The fact is that the great majority of personal injury cases result in settlements, and that’s not a bad thing. However, there are times to settle and times to go to court. Plus, there are times when rejecting an initial settlement may lead to a better offer without the need for a court battle. Here are a few things you should know about settling personal injury cases out of court.
Situations Where You Shouldn’t Accept a Settlement
Here are a few times to avoid accepting a settlement or a when settlement may not be possible:
- The insurance company or lawyer won’t give you time to consult with your own attorney.
- The settlement amount seems too low.
- The statute of limitations requires a suit.
Getting the Settlement You Deserve
By acting within the appropriate amount of time and consulting with a personal injury attorney, you can help to ensure that you receive an adequate settlement. In the meantime, it is important to avoid signing anything or accepting compensation that would disqualify you from seeking further damages. You also need to contact the right attorney to receive compassionate assistance backed up by experience and expertise in personal injury cases.
The personal injury attorneys at Petrov Law Firm have the knowledge and experience to help you recognise a fair settlement offer. While it is always up to you to determine if you will accept an offer or not, our lawyers can help you to make an educated decision. To learn more and to schedule a consultation, call us today at 619-344-0360.Read More
Witnesses are usually called to the stand in personal injury cases. They are used to provide clarity when certain aspects of the accident are disputed. For instance, an eyewitness to a car accident can objectively recount their view of the accident.
Expert witnesses play a separate role from an eyewitness. They have extensive education and experience in accident-related matters such as technical knowledge in automotive mechanics. For a case related to a car accident, such knowledge and expertise make that witness an invaluable resource regarding details that must be proven to have occurred or played a significant role in the crash.
Even though expert witnesses are rarely on the scene when an accident occurs but can provide testimony in critical aspects of the claim. The expert witness’ role is crucial to judgments related to the case because he or she has an expertise that other parties in the case do not have. This knowledge is needed to prove certain claims made, based on the findings of accident investigations.
Experts are not in any way related to the parties involved in the case, so their testimony is perceived as impartial and objective, based only on accurate information and theories associated with their area of knowledge and expertise.
— Types of Personal Injury Case Expert Witnesses —
Expert witnesses differ in type for personal injury cases. Two such types of expert witnesses are the testifying expert and consulting witness.
Consulting witnesses use their experience and knowledge to help parties in the case understand fundamental issues and facts on which the case is based. They do not appear in court or testify on the stand but have a very important role because they are to help attorneys clearly understand complex and technical issues that are part of the personal injury case. On the other hand, testifying experts do appear in court and testify on the stand so as to effectively communicate relevant issues to the jury, judge and others in the case.
In cases of personal injury, there are common types of expert witnesses used to prove a case. Medical specialists are commonly engaged as expert witnesses to testify about issues such as the injuries inflicted on the victims, the available options for their recovery and information about necessary treatments. Other specialists include Engineering experts (used in liability regarding structural issues and building constructions), manufacturing experts (used in auto accident claims), etc.
Not all personal injury cases need expert witnesses. But cases of auto accidents, claims of product liability, slip and fall accidents, etc often gain from the information an expert witness can objectively provide.
Victims are allowed to use experts for investigation and review of their cases as needed. These witnesses are necessary to prove claim credibility and explain difficult subject matters in ways that laymen can understand. The case outcome for a victim is often linked to expert witness testimony and how these experts were able to relay information to the judge and jury.
Contact a Petrov Law Firm attorney today for a consultation. We effectively use expert witnesses to help battle a personal injury claim.Read More
As a driver, you might have seen the aftermath of an accident caused by unsecured or poorly secured items falling off a truck. From furniture to lumber, boxes, mattresses or pieces of metal used in industrial projects. Various objects can turn into hazardous projectiles. The prospect of being behind a truck in motion when its cargo spills onto the road is frightening.
Usually, trucking companies are responsible for properly securing items to a truck while the driver is liable for any havoc caused by objects falling from a moving truck. While these laws may vary from state to state, both truck drivers and trucking companies generally have some liability.
— Car Damage —
Drivers who fail to secure items properly in their trucks put other road users in danger. Whether the driver is hauling garbage, pipes, construction materials, furniture or equipment, all truck drivers are responsible for ensuring that their cargo does not cause injury to others. If falling objects cause an accident, the truck driver and the trucking company may be legally responsible for any damages incurred by the victims.
If you were driving behind a truck carrying timber or other bulky items that fell and damaged your car, you might be eligible for compensation for the damages done to your car; from repair costs to paying for a rental car until your car is fixed.
Truckers are obligated to ensure the safety of other drivers; this includes properly securing their loads. Failing to properly secure a truck load can lead to negligence claims, which renders the truck driver responsible for damages incurred. Some truck companies try to decrease their responsibility by placing signs on the backs of their trucks warning drivers not to follow closely. In spite of any claims that the trucking company is not responsible for damage caused by falling items, they’re still legally responsible for not properly securing the items.
— Working with the Right Injury Lawyer —
Most of these trucking companies have lawyers who will attempt to mitigate their responsibilities in your accident. Working with an effective car accident law firm is a good way to ensure that you have adequate representation when filing a lawsuit. In some instances, the driver’s insurance company or the trucking company may try to intimidate you into taking a low settlement. It is imperative not to talk to the other insurance company without your lawyer in attendance.
Filing a lawsuit may appear intimidating, but drivers and trucking companies must be held liable for damages caused by poorly secured cargoes. They have a responsibility to pedestrians and other drivers to share the road cautiously and without causing injury. When there’s a breach in this responsibility, you may have a cause to file a lawsuit.
The car accident lawyers at Petrov Law Firm have settled many cases of car accidents caused by items falling off trucks or debris on the road. Contact Petrov Law Firm today if you are an injury victim.Read More
About 500 earthquakes large enough to be felt occur in the state of California every year. Due to our seismic activity, Californians working in office buildings and large companies participate in earthquake drills at least once a year. We often consider the structural damage the buildings may incur during and after quake. As a result, we take every precaution to protect our buildings and their contents in case of a large earthquake. However, we frequently overlook the potential of bodily injury and how we can protect ourselves before, during, and after a large seismic activity.
Because large earthquakes do not often come with advance warnings, Californians have been taught the drop, cover and hold on drill for personal protection during any seismic activity. This method assumes we are familiar with our surroundings and know where to duck and find cover until the quake is over. However, since we may not always be in a familiar setting when the earth shakes, it is prudent to be aware of our surroundings when we are out and about.
For your personal safety, you should make the utmost effort to protect your body from any object that may shift during a quake, no matter where you may be. The biggest risk of personal injury is being exposed and vulnerable to unsecured structures nearby. Should you be caught underneath a large object that has fallen on you, immediately call for help. If you are unable to safely walk away from your position, it is advisable to wait for assistance to remove the object. Do not over exert yourself trying to push the object off as you could incur more injuries. Seek medical attention if injuries require it and keep good documentation of any care you receive.
If you are injured in a business building during an earthquake, you are entitled to seek personal injury remuneration from that business’s insurance. However, directly dealing with insurance can be a tricky maneuver due to the unfamiliar legal roadblocks the insurance companies are sure to place in your path. If you are someone who is dealing with this difficulty, you need to seek the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer. You will be guided on what to document and how to proceed in claiming recompense for your bodily injuries.Read More
If you own a dog that bit a visitor to your home, immediately hire a personal injury attorney to help guide you through the possible lawsuit that could unfold. Even if the visitor was in your home, the visitor can sue you for any injuries sustained by your dog.
Frequently, dog owners assume that because the visitor was “rough-housing” with the dog, they are no longer liable for any injuries. Simply put, anytime your dog bites someone (unprovoked or not) you can face a personal injury charge.
If you have a homeowner’s insurance policy or renter’s insurance policy, the insurance company will pay out for the losses because of the dog bit. (And then likely cancel your policy.) If you don’t have any insurance coverage, the injured person will have to sue you for damages and losses. Either way, you will want to have a personal injury lawyer to help ensure that you are out at little money as possible.
If you end up in front of a judge, then most judges will consider any extenuating circumstances surrounding the dog bite. One, minor dog bite is not likely to lead to a judgement to have the dog put down. Again, a personal injury attorney can help and guide you through some steps to show the judge you are addressing any aggressive behaviours in your dog.
The injured person is probably going to have a lawyer pressing to get as much money out of the insurance policy (and your assets) as possible. You should have a personal injury attorney on your side to ensure you and your pet are equally protected.Read More
As the injured party, you probably don’t care where or how you got hurt; you’ve been injured by no fault of your own and you want to recover your losses. However, where and how you got hurt makes a tremendous difference to the legal system. In order to find the right lawyer to help you, you need to have a working knowledge of the differences between employment practices, workers compensation, and personal injury cases.
Workers compensation cases are based on a physical or mental injury sustained by an employee while at work. For example, if you work in a warehouse and a shelf falls on you, then you have a workers compensation claim. The employer is responsible for the injuries because the accident occurred while you were on the job. Likewise, if you have a boss that constantly yells at you and threatens to fire you, you can develop stress-related health issues like anxiety and sleeplessness.
Employment practices is generally about sexual or emotional harassment and discrimination. Of course the typical example for sexual harassment is a boss demanding sex in exchange for a promotion. Realistically, harassment is more subtle, and includes a workplace environment where abusive or sexual jokes and unwelcome advances are commonplace. Discrimination lawsuits are generally based on ethnicity, age, and gender. Discrimination cases are harder to prove, but with several unrelated victims detailing the same problems, a lawyer can make a case for discrimination.
Personal injury takes place outside of the claimant’s workplace. Personal injury accidents include injuries sustained in a retail store, in a car accident, by a faulty product, etc. If you’ve been injured by no (or little) fault of you own, then you probably qualify for a personal injury lawsuit. One major exception is for accidents that happen in your own home. If you slip and fall while in your own kitchen, you can’t sue yourself or your homeowner’s insurance company for medical bills.Read More
If you’ve been assaulted while on public transportation or while at a station platform, you need to contact a lawyer immediately. Although you might not have the name of the person who assaulted you, you can use a personal injury attorney to force the public transportation system to repay you for your losses.
When passengers step onto a train platform or major bus hub, they are putting themselves into the care of the mass transit system. These passengers can assume a reasonable level of security to help deter and prevent assault. Some of those deterrents include sufficient lighting, working closed circuit monitors, and security personnel. If any standard security safeguards are found to be lacking, the transit system can be held liable for endangering the passengers.
Even if you don’t notice that there are any lacking security measures, you need to contact a lawyer to help you investigate any history of problems at the location. For example, if one particular bus station has a history of violent attacks, the public transportation system has a responsibility to inform passengers and upgrade its security measures at that location.
Of course, these same rules apply if you are riding public transit and you are assaulted. The vehicle conductor has the responsibility to request on-site security personnel at any point during the ride; by ignoring the signs of an antagonistic passenger, the transit authority is putting everyone at risk.
Assault in public is random, but frequently avoidable with some simple security measures. Don’t sit in silence and assume nothing can be done to help cover the expenses of your medical bills, lost wages, and mental anguish. Contact a lawyer immediately.Read More
If you are in a car accident, make sure to find out if the other driver was using his or her personal car while working. Employers allow employees use personal vehicles for short-term business errands — like picking up last minute office supplies or running to the bank for a deposit. In such cases, you will need a lawyer to help you determine the full extent of compensation possible.
Large corporations have deep pockets. So for example, if you were in a car accident with a teenage driver, he or she could be on an errand (to the bank, for example) for his or her fast food employer. The teenage driver might not even know that the employer is therefore responsible for the financial losses caused by the accident. This teenager might only be able to offer you information about his or her personal insurance. And that insurance could be minimum coverage.
Worse yet, the driver might not have any insurance at all. And while you can always sue to collect wages for up to 20 years, that’s a long time to wait to be fully compensated for your losses due to medical bills and lost income.
However, if the driver was running to the bank to make a daily deposit for the employer (more common than you might realize), then the employer becomes responsible for your losses. And large corporations have insurance policies that can cover millions of dollars in losses. So instead of fighting for compensation through the minimum wage income from the driver, you and your lawyer will be able to use the corporation’s insurance policy for immediate payment on your current and projected losses.Read More
If you were injured while on public land or city property, contact a lawyer to help you determine the likelihood of your claim yielding a financial recovery. While cities, counties, and states must follow the laws they are sworn to enforce, suing a government body is more complicated than suing your neighbor.
Generally, ask yourself if it’s reasonable that the city be held responsible for your injury. Tripping and falling on an uneven sidewalk is not likely to be seen as a viable claim. However, if the city was negligent by improperly installing a handrail that broke when you used it, you can probably make a case for recovering the cost of medical bills and lost wages.
Many states protect governmental bodies with immunity from lawsuits. Generally, this immunity can be waived in the face of gross negligence. However, the immunity laws are broadly worded so as to provide as much protection for the city as possible. For example, if your car gets damaged in the course of high speed police chase because you didn’t move in time to allow the police to pass easily, the immunity laws will favor the police.
If you and your lawyer feel the city was grossly negligent, you might find the city is ready and willing to settle. Many cities self-insure — meaning there isn’t an insurance company to slow the process and question every claim. Don’t delay. When suing a government body, you will have to show a preponderance of evidence. But if you have a solid case, you might find the city willing to quickly pay your claim.Read More
Should you select a sole law practitioner (just one lawyer) or will a large law firm better serve your needs? There are several factors to consider when selecting your personal injury law firm. If you are uncertain about your case, interview two or three law firms and select the one that seems most responsive to your case.
Not all law firms are right for everyone. A small law firm of just a few lawyers may not have the experience and resources of a large firm. However, a small firm is likely to take more time to listen to you as a client and spend more time on your case. In addition, if the lawyer has recently passed the bar or is just starting out on his or her own, you might be able to negotiate a lower price.
If a large firm agrees to take your case, it’s more likely that you will be treated like a number than a person. In addition, you are probably going to spend more time with paralegals than with the lawyers. The same lawyer may not handle your case from beginning to end — so if your case is unique or complicated in some particular way, you may get frustrated repeating the circumstances of your injury to a new lawyer every time you deal with the firm. Large firms operate like well-oiled machines — so if you are a highly emotional person, you might find the environment cold and impersonal.
Medium-sized law firms tend to be a good fit for personal injury. They usually have sufficient experience to know all of the twists and turns of personal injury law. You are more likely to deal with the same people during the course of your case. And lastly, personal injury is personal. A medium-sized law firm is going to treat you like a person.Read More