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Personal Injury FAQ

How much will it cost me to hire a personal injury lawyer?

The great news for all injury victims in California is that there is often no upfront cost to retaining legal counsel because virtually all personal injury attorneys in the state handle cases on a contingency fee basis. This will mean that a lawyer handles a personal injury case and only gets paid when they win or settle the case. An attorney who cannot recover any money does not get paid. 

What kinds of damages can I recover for?

Most personal injury cases will result in victims being awarded compensatory damages that are intended to help restore them to their original condition or at least as close thereto. Compensatory damages often come in two forms: economic damages and noneconomic damages. Economic damages are the kinds of tangible harm people can prove in court, like medical bills, lost wages, and property damage. Noneconomic damages are much more subjective and may include pain and suffering, emotional distress, or loss of consortium. California Civil Code § 3294 also contains a provision for exemplary damages, better known as punitive damages, in cases of malice, oppression, or fraud. Punitive damages are fairly rare and are ordered more to punish parties for conduct than award plaintiffs.

Can I recover compensation even if I was partially at fault?

Yes. Unlike some other states, California follows what is known as a pure comparative form of negligence under which a person can still recover damages even when they were partially to blame for their accident. While this certainly means a person can still recover compensation even if they were 99 percent responsible for their accident, it also means any award will be reduced by 99 percent. In other words, a person who suffers injuries in an accident for which another party was 80 percent at fault and is awarded $100,000 will have their award reduced by $20,000 and ultimately receive $80,000.

What is the time limit for filing a personal injury case?

The time limit is known as the statute of limitations, and a statute of limitations can vary depending on the type of personal injury case you have. In some cases, you may have as long as three years but in other cases you could only have a matter of months. You will want to speak to a personal injury attorney about your case before you file so you can be sure you are satisfying the proper time limits applicable to your case.

Does California have any kind of limit on damages in personal injury cases?

The so-called damage cap that is again common in many other states only applies in California for medical malpractice cases. Under California Assembly Bill 35, noneconomic damages cannot exceed $350,000 in non-death cases and cannot be more than $500,000 in wrongful death cases. There are no damage caps in all other personal injury cases.

How long does a personal injury case take?

The answer to this question will depend on several variables, as every personal injury case will involve different factors that could dictate how long it will take to achieve a resolution. A significant majority of personal injury claims end in settlements because the insurance companies handling these claims are often loath to the idea of taking a case to trial since that will involve significant expenses. Even achieving a settlement can often take several months of extended negotiations. Should an insurer be unwilling to agree to a reasonable settlement, then a trial could become necessary and add significant time to the resolution. 

What kinds of accidents can lead to personal injury lawsuits?

The bottom line to personal injury law remains that all people have the right to seek compensation for injuries they suffer because of another party’s misconduct. Some of the most common kinds of personal injury claims often relate to motor vehicle accidents, motorcycle accidents, commercial truck accidents, airplane accidents, bus accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, construction accidents, slip and fall accidents, premises liability accidents, sports accidents, work-related accidents, dangerous road conditions, food poisoning, gross negligence, medical malpractice, and wrongful death.

What should I do if the insurance company is offering me a chance to settle my case?

You will want to speak to an attorney as soon as possible to ensure you are getting a fair offer. Most insurers will make lowball offers to people immediately after their accidents in hopes of them accepting the settlements before they have even had the chance to call a lawyer. There is considerable danger to accepting a settlement too early, because many people will realize that the money will not be enough and then have no legal avenue to pursue additional compensation. Chances are very good that having legal representation in these cases will allow a person to negotiate a much more fair and full settlement amount.

What should I do if I am involved in an accident?

Your first concern after any accident always needs to be your own well-being, so never hesitate to seek medical attention after an accident. You should generally do this even when you do not think you were hurt because many injuries can have delayed symptoms, and you do not want to jeopardize your legal case by seeking treatment several days or weeks after an accident. It can also be beneficial for people to take several pictures of their accident scene before everything is cleaned up so evidence of a hazard can be preserved.

Can a person sue the government in California?

The California Tort Claims Act (CTCA) provides sovereign immunity to certain state governmental bodies such that they are protected from liability in some cases, but there are multiple exceptions under which people may be able to file claims. People must file a notice of claim with six months of the dates of their injuries or accidents, and a governmental entity could be liable for injuries it or its employees cause.

Injury claims against governmental entities or employees must allege employees acting within the scope of their employment or carrying out some government function while claims involving defective governmental property must involve property being in dangerous condition at the time of an injury, an injury being proximately caused by the dangerous condition, and the dangerous condition creating a reasonably foreseeable risk of the kind of injury that occurred with the danger being created by a negligent or wrongful act of a public employee, or a public entity having actual or constructive notice of the dangerous condition and enough time to correct or protect against the dangerous condition.

Get Help from Our Personal Injury Attorneys at Ourfalian & Ourfalian

At Ourfalian & Ourfalian, we have a distinguished record of representing clients across a wide range of legal matters. Our attorneys always put time, resources, and attention to the small details into every case we take on. If you have any questions or concerns about your legal rights or legal options, we are more than ready to help. Contact us today at 818-550-7777 for a confidential, no-obligation initial consultation. Our firm serves communities in Los Angeles County and throughout California.

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    Ourfalian & Ourfalian Attorneys at Law

    Ourfalian & Ourfalian has successfully represented thousands of individuals and small businesses throughout the San Fernando Valley and Southern California over the last four decades. Our experienced attorneys focus on civil litigation which includes but is not limited to helping injury victims get just compensation after serious accidents. There is a distinct culture at Ourfalian & Ourfalian that is not easy to characterize but is felt everyday by the firm’s employees and clientele. Contact our Glendale Personal Injury & Civil Litigation law practice today to schedule a free initial consultation.