The National Center for Health Statistics revealed that around 39.5 million people require medical attention or treatment each year following an accident that has resulted in an injury. From this figure, around 29.4 million people suffer from an injury that is serious enough that they have to go to an emergency room. Around 169,936 people suffer from injuries that result in their deaths. This has made personal injuries the 3rd cause of leading deaths in the U.S., just behind cancer and heart disease. If you were recently injured in an accident due to the negligence of another party, you can go after compensation for the injuries you have sustained.
If you were injured in an accident due to the actions of another person, you might be able to go after compensation. Call a Garden Grove personal injury attorney at the Crockett Law Group to find out more about how we will assist you to get the most out of your settlement. Call us at (800) 900-9393 for a free review of your case with our personal injury firm in Garden Grove.
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What Contributes to a Good Personal Injury Claim?
The best personal injury cases include three important ingredients. This includes deep pockets, serious injuries, and clear liability. This doesn’t mean that you have to have these three elements aligned in order to reach a satisfactory outcome. In fact, this is usually rarely the case. Yet the overall value of a claim can become limited if you are missing a great degree of one or more of these ingredients.
Here is an example to explain this. If you were hit head-on by a driver that was drunk on the 405 freeway, and the negligent party has admitted fault for your accident. Then the liability is completely clear. If you sustained traumatic brain injuries due to your head hitting the window or windscreen. You have a serious injury. However, if the driver at-fault is unemployed at the time and only has insurance that covers $15,000 for bodily injuries in the policy. Even though the case for personal injury is obviously high, you will still be limited to how much you can claim for.
Having Clear Liability
Clear liability becomes apparent when the “fault” for an accident is not disputed. An example of this may include a driver that failed to stop when the light turned red. The driver then apologizes for the accident they have caused. Or think of drivers that perform a “California roll” through stop signs, and there is a camera present to record the incident. Liability for either situation appears pretty clear.
Clear liability is really important in personal injury cases since California is known as a “comparative fault” state. This will mean that the recovery of a victim is lowered by the degree of fault in an accident. For example, if you are found to be 50% “at fault” for the accident, then the settlement will be cut by 50%. Your recovery is set at a maximum value if the at-fault party or driver is 100% “at fault” for your accident.
Injuries Were Sustained
Without an injury, it is obvious to assume that you won’t have a case for personal injuries. At the same time, the more serious the injuries become, the higher the value of the case.
Here is a comparison of two different accidents.
- Suppose a driver becomes involved in a car accident where their car ends up on the Garden Grove Register since the car had rolled many times and the damage is so severe, the car is no longer recognizable. Fortunately, the driver only sustained a few scratches. The driver also does not require any medical treatment.
- Another driver gets into an accident that seems minor and only results in $2,000 property damage. However, the driver has sustained severe whiplash that requires medical treatment which eventually leads to surgery. Out of these two cases, the driver from accident #2 will have a far better case.
The deeper the pockets of the defendant’s, the more you could potentially recover. I often tell clients that they become a victim twice. The first has to do with the injuries they have sustained due to the careless actions of another party, and once again when they are pigeon-holed by the amount the other party is insured for.
The majority of claims for personal injuries go through the insurance carrier of the at-fault person. Many people that own assets or possessions that they would like to protect will buy insurance. However, some people can only afford the lowest insurance coverage. For this reason, you might be limited on what you can collect when it comes to what they are actually insured for
Am I Able to Claim for Injury Compensation When the Accident Was My Fault?
I touched on this lightly in the abovementioned section, and it is important to understand that California is one of the pure “comparative fault” states. This actually means that you can go after compensation for injuries you have sustained even when you are 99% at fault for the cause of the accident. However, you cannot seek compensation when you are found 100% to blame for the cause of the accident.
This is the way it works. A percentage is worked out for the “at fault”, and then this is assigned to the other driver and to you. The settlement amount is then lowered by the percentage that was awarded to you for your contribution of fault in the accident.
For instance, if you sustained injuries in an accident involving a motorcycle in Garden Grove, CA, and it was determined that you were 10% at fault and the claim for your injuries is valued at $100,000. Then you would receive a $90,000 settlement instead. The settlement figure reflects your part of the damages due to the negligence of another party.
I am very grateful for our pure “comparative fault” system in California. In contrast, other states follow what is known as a pure “contributory fault” system. These states include Alabama, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. With this system, you would not be able to claim at all, in the examples that I provided above, where you are even 10% to blame for an accident. You would have to prove that the other party was 100% at fault for your accident, otherwise, you are not permitted to recover any of the damages. That is really harsh when comparing the system in California.
What Happens in Personal Injury Cases?
You are probably interested in how the process rolls out if you have made the decision to pursue a case for your personal injuries? Here is a typical timeline for a standard personal injury case, from the date that you have hired a Garden Grove personal injury attorney:
- Medical treatment
- Investigate the claim
- Collection and reviewing your medical records
- Sending a package of demand
- Negotiating a settlement
- Filing a lawsuit
- Negotiating your medical bills
How Much Do Personal Injury Attorneys in Garden Grove Cost?
In Garden Grove, personal injury attorneys work on the “contingency fee” basis. These arrangements involve that the lawyer only gets paid if you win your case. The lawyer that loses a case when they fail to secure your settlement will receive nothing. Yet attorneys that successfully recover a settlement will take an agreed-on percentage from the total settlement amount.
The percentage that personal injury attorneys take from your recovery is going to vary from one lawyer to the next. You should find out about this percentage during your first consultation. Many of the personal injury lawyers near Garden Grove use contingency-fee arrangements that entitle them to take 1/3 of the recovery amount. This percentage can become higher if the case is litigated, with many attorneys charging 40% or more.
Here is an example: If your medical bills caused by the accident cost $15,000, your lost wages comes up to $5,000, and the pain and suffering amounts to a value of $10,000. Your lawyer manages to settle the claim out-of-court, and you are awarded $30,000. In this case, the lawyer would be taking $10,000 from the settlement claim. However, if the personal injury lawyer obtained your $30,000 settlement from a lawsuit, they would probably take $12,000.
Contingency fee arrangements are different from what other lawyers use which is usually known as retainer fee arrangements. Retainer fee arrangements are when the client has to pay the lawyer a fee upfront to use their services. These agreements usually involve paying the lawyer an hourly rate. Personal injury attorneys are not paid on an hourly rate system.
Contact a Garden Grove Personal Injury Attorney
As experienced and professional Garden Grove personal injury attorneys, we frequently represent victims that have experienced unfair treatment by the different insurance carriers. Crockett Law Group is fully committed to handling any type of injury claim from beginning to end and we will fight hard to ensure you are compensated fairly. If you have sustained injuries due to the negligence of another party, call Crockett Law Group today at (800) 900-9393 for a free consultation.