Our attorneys seek justice for injury victims in the San Diego and Riverside areas.

Common Questions Regarding Personal Injury Lawsuits

| Jul 7, 2014 | Firm News

We are often asked questions regarding personal injury lawsuits.  This blog will explore some of the most common questions attorneys at Martinez & Schill LLP receive as it relates to personal injury claims.

What is the value of my personal injury case?

This is one of the most difficult questions for a personal injury attorney to answer. The value of your personal injury lawsuit will depend on a number of factors.  The most important factor is the severity of your injuries.  The more severe the injuries, the higher the value of your case.  Other factors that are also important are things such as the details of the case, the available insurance limits and the identity of the potential defendants.  When, where and how often you obtain medical treatment, your lifestyle and hobbies, and your litigation history will also be considered in assessing the value of your case.  There is no mathematical formula to determine the value of a personal injury case; it’s based on the evidence, medical records and credibility of potential witnesses.  Another factor that may decrease the value of your case is your degree of fault.  If you also contributed to your injuries, that may decrease your damages.

Do I need a lawyer for my personal injury lawsuit?

Certain types of claims can be handled without a lawyer such a minor fender-bender or an accident where the other driver does not have enough insurance to fully compensate you for your claim.  Insurance companies will only pay out to their policy limits. This means if the defendant who injured you has a $15,000 maximum insurance policy and you’ve been offered a $15,000 settlement, even getting a larger verdict may not get you more money. A lawyer is not required to file a lawsuit.  However, there are many times when a lawyer’s services can be helpful or even necessary, especially in cases involving serious injuries.  Athough it may be easier and faster to settle on your own, you are more likely to receive a higher recovery if you hire a lawyer to advocate on your behalf.  According to a study by the Insurance Research Council, personal injury victims who seek the services of an experienced accident lawyer obtain roughly 4.8 times more money than those who settled on their own. Attorneys are trained to negotiate and deal with insurance adjusters.  Many injury victims make mistakes when talking to adjusters, who are trained to exploit any opportunity to reduce a settlement amount. At a minimum, you should consult with an attorney before settling with an insurance adjuster.

What kind of damages can I recover in my personal injury lawsuit?

There are several types of damages you may claim in a personal injury lawsuit if you have suffered car accident injuries. Claims for medical expenses are main category of damage among these, but you may also claim damages for lost wages/income or diminished employment opportunities; pain and suffering; or loss of affection.

Medical Expenses:  If you are in an automobile accident, your injuries may be as minor as a few scrapes and bruises, or as serious as paralysis or some other permanent disability. Additionally, some injuries may not exhibit symptoms initially or may need additional medical care down the road, it is valuable to have a comprehensive medical evaluation following a car accident if you believe you may have been injured.

Lost Wages/Income: In personal injury lawsuits, lost wages are wages that someone could not earn because of the negligence of the defendant. A plaintiff is entitled to sue and recover for lost income. A common example of how lost wages might arise would be if you were injured in a car accident which was the fault of the other driver. If you had to take 2-weeks off from work to recover from the accident, you could sue for lost wages, arguing that those days were only missed because of the car accident, and that the driver at fault is responsible for them.  You can also recover for “loss of earning capacity” if you suffered a disabling injury that prevents you from working indefinitely into the future.  In that case, you can recover for future lost wages that you could have reasonably been able to expect but for the accident.

Pain and Suffering: Pain and suffering is legally defined as mental or physical distress for which one may seek damages in a lawsuit. These damages are based on the type of injury, the seriousness of the pain suffered, and the prognosis for future pain associated with the injury. Pain and suffering may also include mental and/or emotional damage stemming from the incident, such as anxiety or stress.

Emotional Distress: Emotional distress damages in a personal injury lawsuit are monetary damages intended to pay you for the psychological effect your injury has had on your daily life. The list of indicators of emotional distress is long and varied. Emotional distress can and often includes sleep loss, anxiety, and fear.  Emotional distress can also be as severe as depression, crying spells, humiliation and shock. Emotional distress is a subjective and it effects everyone differently.  What is distressing to someone else may not be distressing to you, and vice versa. If you are suffering psychological indications after an accident, keep track of them as they may be recoverable in a lawsuit.

What kinds of cases are considered personal injury cases?

The most common types of personal injury claims are the result of car accidents, slip and fall accidents, construction site accidents, assault claims, and product defect claims.  Accidents can occur in a wide variety of situations and often a third party’s negligence or carelessness is the cause.   Common accidents include boating accidents, truck accidents, automobile accidents, motorcycle accidents, aviation accidents, workplace accidents, and construction accidents.  If you’ve been in an accident in San Diego or Riverside and suffered an injury as a result of another’s carelessness or negligence conduct, contact an attorney at Martinez & Schill LLP for a free consultation. Contact Us today!