What is a “Personal Injury”?
A Personal Injury, also known as “P.I.” is when someone is injured as a result of someone else’s conduct. The other person’s conduct can be accidental, negligent, or intentional. A personal injury can also result from someone else’s non-action.
The most common types of personal injury claims are traffic accidents, accidents at work, tripping accidents, accidents in a home you own or rent, product defect accidents (product liability) and holiday accidents.
Traffic accidents include injuries that occur when traveling in a car, motorcycle, bicycle, train, plane, or even while walking as a pedestrian. Virtually any type of transportation related accident falls under the traffic accident category of “personal injury”.
The term personal injury may also incorporate medical and dental accidents or negligence (which lead to numerous medical negligence claims every year). However, most law firms have separate “specialties” that distinguish between “personal injury” and “medical malpractice”.
If the negligence of another party can be proven, the injured party may be entitled to monetary compensation from that party or from that party’s insurance carrier. Most traffic accidents, although not caused intentionally, has an “at fault” party. For example, if a driver rear-ends the driver in front of him, the rear-ending driver is usually the one “at fault”. Another example would be when Driver A runs through a red light while Driver B was proceeding through a green light and the collision occurred in the intersection. Obviously, unless there are some other extenuating circumstances, the driver running the red light will be “at fault”.
Attorneys usually represent a client on a “contingency basis”, in which the attorney’s fee is a percentage of the plaintiff’s eventual compensation, payable when the case is resolved. This enables a client that may not otherwise have the funds, to pursue a “case” and get the necessary medical treatment. Victims of auto accidents may be able to visit a physician, doctor, or therapist on a “lien basis”. This means that the doctor would agree to examine and treat the client without being paid until the case is resolved.
But why can’t I go directly to my doctor and insurance and leave the attorney out of it?
Oftentimes, having an attorney becomes essential because cases become extremely complex. Moreover, although the insurance companies claim to be on your side, they really put their interests first. When dealing with your own insurance company, it may be easier for them to classify the case as “50/50″ liability (meaning that both you and the other driver are “at fault” equally). Insurance companies benefit for two reasons: 1) They can close the file sooner. 2) If you are found to be partially at fault, they can raise your insurance rates. Although they may have to pay for the other party’s damages in a 50/50 case, they may make that money back in insurance premiums. If you retain a law firm that specializes in auto accident cases, this will decrease the chances of your insurance finding you “at fault”.
Another reason to “retain” an attorney is because an attorney can get you monetary compensation above and beyond what is paid to the doctor and the attorney. Almost every person involved in an auto accident experiences what is called non-economic damages, specifically, pain, suffering, inconvenience and the like. Some cases have more non-economic damages than others. However, almost all cases where the client is found not “at fault”, the attorney will be able to recover money for the least enjoyable of circumstances, that is the pain of dealing with the car accident.
Aside for compensation from injuries, the injured person can also get compensated for how the injuries have affected his or her life, such as, a casual tennis player suffers a wrist injury which prevents him from playing tennis. This can be compensated for over and above the award for the injury itself. This is called loss of amenity, and the award for loss of amenity is part of the claim for pain, suffering and loss of amenity.
In the same manner, the injured person can also be compensated if, as a result of the injuries, he was unable to work. This is called loss of earnings.
Experienced attorneys have several strategies in obtaining the maximum compensation for their client. However, most clients don’t want to wait around for many months and especially not for years until they get the money that they deserve. The attorney should discuss all settlement options with the client in order to expedite the settlement or judgment of the case while making sure that the client will obtain the most favorable outcome. One must understand that in California there is a statute of limitation for injury cases. If settlement is not reached, a lawsuit must be filed against the “at fault” party within two years of the accident.
Other Areas of Personal Injury:
Other examples of personal injury accidents include: slipping and falling in a market, tripping at a gas station, having a heavy item fall on you in a hardware store or being bitten by a dog on private or public property. There are many examples of when an attorney can help you receive the most compensation for your injury.
Free Case Evaluation:
If you are the victim of a personal injury, you should contact a personal injury lawyer in Los Angeles as soon as it is possible to do so and avoid discussing the matter with strangers and/or insurance representatives. You should be cooperative with the police and your own treating physicians. Remember, there is always an in-person free case evaluation consultation available to you with an attorney.
Speak to an attorney at the Friedman Law Offices today! Call us at 323-596-1234.
Ari Friedman, Esq.
Personal Injury Lawyer Los Angeles
Friedman Law Offices