of pure comparative negligence.
The purpose of this law is to resolve issues that arise when there are multiple at-fault parties, such as in car accidents involving several vehicles. For example, if you are driving on the freeway and an item falls from the truck in front of you, you may swerve to avoid the obstacle, sideswiping another vehicle in the process. In this case, you would likely be apportioned some of the blame for hitting the other vehicle. However, the truck driver’s failure to properly secure his or her cargo would also lead to the truck driver (or his/her employer) receiving some of the blame.
When pure comparative negligence is applied, a victim can recover compensation for damages, but that compensation will be reduced by the percentage for which the victim is found at fault. So, if you are found 40% at fault for the above-described scenario, and your total damages amount to $50,000, you will only be able to recover up to $30,000 (or, $50,000 minus 40%/$20,000).
While this law commonly applies in motor vehicle accidents, it does not apply to every personal injury case. Call our Los Angeles personal injury lawyers at (310) 651-8685 for a free consultation to discuss your specific situation.
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Contingency FeesWe do not collect any fees until we have successfully recovered compensation for you; in the unlikely event we don’t win your case, you don’t pay.
Honest & Trustworthy Legal CounselWe are always honest with our clients; we can discuss the merits of your case and what you can expect from the legal process.
Experienced & Aggressive Trial AdvocatesNot all personal injury cases go to trial, but if yours does, you need an attorney who knows how to fight for you in the courtroom.
Consistent AvailabilityWe are always available to speak to you about your case, and our team will provide consistent updates on the status of your claim.
Personalized Legal AttentionWe are small enough that you matter, yet we have the skill and resources to provide the same level of representation as a large firm.