Unfortunately, accidents happen every day in the United States. They can cause injuries ranging from a minor sprained ankle to a severe brain injury. Personal injuries can be caused by unavoidable or unforeseeable circumstances. However, when a personal injury is caused by the negligent or careless actions of another person, that person can be held responsible for the injuries and losses suffered by their actions.
If you have suffered a personal injury because of the careless or negligent actions of another person or entity, you should speak with a personal injury attorney who can advise you on your rights and entitlements. For more information about how a personal injury attorney can help you, call Hanson & Mouri at (951) 419-3199.
If you have been injured as a result of the negligent actions of another person or entity, contact the San Bernardino personal injury attorneys at Hanson & Mouri at (951) 419-3199 today, for a free consultation.
Personal injury is a legal term that refers to any personal injury to a person for which they can make a legal claim for compensation as opposed to injury or damage to property. Personal injury claims can be based on different grounds, most commonly negligence, strict liability, and other wrongful actions. Any personal injury suffered by the victim may qualify as a personal injury since it is not limited to the victim’s physical injuries. A person who sustains physical injuries as a result of an accident or any other cause of physical injury, may also suffer economic and emotional injury caused by the trauma of their physical injuries. Personal injury laws account for physical, economic, and emotional injuries of the victim. Any physical, economic, or emotional injury may qualify as a personal injury as long as the victim can prove the required elements for the grounds on which they make their claim.
Personal injuries are commonly caused by San Bernardino car accidents, but there are other situations such as motorcycle accidents, spinal cord injuries, defectively manufactured products, work-related injuries, and crime, that can result in personal injury.
Whether the victim’s injuries qualify for a personal injury will depend on the particular facts of their case. When a person suffers a personal injury, it is best to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible to determine their legal position.
Personal injury claims typically cover the losses suffered by the victim. Losses can either be economic or non-economic losses.
Economic losses are those losses that can be accounted for with receipts, invoices, and quotations. They cover out-of-pocket expenses, medical expenses, and loss of support and income. If the victim dies, economic losses would also include funeral expenses.
Non-economic losses are intangible losses like pain and suffering, emotional anguish, and loss of enjoyment of activities. Non-economic damages are subjectively determined. A personal injury attorney will have access to economic experts who can assess the victim’s life and determine the value of their non-economic losses.
The aftermath of a personal injury accident can be chaotic and overwhelming, but it is important to try and remain calm. There are essential steps to take, which include the following:
Call 911 as soon as you can to report the accident and request medical assistance. Emergency responders will arrive to treat you and transport you to the hospital if necessary. A police officer will also show up to create an accident report that will contain critical details on the accident, including what they believe occurred, who was at fault, and statements from the parties involved and any witnesses. All of which can be crucial when proving liability
If you can remain at the scene, try to capture as much as you can by taking photos or videos. If anyone witnessed the accident, ask for their name and contact information. Check if they will make a recorded statement, possibly on your phone. Along with the police report, a witness’s version of the events can weigh heavily in an insurance company’s decision on fault.
See a doctor as soon as you can if you are not taken to the hospital, even if you believe your injuries are minor. Some severe injuries can have delayed symptoms that take hours or even days to appear. Seeking treatment right away is the best choice for your health but it will also provide documentation that links your injuries to the accident. If you wait to seek medical help, the insurance company can argue that your injuries were not caused by the accident involving their policyholder or are not as severe as you claim.
It can be challenging to obtain the compensation you are entitled to on your own. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you with every aspect of your case, including preserving evidence that is vital to proving your claim, communication and negotiations with the insurance company for a fair settlement, and representing you in court if necessary.
Personal injury claims commonly arise due to the following types of accidents that occur in San Bernardino:
Car Accidents are a primary cause of injuries and fatalities in San Bernardino. Accident victims have the right to hold the at-fault party accountable for the losses they suffer.
Bicycle accidents in San Bernardino are unfortunately very common, and are often accompanied by fatal consequences. Typically, the fault rests on the driver.
Truck accidents in San Bernardino can cause catastrophic injuries and property damage. If you have been injured in a truck accident, the trucking company, along with the truck driver, may be liable.
Motorcycle riders can suffer severe injuries in a crash, often caused by another driver’s negligence. When another party was at fault, you have the right to recover compensation for medical bills, lost income, bike repairs, pain and suffering, and more.
Injured construction workers are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, but there may also be a third party who is also liable for your San Bernardino work injury.
Property owners and managers are required to keep their premises in a reasonably safe condition for visitors. If they fail in their duty and you are injured as a result, you have the right to file a premises liability claim in San Bernardino.
After a workplace accident, you can file a workers’ compensation claim. However, these claims are often undervalued or wrongfully denied. An attorney can help you recover the benefits you are entitled to and appeal a denial of an injury claim.
Wrongful death can occur in a wide variety of accidents, including motor vehicle accidents, incidents of medical malpractice, construction accidents, etc. Losing a loved one due to another party’s negligence or intentional act is devastating. Should you decide to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit, a San Bernardino wrongful death attorney can help you hold the at-fault party accountable.
This is not an exhaustive list of the types of personal injury accidents in San Bernardino. If you believe you have been injured in any kind of preventable accident, have your case evaluated by an attorney.
Personal injury refers to the injuries suffered by the victim. In some cases, such as vehicle accidents, there may also be property damage involving damages to the vehicle caused by the accident. In such cases, the personal injury claim will include a claim for property damage. Just as the victim is entitled to compensation to make their personal whole again, they are also entitled to compensation for any lost or damaged property.
There are laws that determine how long a victim has to file a claim. These deadlines for filing a claim are known as statutes of limitation.
In California, a personal injury claim must be made within two years from the date of the injury. If the injury was not immediately discovered, the victim must make a claim within one year from the date that the injury was discovered.
For injuries caused by medical malpractice, the victim has one year from the date they knew or should have known about the injury, or three years from the date of the injury, whichever is earlier.
Generally, if the victim’s injury was caused by the actions of a government agency, then an administrative claim must be filed with the agency within six months of the injury. The facts of your injury will determine if any exceptions apply to your case. After you file your administrative claim with the government agency, they have 45 days to respond to your claim. You can only proceed to court if the agency denies your claim. Your claim must be filed in court within six months of the date the denial was mailed or personally delivered to you by the government agency.
Preparing a successful claim requires diligence, which can take time. This is why it is important to speak with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after you have suffered injuries caused by another person’s wrongful actions. Undue delay could jeopardize your ability to get the compensation you deserve.
How long personal injury cases take is determined on a case-by-case basis. Unfortunately, there is no exact answer since each claim is unique. However, here is a general idea of a case’s timeline and how long each stage takes.
The First Six Months
The first six months are often dedicated to recovering from your injuries and your attorney beginning their initial investigation. Your lawyer will gather evidence to determine which parties are liable and prove their fault. The time it takes to investigate often depends on the complexity of your case and whether multiple parties are involved. Once you fully recover or reach maximum medical improvement (MMI), your attorney will carefully draft and send a demand letter to the at-fault party’s insurance company to begin negotiations.
Months Six to 12
If you cannot reach an agreement with the insurance company, the next step is to file a lawsuit. In San Bernardino, you typically have two years from the date of the accident to sue, under the state’s statute of limitations law. Sometimes, just filing the lawsuit is enough to prompt the insurer to settle.
Months 12 to 18
The discovery portion of your lawsuit begins, and is often a lengthy process. Both sides will typically send interrogatories, take depositions, hire expert witnesses for trial, and the defense will likely request an independent medical examination.
Months 18 to 24 and Beyond
The remaining time will involve further negotiations, possibly mediation, then trial if necessary. A case can still settle at any point. Once your trial begins, it can take anywhere from a few days to multiple months to complete. If you are awarded compensation, it will often be dispersed to your attorney within 30 days of successful mediation or a favorable verdict.
If you are not transported to the hospital immediately after your accident, remain at the scene and take photos or videos of the following:
You will need photos or videos of how you acquired your injury. For example, if you were involved in a car accident, document the accident scene, the vehicles, and their damage, your injuries, markings on the road such as skid marks, road hazards, street signs, etc. Keep a daily journal documenting your pain, mental state, and physical limitations. Gather medical records, and keep track of any receipts for accident-related expenses.
When gathering evidence in your personal injury case, an attorney will complete a thorough investigation independent of the insurance company. All potential forms of evidence that can support your claim will be collected, which can include:
Evidence can quickly be lost or destroyed, and witnesses’ memories fade. The sooner you hire a personal injury lawyer, the better your chances are that critical evidence can be preserved.
The value of the compensation you are entitled to will depend on the facts of your case, the severity of your injuries, and in some states, the conduct of the defendant. The defendant will often try to reduce their liability by blaming the victim for their injury. Comparative negligence rules compare the fault of the victim and the defendant and allocates responsibility to each party. The victim’s compensation is reduced by the percentage of responsibility allocated to them. In some states, if the victim is found to be more than fifty percent responsible for their injury, they will not receive any compensation at all.
California follows the pure comparative negligence rule, which is the most generous of all comparative negligence rules. It allows the victim to recover damages even if they are more than fifty percent responsible for their injury. For instance, if the victim’s total damages amount to $100,000 and they are found to be ninety percent responsible for their injury, the victim will recover $10,000.
Most San Bernardino Personal Injury Lawyers, including Hanson & Mouri, accept cases on a contingency fee basis. What that means is that your attorney will advance any costs to prepare and prosecute your claim, and you are only responsible for those costs if you win. If you do not recover compensation, you do not owe legal fees.
A lawyer will generally take between 25 to 40 percent of your awarded compensation, as well as court costs. Some injury lawyers may reduce their contingency fee based on how much work goes into resolving your claim. For example, 25 percent if your case settles fairly quickly, 33 percent if your attorney must file a lawsuit, 40 percent if your case goes to trial, etc. Others may adjust their fee based on how much compensation you recover. For instance, 33 percent of any recovery up to $50,000; 25 percent of any recovery between $50,000 to $100,000, etc. Be sure to discuss this topic with your injury attorney so you understand the exact terms of your contingency fee agreement.
Personal injury victims are often reluctant to pursue a claim because of the fear of legal costs, denying themselves of their full and fair compensation for their losses. Like many personal injury attorneys, Hanson & Mouri represents clients on a contingency fee basis. We want to ensure that justice is available to everyone. You do not pay any legal fees unless we secure compensation on your behalf. If you need the services of a skilled and experienced San Bernardino personal injury, contact Hanson & Mouri at (951) 419-3199 to schedule your free consultation.