What Can You Sue for in a Personal Injury Case?

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The damages available in a personal injury case vary depending on many factors. This includes the nature and severity of the injuries, the strength of the evidence, and the experience of the party managing the claim. To recover the maximum compensation available, work with a personal injury lawyer. 

An experienced personal injury attorney will explain your rights and options and handle your case for you. You can focus on healing from your injuries while they file a lawsuit and fight for the money you deserve. 

What Damages Will My Personal Injury Lawyer Seek in My Case?

In a personal injury case, victims typically sue for various expenses and losses—known as damages—depending on the circumstances of the case and the costs they incurred.

Your lawyer will identify, document, and value your damages, which could include: 

  • Medical Expenses: This includes the expenses for medical treatment related to the injury, including hospital bills, medication, rehabilitation, and future medical expenses.
  • Lost Income: If the injury causes you to miss work or reduces your earning capacity, you can seek compensation for lost wages or future lost income.
  • Property Damage: If you have damaged personal property, you can recover compensation for repairs or replacement.
  • Pain and Suffering: This encompasses physical pain and emotional distress caused by the injury.
  • Loss of Consortium: This refers to the damages allowed in a separate filing by the spouse or children to cover the negative impact the injury has on the relationship due to loss of companionship, affection, or support.

You may recover punitive damages in some personal injury cases. Under Civil Code Section 3294, victims pursue punitive damages to punish the defendant and deter similar conduct for a defendant’s particularly egregious or reckless actions.  

What Happens if My Loved One Died From Their Personal Injury Accident?

When someone dies in a personal injury accident, California law allows certain family members to recover damages through a wrongful death lawsuit. Damages you may recover in these cases include:

Economic Damages

  • The financial support the victim would have contributed to the family
  • The loss of gifts or benefits expected from the building
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • The reasonable value of household services provided by the victim

Noneconomic Damages

  • The loss of love, companionship, comfort, care, assistance, protection, affection, society, and moral support
  • The loss of the enjoyment of sexual relations
  • The loss of training and guidance

California law specifies who can bring a wrongful death claim and who can recover damages. Generally, spouses, domestic partners, children, and certain immediate relatives can pursue a wrongful death lawsuit. 

However, work with a knowledgeable wrongful death attorney who will determine your options and the specific damages available in your case.

What Types of Accidents and Incidents Support a Personal Injury Case?

In California, the law defines a personal injury as any physical, emotional, or psychological harm suffered by an individual due to the negligence or intentional actions of another. In other words, you may pursue compensation and hold a careless or reckless party accountable if they hurt you. 

Personal injury law covers a wide range of accidents and incidents, including:

Auto Accidents

  • Car accidents
  • Truck accidents
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Bicycle accidents

Other Personal Injury Cases

Wrongful Death

Any of the previously mentioned accidents and incidents could support a wrongful death case. In general, eligible survivors may pursue wrongful death action in any type of negligence accident that leads to injuries if the victim passes away. 

Let an Experienced Lawyer Manage Your Personal Injury Case

California’s negligence laws allow victims who suffered injuries due to the negligence or wrongful actions of others to seek compensation for their damages. This could include money for current and future medical expenses, lost pay, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and other losses.

Recovering maximum compensation and holding the at-fault parties accountable are the primary goals of personal injury lawsuits.

Personal Injury Law concept. Book and Gavel in curt.

It’s important for anyone involved in a personal injury case in California to understand their rights and options under the law, including the statute of limitations for filing a claim. This is one reason why working with a knowledgeable legal team is so important. 

Schedule a consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney who regularly handles cases similar to yours. Most provide free, confidential case evaluations. During the consultation, discuss the details of your accident and injuries.

The attorney will assess the strength of your case and explain your legal options. They may also outline the steps they will take to fight for justice for you.

Once you hire a lawyer, you can expect them to: 

Gather Evidence

Your attorney will gather evidence to build a compelling argument to show what happened and why you deserve the compensation outlined in their demand letter to the insurance carrier or lawsuit.

Some common types of evidence in personal injury cases include:

  • Accident reports
  • Witness statements
  • Photographs of the accident scene
  • Videos of the accident or incident
  • Medical records and bills
  • Proof of lost wages or income
  • Expert opinions, such as accident reconstruction specialists or medical experts

Document Damages

Your attorney will gather records of all expenses and losses related to the accident and your injuries. This includes medical bills, receipts for out-of-pocket expenses, and documentation of any lost wages or income.

They will work with medical specialists, economists, and other experts to determine your future care needs and related expenses. They will also value your noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering.

Negotiate With Insurance Companies

Your attorney will handle all communications with the at-fault party’s insurance carrier. This will protect your right to seek and recover maximum compensation in your case. 

They will also manage all settlement negotiations with the insurance company on your behalf. They will work to reach a settlement that fairly compensates you for your injuries, losses, and future expenses. If you cannot obtain a fair settlement or another compelling reason exists, your attorney will discuss filing a lawsuit with you.

File a Lawsuit

If necessary, your attorney will file a lawsuit on your behalf. The formal legal process begins with your lawyer preparing and filing a complaint outlining your allegations against the at-fault party, now known as the defendant.

Your personal injury attorney knows how to navigate this process and will explain what to expect every step of the way.

This process includes: 

  • Discovery: During the discovery phase, both parties exchange evidence and information relevant to the case. This could include sworn interviews (depositions), written testimony (interrogatories), and requests for documents.
  • Pre-Trial Negotiations: Before going to trial, there are many opportunities for settlement negotiations. Your attorney will represent your best interests and advocate for the best possible outcome for you. Some courts require mediation before putting the trial on the docket. This is a guided settlement negotiation with a trained mediator.
  • Trial: If your case goes to trial, your attorney will present your case to a judge and/or jury. They will argue on your behalf, present evidence, and cross-examine witnesses. The trial verdict will determine whether you receive compensation for your injuries.

Most personal injury cases do not need to go to trial to reach a satisfactory outcome and recover compensation for victims. Many victims do not need to sue for damages. Instead, their attorney successfully fights for fair compensation and reaches an appropriate settlement through negotiations with the insurance carrier.

Handling a Personal Injury Case Is Difficult on Your Own

Never manage your own personal injury case. Doing so could result in delays, lowball offers, claim denials, and even losing the right to recover maximum compensation. 

Seeking legal representation early and working with an experienced personal injury attorney will likely increase your chances of success and obtain the compensation you deserve for your injuries and losses. In addition, having someone with experience, skill, and resources on your side offers peace of mind while you continue your treatment and healing. 

You want a personal injury lawyer to:

Deal with Insurance Companies

A women from insurance company taking pictures of the damaged car

Insurance companies often have teams of adjusters and lawyers whose primary goal is to minimize how much they must pay to injured parties. They could use various tactics, such as offering low settlements or disputing liability, to reduce or deny your claim. 

Handling negotiations with insurance companies can be daunting even without these efforts. When you are unfamiliar with their tricks and tactics, it could prevent you from getting a fair payout.

Gather Evidence

Building a compelling personal injury case requires gathering and presenting evidence to support your claim. This may include medical records, surveillance videos, eyewitness statements, accident reports, relevant medical records, and expert opinions. 

Collecting and organizing this evidence is often time-consuming and challenging without a lawyer’s help. In addition, you may not have access to some types of key evidence.

For example, law firms often have a vast network of medical experts they will call on to better understand your future care needs and costs. Most individuals do not have access to this type of resource.

Explain and Evaluate Damages

Understanding the full extent of your damages and accurately valuing your claim is almost impossible for most victims without extensive personal injury experience. In addition to medical expenses and lost income, you will need to value your losses related to pain and suffering, emotional distress, and future damages. 

An experienced attorney can assess the true value of your claim and ensure you account for all potential damages. You do not want to leave thousands of dollars on the table because you did not include them in your demand or consider them during settlement negotiations.

The Emotional Effects of the Accident

Suffering serious injuries is emotionally taxing, especially when it occurs in a traumatic accident. The stress of managing a legal claim on top of dealing with your treatment and physical recovery can be overwhelming.

An attorney can alleviate some of this burden and allow you to focus on your health and well-being.

Risk of Mistakes

Filing a personal injury claim involves completing various forms, meeting deadlines, and adhering to strict procedural requirements. Making mistakes or missing crucial deadlines could jeopardize your case and limit your ability to recover fair compensation. You do not want to risk your future care. 

Your attorney will take all necessary steps correctly and on time. They will manage your case from start to finish, so you do not have to worry about it. This increases your chances of a fair payout based on your case facts.

When Should I Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer About My Case?

Contact a personal injury lawyer about your case as soon as your injuries allow. Having a lawyer on your side from the beginning lets you focus on your treatment while they gather time-sensitive evidence and protect your right to maximum compensation. 

Personal injury cases involve complex legal procedures and regulations that are difficult for non-lawyers to navigate.

This includes: 

  • Specific deadlines for filing claims
  • Rules of evidence
  • Legal standards to meet
  • Relevant laws and precedents

To develop a strong case, your attorney must understand liability and negligence as they apply in your case. Without a legal background, it can be challenging to assess the strength of a case and effectively advocate for your rights.

In addition, attorneys do this daily. They are familiar with the insurance companies, their tactics, how their process works, and even the courthouse and its staff. Letting a personal injury lawyer manage your case from start to finish gives you the best chance at holding the at-fault party responsible. 

Discuss Your Los Angeles Personal Injury Case With Our Team Today

Working with a qualified personal injury attorney can help navigate the legal process and pursue fair compensation for injuries.

At Wilshire Law Firm, our billion-dollar team provides free, confidential consultations for victims of personal injury accidents. You can talk to our team today. Get justice, get paid.

Call (213) 335-2402 or contact us online to learn more. 

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