Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if I have grounds for a claim or lawsuit?

After an accident, you may wonder whether you have grounds for a lawsuit and what person can be held responsible for the injuries you or a loved one have sustained. The general principle of personal injury law in Los Angeles is that the incident must have stemmed from negligence, intentional wrongdoing, or strict liability. In these cases, the defendant (the person responsible for your injuries) must have acted or failed to act and this caused your injuries. The actions may have been intentional, as in the case of an assault, or unintentional, as in most motor vehicle accidents.

Questions and Answers about Accident & Injury Claims

If you have recently been injured or made ill by the actions of another, then you are likely well-aware of the confusion that can arise from dealing with a personal injury claim. If you have questions that you would like answers to, we encourage you to contact a lawyer from our firm as soon as possible. Over the years, we have proven to be advocates for the rights of the accused – you can trust that we will go above and beyond in our efforts to help you during this troubling time. Below, we have compiled some of the most commonly asked questions and answers. Please read through these and contact us if you have further questions.

What are the statutes of limitations in California?

Simply speaking, the statute of limitations (SOL) is the given timeline that you have following an injury; it is a window of opportunity that you have to file a claim. In California, general personal injury and negligence claims have a SOL of two years. This involves the Discovery Rule, however, which means that the SOL does not apply until the injury or illness has been discovered or would have reasonably discovered. There is a one year SOL for cases of wrongful death, although this does not apply to cases involving asbestos or medical malpractice. For medical malpractice, it is three years.

What is my case worth?

No two cases are exactly the same, and as such it may be difficult to determine exactly what your injury claim should be worth. However, a lawyer experienced with these matters can work with experts in medicine and economics to establish what your case should be worth – based upon what amount of compensation will best help you rebuild your life as much as possible.

What types of claims may qualify under personal injury law?

Personal injury law covers a broad range of accidents and injuries, all related to or stemming from negligent or intentional conduct or strict liability. All types of auto accidents are covered under personal injury law and are the most common grounds for these types of cases. Additional cases may involve medical malpractice, dog bites, slip and fall accidents, defective products as well as toxic exposure and poisoning.

Who can be held responsible for my injuries?

Depending on the case, whatever party or parties who caused your injuries may be held responsible. In an auto accident, this may be the driver of the other car. In a case involving medical malpractice, this may be the doctor that made a mistake or acted carelessly in providing your medical care. If you were injured by a defective product or a defective drug, the manufacturer may be held liable. By investigating your particular incident and what led to your injuries, an experienced Los Angeles personal injury lawyer can determine against what party you may be able to file a claim or lawsuit.

How much is a personal injury case worth?

The value of a personal injury case in California can vary greatly and depends on several factors. 

  • Minor injuries: For cases involving minor injuries with a relatively quick recovery, the settlement value might range from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars.
  • Moderate injuries: Cases involving moderate injuries, such as fractures or soft tissue injuries, could have settlement values ranging from tens of thousands to a few hundred thousand dollars.
  • Severe injuries: Cases involving severe injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, or permanent disabilities, can potentially result in settlements ranging from hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars.
  • Wrongful death: Wrongful death cases, where a person has died due to another party’s negligence, typically have higher settlement values. The compensation in such cases can vary significantly, potentially reaching millions of dollars, depending on various factors such as the deceased person’s age, earning capacity, and the impact on surviving family members.

How long will the case go on for?

Different personal injury cases can go on for different periods of time. But here is a generalized approximation for such cases: 

  • Settlement within months: In simpler cases with clear liability and minimal disputes, it’s possible to reach a settlement within a few months. These cases typically involve minor injuries and straightforward claims.
  • 6 months to 1 year: Many personal injury cases settle within this timeframe. These cases involve moderate injuries, ongoing medical treatment, and negotiations with insurance companies. The duration can depend on factors such as the extent of the injuries, the complexity of liability, and the responsiveness of the parties involved.
  • 1 to 2 years: Cases that involve more severe injuries, complex liability issues, or disputes may take longer to reach a resolution. This timeframe allows for thorough investigation, comprehensive medical evaluations, expert opinions, and potentially the filing of a lawsuit. The litigation process, including discovery, court proceedings, and trial preparation, can extend the timeline.
  • More than 2 years: Cases that go to trial or involve particularly complex issues can take several years to conclude. This can include cases with multiple parties, extensive damages, disputed liability, or appeals processes.

Can I talk to you about my case for free?

Certainly! We’re here to assist you. Please feel free to discuss your case with me without any charge. We can provide information and guidance, helping you determine if you have a valid case and addressing any concerns you may have about the legal process. Even if you decide not to proceed with my representation, we’re committed to considering your case and offering insights.

Who will pay for my medical expenses and other damages?

In personal injury cases in California, the responsible party or their insurance company is typically responsible for compensating you for your medical expenses and other damages. You can talk with our lawyers to make sure that the right person pays for your damages.

How can I be sure I have the right attorney for my case?

Choosing the right attorney for your personal injury case is crucial for a successful outcome. To ensure that you have the right attorney by your side, consider the following factors:

  • Experience and expertise: Look for an attorney who specializes in personal injury law and has extensive experience handling cases similar to yours. A lawyer with a track record of successful outcomes demonstrates their competence in navigating the complexities of personal injury claims.
  • Reputation and testimonials: Research the attorney’s reputation in the legal community and among past clients. Read testimonials or reviews to gauge the satisfaction of previous clients. A lawyer with a positive reputation and satisfied clients is more likely to provide quality representation.
  • Communication and personal attention: Choose an attorney who values open communication and provides personal attention to your case. A lawyer who listens to your problems, answers your queries regarding the case, and keeps you informed throughout the process will ensure that you feel supported and confident in their services.
  • Resources and network: Assess the attorney’s resources and professional network. A reputable law firm with access to medical experts, investigators, and other resources can strengthen your case and improve your chances of success.
  • Trial experience: Although most personal injury cases settle out of court, it’s essential to select an attorney with trial experience. This demonstrates their ability to litigate your case effectively and maximize your potential compensation, even if it proceeds to trial.

If I have an auto accident, what should I do at the accident scene?

If you’re involved in an auto accident, prioritize safety first. Check for injuries and call emergency services if needed. Exchange information with the other parties involved, including names, contact details, and insurance information. Document the scene with photos, but avoid discussing fault. Notify your insurance company promptly and seek medical attention, even for minor injuries. Consider consulting with a personal injury attorney for guidance and protection of your legal rights.

What will the police do at the accident scene?

When the police arrive at the accident scene, their primary tasks include assessing safety, providing medical assistance if needed, gathering information from involved parties, documenting the scene through photographs and observations, and preparing an accident report. They also manage traffic control and ensure the overall safety of everyone involved. Cooperating with the police, providing accurate information, and following their instructions is crucial during this process. The accident report created by the police serves as an important document for insurance claims and legal purposes.

What if the other driver is uninsured?

If you find yourself in a situation where the other driver involved in the accident is uninsured, it is advisable to seek guidance from an experienced personal injury attorney specializing in auto accidents. They can provide valuable insights into the applicable insurance laws and assist you in pursuing the compensation you deserve. Even if the at-fault driver lacks liability insurance, there are often alternative options available to help you recover from the collision. Consulting with an attorney will help you explore these alternatives and navigate the legal process effectively.

What kind of damages are typically covered?

In personal injury cases, various types of damages can be covered, depending on the circumstances of the case. Some common types of damages that may be eligible for compensation include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Property damages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of consortium
  • Punitive damages

Should I do my investigative work on the accident?

While it’s important to gather information about the accident, it’s generally advisable to leave the investigation to the appropriate authorities and professionals, like the police or your attorney.

How long do I have to file a personal injury claim?

The time limit for filing a personal injury claim is known as the statute of limitations. In California, the timeline for filing a claim for personal injury is generally two years from the date of the injury or accident.

My insurance company has declared my car “totaled.” How much can I recover?

When your insurance company declares your car as “totaled” or a “total loss,” it means that the cost to repair the vehicle exceeds a certain percentage (typically around 70-75%) of its pre-accident value. In such cases, the insurance company will usually offer you a settlement based on the actual cash value (ACV) of your vehicle.

What should I do after a slip and fall and fall accident?

After a slip and fall or trip and fall accident, take these important steps:

  1. Seek medical attention promptly.
  2. Report the incident to the property owner or manager and request an incident report.
  3. Document the scene with photos or videos.
  4. Gather contact information from witnesses.
  5. Preserve any physical evidence related to the accident.
  6. Avoid admitting fault.
  7. Keep records of your injuries, medical treatments, and expenses.
  8. Consult with a personal injury attorney for guidance and protection of your rights.

Can I start a lawsuit for an injured family member?

Yes, you can start a lawsuit on behalf of an injured family member. In legal terms, this is known as filing a lawsuit as the “next friend” or “guardian ad litem” of the injured person. The specific rules and procedures for bringing a lawsuit on behalf of someone else can vary depending on the jurisdiction and the circumstances of the case.

To initiate a lawsuit on behalf of an injured family member, it is advisable to consult with a personal injury attorney who can guide you through the legal process.

How are claims valued?

Claims are typically valued by considering various factors related to the damages and losses suffered by the injured party. Let us know the details of your case and we can give you an estimate.

If I was partly to blame, do I still have a case?

Even if you are partly to blame for an accident, you may still have a case depending on the laws of your jurisdiction. In many jurisdictions, including California, the legal principle of comparative negligence is applied to determine the compensation awarded in cases where multiple parties share fault.

Comparative negligence allows for the allocation of fault among the parties involved in an accident. The compensation you may receive will be reduced by the percentage of fault attributed to you. For example, if you are found to be 20% at fault and the total damages are $100,000, your potential compensation would be reduced by 20% to $80,000.

Should I handle the claim myself?

Handling a personal injury claim yourself can be challenging and may not yield the best results.

Personal injury laws can be complex, and insurance companies have teams of experienced adjusters and attorneys working on their behalf. Without a solid understanding of the legal intricacies and negotiation tactics, you may risk undervaluing your claim or making mistakes that could jeopardize your case.

The insurance company offered me a settlement. Should I take it?

It’s important to approach settlement offers from insurance companies with caution. In many cases, insurance companies may offer low settlements early on, hoping to resolve the matter before you consult with an attorney and discover the true value of your case. Insurance adjusters are tasked with minimizing payouts, which means their initial offers may not adequately reflect the full extent of your damages.

Ultimately, the decision to accept or reject a settlement offer should be based on a careful assessment of your unique circumstances and in consultation with a personal injury attorney. They can help you understand your rights, evaluate the offer’s fairness, and guide you in making an informed decision that maximizes your chances of receiving appropriate compensation for your injuries and losses.