Oakland Personal Injury Lawyers Answer Your Questions
California Personal Injury FAQs
Serious injuries can severely disrupt your life or the lives of your family members. Injuries from a car accident, workplace accident, dog bite, bicycle collision, pedestrian incident, defective product, or slip and fall could leave you saddled with thousands or even millions of dollars in damages. Medical bills, an inability to work, and psychological trauma inflict a heavy toll on accident survivors and their families. Fortunately, California state law provides options to seek compensation under the right circumstances. You may be able to pursue a personal injury claim.
The Oakland personal injury lawyers at Heinrich Law, PC have extensive experience with personal injury cases. We have handled thousands of these claims. If you have questions about filing a case, then we encourage you to contact us for a free consultation.
- What Is a Personal Injury?
- What Should I Do If I Was Injured Because Of Someone Else’s Negligence?
- Why Do I Need a Personal Injury Attorney?
- What Damages Can I Recover?
- How Soon Do I Have to File a Lawsuit?
- How Long Will It Take to Settle My Claim?
- How Much Is My Personal Injury Claim Worth?
What Is a Personal Injury?
Personal injury cases may deal with situations where a person suffers physical, psychological and/or emotional harm. However, a plaintiff must be harmed before having the right to file a personal injury claim. Common types of injuries in personal injury claims include but are not limited to:
- Brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Broken bones and lacerations
- Burn injuries
- Psychological trauma (PTSD)
Some types of injuries can result in millions of dollars in damages for accident survivors and their family members. For instance, the basic living costs caused by a spinal cord injury resulting in tetraplegia can tally more than $4 million for a 25-year-old. This does not even factor in lost wages, or loss of future earnings, nor does it include noneconomic damage estimates.
What Should I Do If I Was Injured Because Of Someone Else’s Negligence?
The first thing you should do after an accident is seek medical attention. Seeking medical attention can potentially save your life and establish a record of your injuries.
You may have legal options to pursue a personal injury claim if another party caused you or a loved one injuries. To file a personal injury lawsuit, you would need to:
- Demonstrate that the other party’s negligence, intent or reckless behavior caused your injuries.
- Demonstrate that this party owed you a duty of care, and that a violation of this duty caused you damages.
Why Do I Need a Personal Injury Attorney?
You should speak to a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after your accident. Evidence that is crucial to your claim, such as a videotape of the incident, could disappear within hours, days or weeks. An attorney can preserve crucial evidence.
Additionally, an experienced attorney can help negotiate a settlement on your behalf, or if necessary, litigate your case. Fighting with an insurance company on your own, especially after you or a loved one suffered severe harm, would likely cause stress and lead to a poorer outcome. Insurance companies have extensive legal and financial resources at their disposal. Everything you say to an insurance company is evidence. Everything your attorney says is not. Without an attorney, you will likely be fighting an uphill battle.
As mentioned above, certain types of injuries can result in millions of dollars in lifetime costs. You should give yourself the best chance possible to recover compensation that helps pay for these costs and much more.
What Damages Can I Recover?
If you receive a settlement or jury verdict, it should cover your damages. There are generally two types of “damages” that could factor into your case. Economic damages deal with more tangible matters, such as medical bills and lost income. Noneconomic damages are harder to quantify, because they focus on the pain and suffering, anxiety and depression. Although punitive damages are possible if your case goes to trial, they are not “compensatory” damages and are much harder to prove and recover.
Depending on the specifics of your injuries and other factors, compensation may cover:
- Medical bills
- Funeral expenses (for wrongful death claims)
- Lost income
- Loss of future earning potential
- Home modifications
- Pain and suffering, depression and anxiety, and much more
This is not an exhaustive list of what compensation might cover at the conclusion of a personal injury case. However, these are general examples that often factor into personal injury cases. Compensation from a settlement or jury verdict can make life much easier for you and your family.
How Soon Do I Have to File a Lawsuit?
Like other states, California has a “statute of limitations” that limits your amount of time to file a lawsuit. The statute of limitations varies depending on the circumstances.
You generally have two years to file a personal injury lawsuit in California. However, there are situations where you can “toll” the statute of limitations. This option may be available for minors.
You should also keep in mind that the statute of limitations is less than two years if you are suing a government entity. With cases that involve sovereign immunity, you may only have six months to file a lawsuit. There are also procedural steps involved with public entity claims.
How Long Will It Take to Settle My Claim?
How long it takes to settle your claim depends on the circumstances. If your attorney is negotiating a settlement with the defendant’s insurance company, and the company refuses to settle, then your case may need to filed in court. Your attorney must also obtain evidence pertaining to your claim, and discovery can take time. Alternative dispute resolution may also be an option.
Unfortunately, a trial can increase the amount of time it takes to settle your case. A jury trial might also be the only way to obtain compensation for your damages. Most personal injury claims settle before going to trial.
How Much Is My Personal Injury Claim Worth?
How much your claim is worth depends on the nature of your injuries and the damages you have suffered. Catastrophic injury cases, such as those involving spinal cord or brain injuries, are far more likely to result in millions of dollars in damages. However, this does not mean other types of injuries aren’t valuable as well. How your injury affects your emotional wellbeing and career can also factor into the amount a case settles for or the award made by a jury.
If your injuries have caused severe financial and emotional turmoil, then your case could be worth a significant amount of money. You should speak with a personal injury attorney if you have detailed questions about the potential value of your case.
You need to prove all of your injuries and damages and demonstrate how your injuries have impacted your professional and personal life to obtain compensation. Experienced attorneys will hire experts to help prove the severity of your injuries. Additionally, at Heinrich Law, PC, we use advanced technology in the courtroom to help our clients obtain top settlements and jury verdicts.
About Our Oakland Personal Injury Lawyers
Heinrich Law, PC can help you determine whether you have a strong case and provide you options regarding your claims. Our attorneys have a history of obtaining excellent settlements and verdicts for our clients. You can learn more about our successful cases by exploring our website. To schedule a free consultation with us, call (510) 570-1608 or use the contact form on our website.