The National Center for Health Sciences estimates that about 39.5 million people seek medical attention for an accident causing injury each year. Of these people, 29.4 million have severe enough injuries that require a visit to the emergency room and 169,936 sustain such serious injuries that it results in a fatality.
The numbers quoted above are exactly why personal injury is the third leading cause of death in the USA, only behind cancer and heart disease. If you are unfortunate to have sustained an injury in an accident where another party is to blame, you are legally entitled to seek compensation for the injuries, and working with a Santa Ana personal injury attorney is something you should consider doing.
If you have recently sustained injuries due to the negligence of another party, you could be entitled to compensation. Get in touch with the Santa Ana personal injury law firm of the Crockett Law Group to find out how we can help you receive the maximum possible settlement. For your free consultation, you can call our attorneys at (800) 900-9393 today.
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What Makes a Good Personal Injury Case?
Three key elements make up a solid personal injury case:
- Clear Liability
- Serious Injuries
- Deep Pockets
It does not mean, however, that everything must align up perfectly for your case to have a favorable outcome. In fact, that’s hardly ever the case. Still, the value of your claim will tend to become more limited if you are missing too much of any one element.
Here is an example: Suppose that you are struck head-on by a drunk driver on the freeway and the other driver admits complete fault for the accident. In such a case, liability is clear. Suppose also that you suffer a traumatic brain injury after hitting your head against the window. You will sustain serious injuries. But, suppose that the at-fault driver is unemployed and only has a $15,000 bodily injury insurance policy. While the value of your personal injury case is high, you will be extremely limited in your ability to collect.
Clear liability happens when the fault for the accident is not being disputed. Think of a person that runs a red light and then apologizes for the resulting accident. Or think of a person that’s caught on camera performing a “California roll” through a sign. In either of these situations, liability seems rather clear.
The reason why it is so important to have clear liability in your personal injury case is that California is a “comparative fault” state. It means that your recovery will be reduced by your percentage of fault for the accident.
It essentially means that your recovery will be reduced by your percentage of fault for the accident. So, if you are 50% responsible for the accident, your settlement would simply be cut in half. The only way for your recovery to be at maximum value is when the other party is found to be 100% responsible for the accident.
It is worth noting that if there aren’t any injuries then you don’t have a valid personal injury case/claim. The more severe your injuries are, the more valuable your personal injury case will be.
Compare the following 2 accidents
- Suppose a person is involved in a serious car accident that finds itself in Santa Ana’s Register after the vehicle rolls over multiple times and sustains such serious damage that it is barely recognizable after the fact. Fortunately, the driver walks away with just a scratch on the arm, but without suffering any other injuries or anything that requires medical treatment.
- Suppose a person is involved in a rear-end accident that appears minor but results in just $2,000 of property damage. The driver, unfortunately, sustained serious whiplash that requires extensive medical surgery and possibly even surgery.
The driver in accident 2 will tend to have the better case.
The deeper the defendant pockets the higher the amount that you can potentially recover. People that are involved in accidents are often twice a victim, first with regards to suffering injuries due to another party’s carelessness and again when it comes to being pigeon-holed by what the responsible party was insured for.
Is It Possible to Claim Injury Compensation If It Was My Fault?
California is a comparative fault state as previously mentioned, which means that it is possible to seek compensation for your injuries even if you were as much as 99 percent to blame for causing the accident. However, you cannot seek compensation if you were 100 percent to blame for causing the accident.
It works as follows: A percentage of fault will be assigned to you as well as the other party involved in the accident. Your settlement amount will then be reduced by your percentage of fault for the accident.
For instance, suppose that you were injured in a motorcycle accident in Santa Ana, CA, where you were 15 percent at fault. If your injury claim is valued at $100,000, you will receive a settlement of $85,000 instead. This settlement amount accurately represents the proportion of your damages that were caused by the other person’s negligence.
The pure comparative fault system that’s used in California is something for us to be grateful for. In some states, a pure contributory fault system is used instead. The states that follow this system include Alabama, Maryland, the District of Columbia, North Carolina, and Virginia. Under such a system, you would not be able to collect anything in the example above where you were found to be 15 percent at fault for causing the accident. You would also be required to show that the other party was 100 percent to blame for the accident or else you would not be allowed to recover any damages. If you compare that to California, that’s rather harsh, wouldn’t you agree?
What Happens in Personal Injury Cases?
You probably would like to know what the process looks like should you decide to pursue a personal injury case. The following is a walkthrough of the standard timeline of a personal injury case from when somebody decides to hire our law firm.
- Medical Treatment
- Claim Investigation
- Obtaining and Reviewing of Medical Records
- Sending the Demand Package
- Settlement Negotiation
- Lawsuit Filing
- Medical Bills Negotiation
What Does It Cost to Hire a Personal Injury Attorney in Santa Ana?
Santa Ana’s personal injury attorneys work on a “contingency fee” basis. A contingency fee arrangement is where the lawyer only receives payment after winning your case. A lawyer that loses your case by not securing a settlement receives nothing. However, a lawyer that recovers money successfully on your behalf will receive a percentage of the total settlement.
The percentage that’s already agreed-upon, which a personal injury attorney takes from the recovery varies from one lawyer to the next. You will want to enquire about this during your consultation. A personal injury attorney near Santa Ana will usually have contingency fee agreements that entitle them to 1/3 of the total recovery. If your case must be litigated, the percentage will probably be higher, usually 40%.
For instance, suppose that you have medical bills that cost $15,000, lost wages totaling $5,000, and pain and suffering valued at $10,000. You eventually settle the personal injury claim out-of-court for $30,000. In such a hypothetical scenario, the lawyer would take $10,000 of your $30,000 settlement. However, if the lawyer obtains the $30,000 settlement after filing the lawsuit, he would receive $12,000.
The contingency fee arrangement is in contrast to the other types of lawyers that use a retainer fee arrangement, such as divorce lawyers. A retainer fee agreement is where the client is required to pay the lawyer an upfront fee to retain their services. Such an agreement will also generally contain the attorney’s hourly rate. You never have to pay a personal injury attorney by the hour.
Schedule a Free Consultation With a Santa Ana Personal Injury Attorney
We are experienced personal injury attorneys and regularly represent the interests of victims that have been unfairly treated by the insurance provider. Crockett Law Group is committed to the proper handling of your claim from beginning to end and will fight to ensure that you receive the compensation you are entitled to.
If you have sustained injuries due to the negligence of someone else, contact Crockett Law Group at (800) 900-9393 for a free consultation.