General Personal Injury Questions
Answers from an Injury Attorney in San Jose
- What is a personal Injury?
- Do all personal injury cases go to trial?
- Do I need a lawyer if my case doesn’t go to trial?
- What is the statute of limitations in California?
- Is the property owner responsible for a slip & fall injury?
- What should I do if asked to give a recorded statement?
- Do I really need a lawyer to file an accident claim?
- How does the court determine the value of my claim?
1. What is a Personal Injury?
In legal terms, personal injury refers to any damages inflicted upon a person by another individual or entity – such as a business or corporation. While personal injury can take many forms, it is not limited to visible injuries alone. In fact, courts will consider a victim’s physical, emotional, and financial damages when determining compensation awards.
This means that victims are eligible to recover damages relating to their pain and suffering, mental anguish, and emotional injuries in addition to their physical injuries and the financial expenses they incurred. As such, a personal injury claim is essentially a lawsuit that aims to hold the at-fault party financially liable for compensating injured victims.
Generally speaking, any significant injury can qualify as a “personal injury” if it was caused by the negligence of another person, corporation, business, etc. Some injuries are more common than others, though. Car accidents, for example, are one of the most common types of accident claims / lawsuits in the United States.
2. Do All Injury Cases Go To Trial?
Not all personal injury claims will extend into the trial phase. In fact, many victims are able to obtain fair compensation through settlements before a trial ever occurs. Although settlements are an excellent way for injured victims to avoid potentially lengthy court proceedings, they are not always an ideal option for everyone because it can be costly and time-consuming.
When at-fault parties or insurance companies dispute a claim or fail to offer a settlement that fully meets the needs of victims and families, then pursuing a claim to trial may be an appropriate option. As all cases are unique, whether or not your case will extend into trial is a matter that should be discussed with an experienced attorney.
You are not required to hire an attorney, but a lawyer can increase your chances of obtaining a favorable case outcome. Without a lawyer, insurance companies and big corporations may not seriously consider your demands. A skilled personal injury lawyer will understand your rights and can effectively negotiate with the insurance company or opposing party to get the compensation that you deserve.
4. What Is The Statute of Limitations in California?
When it comes to filing a lawsuit for a personal injury, each state has an allotted deadline in which the claim must be filed in court. Once this statute of limitations has run out, the legal claim will no longer be accepted. For a personal injury case in California, the statute of limitations is two years from when the injury occurred. If the injury was discovered at a later date post-accident, the statute of limitations is one year from when it was discovered.
5. Is the Property Owner Responsible for a Slip & Fall?
If you were injured as a result of a slip and fall accident, the owner of the property may be responsible depending, on the circumstances. If it is proven that your slip and fall was the result of a negligent behavior on the part of the owner or if it was a situation they should have reasonably been avoided through proper maintenance, they may be liable. If they were aware, or should have been aware, of the hazardous condition and did not fix the issue, a premises liability claim can be filed.
If, however, the injured party was trespassing, they may not be able to file a lawsuit. Other accidents could be the result of general carelessness on the part of the victim. If the victim is completely responsible for his / her injury, the property owner may not be held liable for the accident.
If you are asked by the insurance company to provide a recorded statement concerning the accident and your damages, our firm does not encourage you to agree. By agreeing to this action, what you say can be used against you when seeking compensation. For example, a simple statement such as, “I’m sorry,” could be interpreted as a confession of liability. Do not speak to an insurance company without consulting a lawyer. This is especially important if the opposing party’s insurance provider contacts you.
7. How Does the Court Determine the Amount my Claim Deserves?
The court takes into account many factors when calculating compensation. They examine the level of severity of the injuries, the amount of accumulated medical expenses, and the estimated amount of money needed for future therapy and medical costs.
The court will also examine liability, the faulty party, and whether you were partially at fault for the incident. If you have severe financial hardship, any lasting mental or physical damage caused by the accident, or pain and suffering, your compensation may be higher than if these factors do not exist.
Economic Vs. Noneconomic Damages
While medical expenses are fairly easy to calculate, emotional damages are less simple. Some insurance companies use formulas to determine the amount of “special damages” that you can obtain. If your case goes to trial, a jury may determine how much you deserve.
In California, some of the non-economic damages that you may be entitled to include:
- Mental Suffering
- Emotional Distress
- Loss of Consortium
- Loss of Companionship
- Loss of Society
- Injury to Reputation
A personal injury attorney from The Law Offices of Caroline J. Nasseri can help you understand how these factors relate to your case.
8. Do I Really Need a Lawyer to File an Accident Claim?
There are no legal requirements for a victim to have a lawyer when filing a personal injury claim. Given the complexities of the legal process, the technical legal concepts involved, and the fact that insurance companies often do everything in their power to pay victims as little as possible, however, working with a proven lawyer is a wise decision.
At times when you and your loved ones may still be reeling from needless tragedy and may still be recovering from injuries, facing this legal journey without the support and guidance of an attorney can be overwhelming. By working with our San Jose injury lawyer, you can receive the step-by-step guidance, genuine support, and effective representation you need to recover the compensation you rightfully deserve.
If you have additional questions, we urge you to contact The Law Offices of Caroline J. Nasseri today. Our San Jose personal injury law firm can help you understand your case, so schedule your free, no-obligation case evaluation.