About Injury Compensation
When another person or entity is the cause of your injury, you have the right to be compensated. Injury is loss. The amount of time that it takes for you to heal and get back to your pre-injury condition is your period of loss. If you are permanently injured, then your losses will remain for your entire life. If your personal injuries cause you to pay extra money, spend time, suffer inconvenience and lose opportunities you have a legitimate personal injury claim.
If you drop your cell phone and it breaks, it is your fault. If someone asks to borrow your cell phone and they drop it because they were mishandling it, it is the borrowers fault. Who will pay for the broken phone? Is it right that you just lost a couple hundred dollars? If the borrower doesn't offer to replace your phone, you will find the situation unjust. A phone is material thing. It can be replaced.
Your health is the most important thing. When you get injured, there is no guarantee that you will heal up perfectly. If someone was acting irresponsibly, say texting and driving, and causes a car accident and another motorist is injured, shouldn't the negligent driver owe the accident victim for their damages? If not, what's the incentive for an irresponsible driver to correct their manner of driving?
What if your passion is riding horseback or ice skating or hiking in the mountains? If someone's negligence makes you give up your favorite activities because you can't do them anymore without suffering pain, shouldn't you be compensated for your changed life? Life is hard enough as it is, we don't need to be rocked by an accident that could have been avoided.
Recently, I met a very smart individual (whom we'll call David) when I was out-of-state with my family, visiting some friends. David asked me what I did for a living and I told him that I am a California personal injury lawyer. He wasn't completely sure what that meant, so I explained to him that I help people who have been injured in some kind of event that was caused by negligence, recover money damages for their losses. David quickly understood what I was talking about and he asked, "accident attorney?" I said, "yes."
Of course, some personal injuries are caused by no accident at all, and are instead caused by intentional harm or reckless behavior, but thankfully, most people do not mean to harm others. And so, most third party personal injuries are caused by negligence; the careless person – called a
tortfeasor – causes an accident because they failed to take reasonable steps to prevent a foreseeable risk from becoming a harmful reality.
For example, you and your friend are at your house. You spill a glass of water on your slippery tile floor and you know that your buddy (who is on crutches due to a knee injury he recently sustained in a flag football game) is about to walk across the spill because you called him into your computer room to check out a cool highlight video on Youtube. If you don't warn your friend that you spilled water on the floor and to watch out, and your friend slips and falls to the ground and hits his head and gets knocked unconscious, you may face
liability for injury on property. You will be responsible for making your friend
whole (i.e., the condition he was in prior to getting injured because of your negligence).
Personal Injury Law – Personal Responsibility – Social Responsibility
Personal injury law is directly related to personal responsibility. We all have to be responsible for our conduct when it affects other people. This in turn breeds social responsibility. Many people automatically respond to the mention of personal injury law with a cynical comment like "personal injury law makes society dumb because it makes people take extra precaution for others and as a result people develop a lax attitude toward self awareness."
There is no point in debating such a misguided belief. That is because I would wager that most people who say such things probably believe in taking responsibility for their actions and would go out of their way to prevent someone from getting injured; especially if they caused the dangerous condition in the first place. It is when a person creates a risk that others may foreseeably encounter and someone gets injured, the law holds them liable for their negligence. Personal injury law should be given credit for incentivizing social responsibility.
Can't the Negligent Party and the Victim Handle Things Without an Attorney?
In a perfect world, definitely… Life would be wonderful if everyone took responsibility for their actions and treated others as they like to be treated. And it would be so nice if everyone had a cushy sum of money to pay for the damages that they caused others. But, we don't live in utopia. Even in situations where the negligent party is willing to pay for the damages that they caused, they likely cannot afford to make the injured person whole. That is why many people purchase homeowner's insurance and umbrella policies (which are not mandatory) in addition to car insurance policies (which are mandatory).
Why does California require all owners of vehicles that are driven or parked on California roads to maintain active liability insurance? The answer is simple: California knows that drivers will cause accidents and people will be injured. Part of being a responsible driver is being able to pay for the consequences of ones' negligent driving.
Everyone knows that injuries can necessitate expensive medical care. Injuries can keep someone from working and supporting themselves and their family. And injuries cause suffering. Unfortunately, when the time comes to agree on fair compensation for injuries and damages, the negligent party and the victim usually disagree on the valuation of the victim's claim.
Insurance covers many situations of negligent conduct. When a negligent party causes someone harm and their act is covered by insurance, their insurance provider has a duty to defend them and pay damages up to the limits of their policy. That's why when you sue a negligent party, their insurance company defends them. That's also why the negligent party's insurer handles negotiations with the injured party or the injured party's lawyer during the pre-lawsuit (insurance settlement) phase.
Can you guess what happens when an injured accident victim explains to an insurance company the full extent of their damages and asks for a reasonable settlement after car accident?
The insurance company says "We don't believe you're as injured as you say you are, so we will only give you what
we feel is fair." The victim may ask, "How can this be?!? I have a real injury, I have proof.
I am losing money and I'm in pain. Can't you see I'm not some phony?" And the insurance company responds, "Here, take this little settlement, we think it adequately compensates you. Now go away."
The victim is left wondering if they really suffered such an unfortunate fate. They wonder if anything can be done about it. This is when they know they need an attorney to fight for their rights against the negligent party and when applicable, the insurance company that is guarding the policy meant to cover the injured victim's damages.
Injured because of Someone's Negligence? Call an Injury Lawyer ASAP
Why do personal injury lawyers always harp on this? It's not because injured accident victims automatically deserve a windfall once they've been injured as a result of someone's negligence. For example, if you've been injured in an accident today; it's true that you should call an attorney as soon as you have taken care of your medical needs, but not because you're going to cash in on a quick settlement. It's because at the earliest stage after an accident, no one knows the full extent of your damages. Maybe your injury will clear up in a matter of days, maybe a few months. In extreme cases, the injuries are permanent.
At Jacob Regar Law, the earlier someone calls me after they have been injured by someone else's wrongdoing, the sooner I can help determine (a) whether they can benefit from legal representation, and
(b) if I agree to accept representation of their case, how I will investigate the evidence, structure the damage model, and prosecute their legal claim.
When I handle a case, I don't rush for a quick and low settlement. I focus on how my client's injuries manifest over time. It is only after a careful and patient analysis of my client's injuries that I can feel confident that I know the full extent of their suffering and damages. I need to understand the complete picture of how my client's life has been changed.
There are many important steps that an attorney and client must take at the outset of a personal injury case. As an experienced attorney I provide my client with effective guidance and make sure they are counseled properly on how to handle their lives in the period following the onset of their injury.
If you have any questions about personal injury law, whether you have a case, or insurance issues, call me at my office for a FREE consultation. (818) 588-0653
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