After you suffer an injury caused by another party, the costs can start to add up quickly. It’s the responsibility of that party to compensate you for what you’ve suffered and lost. A personal injury claim is the legal mechanism by which you can seek to make that happen. Working with a Chino personal injury lawyer can better your odds of making that a reality. At Karlin & Karlin, we help our clients in their efforts to get what they’re owed.
Things like medical bills, physical therapy and rehabilitation, lost wages from missing work, and property damage costs are not cheap. In addition to that, an injury often creates psychological, mental, and emotional costs that the injured person must learn to manage. When all this is brought about because of another person’s carelessness, recklessness, or even ill-intention, it is vital to enlist the support of an experienced injury attorney in Chino, CA.
The key to proving another party liable for your injuries is proving their negligence. In general, this means proving three elements:
Just as the breach of duty must be the direct cause of your injury, so too must the injury be the direct cause of the costs for which you are seeking to recover compensation. That compensation is called damages and, in most cases, is paid out in two categories:
In rare cases, a third category of punitive damages, which are meant to punish and deter behavior, are awarded. However, this requires that there was something egregious about the defendant’s behavior.
A: There is a possibility that California’s comparative negligence rules could reduce your damage award. The way this doctrine works is that the defendant will be given the opportunity to prove that you were also at fault for your injury, for instance, a car accident, more than one party could be to blame. If the defendant is successful, the court will determine a percentage that reflects your fault and the defendant’s fault.
For instance, if you’re found to have been 15% at fault, you will be able to collect 85% of the damages that you are awarded. Additionally, because California operates under a system of pure comparative negligence, the defendant, if they suffered any injury and costs, would be able to collect 15% damages from you as well.
A: Whether it will be better to settle or to take a case to trial will vary depending upon the case. One significant advantage of going to trial is that it maximizes the potential payout that you can receive in a claim in most cases.
Occasionally, there is a case so overwhelmingly likely to go one direction that the defendant settles for the maximum amount you could hope to get merely to avoid the expense of the trial. That is rare, though, and settling requires that both sides need to feel like they are benefiting from the process. For the defendant, this means incurring a lower expense.
For the plaintiff, though, there are some real benefits to taking a slightly smaller payout. One of these is the savings. You can avoid the lengthy, expensive process of a trial, the whole time during which your bills will continue to pile up. Getting the money sooner can often be a real benefit. Another benefit is the guaranteed nature of a settlement.
You may believe that you have a strong case headed into a trial, but the court process can sometimes throw an unexpected wrench into things. By settling, you leave the final agreement out of other people’s hands and will receive everything agreed to.
A: The statute of limitations determines the time by which a claim must be filed. For most personal injury cases, this is a two-year limit. However, depending on a variety of factors, there could be an extension or a reduction in the time allowed to file. Things like the kind of incident that led to the injury, when the injury was discovered, if the injured party was a minor, and who is potentially liable for the injury can all shift the timeline a bit.
While a lawyer can help you better understand the statute of limitations that applies in your case, it’s generally better to not delay and get a lawyer involved in looking at your case as soon as possible. The closer to the event that their investigation takes place, the fresher the evidence will be and the more time they will have to put together a formidable claim for you.
A: There are a few things that you can do in the aftermath of an injury that could be a tremendous help to your claim. Of course, you may be limited in your abilities as a result of your injury, but to whatever extent possible, some basic principles to practice include:
The timing of this is important as too much of a delay could lead to arguments that the injuries weren’t serious or were caused by some other incident in the time between the accident and the visit to the doctor.
In particular, you want to use caution when talking with any representatives of the insurance agencies involved. They will be on guard for anything that sounds like an acceptance of blame. If possible, it’s usually better to let your lawyers communicate on your behalf as they are aware of what to avoid.
Additionally, you will want to make sure you keep documentation of the injuries you suffered and the costs associated. Therefore, doctor’s diagnosis, medical bills, and anything else can be useful to your case. In general, it’s a good idea to keep more than you think you’ll need and let your lawyer sort it out later.
In most cases, a personal injury claim means going up against an insurance company and its team of lawyers. While that might seem intimidating, working with the right personal injury lawyer can not only increase your odds but give you the upper hand in going against them.
At Karlin & Karlin, our years of experience and special knowledge can ensure that your case is given a strong chance, even against the toughest of odds. If you are ready to discuss your personal injury case, contact us today.
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