Personal Injury FAQ

Read more about our Personal Injury Practice here.

How long do I have to file a personal injury case?

The statute of limitations for a personal injury case determines how long you have to file a personal injury claim in the State of California. If you’re injured, you have two years from the date of your injury to file a claim against anyone who may be at fault for your injuries. However, it is better to consult with a personal injury lawyer and file your claim as soon as possible to avoid losing evidence or having difficulty in proving your injuries.

What damages are available in a personal injury case?

There are different types of damages available in a personal injury case. Compensatory damages are those awarded to a plaintiff to compensate him for his injuries or to “make the plaintiff whole.” In other words, they are awarded to put the plaintiff in the position he was in before his injury. Compensatory damages include payment for pain and suffering, medical expenses, and loss of wages.

In cases where the defendant’s actions were particularly egregious, the court may award punitive damages. Punitive damages have the purpose of punishing the defendant for his actions and deterring others from engaging in similar conduct in the future.

How much is my personal injury case worth?

The amount your case is worth will depend on the significance of the accident and your resulting injuries. It can be difficult to determine how much to claim in damages, but an experienced personal injury attorney will be able to assist. She will use the opinions of outside experts, such as medical professionals, and her legal knowledge to determine what your case is worth and what type of compensation you should fight for.

What if the accident happened on the job?

In California, employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance for their employees regardless of how many employees work within the business. Workers’ compensation insurance provides benefits to employees who are injured on the job. Benefits include medical expenses related to the injury and lost wages paid for by the insurance carrier, as well as temporary and permanent disability benefits.

Do I need a lawyer for a personal injury case?

While you do not need a lawyer to file a personal injury lawsuit, hiring one will increase the likelihood of getting the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Personal injury cases can be complex, and oftentimes you are fighting insurance companies. These companies use tactics to diminish your claim. An experienced personal injury lawyer knows the tactics these businesses use and will assist you in getting your life back on track.

How do I pay for a lawyer in a personal injury case?

When you call Arshakyan Law, your initial consultation will be free. Our legal team will listen to your story and determine whether you have a viable personal injury claim. You will only pay a contingency fee if we win your case, which means that any legal fees you pay will come directly out of your settlement or award. If we do not win your case, you will not owe us anything.

What is the personal injury claim process?

After your free consultation and upon deciding to take your case, your attorney will likely start the process by filing a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company. After the claim is filed, the insurance company will likely make an initial offer that will be a starting point for negotiations. If you accept the insurance company’s offer, you will sign an agreement releasing them from any further liability, and you will receive a check.

If the insurance company refuses to make an adequate settlement offer, your lawyer will file a complaint that lays out your claim and the facts of your case. The defendant will answer the complaint, and the discovery process will begin. During discovery, your lawyer will work to gather evidence that shows the defendant is responsible for your injuries and should compensate you. Additionally, the defendant will attempt to gather evidence that shows he isn’t liable or that you are partially at fault for your injuries. Personal injury cases often reach a settlement where both sides agree to a sum of money to be paid to you as compensation. However, where a settlement cannot be reached, litigation may ensue.

Will the case go to trial?

In the United States, approximately 4%-5% of personal injury cases go to trial. This means that 95%-96% of cases settle at a sum that is agreed upon by both sides. Those that go to trial are usually a result of a failure to settle prior to litigation either because the defendant is serious about going to trial or the plaintiff refuses to accept an offer.

What if I’m partially at fault?

When a plaintiff is partially at fault for the accident that caused his injuries, his damages can be diminished in proportion to his fault. California operates under a “pure comparative negligence system.” This means that recovery is not barred regardless of how at fault you are. In other words, if you are 60% responsible for the accident which causes your injuries, you will recover 40% of the damages you suffered as a result of the accident.

How long does the lawsuit take to get a settlement?

After the initial pleadings are filed, the timeline of your claim will depend on several factors. Settlement negotiations are likely happening throughout the entire process, and they may even begin before the claim is officially filed. However, the time it will take to get a settlement may largely depend on the defendant or insurance company you are fighting.

What can I expect during my case?

Upon hiring a personal injury lawyer, you should expect her to thoroughly investigate your case. This means that she will review all documents related to the accident and your treatment to determine the extent of the damages you have suffered. This investigation will help your lawyer to determine what compensation you should fight for and the appropriate strategy for negotiating, settling, and, if necessary, litigating.

You should keep all information such as medical documents and witness lists up to date and expect your attorney and the other side to request this information throughout the discovery process. Additionally, there may be times during which the defense asks you or other witnesses and medical experts questions regarding your injuries under oath during a deposition.

You may face mediation in which settlement negotiations ensue in an attempt to avoid a long or complex personal injury trial. You may accept a settlement offer or reject one. However, rejecting a settlement offer may lead to a trial during which your lawyer and the defense will argue liability. Once both sides have made their arguments and presented evidence, a jury will decide on liability and damages.

What is the statute of limitations in California?

The statute of limitations governs the amount of time you have to file a personal injury claim in California after your injury. State law says that you have two years from the date of your injury to file a claim. After that two-year limitation has run, a court will almost always dismiss your case.

What’s the average settlement for a PI case?

Settlements in personal injury cases can vary greatly depending on the type of case. Your settlement will also depend on several additional factors such as the extent of your injuries, the cost of your medical care and/or lost wages, and whether you were partially at fault for the accident that caused your injuries.

How do I maximize my settlement?

There are many things you can do to maximize your settlement after you are injured in an accident. First, seek medical treatment immediately following your accident. Make sure to keep records of all diagnoses, treatments, and prescriptions. Ensure that you preserve evidence such as photos of the scene of the accident, the clothes you were wearing, and any names and contact information of witnesses you may have gathered. Lastly, hiring a personal injury lawyer will ensure that you are fighting for the maximum settlement. Your lawyer will refuse any inadequate settlement offers and fight for the compensation you deserve.

Who pays for my medical bills?

The party who is responsible for the accident which caused your injuries will also be responsible for the medical bills that accrue on the road to recovery. However, proving that a party is liable may take time as bills begin to pile up. While you are waiting for your case to settle or go to trial, your options may include private or government insurance. If you do not have health insurance, hospitals are required to work with you to determine a reasonable payment plan. Additionally, medical providers may provide treatment and receive payment once your personal injury case is resolved.

What is the payout for whiplash?

Compensation for whiplash can vary depending on the level of injury and the expenses associated with it. A typical whiplash payout can range anywhere from a few thousand dollars to upwards of $10,000. However, there have been cases where damage severely affects the nerves, soft tissue, and vertebrae, leading to settlements and verdicts within the $100,000 range. If you suffered whiplash in an accident, a personal injury lawyer will help you to refuse lowball offers and get the compensation you deserve for your injuries.

Personal injury cases can be extremely complex. Navigating the world of personal injury alone may result in a payout smaller than you deserve where you are not represented. If you’ve been injured through no fault of your own, you need an experienced personal injury attorney to fight for just compensation. Contact the Arshakyan Law Firm to schedule your free consultation today!