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Accident

Q.

Should I contact a Los Angeles County or Southern California accident lawyer?

A.

If you or a loved one was in a crash, one of the primary issues you will need to establish is who was at fault for the crash. The degree of fault regarding every individual or group involved in the accident is THE most essential component in any car accident lawsuit. This determination will fluctuate based on the condition you are in and that state’s laws on negligence. The degree of disregard of each element in an crash will determine who was at fault and who will be accountable for any accident injuries or wrongful death claims. Normally, a state will pay attention to one of the following carelessness theories, which an accident attorney can explain further: comparative disregard, genuine comparative wrong doing, or proportional comparative fault.

Q.

Why Should I Retain the services of a Los Angeles County or Southern California Accident Lawyer?

A.

An accident attorney is able to help you out of your challenging period, supplying assistance by dealing with insurance companies and other incident parties or companies, so you can take the time to totally focus on healing. After an accident you will likely have several questions and issues. Occasionally the incident laws of your state can be confusing. An accident attorney will help explain the incident laws and accident reports to you so you know and understand your legal rights. An accident lawyer will be an element of an accident law firm that is able to offer you beneficial viewpoints about your circumstance and information on how to manage your injuries. The accident law firm will gather details concerning your incident essential to develop a productive case and obtain compensation for your injuries. Additionally, a big part of accident instances will involve interaction with insurance companies, other lawyers, as well as other individuals. Often, when an accident attorney is the one interacting with the company or other attorney, they will acquire more significant and complete answers compared to if you were getting in touch with them. Working with a Los Angeles County or Southern California Accident attorney can help resolve your incident case faster, with much less stress and fear.

If you have been injured in a Los Angeles County or Southern California Accident, please call us today at (310)789-2007 or (213)255-5897 for your no cost, private assessment with an experienced Los Angeles County or Southern California Accident Injury lawyer.

Q.

Car Accidents Overview – Lawyers and Law

A.

Nearly every person will be involved with a car automobile accident at some point in their lives. While hopefully your car accident won’t result in significant car wreck injuries, automobile accidents can lead to potentially critical and even fatal consequences. And car crashes can also give rise to liability – you may be able to sue the driver who brought on the incident. As such, it is useful to learn more about automobile incidents, truck incident lawsuits and how an incident lawyer can assist.

If you have been injured in a Los Angeles County or Southern California Accident, please give us a call today at (310)789-2007 or (213)255-5897 for a free, confidential consultation with a skilled Los Angeles County or Southern California Accident attorney.

Q.

How Frequent Are Automobile Accidents?

A.

The statistics governing automotive incidents are fairly worrying:

• More than 6 million car or truck accidents take place in the U.S. every year.

• Motor vehicle collisions kill one human being every 12 minutes, and hurt somebody every 14 seconds in the U.S. – many of these situations produce accident claims either for wrongful death or wreck injuries.

• Motor vehicle incidents kill over 40,000 people every year in U.S., and they are the major cause of death for persons from ages 2 to 34.

• About 2,000 young children die as an effect of motor vehicle collisions every year, and more than 250,000 are damaged in accidents.

Kinds of Car Accident Injuries:

There are many unique causes for car accidents, each of which are likely to lead to a range of injuries. Some of the most typical car accidents that take place include:

• Rear Impact: In the event that you hit another person from behind, or are hit from behind, you have been involved in a rear impact incident. Most frequently this occurs because an individual has could not brake in time, producing in either a tap or a far more substantial rear impact accident. Nearly 30 percent of all car accidents in the U.S. are rear-impact accidents. When a rear impact collision happens, the motorist in the back is commonly accountable because laws mandate that an individual drive a safe distance away from the motor vehicle in front of you.

• Side Impact: If you are hit on the side of your motor vehicle, you have suffered a side impact crash. Side impact accidents can happen when you “T-bone” another car, meaning the front of your motor vehicle hits the side of another. You can also sideswipe a different automotive by bumping into its side while changing lanes. Nearly 29 percent of all U.S. incidents are side-impact accidents. Indicating fault frequently becomes an issue here- it can be challenging to know which motorist was in the wrong. A good car crash attorney can help you obtain photographic evidence of the scene or will seek the services of a specialist in incident reconstruction to act as your witness and to help you establish the fault of the other party.

• Head-on Collision: If you hit another vehicle front first, or if you hit a non-moving object with the front of your car, you have been involved in a head-on crash. Head-on collisions happen generally when a driver falls asleep and slides directly into oncoming traffic. Different ways head-on accidents occur are where the motorist is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, gets on to a highway or a one-way street in the wrong way, or loses control of their vehicle and skids into an oncoming lane. These incidents account for 2 % of all U.S. accidents. The vehicle driver who was going the wrong way or who had been inebriated or asleep is usually at fault.

• Rollover: If your vehicle flips over in any way, or lands on its side, you were involved in a rollover. Taller autos, like SUV’s and trucks, are more likely to experience rollovers than smaller sized cars. Nearly 2 % of all incidents in the U.S. are rollovers. In a few rollover incidents, you may be able to hold the company of the vehicle responsible for an unsatisfactory design or disorders.

• Runoff: These accidents usually involve just one car running off the road. This could take place when a person is not really paying attention, or swerves to steer clear of another motor vehicle or animal in the road. Runoffs account for 16 percent of all U.S. accidents. If you run off the road, you generally have nobody to blame but yourself – unless another vehicle unlawfully got in your way or there was a problem with the road itself.

Q.

How can an Auto Accident Attorney Can Help?

A.

If you have been injured in a Los Angeles County or Southern California Accident, please give us a call today at (310)789-2007 or (213)255-5897 for a complimentary, private consultation with a skilled Los Angeles County or Southern California Accident lawyer.

No matter the specific cause of your motor vehicle accident injuries, a car incident lawyer can make it easier to show fault and collect the damages you deserve.

Lawyers can be particularly beneficial when injuries like whiplash or injuries regarding hospitalization are involved. Car insurance companies will attempt to shell out as little as possible, and a lawyer can assist you to obtain facts and safeguard your rights by interacting directly with your insurance provider or by helping you to file a motor vehicle accident lawsuit.

Q.

Car Accidents – Who is at Fault?

A.

Fault is one of the biggest, if not THE most essential element, in any car crash claim. The individual at fault is the person whose negligence brought on the crash, and that is the individual who generally must pay for the harm caused by his or her neglect. If the conditions surrounding your incident make it clear that one individual was clearly at fault, then read no more! One of the related articles detailed below should be your subsequent stop. If, however, liability is not entirely clear or if there is shared fault, then fault is apportioned between the people determined by the specifics of the law in your state (see below) on comparative or contributory neglect. When liability is communal in an car accident, it is the insurer’s turn to decide the comparable percentages of fault of the parties included.

Q.

What is Comparative or Contributory Negligence?

A.

Historically, if two people were associated in an automobile accident and the harmed individual was even the slightest bit at fault, the individual would not be entitled to get back anything for his/her injuries or deficits. This way of figuring out damages is identified in legal sectors as pure contributory negligence. For example, say Luke and Martin had been involved in an crash. Luke hit Martin’s automobile while making a left turn onto a 2-lane street at night. Luke didn’t notice Martin’s vehicle because (blank) it was night time (and a dark one at that), Martin was not driving with his front lights on. Under a pure contributory negligence theory, Martin cannot get back damages for his injuries because he was partly at fault for the accident. Sound pretty harsh? Actually, some states still adhere to this particular rule (Alabama, District of Columbia, Maryland, North Carolina and Virginia).

But the majority of states now use some proportional type of comparative negligence that will allow a wounded party to regain some damages for his or her injuries, even if he or she was partially at fault. There are presently three variations: Pure comparative fault; proportional comparative fault at 51%; proportional comparative fault at 50%.

Q.

What is Pure Comparative Fault?

A.

In states that have adopted pure comparative fault as a measure of damages, if an injured person is somewhat at fault for producing his individual injuries, his damages are lessened by the percentage of his fault. For example, say Michelle was injured in a car wreck for which she was 80% at fault. Damages for her injury amount to $10,000. Michelle will be entitled to recover $2,000 for her injuries, that is, $10,000 less 80% or $8,000 for her percentage of fault.

Q.

What is Proportional Comparative Fault at 51%

A.

The states that have adopted proportional comparative fault bar recovery if you are more than 51% at fault for the car accident. Put simply, you cannot file a liability claim and lawsuit against the other driver’s carelessness if you were more than 51% at fault. For example, Dennis hit Teri’s car while traveling in excess of 25 miles per hour over the speed limit while Teri was making an attempt to cross the road. Even though Teri was partly at fault for not looking until the road was completely clear before crossing, the insurance company allotted fault to Dennis at 60% due to his increased speed. Even though Dennis suffered a broken arm from the accident, he is not entitled to recover for his injury due to the fact that he was more than 51% at fault for the accident. States: Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Vermont, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Q.

What is Proportional Comparative Fault at 50%

A.

In states that have implemented the 50% bar standard in dealing with car crash claims, a hurt person that is less than 50% at fault for the incident is entitled to compensation. If the injured party is 50% or more at fault, he or she is not entitled to recovery for the injury. For example, Richard and Susan accidentally hit each others’ cars while backing out of their parking spaces at exactly the same time. Both were not looking cautiously enough when they backed up, and so both were deemed equally at fault for the accident. Neither one will be eligible to damages since both were 50% at fault for the accident. States: Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah and West Virginia.

Q.

How is Percentage of Fault Determined?

A.

Right after an accident, it is the job of the insurance company claims adjuster to determine the relative degrees of fault primarily based on the circumstances encompassing the accident. There is no top secret mathematical formula for figuring out percentages of fault in accident injuries. You and the claims adjuster will negotiate and come to some agreement as to what, if any, your allocated fault is. Here is where an expert personal injury lawyer can be convenient. He or she will know how to evaluate the accident and advocate for the lowest percentage of wrong doing on your behalf. If you and the insurance adjuster reach an impasse, a court of law is ultimately your next step to take care of the issue of fault.

Q.

Fault and Car Insurance

A.

Insurance firms often offer you extra coverage/protection (for extra money) to help you pay for property damage and/or personal injury and medical bills regardless of fault. So if you are seriously injured in an accident that was mostly your mistake and you are not entitled by law to compensation from the other person’s insurance, but you have extra coverage under your own policy, your insurance company will pay for your injuries. This extra insurance policy coverage is called PIP (personal injury protection) or No Fault coverage. Under this situation, you would file a liability claim with your own insurance company for medical charges and lost revenue, up to a given maximum, without any discussion or difference about the circumstances of the accident and who was at fault. Whether you can file for additional expenses against the other individual who was at fault in the crash is dependent on your state’s laws. In many states, Uninsured/Underinsured coverage is required. This offers insurance coverage for damages ensuing from an accident with somebody who either has no insurance or does not currently have enough insurance to cover your expenses. It also helps to protect you if the other individual flees the scene after the accident or is a driver of a stolen van.

Beyond the damages suffered, the degree of fault is probably the most important factor in figuring out how much you may finally get back for your accident injury. In most instances, both you and the insurance company will know (by the instances around the accident) the degree of fault for both parties. Was the other party entirely at fault? Largely at fault? Or only a little bit at fault? If you are in a comparative fault state, an adjuster will reduce your recovery amount by your percentage of comparative fault. If you were only 10% at fault, your damages total will be lowered by 10%. Your recovery will not be reduced by any amount if the accident was clearly someone else’s fault.

Q.

What should I do if I have injured in a car accident?

A.

After a car accident, most people experience some degree of shock. However, there are certain steps that should be taken to help ensure a strong case.

If possible, do the following:
• Call the police.
• Take photos of the accident scene.
• Talk to any witnesses and get their contact information.
• Get insurance information from the other driver.

Most importantly, see a doctor. This is important even if you believe your injuries are minor - or even if you think you have no injuries at all.

Q.

Should I take photos of the accident scene?

A.

Taking photos of the accident scene - whether you were involved in a car accident, premises liability accident or other type of accident - can prove to be very beneficial as you go through the legal process. Accident scene photos can be used as evidence in the investigation of your case. Take photos with your phone or keep a disposable camera in your glove compartment.

Q.

What should I avoid doing after an accident?

A.

There are a number of things that you should avoid doing after an auto accident. Don't forget to call the police. Avoid recorded statements. Also, make sure you don't wait too long before seeking recovery on your claim.

Q.

What if I don't know who caused my accident?

A.

In the case of a hit-and-run where the negligent driver is never identified, plaintiffs can sometimes recover under California’s underinsured/uninsured motorist policies. (see above for more specifics)

Q.

What should I avoid doing after an accident?

A.

An Independent Medical Examination (known and hereinafter referred to as an ”IME”) is a tool utilized by insurance carriers wherein they examine their own insured pursuant to their auto insurance policy in an effort to suspend their medical benefits or curtail their medical treatment under Personal Injury Protection (PIP).  Do not confuse an IME with a CME (Compulsory Medical Examination), which is discussed under a separate question.  For the purpose of this discussion, an IME, is ordered by your insurance carrier prior to a lawsuit being filed.  CME’s are requested by either insurance carrier (i.e., the at fault party’s carrier or your own insurance carrier) when the case is in litigation as a tool to defeat the lawsuit or at least mitigate damages.

Keep in mind that there is very little that is “independent” about this type of examination.  The IME, is generally conducted by a physician retained by the applicable insurance carrier.  We have seen the same IME physicians time and again.  In fact, IME physicians often produce the same report over and over regardless of the complaints and presentation of the injury victim.  The insurance carrier hand picks the IME physician based on prior experiences and what they can expect.

In order to seek an IME, the insurance carrier must show that the mental or physical condition of an injured person who is covered under PIP is material to a claim for first-party medical benefits.  If the mental or physical condition of the claimant is at issue, the applicable insurance carrier can require the individual submit to an examination.

Only a physician licensed under the same statute as the treating physician can generate a report that the insurance carrier can utilize to withdraw, reduce or deny benefits for medical expenses. United Automobile Insurance Co. v. Viles, 726 So.2d 320 (Fla. 3d DCA 1999).  In other words, an insurance carrier can rely on a report generated by a Chiropractor from an IME to cut off, deny or reduce medical bills generated by the treating Chiropractor.  An Osteopathic Physician can do the same to a fellow Osteopathic Physician, Neurologist can respond to a Neurologist and so on.  Subsequent case law stands for the proposition that a report from an IME is not necessary to deny benefits only to withdraw (cut off) benefits[1].

It is essential to note that the insurance carrier has a fundamental right to an IME.  A refusal by the insured to submit to an examination or failure to attend said exam will constitute a material breach of the insurance policy (i.e., contract) and can serve to completely release the PIP carrier from liability for further payments to be made on medical services rendered[2].   However, the failure on the part of an insured to attend the IME is not necessarily deemed to be an “unreasonable refusal” to attend[3]. Californian law states that an insured’s attendance at an IME is not a condition precedent to the existence of PIP benefits.  Id, at 1097.  The insurance carrier has the burden of proving the insured’s failure to attend was unreasonable.

References:
[1] Partners in Health Chiropractic v. United Automobile Insurance Co., 21 So.3d 858 (Fla. 3d DCA 2009)
[2] Allstate Insurance Co. v. Graham, 541 So.2d 160 (Fla. 2d DCA 1989)
[3] Custer Medical Center v. United Automobile Insurance Co., 62 So.3d 1086 (Fla. 2010)

Q.

The person that hit me doesn't have insurance, what can I do?

A.

In California, insurance companies offer what is called uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. What this coverage provides is protection for personal injuries that are caused by the negligence of a person with insufficient insurance to cover the costs. In order to be protected by this type of insurance, you have to carry it on your own policy. In the very small number of situations where a negligent driver is uninsured, your uninsured/underinsured motorist policy holder will be liable for the damages you incur. These claims often operate in exactly the same way as a normal personal injury case, with the difference being that you are recovering from your own insurance carrier. It is very important to remember in these situations that the representatives from your carrier are not out for your best interests. Just like every insurance adjuster, they will be looking to minimize the insurance company’s loss. Contacting an experienced personal injury attorney to represent you in these situations is the best way to ensure that you are protected.

Personal Injury

Q.

What is a personal injury lawsuit?

A.

If another person’s (or firm’s) disregard or recklessness has caused you injury, you may be entitled to file a personal injury lawsuit to get payment for the damages you have endured. Personal injury claims, also referred to as “tort” claims, adhere to certain procedures established by the state in which you are living. However, most states follow the same guidelines for personal injury lawsuits.

Q.

What are some examples of personal injury claims?

A.

Although the focus of a personal injury lawsuit can vary widely, typical foundations for these claims include (but are not limited to):

• Aircraft or railway accidents

• Auto accidents

• Birth injuries

• Brain injuries (including traumatic neurological injury or cerebral palsy)

• Motor coach rv accidents

• Substandard merchandise or prescription drugs

• Exposure to toxins (such as asbestos or benzene)

• Wrongful death

• Bike accidents

• Product liability (in which an unsafe product has killed or injured someone)

• Recalled or hazardous drugs

• Slip and fall accidents

• Trucking accidents

• Work environment injuries

• Wrongful death cases

Q.

What damages can I seek in my personal injury lawsuit?

A.

• Physical and emotional injuries.

• Loss of earning capacity.

• Outstanding medical bills and out of pocket costs.

• Lost wages.

• Future medical costs for ongoing treatment.

• Punitive damages (for willful and wantonly reckless behavior).

Q.

How much is my case worth?

A.

Compensation for personalized damage claims will be based upon:

• The cost of your current medical costs and required ongoing treatments

• The severity and type of the harm (or whether a victim has died)

• Whether you are able to earn money after being injured

• Pay outs awarded in cases similar to yours

• Whether or not your issue is curable

• Whether your injury was due to deliberate harm or malice (as opposed to merely neglect).

Individuals with severe, incurable injuries that keep them from working and were caused by purposive malice will likely recover larger payment amounts.

Q.

What do I need to prove before I can file a personal injury lawsuit?

A.

In all personal injury cases, the burden of proof falls on the plaintiff. This means that you must show by a multitude of evidence that your injuries were a direct result of the defendant’s negligent actions.

If you are able to prove the magnitude of the injuries endured, you can be granted compensation for your losses. In most cases, a qualified personal injury attorney will hire physicians, as well as other professional witnesses, to testify on your behalf and confirm your claim.

Q.

What is the statute of limitations for my case?

A.

A statute of limitations limits the amount of time a sufferer has to file a personal injury lawsuit. Statutes of limitations for personal injury cases differ from one state to another.

In many states, the time limit begins instantly after the injury occurs. However, there are exceptions to the statute. Get hold of a personal injury lawyer to find out the laws in your state.

Q.

Can I pursue my case on my own?

A.

Injured plaintiffs don’t need the aid of a personal injury lawyer to pursue their claim, however, they are a great deal more likely to acquire higher settlements if they work together with lawyers, as these specialists have:

• Intimate understanding of the legal system

• Knowledge negotiating with corporate attorneys

• Connections with professionals and other courtroom authorities who can facilitate and help prove your case

• An understanding of various claims and possible damages for which you may seek reimbursement.

Q.

What will it cost me to file a personal injury lawsuit?

A.

The majority of personal injury attorneys focus on contingency, meaning that you will not have to pay attorney’s fees until (or unless) your case is resolved. Once a payout is attained, lawyers typically take a percentage of the award to cover the expenses of legal services.

Q.

What should I do if I want to file a personal injury lawsuit?

A.

If you or a loved one has suffered a serious personal injury due to the carelessness or wrongdoing of another party, it is important to seek the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer who will protect your legal rights and maximize your interests.

Please contact us today to speak to a qualified personal injury attorney FREE OF CHARGE.

If you have been seriously injured, please give us a call now at (310)789-2007 or (213)255-5897 for your no fee, confidential assessment with a knowledgeable Los Angeles County or Southern California Personal Injury lawyer.

Q.

Will my personal injury case go to trial?

A.

You may be wondering, “will my case go to trial?” In order to answer that properly, it’s important to understand how your personal injury claim operates. When you’re involved in a motor vehicle collision, the first thing that we’ll do is send a demand to the insurance company to compensate you for your injury. Often times, insurance companies are fighting tooth and nail to pay you as little as possible for your injury claim. It’s at that point the majority of the time, we end up filing a lawsuit in the courthouse. Filing a lawsuit, or a complaint on your behalf enters us into a phase called litigation. Once we enter into litigation, we’re not just dealing with an insurance company and an adjuster, we’re also dealing with a defense attorney and the process becomes more adversarial. Chances are your case will be resolved at what’s called a mediation. A mediation is when we sit down with you and the defense, and a third party mediator. A mediator is a person that’s neutral and has no interest in the outcome of your case. It’s at this time that most cases are resolved without having to go to trial.

Q.

What questions will I be asked at my deposition?

A.

Generally, the insurance defense lawyer will question you about your past employment history, medical history and records, information about the accident or how you sustained the injury, the severity of your injury, how the injury affects your ability to work and impedes your quality of life among others. Our litigation attorneys will prepare you in advance of deposition for the types of questions we can anticipate. Additionally we will review your medical records together to ensure you are not caught off guard.

Q.

What type of injury claims does Bral & Associates handle?

A.

The lawyers at Bral & Associates, have experience in dealing with many types of injury claims including: Car & Motorcycle accidents, Pedestrian accidents, Truck accidents, Construction/On-the-job accidents, Brain injury, Spinal cord injury, Wrongful death, Slip and fall injuries, Burn, fire, explosion and Dog bites.

Each type of injury requires a different type of attention. Fortunately, the lawyers at Bral & Associates, have experience dealing with many different types of injuries caused by negligence.