Personal Injury Claim
If you have suffered injury due to the other party’s negligent in an incident and there is insurance to cover the claim, we will be interested in pursuing the claim on a contingency basis.
The incident could involve a car, a truck, a motorcycle, an airplane, a boat, or other vehicles, or it could involve someone’s action or inaction, or a defective product, or it could involve malpractice by a professional.
Since we are claiming from the other party’s insurance, it is also called third party insurance claim.
The key to a successful prosecution of the claim is in finding whether the other party is at fault; whether the party owes you a legal duty, and the breach of that duty is the proximate cause of your injury.
Damages recoverable include medical costs, wage loss, pain and suffering, and other incidental damages.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE INVOLVED IN A CAR ACCIDENT
If you are involved in a car accident, the first thing to do is to exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver as well as gather the names and contact information of any witnesses. If there is injury, call the police. This is important because police reports will provide critical evidence in your car accident claim. You or someone should also take pictures of the accident scene and damage to the vehicles.
After the accident, if you are injured, whether it is soft tissue, whiplash or visible physical injury, you will likely need medical treatments from a doctor and/or other medical professionals. Receiving proper treatment is crucial for your recovery, as well as the outcome of your car accident claim. The records of doctor’s visits, physical therapies, surgical procedures, radiological tests, prescribed medications, and any rehabilitative care will help to support your claim.
Shortly after the accident, an insurance claims adjuster will contact you. This individual is responsible for investigating the accident and negotiating the claim. Speaking to the claim adjuster without legal representation is not advisable because of the danger of your testimony being used against yourself later in a settlement negotiation or a trial.
ELEMENTS OF NEGLIGENCE
In California, as in other states, the plaintiff must be able to demonstrate the following elements in order to prove negligence on the part of the defendant:
1. The defendant had a duty (to either commit an act or refrain from committing an act)
2. The defendant breached this duty (was "negligent" in his or her duty)
3. The defendant's breach of duty caused the plaintiff's injury(ies)
4. The defendant's actions were the proximate cause of the injuries (in other words, the defendant should have foreseen the dangers of his or her action or inaction)
5. The plaintiff suffered actual damages (such as the cost of rehab, lost wages, pain and suffering, etc.)
California Negligence Laws at a Glance
Below are the basics of California negligence laws
- Code Section California Civil Code Section : 1714
- Statutory Definition of Liability for Negligent Acts : Everyone is responsible, not only for the result of his or her willful acts, but also for an injury occasioned to another by his or her want of ordinary care or skill in the management of his or her property or person, except so far as the latter has, willfully or by want
of ordinary care, brought the injury upon himself or herself.
- Comparative Negligence : "Pure" form adopted by Li v. Yellow Cab Co., 532 P.2d 1226 (1975).
- Contributory Negligence-Limit to Plaintiff's Recovery :
- Contribution Among Tortfeasors:Yes; (Civ.§1431.2) liability of each defendant per non-economic damages shall be several only and not joint.
Uniform Act : No
WHAT IS COMPARATIVE NEGLIGENCE?
There are situations in vehicle accident cases where the fault cannot be attributed to one party only. For example, Party one maybe 40% at fault, whereas party two maybe 60% at fault. In a situation involves more than 2 parties, each party maybe assigned a percentage fault to make up the 100%.
WHAT IS CONTRIBUTORY NEGLIGENCE?
In most jurisdictions, the concept of contributory negligence did originally mean that a plaintiff who was partially at fault in causing his injuries could not recover at all from a defendant, even if the plaintiff was 1% at fault and the defendant was 99% at fault. And this was the way the judicial system worked in California as well based on an 1872 California code that courts for many years interpreted to mean that plaintiffs were entitled to “all-or-nothing” recoveries when bringing personal injury suits, meaning they should recover all damages from a defendant or none at all.
That changed when the California Supreme Court decided the 1975 case of Li v. Yellow Cab, which involved a 1968 car collision at the intersection of 3rd and Alameda just west of downtown Los Angeles. In that collision, the plaintiff had swerved across three lanes of traffic to turn into a gas station when she was struck by a cab driver coming in the opposite direction. The cab company argued the plaintiff should be barred from recovery because of her alleged negligence in swerving across the lines, despite whatever negligence the cab driver exhibited. The court disagreed, and did away with the “all-or-nothing” contributory negligence rule in favor of the comparative negligence rule that is employed in California courts to this day.
WHAT TYPE OF FEE ARRAGEMENT CAN YOU EXPECT FROM YOUR ATTORNEY?
If the other party is at fault, you can expect most attorneys will charge you on a contingency fee basis. A typical arrangement would be 1/3 of the recovery if the case is settled without filing of a lawsuit, or 40% if a lawsuit is filed. The arrangement can be negotiated, however. Our fee is reasonable and highly competitive. Feel free to let us know what you have in mind as to fee arrangement.
WHAT DO YOU DO IF YOU CANNOT PAY FOR DOCTOR’S VISITS AND MEDICAL TREATMENTS?
There are doctors, chiropractors, or other medical professionals who are willing to place a lien on the recovery of the case in lieu of payments in advance. Your attorney will make such arrangement for you if it is necessary. Your attorney will also negotiate with the lien holder if the lien is too high compared to the total recovery.
WHAT HAPPENS IF MEDICAL, MEDICAID, OR MEDICARE IS PAYING FOR THE MEDICAL BILLS AND TREATMENTS?
They will place a lien on the recovery of the case. However, if the amount of lien is such that you will receive less than expected, your attorney will negotiate with them to reduce their take on the case.
WHAT IS THE STATUE OF LIMITATION ON A PERSONAL INJURY CLAIM?
It is two years from the date of accident.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO SETTLE A PERSOANL INJURY CLAIM?
In most of the situations, right after medical treatments are finished, doctor will write a medical report to describe the injury and treatments. With the report and all medical billing and expenses, your attorney will make a demand to the other party’s insurance company. Negotiation follows. Your case will settle within a few months if the liability is clear. But if the situation is complicated or liability is not certain, lawsuit may commence and it will take much longer to settle or go to trial.
WHAT IF THE OTHER PARTY DOES NOT HAVE INSURANCE?
In a situation where the other party does not have insurance, you have to see if you have uninsured motorist coverage. If you do, your insurance will step into the shoes of the other party and negotiate a settlement with your attorney.
WHAT HAPPENS IN A HIT-AND-RUN SITUATION?
If police report is filed by you, and the hit-and-run driver’s license plate is identified, and you carry Uninsured Motorist Coverage, then your insurance company will step into the shoes of the other driver and pay you reasonable compensation under the circumstances.
ARE PERSOANL INJURY SETTLEMNETS TAXABLE?
Neither federal nor state can tax you on the personal injury settlement in most of the personal injury claims.
ARE PERSOANL INJURY SETTLEMENTS CONSIDERED AS INCOME?
No. Federal tax law excludes settlement from taxpayer’s gross income.
ARE PERSONAL INJURY SETTLEMTS EXEMPT IF YOU FILE FOR BANKRUPTCY SUBSEQUENTLY?
Yes. Personal injury settlement is exempt from trustee’s reach under bankruptcy code.
WHY CHOOSE OUR LAW FIRM OVER OTHE FIRMS?
First Party Insurance Claim
If your own insurance company denies your claim, whether it is life insurance, property insurance, or medical insurance, etc., and you do not believe the denial is reasonable, let us take a look of your claim.
Since you are making a claim against your own insurance company, this is called first party insurance claim.
To prevail in a first party insurance claim, we need to see if the denial is reasonable. Ask yourself these questions:
Have your insurance company breached the insurance contract?
Do you believe they have not done a thorough and complete investigation of your claim?
Was your insurance acting in bad faith?
If any of the answer to these questions is “yes.” Give us a call.
In addition to the amount of the claim or the face value of the policy, whichever is applicable, you may be entitled to pre-judgement interest, reasonable attorney fees, and punitive damages.
Over the years, we have successfully prosecuted hundreds of insurance claims, many resulting in six-figure settlements.
Our litigation style is aggressive; once we take on a case, we will spend as much time as necessary to get to the truths of the matter. We do not skimp on costs. We do the necessary evidence gathering. We travel the country to conduct discovery. We hires the top experts in the fields to maximize your recovery.
Rest assured our firm will be diligent and zealous in pursuing the claim on your behalf.