Many times, car accident victims decide to sue on their own only to realize later that there are things they can’t handle without a lawyer. Many people ask, “When do I need to hire a car accident lawyer?” How do you decide when you need an injury lawyer? Go through the points discussed below.
When You Can File a Claim without a Car Accident Lawyer
If you’ve ever been involved in a car accident in San Diego, you might have seen advertising or posts about hiring a lawyer as soon as possible. The goal is usually to drive you to sue within the permissible time.
Generally, this permissible time varies for everyone. The statute of limitations in most states has a 2-year deadline from the date of your automobile accident. So, how do you decide what this time means for you? Do you still have some time to file a lawsuit?
If you can’t answer these questions, it might just be advisable to hire a car accident lawyer. But before you do that, consider these reasons NOT to hire a lawyer:
- Has the other driver accepted his/her fault in the accident? If yes, this accident case fits the “clarity of liability” description, and you can handle the case on your own if you sustained very minor soft tissue injury.
- Are your injuries a few and minor? Are your medical bills low and affordable e.g. less than $2,000? If yes, you don’t necessarily require a lawyer’s intervention.
- Is your case free of mitigating disputes which might demand an investigation? (Disputes might include unclear accident scenes, coverage discrepancies, the statute of limitations restrictions, and cases of previously injured body parts) If yes, you can file your claim independently.
However, if your answers to the above questions are NO or “I’m unsure” (as many people are mid-way), hire a car accident attorney immediately.
It’s less expensive to partner with a lawyer at the beginning of your case instead of waiting until you are in the middle of it. This practical decision will save you many headaches (such as making damaging statements that may hurt your case) with insurance companies and defense lawyers.
When You Should File a Claim with a Car Accident Lawyer
You’re probably already wondering what these situations would be having read the above conditions.
It’s best to consult an injury lawyer before meeting an insurance adjuster. For instance, an adjuster might make settlement offers which are quite ridiculous for the case in question. Rather than fight it all alone, talk to a lawyer.
Below are indicators that you’d be better off with a car accident lawyer:
- There is no clarity of liability/liability is shared between you and the other driver.
- You feel less than confident about your ability to handle the case alone.
- An expert needs to investigate the accident situation owing to its complexity.
- You’re uncertain about your damages’ worth, and the insurance company is offering an unfair compensation.
- Your lost wages (as someone who runs a consulting firm or owns a business) can’t be easily proved.
- The insurance adjuster has demanded your previous medical records.
- The adjuster’s offer is less than what you deserve, and the settlement is being structured rather than paid at once.
- Your case would be worth more if necessary investigations are made, for instance, you’ve lost your ability to work due to your accident.
- Your claim is being denied and rejected by the insurance company, and you need to prove them wrong.
- The injured party is a minor with severe injuries.
- The other driver has filed a claim against you.
- You’re unaware of what your state says about the statute of limitations, and your car accident happened about a year ago.
- Your claim hasn’t settled.
- Your injuries are severe (did/ did not lead to lasting consequences), resulting in high medical bills.
- Injuries are minor (lead to lasting effects) and will require medical bills in the future.
If your case entails any of these conditions, call an accident lawyer without further delay.
Personal Injury Law in CA
CALIFORNIA PERSONAL INJURY LAW
Personal injury law is one of the most important laws of California which establishes and ensures legal framework and legal allegations for imposing liabilities, particularly involving civil rights for any harm or injuries caused by the reckless, careless, harmful intentional acts, attacks and omissions of others.
If you are ever involved in the personal injury in California, it is your duty to understand your rights, even if you are responsible for the reckless acts or the victim of any harmful act. Here are some of the most important personal injury laws in California which you must know before hiring a personal injury lawyer or before claiming any personal injury insurance in California. The laws which might have a great impact on your personal injury claim in California are:
MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENTS
It is a rule in almost every country that the drivers, whether driving a car or a bike should stop at a distant which is marked on the roads to give way to the pedestrians who are crossing by the crosswalk.
Even if it’s not marked, it is the responsibility of every driver to stop at a safe distance and let the pedestrians cross the road. On the other side, it is the responsibility of the pedestrians to not step on the crosswalk quickly. To avoid the potential risk and hazards of an accident, the pedestrians should wait a while before stepping on the cross walk.
Pedestrians are advised to walk only when the signal shows a ‘walk sign’. As soon as the walk signal illuminates, the pedestrians should walk straight, in the direction of the walk signal. Pedestrians are advised to follow the walk signal as it tells the right direction or the way to cross. They are strictly not advised to step on the crosswalk if the walk signal is not illuminated, especially if the vehicles are going by.
Pedestrians should keep a good distance with the vehicles even if the cross walk is not marked. These are one of the laws of the Personal injury law act in California.
There are certain roads laws and driving regulations that the motorists must abide by in order to avoid road rages. These are the following laws:
If the drivers or the motorists need to pass, they can only pass to the left and that too, at a safe distance with other vehicles. Moreover, they must also stay in the passing lane until it is completely safe to return back to the right lane. Another law incorporated is that the drivers must not ever increase their driving speeds while passing to the left lane or else it can increase the risk of road hazards.
A driver should be at a good distance with the other vehicles. He should always be at a safe distance with the other vehicles and that too, at a reasonable and prudent. Moreover, he must be very observant and careful towards the speed and the distance of other vehicles. He should also be careful about his speed during harsh traffic conditions.
Professional drivers must follow basic traffic rules and the basic traffic rule is that before turning left, they must give an appropriate signal so that they can pass on to the left lane safely from the right lane.
There are many times when two drivers are crossing an intersection simultaneously, the driver who is on the left must yield a good space or way to the driver who’s on the right. This is the basic rule of driving a car on the road.
It is strictly prohibited for the driver to use a mobile phone or any electronic device while driving. As a motorist, it is his responsibility to not operate any electronic gadget unless it is being operated by voice or being operated using a hands-free. The drivers can use the hands-free or the Bluetooth system to send, listen or receive any text message or a voice message.
All motor drivers are required to wear a helmet while riding a bicycle and they must also turn on the lights in their motor cycles if the road is not visible or at times of darkness.
According to the personal injury law in California, vehicles owners should have an insurance policy which covers liable expenses. The insurance requirements are as follows:
- $15,000 per vehicle owner.
- $30,00 for more than a person.
- $5,000 on per damage occurrence in the vehicle.
California has an insurance checking system in which the responsible authority checks each and every vehicle, whether a car or a motorcycle to see if they have the required insurance policy.
Moreover, they also find out if they have the insurance policy provides liable coverage of any death, injury or property damage. If for instance, the driver is held responsible for the death of the pedestrian or another driver just because he was drunk or intoxicated, he will have a civil lawsuit filed against him right away.
DUTY TO GIVE INFORMATION AND RENDER AID
A driver who is responsible for causing any injury to the person or any property damage must stop at the accident. Or else, he will be violating a rule of personal injury law in California.
They would also render or provide aid to the victim and also provide their information so that the driver can claim the liable coverage easily. A driver is also required to report any such incident or road rage to the California Highway Patrol or to the traffic authorities of California.
DRAM SHOP LAW
Dram shop is basically a shop which serves alcohol to the drivers who are intoxicated. A dram show owner can be held responsible and would be paying liable coverage if he serves alcohol to the driver who had just been responsible for any injury to the other person or in worst case responsible for the death of any patron. Moreover, any dram shop can also be charged with heavy fine if he serves alcohol to a minor.
Many states in the United States have one dog bite rule. This rule protects the dog owners if his or her dog bite any pedestrian, other driver or patrol. This law basically lifts off the liable coverage from the dog owner. However, California is not one of these states.
The personal injury law in California imposes liable coverage to the drivers whose dogs have bitten any patrol, pedestrian or any driver. If the dog bites someone in a public place, the dog owner or the person with the dog can be held liable and have to pay the liable coverage under any circumstances.
Medical malpractice is a term in personal injury law in California which refers to the healthcare or the medical provider or practitioner who violates the healthcare standards and does not render appropriate health care services to the patient. However, it is obligatory that this breach in the healthcare standard must cause injury to the patient or else, he won’t be held liable.
The standard of healthcare refers to all the procedures and the medical practices which are accepted throughout the United States of America. Moreover, it is the responsibility of every health practitioner to use the same processes and treatment to both the persons who are suffering from the same condition. The standard can vary when it comes to the age, health and the financial stability of the patient.
Medical malpractice is way different than making a mistake during a surgery. This mistake must not cause death but should cause injury to the patient. According to the personal injury law in California, this injury can occur at anytime during the medical treatment. The processes in which injury will be considered are medical care, diagnosis, conducting checkups or prescribing medication.
If a medical plaintiff wants to sue a patient, they must go through additional procedural advancements. They must inform the hospital or health care center authorities at least 90 days beforehand before filing a complaint or a case against a patient. This is the required information that you might need:
- The legal basis or the reason of the claim.
- The type of damage to the property or life sustained.
- The nature or the type of injuries suffered by the plaintiff.
In case if the legal notice is served within the 90 days of filing a complaint, the date of execution or at the date at which the lawsuit will begin will be after 90 extended days.
Medical malpractice cases subjected by the plaintiffs might also need a hefty attorney’s fee. A personal injury lawyer in California is charged by this pattern:
- If first $50,000 are recovered, then 40%.
- If first $50,000 are recovered, then 33%.
- If first $500,000 are recovered, then 25%.
- 15% of any value greater than $600,000.
For instance, if a person who has filed a complain needs $75,000, the attorney’s fee that he would need would be $184,000.
Personal injury lawyers in California are also hired due to the personal injury case due to defective products. Before filing a complaint, a plaintiff must establish the following requirements:
The defendant must had manufactured, designed or sold that defective product.
The product must have had damaged or had a defect when in defendant’s possession.
The plaintiff utilized the defected products in a foreseeable way.
Any harm was caused to the plaintiff by the defective product.
However, a jury will have the decision whether the plaintiff took precautions while using the product or used it in an inappropriate way.
The personal injury law in California states a plaintiff should strictly hold a defendant liable of his products even if he misused it.
These are the defects which can hold a defendant liable:
- Manufacturing defects.
- Design defects.
- Warning defects.
Most cases that are brought to the personal injury lawyers in California revolve around the theory of pure negligence. It requires the following legal elements to file a personal injury case:
The defendant is liable to pay the plaintiff a duty care.
The defendant violated or breached the standards of providing the duty care.
The plaintiff is caused an injury and is harmed.
Negligence from the defendant was the prime reason of harm to the plaintiff.
Laws of duty of care are devised by the government. A perfect example of it is the failure to provide supervision to the children in the children care center by the teachers. Or, not following the traffic rules. Definitely, the jury will decide whether the defendant responsibly cared or showed negligence.
Premises liability is the term which refers to the liability of the real estate or property owners. It includes fall and slip accidents, dog bites, construction accidents or injury caused by negligence of the third person in the property or the house.
Here are the things which will be considered by the personal injury lawyers:
- The proximity of the injury to the plaintiff.
- The type of the moral blame put by the plaintiff to the defendant.
- The negligence of the harm.
- The certainty of the injury caused to the plaintiff.
- Future injury prevention policies.
- The availability of the insurance involved in the risk.
STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS
Statue of the limitations is actually the amount of time that you have to wait in order to file a lawsuit related to the personal injury in California.
PURE COMPARATIVE NEGLIGENCE RULE
This rule is also established in the personal injury law that more than one person can also be at fault. In this situation, people who are at fault will be compared and a person who is at more fault need to pay higher than the other person.
DAMAGE CAPS AND LIMITS
Economic damages are those damages which have a certain monetary value tag with them. They are easy to quantify. It includes loss of wages, medical expenses or the expenses of a car accident. Non-economic damages are those who do not have a monetary value attached to them.
MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CASES
Non-economic damages in medical malpractices can be capped at more than $250,000.
CONTACTING A PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER IN CALIFORNIA
If you are ever injured in California and would like to hire a personal injury, then you must know about your civil and legal rights. For that, you need to hire an exceptionally good personal injury lawyer in California. He can explain you your legal rights and can even establish your network with your insurance company. Moreover, your personal injury lawyer can also set up meetings with your defendant.
While getting a personal injury lawyer, it is essential to hire a personal injury lawyer who is experienced and have dealt with the same case before. For instance, medical malpractices and defective products’ case.
Most of the personal injury lawyers are paid on the basis of contingency. It means that they won’t be paid until they have won the case. If in case the plaintiff loses the case, the personal injury lawyer won’t get paid for his services.
A personal injury lawyer can have the legal costs but he won’t be able to get the legal fee. Legal costs include copying charges, filing costs, phone costs, costs paid to the witnesses and litigation process costs. It is up to the personal injury lawyer if he wants to take the legal costs in advance. This information must be added in the retainer agreement with the personal injury lawyer in California.
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Brad Nakase, Attorney
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