Pasadena Personal Injury Attorney
If you have been hurt in an accident that was not your fault, the idea of filing a personal injury lawsuit might seem as scary as the injuries you sustained. Entering into the legal system is an intimidating prospect, particularly when individuals are uncertain of the law or the rights guaranteed to them under it. If you have been injured, you need sound legal advice. Below, our Pasadena personal injury lawyer provides it.
What is a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
Personal injury lawsuits are filed after a person has been injured by someone else or an entity, such as a business or government agency. When other people act carelessly, it is legally known as negligence. Negligent acts can include driving while impaired or failing to repair a hazardous condition on a property. Any time a person acts negligently, and it results in someone getting hurt, they can be held liable for paying financial compensation.
Many types of accidents can result in a personal injury lawsuit. The most common of these include:
- Motor vehicle accidents, including those involving cars, trucks, buses, and motorcycles
- Pedestrian accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Slip and falls
- Defective products
- Construction accidents
- Train accidents
- Cruise ship accidents
What are Damages in a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
The purpose of a personal injury lawsuit is to provide financial compensation, known legally as damages, to accident victims. The damages available in a lawsuit are meant to restore the accident victim and make them as whole as possible. Essentially, the law states that when someone else causes your accident, you should not be responsible for your medical expenses, lost income, and other losses.
Both economic and non-economic damages are available in these lawsuits. Economic damages have a concrete dollar value, while non-economic damages do not. Some of the most common economic and non-economic damages available in personal injury lawsuits are as follows:
- Medical expenses
- Repair or replacement of property
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity if you cannot return to the same line of work again
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
In some cases, punitive damages are also available, but they are rare. Punitive damages are meant to punish defendants for grossly negligent behavior and deter them from behaving in the same manner in the future.
Many states place a cap, or a limit, on the amount of damages an accident victim can recover through a personal injury lawsuit. California does not have such a law, except in medical malpractice cases. Only non-economic damages are capped in medical malpractice cases, meaning all accident victims can always claim the full share of their economic damages.
The Statute of Limitations in Personal Injury Cases
All personal injury cases in Pasadena are governed by a statute of limitations, or a time limit. Generally speaking, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of the accident that caused your injuries. If you do not file your claim within this time, you will lose any legal right to claim compensation at all. There are some exceptions to the law. For example, if parents do not file a personal injury lawsuit after their child was injured, the child has two years from their 18th birthday to file a claim on their own.
In most cases, if the statute of limitations expires, the courts and insurance companies will throw out your claim, and you will have no legal rights. It is critical to speak to a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to make sure your claim is filed on time.
Dealing with the Insurance Company After an Accident
Many people think that after an accident, the insurance company will be there to help. In theory, this should be true, but unfortunately, insurance companies are usually more concerned about protecting their bottom line and profits than they are about offering accident victims fair settlements.
Insurance companies use many tactics in an attempt to deny, delay, or reduce your claim. They may ask you to sign a medical release so they can look through your medical records and find a pre-existing condition to blame your injuries on. Or, they may ask you to provide a recorded statement so they can take your words out of context and use them against you. In other instances, insurance companies have been known to delay a claim for a significant period of time, often in the hopes that the injured party will grow tired of the process and give up.
A Pasadena personal injury lawyer knows the tactics insurers use and will not let them get away with it. Additionally, insurance companies often do not try these bad-faith tactics when someone has legal representation. When working with an attorney, you also do not have to negotiate with the insurer, as your lawyer will do this on your behalf.
Our Personal Injury Lawyers in Pasadena Can Answer Your Questions
If you have been hurt in an accident, you likely have many questions about the personal injury process. At Personal Injury Legal Group, our Pasadena personal injury lawyers can answer them and advise you of your legal options. Call us now at 310-388-4306 or reach out to us online to schedule a free review of your case and to learn more about how we can help.