PERSONAL INJURY

Personal injuries and/or wrongful deaths can occur in a variety of places and are a common occurrence in society. The most common are injuries resulting from an automobile accident. Other common locations are on business premises, accidents at home caused by a defective product or even on our public sidewalks and roadways.
You can be injured by the carelessness of doctors, lawyers or other professionals. When and if an injury occurs, you should consult an attorney to protect your rights.
The injury could be due to negligence,( like an auto accident, medical or legal malpractice) or intentional conduct (assault, battery, libel, slander etc.).

COMPENSATION FOR YOUR INJURY

How do you determine what your loss is and how is it valued? These are the questions that depend directly on your individual case and factors, such as; What where your actual physical injuries? Was there a great deal of emotional distress associated with your injuries? Did you miss work? Are the injuries permanent? Is there visible scarring? What were your medical expenses? Is the liability clear? What is the available evidence? How strong is the evidence? Has the negligent party done this before.
These are only some of the considerations that are used to determine and value a loss.

PRESERVING THE EVIDENCE

One of the most common personal injury claims is related to injuries sustained in an auto accident. In most cases liability, who was at fault, can be determined with a relative degree of certainty. What is most important is that you take appropriate action to protect your interests whether or not you think you were at fault. Here are a few tips to remember if involved in an accident and especially an auto accident.

1.) Never admit that you were at fault, even if you think you were. (Even saying "you're sorry" can create a problem.)

2.) Try to get the names and phone numbers of witnesses.

3.) If it's an auto accident, keep a disposable camera in your car and take pictures at the scene before the cars aremoved! Take pictures of your injuries, stitches, casts bruises, etc.. Keep records of the doctors you see and the dates you see them. Get pictures of you damaged car and take them from several angles with close-ups of the damaged area. Don't depend on your insurance agent or company to have taken the photos.

4.) Don't assume your insurance company is going to be your friend. If the other driver is uninsured and you carry uninsured motorist coverage, you will be suing your own company for any damages! You have a contractual duty to assist your insurance company in their investigation but your not obligated to give a recorded or signed written statement. If you are asked to give one its a red flag and you should consult an attorney first!

5.) For your protection, check your auto policy and see if you have "Medical Payments" coverage. It's optional, but covers you and passengers for medical payments no matter who is at fault.
I highly recommend this coverage because it allows you to make decisions about your type of treatment. It allows for alternative treatment like chiropractic, accupressure, physical therapy as well as other more traditional methods.

The better your evidence and record keeping the better your case! Remember, insurance companies are not in the business of giving away money. They have convinced the public that everyone is an insurance cheat and that we, the insurance paying public, need to be wary of such cheats.

WHAT IS THE PROCESS ?

Most accidents with injury will settle before ever reaching trail. But its the amount of settlement that is of concern.

Be wary of an insurance company that wants to settle only days after the accident. A common scenario is; The negligent party's insurance company calls you up a couple of days after the accident. The person is very nice and seems concerned about your well being. He/She asks you how you are. You mention that your neck and back are stiff and sore but your not sure. They offer you $1,000 so they can "close the file" because they will save time and money by doing so. You accept.

The next day the check is in your mail with a release to sign and return before you deposit the check. After signing, depositing the check and paying a few bills with the money, you notice that you have been having headaches and a tingling in your left arm. It gets worse and you see a doctor. It's 10 days after the accident. The doctor informs you, you have a pinched nerve in you neck and it was no doubt caused by the accident. It may get worse and could cause permanent loss of feeling in your hand. If it gets too bad, you could need surgery that your medical insurance will not cover.

You call that nice person from the insurance company who was so kind to give you the money and tell them you want to change your mind because your injuries are worse than you thought. What do you think would be their response?

If your guess is that they would tell you to return the money and they will do what's right and take care of your injuries, not quite. It would be more like, "we're very sorry but you signed a full release and the claim has been settled, you are on your own."

In California you have one year from the date of the injury to file a law suit or demand arbitration if it's an uninsured motorist claim.

It is always best to take a little time to make sure that you are fully aware of the extent of any injuries you may have sustained as a result of the accident.

My first goal is to make sure you have had the necessary treatment that you need to put you back into the condition you were in before the accident. How that is done starts with the initial interview.

In the initial interview, we will discuss the accident, how it happened, what treatment you have had and the costs to you up to that point. I can give you an evaluation of your case and an estimate of your case's value. Remember, the case value has many considerations and the initial estimate is not a promise or guarantee. I do my best to give you a proper picture of your case.

During the next few months I put together the evidence necessary to submit a demand letter to the insurance company. It outlines your case and supports the facts with evidence.
If negotiations fail to settle the matter, we could decide that it is worth litigating and file a law suit.

FILING A LAWSUIT

After the decision is made to file a law suit, the documents for court are prepared and filed. Evidence is collected by both sides during what is called discovery. Discovery includes the exchange of interrogatories, document demands, and depositions. A deposition is oral questioning of parties and witnesses under oath while being recorded by a court reporter.

Pretrial discovery usually lasts about six months. At this point both sides have a better idea about the case and the case could settle. If the case goes to trial, even after a verdict, the opposing party can still attempt to settle for a lesser amount to avoid appealing the case.

If you are injured, protect your rights and make sure you are compensated for all losses you are legally entitled.
Call my office to set up an appointment.

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