What Constitutes Personal Injury?
Personal injury is a legal term for an injury to the body, mind, or emotions; as opposed to damage to (or loss of) property. In order to have a viable personal injury claim, it must be shown that another party’s negligent, careless, or intentional behavior caused or contributed to your injury.
Here are some frequently asked questions Jurewitz Law Group often gets about filing a personal injury claim in San Diego:
Q: What is my claim worth?
A: That depends. If you have severe injuries, high medical bills, and a lot of lost work time due to the accident, your claim will be worth more, but it also matters how much insurance coverage the at-fault party has. The more coverage, the better. We may look under your own insurance policies for additional coverage for you if the other person doesn’t have what your claim is worth.
Q: What should I do after an accident?
A: Document everything that happened. Get medical treatment right away if you’re hurt, but take photos, exchange information with the other person and any witnesses, and make notes about the scene, your injuries, and who was involved. The more information you have to go on, the better your chances of getting a fair resolution to your case. Evidence is everything!
Q: Will I have to go to court?
A: Few personal injury claims make it all the way to a judge and jury. It’s likely that you or your lawyer will settle your claim outside of court with the at-fault party. However, it helps to prepare like you are going to trial – it convinces the insurance company that you’re serious about your compensation needs. Jurewitz Law Group has settled many cases in the pretrial stages with successful outcomes.
Q: Do I need a lawyer to represent me?
A: Not always! If you weren’t hurt in an accident, or if your injuries are pretty minor, you may be better off advocating for yourself and taking the insurance company’s offer. However, you may not be the best judge of what a case is worth, so it always helps to consult with a San Diego personal injury lawyer after your accident.
What Kind of Compensation Can I Get In a Personal Injury Claim?
The amount of compensation you can be awarded in a personal injury claim depends on the severity of your injuries and the degree of fault of the other party. To illustrate how a personal injury claim works, let’s take a hypothetical situation:
You are crossing the street, in a crosswalk. A driver who is texting runs a red light and hits you, causing severe injuries, including broken facial bones, road rash, and more. A successful personal injury lawsuit could get you compensation for:
- Your medical bills resulting from the accident.
- Future medical bills caused by your accident: In this case, you are going to need future skin grafts and other procedures due to multiple broken bones.
- Pain and suffering the injuries caused.
- Mental anguish and emotional duress: In many cases, physical trauma can cause non-physical injuries, such as PTSD or panic attacks that will require therapy.
- Costs of physical therapy and rehabilitation.
- Permanent injury or handicap: The accident left you with a permanent limp that makes walking difficult and painful.
- Household and vehicle modifications: Suppose the damage to your leg kept you in a wheelchair for several months. You could be compensated for the cost of wheelchair ramps at your residence, and lifts to get your wheelchair into a vehicle.
- Scarring and disfigurement: The accident caused permanent scars to your face, which can affect your social and professional life.
- Lost wages: If your injuries caused you to miss work, you can be compensated for the income you lost.
- Loss of career or earning capacity: Suppose the damage to your leg was so severe that you can no longer perform your usual work duties, such as climbing ladders or standing for long periods of time. If that’s the case, you could be compensated for the loss of your career and the money you would have earned in that line of work.
- Reduced earning capacity: Suppose your injuries allow you to keep working in your former profession, but in a limited capacity, such as only four hours per day.
- Occupational therapy and retraining: You could be compensated for cost of training for an occupation you can work at while sitting down.
- Hedonic damages: Suppose that, in your spare time, you enjoy running marathons. The injuries to your leg will prevent you from ever running again. In such a case, you can seek compensation for loss of joy of life.
How Long Do I Have to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit in San Diego?
In California, you generally have a maximum of two years to submit your personal injury claim to the court. In order to build an airtight case and successfully obtain damages for your injuries, you’ll need to act quickly. It is highly recommended that you speak with a personal injury attorney if you are considering a lawsuit. We know what steps to take first.