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Do I Need To Hire A Personal Injury Attorney? 6 Tips

Thursday, March 12, 2020

In case you find yourself wondering: do I need to hire a personal injury attorney? Keep in mind these six things.

Which types of accidents need a personal injury attorney?

Some of the more common injury cases are:

  • Common carrier accidents (car, bus, train, boat accidents, and plane); Workplace injuries;
  • Wrongful death; Slip and fall injuries; Injury from defective products; Asbestos poisoning; 
  • Nursing home neglect; Medical malpractice; and burns. 

When it comes to pre-trial settlement, many times people rely on insurance companies. Remember, the insurance company defending the negligent person wants to settle claims for the lowest possible amount. That's not in the injured person's best interest. 

Some people may choose to fight to recover the costs of their injuries through compensation for medical bills, pain, emotional distress, property damage, and lost wages. The injured person becomes the plaintiff in the case against the person responsible, the defendant.

What is medical malpractice?

Medical malpractice is a special type of negligence. We entrust our lives to medical professionals and, in return, we hold them to a high standard of care. When a medical provider fails that standard of care, the patient suffers severe injuries, pain, and even death.

Below is a partial list of possible causes of medical malpractice injuries:

  • a misdiagnosis,
  • a surgical error,
  • prescribing/dispensing the wrong medication,
  • inadequate training of health care personnel. 

Medical malpractice cases are complicated. They require a lawyer skilled in working with medical experts. The lawyer must know how to analyze intricate medical records that contain the proof of a defendant's negligence. A personal injury attorney experienced in malpractice cases is essential. 

What type of legal action addresses personal injury?

Some cases are criminal in nature; others are civil actions.

Personal injury cases are civil actions. A jury decides whether the defendant is at-fault and, if so, how much financial compensation to award the plaintiff. 

Criminal cases are those brought by the state or federal prosecutor against an individual charged with a breach of the public laws. In criminal cases, the judge or jury will decide the person's guilt or innocence. The answer may result in jail time.

Do I have a certain amount of time to file a personal injury case?

Each state has laws restricting the amount of time allowed to file lawsuits. The law calls such provisions "statutes of limitations". Once the applicable state's statute of limitations' threshold passes, the plaintiff cannot file a lawsuit. 

Suppose you were injured in a car accident and want to sue in California against the person causing the injury. You have to file the case against the defendant within two years after the date the injury occurred. If you did not discover the injury right away, then the time limit is one year after the date you discover the injury.

A plaintiff must file a medical malpractice case within the earlier of one year after he knew (or should have known) about the injury, or three years from the date of injury. 

What kind of remedies are available in California?

California's relief for personal injury victims comes in two types: economic and non-economic. Lawyers call them general and special damages, respectively. Special damages mean that the plaintiff has to specifically ask the court to award them or the court won't allow the award.

Economic damages are easy to determine. Jurors already know the price; it appears on receipts/bills. Medical bills are an example of economic damages.

Special (non-economic) damages include pain and suffering. Personal injury victims also may seek special damages for loss of earnings from time lost at the job as well as the loss of capacity to earn in the future. 

What do I do if sued?

Contact us immediately for a free consultation to discuss the case. Hiring the right personal injury attorney can make the difference between winning and losing. 

To talk more about this topic, please contact us. We want to help you protect your rights.

If you want to learn the latest wrinkle in personal injury cases, enjoy the benefitspro.com article from January 2020, entitled "Doctors forego the insurance in favor of personal injury law payouts."


Do I Need To Hire A Personal Injury Attorney? 6 Tips

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From our offices in Woodland Hills, California, Freeman & Freeman, LLP, provides legal advice and representation for clients in communities throughout the state, including those in Burbank, Glendale, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Van Nuys, Tarzana, Santa Clarita, Agoura Hills, Reseda, Canoga Park, Chatsworth, Northridge, Granada Hills, Pacoima, Panorama City, North Hollywood, Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, Lancaster, Palmdale and Alhambra.