Automobile collisions are the most common causes of personal injury claims. Each year, thousands of Americans are injured or killed in automobile accidents. During 2002, nearly 2 million people in the U.S. were injured in passenger car accidents.
These traumatic events result in a variety of injuries anddamages that range from the very subtle to unfortunate fatalities. Immediately following an accident, it may be difficult to adequately determine the extent of a victim’s injuries without proper consultation with a medical professional. This must be your primary concern, seeking medical attention for any injuries – no matter how minor – that you have sustained in an accident. Allow us to assist you, in preparing for the legal
claims process and while protecting your interests. Contact us to discuss your options as soon as possible to preserve your rights and claims.
Injuries & Compensation
Generally, an individual injured in an automobile accident may bring a claim or lawsuit to recover actual losses associated with property damage, medical costs, economic damages, and emotional/physical pain and suffering. The litigation process involving motor vehicle collisions can be extremely complicated to navigate alone. Retaining an experienced lawyer familiar with passenger car accidents will place you in the best position to receive the recovery that you deserve.
Monetary awards Plaintiffs can recover in a lawsuit are called damages. These are designed to restore you and your property to the way they were, before the accident. As a result, accident victims can usually recover all money spent on medical bills and related expenses, lost wages and for damaged property. Accordingly, accident victims are usually compensated for their pain, physical discomfort, and inability to do normal daily chores and activities. In certain situations future expenses or losses resulting from an incident may be recovered as well.
What is My Claim Worth?
Under California law, the person who injured you could be responsible for items such as the following:
- Past, current and estimated future medical expenses
- Time lost from work, including time spent going to medical appointments or therapy
- Any property that was damaged, such as your vehicle
- The cost of hiring someone to do household chores while you are recovering
- Any permanent disfigurement or disability
- Your emotional distress and physical pain, including anxiety, depression, and any interference with your family relationships
- Any other costs that were a direct result of your injury
How Long Do I Have To File a Legal Claim?
In California, you only have two years from the date of the accident to file a claim against the person who injured you. If you or your lawyer has not been able to reach an agreement with the insurance companies involved, you should file a lawsuit before the two-year statute of limitations runs out to preserve your legal rights.
How Long Will My Claim Take to Resolve?
The length of time that it takes to resolve your claim will mostly be affected by how long it takes you to completely recover from your injuries. Once a claim is settled, it is finished forever — even if the injuries return, the claim cannot be reopened. As a result, it is very important that ou are able to determine the true extent of your injuries.
Through proper management, most personal injury claims can be satisfactorily resolved without having to go to trial. We at The Guerrero Law Firm, posses the experience, resources, and dedication to aggressively represent your interests in all stages of the settlement or litigation process.
Do I Have To Pay Attorney’s Fees?
Your initial discussion with us is free of charge or obligation. In the large majority of our cases we work with a contingency fee arrangement. This arrangement is most common for people seeking legal representation in personal injury matters. Instead of billing on an hourly basis, as is common in other types of law, a contingency fee means that we only get paid if we are successful in recovering money on your behalf. We would then receive a percentage of that recovery, usually one third or 33%. If we are not successful in recovering anything on your behalf, we would receive nothing; you would not be obligated to pay us for our efforts. The percentage of the award paid in a contingency fee arrangement depends upon the nature of the case. We will clearly explain all of
this to you before you agree to work with us, and we are always available to answer your questions about this billing arrangement.
Do I Have To Pay For Litigation Costs?
In connection with the handling of your case, The Guerrero Law Firm will advance all costs such as copying costs, filing fees, court fees, expert witness fees, court reporter fees and many others. This enables us to place you in the strongest legal position throughout the litigation or settlement process.
What About Drivers Who Don’t Have Insurance or Have Too Little Insurance?
After a accident, you may be entitled to more recovery than you initially thought. If the person responsible for your injuries has no insurance, you can recover from your own uninsured motorist coverage. If they have a policy that covers less than your damages, your policy may pay the remainder if you have purchased a common type of coverage called underinsured motorist coverage. This process may sound confusing; however, we can help you obtain the maximum compensation possible. If you have been involved in an accident with an uninsured or
underinsured driver, it is critical that you contact an attorney at an experienced personal injury law firm immediately to avoid waiving valuable legal rights.
What Should I Do?
The process of recovery begins with you. Whether you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, on another’s property, or through another such incident, these valuable guidelines will set your legal and financial recovery in motion so that we can effectively assist you with your claim.
At the time of the event:
- Be careful of what you say to the other driver, and do not give a statement to the insurance company before speaking with us.
- Document the accident, and any immediate injuries and damages to your property. Take notes regarding the incident, including the time of day and all injuries or property damages and photos of the scene. Preserve any evidence that is available to you at this time.
- Take pictures, use a camera or camera-phone and take pictures of the accident scene. Remember to photograph your damaged vehicle before repairing it, and all cuts, bruises, broken bones or any other physical injuries before they heal.
- Get any witness’ contact information and ask them to also take note of the incident – who was in which location, their interpretations of what occurred, and any similar information.
- Seek medical assistance, even if you have no obvious injuries. Many injuries do not manifest themselves right away, and you may not feel hurt or sore, but in order to protect yourself and your family, treatment should begin immediately.
- Keep accurate records of your lost time and wages.
Premises Liability – Slip & Falls
If you are injured when you are on another’s property, such as in a store or a restaurant, that property owner may be responsible for your injuries. Accidents and injuries occurring on others’
property are often called premises liability. In order to recover on a premises liability claim, we need to establish that the injuries are the result of another’s actions or failures to act, and not through your own actions.
For example, in a recent matter, a customer slipped on a dropped French fry in a large discount department store and sustained injuries. The court ruled in favor of the injured plaintiff
because the store permitted food to be taken throughout the store aisles, and should have been aware that a dropped food item, such as a French fry, could cause an accident.
If you have been injured while visiting another’s property, please call us to discuss your claim immediately.
Toxic Exposure or Toxic Mold
Toxic chemical exposure or toxic mold exposure can come in many forms. If you feel as though you have been exposed to harmful chemicals or mold that are making you or your family ill, we can help. Please call us to discuss your situation immediately.