Unfortunately, you were seriously injured by another party’s negligent or careless actions. Now you are struggling to recover. You cannot work or pay your medical bills. You are worried that you may never get your former, pre-injury life back. You need a lawyer who cares about you and is dedicated to getting the full compensation you deserve.
At the Law Offices of Joshua Cohen Slatkin, we are committed to restoring our personal injury clients’ dignity and improving their lives through the civil justice system. Get more information here to find out if you have a claim and how we may be able to help you recover what you have lost.
Car Accidents Aren't the Only Type of California Personal Injury Claim
Several key factors must be present for a personal injury claim to be successful in California. You become the plaintiff bringing the personal injury case when you bring a personal injury action. It has to be proven that the defendant acted in a careless (i.e. negligent) manner, the defendant caused the claimant’s injuries, and that the claimant suffered damages (e.g. past and future medical bills, past and future lost wages, pain and suffering etc.).
Examples of types of accidents that meet the criteria for a personal injury claim:
- You are driving through an intersection when a driver runs a red light, slamming into your car or you are rear-ended. Drivers owe others on the road a “duty of care.” Running a red light is careless and reckless, and caused your accident and resulting injuries. Because of your injuries, you may have medical bills, lost wages, and other damages.
- You are walking through the grocery store when you slip and fall from liquid on the floor and hit your head. The store manager has a duty to keep the premises free from hazards and dangerous conditions. The store did not follow protocol and allowed the spill to sit for too long (negligence), leading you to slip and fall causing your physical injuries (causation and damages). 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, truck, bicycle and motorcycle accidents
- Premises liability/slip and fall accidents
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Defective or dangerous products
- Construction accidents
- Fires 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.
Do Not Trust the Insurance Company to Make a Fair Offer
Drivers, property owners, and business owners all carry liability insurance to pay personal injury claims, but the insurance company lawyers may use a number of tactics to minimize the settlement they have to pay you. These lawyers are rewarded for paying out the lowest amount possible.
Insurance companies might try to engage in the following tactics:
- Get you to admit fault for your accident. A simple statement like, “I’m sorry this happened,” can be misinterpreted 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 have had years of experience, and we are very familiar with all the tricks insurance companies may try to pull. And we know how to defend against them. If you are interested in learning more about the ways an insurance company may try to cheat you out of what you're owed, request Your Personal Injury Guide: 10 Things You Should Know About Your Personal Injury Case today.
If You Wait, You May Lose Your Right to Compensation
There are at least three statutes of limitations, which are time deadlines to settle or take certain legal action, that apply to personal injury claims. California law generally gives you two years to file a personal injury claim. However, there are exceptions:
- Claims against the government: You only have six months to file a claim against the government. 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. If you have a possible claim against a government entity, you should contact the Law Offices of Joshua Cohen Slatkin immediately so you keep your rights to bring a claim.
- Medical malpractice claims: If the injury was based on healthcare providers negligence (i.e. medical malpractice), you have three years from the date of injury or one year after the plaintiff (that is, the injured party), discovers, or should have discovered, the injury, whichever occurs first.
If you miss the deadline to file, you will not be able to recover any type of compensation. That is why it is important that you speak to an attorney as soon as possible.
Even If You Were Partially at Fault, You Can Still have a Claim
The insurance company or attorney for the at-fault party may try to pin at least part of the blame on you. 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 or a jury finds you were 50 percent at fault, you can only recover 50 percent of your damages (e.g., $50,000 of a $100,000 case). Our experienced attorneys 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 and your resulting injuries to maximize your case value.
You're Maybe Entitled to More Money Than You Think
There are several types of damages you can recover in California:
- Economic damages: These are the actual financial losses and expenses directly caused by the accident. This includes the cost of your medical treatment, future medical care costs, past and future lost wages and loss of earning capacity. It also includes your future financial losses. We use your current medical bills and evidence of your lost wages to establish the value of your damages. We may even work with expert witnesses to establish your prognosis and establish any future costs and losses you may encounter.
- Noneconomic damages: Instead of actual financial losses, you can receive compensation for the physical and emotional pain and suffering the accident caused. There is no fixed standard to calculate noneconomic damages. However, we will help you identify all of your noneconomic damages—including loss of quality of life, pain and suffering, anxiety, grief, disfigurement, and more—and fight for a fair settlement or go to trial if no fair settlement offers are forthcoming.
- Punitive damages: To recover these 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. If the driver who hit you was convicted of driving under the influence, for example, you may be able to collect punitive damages. 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.
- Wrongful death damages: If your loved one died because of another person’s negligence, you might be entitled to compensation for losses which include, but are not limited to, loss of financial support, funeral and burial expenses, loss of household services and loss of the love, guidance, protection, companionship, moral support and affection from the decedent.
Our experienced personal injury legal team will explore every aspect of your case to identify and to recover your fair damages after an accident.
Contact the Law Offices of Joshua Cohen Slatkin for Help With Your Personal Injury Claim
If you suffered injuries in a Los Angeles accident that another person caused, the Law Offices of Joshua Cohen Slatkin can help you get the compensation you deserve for your injuries. We put our clients first and offer a unique client satisfaction guarantee that promises you won't pay any legal compensation to us if you are unhappy with our legal services before a lawsuit is filed.
Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation. We handle personal injury and wrongful death claims throughout California.