Personal injury claims arise when one or more party’s careless or reckless actions cause an accident in which another party suffers an injury. California law allows these victims to hold the responsible party liable for any physical, financial, or psychological damages. The severity of injuries varies widely in these cases, and plays a key role in how much compensation is recoverable by the victim.
Personal injury cases are complicated and have many moving parts. Work with a personal injury lawyer in Los Angeles for legal guidance and representation. Call the Law Office of Joshua Cohen Slatkin today at 310-923-7839 to schedule your free consultation. We will analyze the evidence available in your case, file your claim, and negotiate a fair settlement based on the damages you suffered.
Are all accidents grounds to file a personal injury claim?
To file a personal injury claim, there are a few factors that need to be present: the defendant owed the claimant a duty of care; the defendant acted in a careless (i.e., negligent) manner; the defendant caused the claimant’s injuries; and the claimant suffered damages (e.g., medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering).
Consider the following examples:
- You are driving through an intersection when a driver runs a red light, slamming into your car. Drivers owe others on the road a duty of care. Running a red light is careless and reckless, and caused your accident and injuries. Because of your injuries, you have medical bills, lost wages, and other damages.
- You are walking through the grocery store when you slip and fall on spilled milk and hit your head. The store manager has a duty to keep the premises free from hazards. The store did not follow protocol and allowed the spill to sit for too long (negligence), leading you to slip and fall (causation). Your injuries lead to medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.
Common types of accidents that lead to personal injury claims include:
- Car Accidents
- Truck Accidents
- Motorcycle Accidents
- Premises Liability/Slip and Fall Accidents
- Traumatic Brain Injuries
- Defective or Dangerous Products
- Construction Accidents
- Fire in a Residential or Commercial Setting
- Wrongful Death Claims
Our experience with personal injury cases helps us identify what evidence we need to prove your case. In addition to things like the police/incident report and your medical records, we will gather eyewitness and expert testimony and conduct accident reconstructions to evaluate the causes and contributing factors to your accident, not to mention the party or parties responsible for your injuries.
What if my loved one died in the accident?
If your loved one died because of another person’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills; funeral costs; and loss of guidance, companionship, support, and services.
Our firm handles wrongful death claims in San Francisco, Oakland, and Alameda County, as well as Los Angeles.
What do I need to know about filing a personal injury claim?
There are time limits to file a claim.
There are at least three (3) statutes of limitations (time deadlines to settle or take certain legal action) to be concerned with in California
California law generally gives you two years to file a personal injury claim.
However, if you are filing against the government, you only have six months. During this time, you must gather your evidence, value your claim, fill out your government claim form, and file that claim form with the correct government entity. It can seem impossible to do all these things in six months, especially when you are recovering from a serious injury. There are a few exceptions that would extend this six-month time frame so you can still sue a government entity if you did not file a government claim within six months of the date of injury, but these exceptions are extremely limited and case specific. If you have a possible claim against a government entity, you should contact the Law Office of Joshua Cohen Slatkin right away so you don’t waive your rights to bring a claim.
If the injury or death was based on health care provider negligence (medical malpractice), you have three years from the date of injury or one year after the plaintiff (that is, the injured party), discovers, or through the use of reasonable diligence should have discovered, the injury, whichever occurs first. See Calif. Code of Civil Procedure, Sect. 340.5
Discuss your case with a qualified personal injury attorney from the Law Office of Joshua Cohen Slatkin as soon as possible. If you miss the deadline, you will waive your right to recover any type of compensation stemming from the accident.
Insurers may try to offer you a lowball settlement.
Insurance companies may use a number of tactics to minimize the settlement they have to pay you. Insurers might try to:
- Get you to admit fault for your accident. (They may misinterpret a statement like, “I’m sorry this happened,” as an admission of fault.)
- Claim your injuries are fabricated, exaggerated, or preexisting.
- Rush the settlement offer. (Many insurers offer claimants a very low offer shortly after the accident hoping the claimant will take whatever he or she can get.)
- Talk you out of hiring a lawyer to represent you.
We know all the tricks insurers may try to pull. And more importantly, we know how to defend against them.
You can recover compensation even if you were partially at fault.
California’s pure comparative negligence law allows you to recover compensation even if you contributed to the accident. However, your percentage of fault will reduce your settlement amount. For example, if the insurer finds you were 40 percent at fault, you can only recover 60 percent of your damages (e.g., $60,000 of a $100,000 demand).
We will use the available evidence to help minimize or eliminate any allegations from the insurance company that you were partially at fault for the accident.
Compensation is not limited to medical bills and lost wages.
Personal injury claimants may recover economic and noneconomic damages.
Economic damages are the actual financial losses and expenses caused by the accident. This includes things like the cost of your medical treatment, ongoing care costs, lost wages, and other costs. It also includes your future financial losses. We use your current medical bills, evidence of your lost wages, and other receipts to establish the value of your current damages. We may even work with expert witnesses to establish your prognosis and any future costs and losses you may encounter.
Calculating noneconomic damages is different and no fixed standard exists to calculate these damages. Instead of actual financial losses, you can receive compensation for things like the physical and emotional pain and suffering the accident caused. Keeping a journal describing the severity of your injuries, their impact on your abilities and everyday life, and your pain level may help support a claim for noneconomic damages. We will help you identify all of your noneconomic damages, including for loss of quality of life, loss of consortium, and more, and fight for a fair settlement value.
Punitive damages may be recoverable if you can prove the defendant was grossly negligent. You can also recover punitive damages if the driver who hit you was under the influence and/or convicted of a D.U.I. for the accident. To recover for punitive damages, we must prove that the responsible party acted with malice, oppression, or fraud such that his or her actions evidenced a conscious disregard for the rights and safety of others. You likely will not be able to recover punitive damages for ordinary negligence and there is a higher legal standard that you must prove to get punitive damages.
Call the Law Office of Joshua Cohen Slatkin for Help with Your Injury Claim
If you suffered injuries in a Los Angeles accident that another person caused, the Law Office of Joshua Cohen Slatkin can help you get the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Call us today at 310-923-7839 to schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation.