In a more perfect world, insurance companies and their adjusters would take responsibility for the wrongdoing of their insureds and try their best to both fix your vehicle and help you obtain a fair recovery. More often than not, however, they treat you as if you were the wrongdoer and give you attitude and contempt. Delay and pressure tactics are sadly all in a days work for insurance companies.
Contact a personal injury lawyer. If you or a loved one was injured in a personal injury accident, the first critical step is contact a personal injury lawyer. A lawyer can help you get the medical treatment that you need, communicate with insurance companies on your behalf, advise you of your legal rights and options, and fight to get you maximum financial recovery.
In order to prove that someone is liable, they must have a legal responsibility for the property and any occurrences that take place on that property. A property owner or business owner would normally assume liability for an injury that happens in their place of business, unless they have insurance that relieves them of that liability. In the case that the owner or employer has liability insurance, the insurance company assumes the liability and therefore the plaintiff must file a suit against them instead of the insured.
After a car crash or traffic collision, you are vulnerable for several reasons. Dealing with insurance companies can be tricky, stressful, and even risky. They are businesses, first and foremost, so your well-being is not a priority. Insurance companies have been known to illegally deny, delay, or reduce claims, and a lawyer can protect you and help you with the complicated filing procedure.
In some instances, regardless of the nature of your injury or the amount of your medical bills and lost income, you will want to hire a lawyer because an insurance company or government agency simply refuses to make any fair settlement offer at all. In these cases, something -- what the lawyer can get minus the fee charged to get it -- is better than nothing.
Your insurance company won’t provide you with a lawyer or give legal advice regarding your personal injury but they may cover parts of the medical bill if you have been injured. The two of you have very different goals. An insurance company's goal in an accident is to pay out as little as possible if you’re involved in a personal injury, and your goal is to get as much of your injury and damage costs covered. If you have a case which is specific to insurance, consider hiring an insurance lawyer instead.
Good plaintiff’s lawyers don’t want to appear overeager to talk settlement because the defense attorney might interpret that as being desperate. If the defense attorney thinks that the plaintiff is desperate to settle, the defense attorney will usually make lowball offers and try to get the plaintiff to settle for far less than the case is worth. Thus, good plaintiff’s lawyers usually wait until the defense attorney asks them to make a settlement demand.
For wrongful death cases in California, people qualify to claim damages if they are the following: (1) the deceased person's surviving spouse; (2) the deceased person's domestic partner; (3) the deceased person' s surviving children; or (3) if there is no surviving person in the deceased person's line of descent, then a wrongful death lawsuit may be brought by anyone "who would be entitled to the property of the decedent by intestate succession," which can include the deceased person's parents, or the deceased person's siblings, depending on who is living at the time of the deceased person's death. (California Code of Civil Procedure section 337.60). Otherwise a plaintiff will have to prove that financially dependency on the deceased person.
Decide whether to accept the insurance settlement or file a personal injury lawsuit.There are things to consider when deciding whether to file a lawsuit or accept the insurance settlement. Although it make take longer to obtain financial recovery in a personal injury lawsuit, there are several reasons why you may want to do so, including the following:
^ Varghese, Cherian; Shankar, Umesh (May 2007). "Passenger Vehicle Occupant Fatalities by Day and Night – A Contrast". Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. National Center for Statistics and Analysis. The passenger vehicle occupant fatality rate at nighttime is about three times higher than the daytime rate. ...The data shows a higher percentage of passenger vehicle occupants killed in speeding-related crashes at nighttime.
In California, according to California Code of Civil Procedure Section 335, the statute of limitations in California is 2 years from the date of loss. A date of loss refers to the date in which the accident has happened. Minors in California who are filing a claim against an entity or person has until 2 years after their 18th birthday to satisfy the statute of limitations. For governmental claims, both minors and adults have 6 months to file a claim with its corresponding jurisdiction according to Government Code section 911.2. After filing a claim to satisfy Government Code Section 911.2, you have an additional 6 months to file a lawsuit against a government entity.
Whether it happens at the grocery store or a friend's house, slip and fall accidents occur fairly often. In some instances, the property owner is responsible for the injured party's injuries, and in others, the property owner will not be held liable. FindLaw's Slip and Fall Injuries section provides both the basics and some in-depth information about slip and fall liability. In this section, you can find articles about conditions that typically lead to slip and fall accidents, and how to prove fault in a slip and fall accident.
Negligence involves the disregard for the safety of others by failure to act a reasonable person would. It could be that a dangerous situation was created by a pot hole, leaking ceiling or uneven surface. The key attribute in this assessment is whether or not a reasonable individual would have been able to identify the condition as dangerous or potentially hazardous and if the liable party had ample opportunities to improve the conditions prior to the occurrence of the injury. The alternative task to prove is whether the liable property owner specifically caused the dangerous situation themselves and that it was reasonably understandable that a person would suffer an injury due to the situation.
In a personal injury case, money damages are paid to an injured person (the plaintiff) by the person or company who is found to be legally responsible for the accident (the defendant or their insurer). A damage award can be agreed upon after a negotiated settlement -- among the parties, their insurance companies, and their attorneys, for example -- or may be ordered by a judge or jury following a court trial. (To learn more about how insurance companies value a claim after an accident, see Nolo's article How Do Insurers Value an Injury Claim?)
In larger personal injury cases (and sometimes in smaller cases), the lawyers and their clients will usually attend mediation. Most courts nowadays require the parties to attend mediation to try to get the case settled. Mediation can be done with either a private mediator or a judge who is not assigned to that case. The mediator meets with all sides in the beginning, and then meets separately with the plaintiff and the defendant to see if he/she can get the parties’ numbers closer together. Mediation can go on for hours or even days. Mediation does not always work, but it has a very good track record in getting cases settled.
I am a member of Consumer Attorney's of California, The Million Dollar Advocates, The Brain Injury Association of California as well as the Capital City Trial Lawyers Association. The verdicts and settlements my office has achieved are public information and are listed for your review here. You can find out how past clients feel about us by looking at our site here or by learning what clients and other attorneys say about us on Avvo or Yelp.
Once a civil lawsuit has been filed, serious settlement discussions will almost never begin until the defense attorney has done all of the pretrial investigation (“discovery”) that he/she wants to do. This includes discovery tools like interrogatories and depositions. Insurance companies will rarely if ever want to engage in serious settlement negotiations until they have all of the facts that they need to make a decision.
While past results don’t guarantee future outcomes, what these verdicts show is that we will fight for you to potentially get the compensation you need to cover your bills and keep you from financial ruin. If you or a loved one were injured, you shouldn’t have to worry about keeping a roof over your head while you recover and get your life back on track.