When someone else causes you injury, you may wonder if there is a way to get help with your losses. The extent of these damages can vary, ranging from minor to severe, including medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, property damage, permanent disability, and more.
You need help paying your bills, but what if the at-fault party refuses to take responsibility? What if their insurance company rejects your claim? How can you obtain the compensation you need to recover?
Speak With a California Personal Injury Attorney Today
Deciding how to proceed after an accident or injury can be complicated. You may struggle even to find time to consider your options when you’re dealing with doctor’s appointments, bill collectors, and difficulty getting around because of your injuries.
Even if you do have the time, it’s hard to know what to do when you’re not an insurance or legal expert (and most people aren’t). Often, clients tell us they just want someone to explain the options or answer specific questions.
At the CEO Lawyer Personal Injury Law Firm, we’re always available for a free consultation about your personal injury situation. We’ll learn about your injuries, answer your questions, and identify all available solutions.
There is no obligation, and if we take your case, you won’t owe us anything until we win or settle it, so there is no risk in learning more today.
How Do Personal Injury Cases Work in California?
California uses a type of comparative negligence called pure comparative negligence, in which each party can recover damages based on the other party’s share of fault. For example, if you are 30 percent responsible for a car accident, and the other driver is 70 percent at fault, you could recover 70 percent of your damages from them, and they could recover 30 percent of their damages from you.
Insurance companies usually pay for damages caused by their clients under a liability policy. Liability insurance is required for drivers in California but may be applicable in other situations.
For instance, homeowner’s insurance isn’t required by the state, but many lenders will require it in order to finance a mortgage. If you are injured in a neighbor’s home due to their negligence, their homeowner’s insurance may cover your damages.
Likewise, if you’re injured in a public place like a store or event center, there is probably a business liability policy that covers injuries caused by the company’s negligence.
How Much Car Insurance Is Required in California?
California’s car insurance requirements are relatively low compared to many other states: You are required to have $15,000 in bodily injury liability per person, $30,000 per accident, and $5,000 in property damage liability.
You are not required to buy uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UI), but given how low the requirement for liability insurance is, we highly recommend you invest in UM/UI coverage. If you are in an accident and your damages exceed the limits of the at-fault driver’s liability insurance, UM/UI is the most reliable way to cover additional damages.
In some situations, we can sue the driver directly or make a claim against a third party, but these solutions are not a good fit in every situation. It’s also helpful to keep in mind that about 16.6 percent of California drivers are completely uninsured.
You may also want to purchase Medical Payments, Collision, and Comprehensive coverage, which are optional but highly beneficial in some accidents. Medical Payments (sometimes called MedPay) will cover your own medical expenses in an accident, regardless of fault.
Everyone makes mistakes, and you should not assume that you will never cause an accident, even if you drive carefully. MedPay is also helpful if you weren’t at fault, but there simply isn’t enough evidence available to prove it.
Collision coverage is similar to no-fault insurance, which pays for accident damage to your vehicle regardless of fault. Comprehensive covers damage that may not be your fault but also can’t be attributed to another driver—theft, vandalism, fire damage, weather damage, collisions with wildlife, etc.
What Happens When You File an Insurance Claim?
The fact that there is an applicable insurance policy doesn’t necessarily mean that collecting your damages will be easy or straightforward. Every insurance claim is reviewed by an insurance adjuster, whose job is to control the company’s costs.
As such, they will scrutinize every claim, looking for a reason to reject it or reduce its value. Sometimes, the adjuster will request further documentation, like more pictures of your vehicle damage, medical records, etc.
Eventually, they will either make you an offer or reject the claim.
Surprisingly, there are potential problems with both outcomes. If you get an offer, it’s crucial to understand everything that is or isn’t covered.
Frequently, the insurance company’s initial overture actually undervalues the claim. They may ignore future costs, refuse to pay for some medical treatments, underestimate your car repair costs, or ignore other damages like pain and suffering.
Many people end up accepting these lowball offers because it’s hard for a layperson to calculate what their claim should be worth.
If you’ve received a settlement offer from an insurance company, reviewing it with an attorney may be beneficial. Your lawyer will discuss your losses, calculate the value of your damages, and point out any insufficiencies in the insurance company’s offer.
If the offer is significantly lower than it should be, we can negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf.
What if the Insurance Company Rejects Your Claim?
If your insurance claim has been rejected, please save a copy of the rejection letter and show it to a personal injury lawyer. We’ll go over the details of your accident or injury and work to determine if there is a way to appeal the decision.
In many cases, we can successfully fight the denial and obtain the compensation our clients deserve.
Fault is a major issue in both the undervaluing and rejection of insurance claims. Often, when clients come in with an insurance problem, it can be attributed to a dispute about who is to blame for the injury.
You may believe the other party is at fault, but they might think you are responsible. But as we discussed earlier, it’s entirely possible that both parties shared fault.
Even in this situation, there is room for significant disagreement. For example, if you’re in a car accident, the other driver’s insurance company might decide that you are 40 percent responsible.
But what if your contributions really only added up to 10 or 20 percent? Or, what if you didn’t contribute to the accident at all?
Who makes the final decision?
If you were to go to court, a jury or judge would decide, but most personal injury cases are successfully resolved out of court. Frequently, the insurance company decides.
In a car accident case, both drivers’ insurance companies may get involved and will ultimately negotiate an agreement together. Unfortunately, the insurance companies’ agreement isn’t always in the best interests of the injured party.
In other types of insurance claims, there may only be one insurance company. For example, if you fall and hurt yourself on your neighbor’s property, you might file a claim on their homeowner’s insurance.
In this case, there is no reason to file a claim on your homeowner’s insurance because your neighbor wasn’t hurt, and the accident didn’t happen on your property. Ultimately, the insurance adjuster who receives your claim will decide if you shared some fault for the accident or not.
If they overestimate your portion of responsibility, that could result in a smaller settlement for you.
When you have help from an experienced personal injury lawyer, we’ll fight to show you had little or no responsibility for your injuries. Our investigative team will immediately begin seeking new evidence to prove your case, including:
Witness testimony. Even if you don’t recall seeing any witnesses at the scene, we’ll canvas the area and talk to residents in case anyone did see something.
Photo or video evidence. We know it isn’t always convenient to grab your phone and take pictures after an accident or injury, but if you can, it might be helpful to your case. If possible, take pictures of your injuries, any property damage (such as the damage to both vehicles in a car accident), the area where the accident occurred, and the surrounding area as well. If you were unable to take pictures, we’ll visit the scene and try to locate videos or photos from any nearby cameras—today, many people have doorbell or security cameras, and in some cases, we can actually find a video of the accident. However, the more time passes, the more likely it is that any video from that day will be deleted, so please contact a lawyer as soon as you can.
Electronic evidence. Depending on the situation, we may look at phone or other electronic records. Event Data Recorder or EDR data from both vehicles is often used in car accident cases, as it can tell us the speed and direction of each vehicle and the actions taken by the drivers.
Medical records. If there is a dispute about how your injury occurred, your medical records could be beneficial in showing what happened. Sometimes, we will also consult with medical experts who can testify about how specific injuries happen.
Expert testimony. Aside from medical experts, we might also use testimony from experts in other fields who can shed light on how an accident or injury transpired. For example, if you were injured at a mall due to their renovation efforts, a construction expert might speak to the hazardous condition that caused you to fall.
Police report or other official reports. These aren’t available in every kind of personal injury case but are typically created after a car accident and sometimes after other events, such as a boating accident. Police reports are usually based on evidence at the scene and statements from the involved parties and witnesses. A car accident report will include the officer’s opinion of what happened based on the available evidence, but sometimes the evidence is limited. For this reason, it’s possible to challenge the police report if we can find evidence to support another narrative.
How Long Do You Have to File a Personal Injury Claim in California?
In California, you should file a claim within two years of the date of the accident or injury. If the injury was not discovered right away, you may have one year from the date of discovery.
It’s important to understand that collecting evidence and setting up a strategy to win your case can take time, so we recommend contacting a lawyer as soon as possible after your accident, regardless of the statute of limitations.
How Long Does It Take To Settle a Personal Injury Case?
It’s impossible to answer this question without knowing more about the particular case. Some personal injury claims can be settled in a few months, while others could take two years or more. The time frame varies widely depending on a number of factors:
How much is your case worth? In general, the insurance company will be more invested in fighting a high-value claim than a less expensive one. If your claim is only worth a few thousand dollars, and you have a lawyer who has gathered a lot of evidence in your favor, the insurance company probably won’t want to spend time and money trying to lower the cost or get out of paying entirely. It will be easier and probably cheaper for them to just pay a fair settlement and be done with it. On the other hand, if you were severely injured and your case is worth six of seven figures, they’re more likely to put effort into fighting it, which means it will take longer to settle the case.
How complicated is the case? Sometimes, this depends on the available evidence. If there is ample evidence in your favor, it’s likely that your case will be easier to settle and will probably be completed more quickly. Unfortunately, sometimes, the evidence is less clear-cut, and there is room for the other party or the insurance adjuster to argue about its meaning to the case. Of course, this is why we work so hard in the investigation phase of your claim, so we can create the strongest possible case, but we are still limited to the evidence we can find. In some situations, there is little available evidence, and the insurance adjuster may demand more documentation or claim the evidence isn’t convincing enough. These cases tend to take longer to resolve.
More concerns about fault. Sometimes, the insurance adjuster will still disagree about the injured party’s percentage of fault in spite of strong evidence. For example, they might agree that their client ran a red light and our client was going ten miles over the speed limit but disagree about how fault should be apportioned. They could argue their client is only 50 or 60 percent responsible, while we might suggest that number should be much higher. It can take weeks or months of negotiation to reach a fair agreement in these cases.
The insurance company’s general responsiveness. We will work as quickly as possible on your case, but we can’t force the insurance company to do the same. Sometimes, we wait a long time to hear back from the insurance company. Naturally, we stay on top of your case and follow up as needed, and if necessary, we’ll even take legal action, but we can’t guarantee they will respond in a timely manner. In some cases, the insurance carrier’s lengthy response times can elongate a case by a few weeks or months.
The necessity of going to court. As we discussed earlier, courtroom trials are not actually common in personal injury cases. Even when we file a lawsuit with the court, we can still negotiate a settlement before the case ever goes to trial, and we usually try to do so. Trials are time-consuming and stressful for the injured party, and if we can achieve a reasonable settlement without one, it’s often better for the client. However, in situations where the at-fault party and/or their insurance company won’t relent on key points and a fair settlement can’t be reached, we are prepared to argue your case in trial. The trial itself could take days or weeks, depending on the situation, and there may be a considerable waiting period before the court’s calendar has an opening. Discovery, jury selection, and other pre-trial activities also lengthen the process, so if your case does go to court, you can expect a delay.
After reviewing your case, your lawyer should be able to give you a generally expected time frame for how long it might take, but please be advised that this can change based on factors outside of our control. We’ll always keep you updated on what’s happening with your case and respond to your questions.
What Are Some Common Types of Personal Injury Cases?
An injury can happen in almost any situation, and if you suspect someone else was at fault, we recommend talking with an attorney. However, here are some of the most prevalent types of personal injuries:
Motor vehicle accidents. These could involve cars, trucks, tractor-trailers, motorcycles, and other vehicles you frequently see on the roads. This category also includes pedestrians and bicyclists who have been hit by cars.
Recreational vehicles. Boats, golf carts, ATVs, and other recreational vehicles are often part of an enjoyable day off. But if another party’s negligence causes you to get hurt on one of these vehicles, the fun could come to an abrupt end.
Dog bites. If someone else’s best friend bites you, the owner may be liable for your damages.
Premises liability. This category covers situations where you are injured on another party’s property due to the property owner’s negligence. Common examples include slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall accidents, pool accidents, negligent security, elevator accidents, incidents stemming from a lack of maintenance, or any hazard the property owner knew or should have known about.
Product liability. Defective products span most categories, from car parts to household appliances to toys to medications. If you were injured by an unreasonably dangerous product, the manufacturer could be liable.
Medical malpractice. Poor health outcomes can happen for a variety or reasons, but if you suffered a severe health complication due to the actions of a doctor or healthcare worker, you may be able to seek damages through a malpractice claim.
Nursing home abuse. Medical mistakes are bad enough, but when a healthcare worker intentionally abuses or neglects a patient in a nursing home or long-term care facility, the results can be devastating. If your loved one has been abused in such a facility, they may have grounds for a claim.
Workplace accidents. If you’re hurt at work, Worker’s Compensation should cover your medical care and some of your lost wages, but many injured employees struggle to access their benefits. If you have difficulty with a Worker’s Compensation claim, a personal injury lawyer may be able to help.
How to Find a California Personal Injury Law Firm
If you have questions or concerns about a potential personal injury case, please contact the CEO Lawyer Personal Injury Law Firm for a free consultation. Our experienced legal team will review your case, answer your questions, and lay out the options for pursuing compensation.
There is no fee until we win or settle your case, so you never need to worry that you can’t afford to learn your legal options.
Attorney Ali Awad founded the CEO Lawyer Personal Injury Law Firm and rapidly turned it into one of the fastest-growing law firms in the country. With the help of his team, he has recovered millions of dollars in compensation for injured clients and their families.
In his spare time, he makes entertaining yet educational videos to help more than a million followers on social media learn more about the legal process. Call him today at (833) 254-2923.
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Frequently Asked Questions
After a personal injury, you're bound to have legal questions. The CEO Lawyer Ali Awad can provide you with answers to these questions, just as he's given answers to his millions of curious social media followers. Take a look at some of the most common personal injury law questions for general information, and then reach out to one of our seasoned attorneys for specific guidance on your case!
To quickly resolve matters following an accident, insurance companies will offer you less than you deserve in compensation for your injuries. Many victims feel pressured to accept these offers as the bills begin to pile up, but that is rarely a good idea. The insurance company is looking to protect its bottom line; and will offer injured victims less than they deserve. An experienced personal injury attorney understands how to negotiate with the insurance company and can look out for your best interests by getting you the compensation you deserve after an injury. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, it is important to avoid negotiating or providing recorded statements to the insurance company without first seeking help from a qualified personal injury attorney.
Do You Have a Personal Injury Case?
The best way to determine if you have a personal injury case is to speak with a knowledgeable attorney. Our legal professionals have the expertise to evaluate your case and determine a strong legal strategy so that you can obtain the greatest amount of compensation possible under the law. We will enlist investigators, assistants, and other specialists to collect accident reports, speak with witnesses to your accident, and put together a plan. While you focus on your physical recovery, we will remain committed to fighting for the compensation that you deserve.
Georgia's Personal Injury & Accident Firm
Accident victims have a limited time to file a personal injury lawsuit. This time period is referred to as the statute of limitations, and in Atlanta, it lasts only two years. This means that if you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, you have only two years to pursue a personal injury suit. If you wait too long to reach out to an experienced attorney, you might be forever barred from seeking the compensation you deserve.
What to Expect From Your Initial Consultation With a Personal Injury Attorney?
During your initial consultation with CEO Lawyer team, we will go over the important details of your personal injury accident, which include the nature and extent of your injuries, how your injuries have impacted your ability to earn a paycheck, the cost of your medical treatment, and whether further medical treatment will be required. We will answer any questions you might have, as well, in regards to our experience, our track record of success, and what to expect from the legal process.
Many personal injury victims wonder if they will be able to afford the legal fees required to pursue a lawsuit. CEO Lawyer injury and accident attorneys will not ask for any type of upfront fee unless we are successful in obtaining compensation for you. That means that if you have been harmed in a motor vehicle accident, slip and fall accident, defective product accident, or any other type of personal injury accident, you can absolutely afford to contact our law office today for assistance. In fact, you cannot afford to wait. Reach out today.
We understand that some accident victims might have already obtained the assistance of an attorney but may be dissatisfied with the services provided. We are standing by and prepared to help you change legal representation, regardless of where you are in the process.
Speak to an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Today
If you or a loved one has been injured in any type of personal injury accident, you should not hesitate to speak with the experienced attorneys at CEO Lawyer personal injury law firm. Call, email, or fill out our online contact form today so that we can begin helping you pursue the compensation you deserve.