How Do I Know If I Have a Claim?
Three key questions determine if you have a personal injury claim:
1) Did you suffer a personal injury?
A personal injury is an injury to your body, mind or emotions. A personal injury can be either physical or psychological.
- If your arm is broken or you sustain a concussion due to slipping and falling in a business, you have suffered a personal injury.
- If you are depressed or experience severe anxiety after a traumatic car accident, you have suffered a personal injury.
Personal injury is different from property damage. If you are in a minor auto accident with no injury to your body or mind, you have not suffered a personal injury. You may be owed compensation for your property damage, but you do not have a basis for a personal injury claim.
2) Were your injuries caused by the negligence of another?
The injury needs to have been caused by the negligence of another person, company or government agency.
3) Did the injury result in recoverable damages?
You must have suffered personal or financial harms that can be remedied by compensatory damages.
Compensatory damages include many things such as medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, future earnings and long term medical care.
If you answered yes to the above questions, you may have a personal injury claim. Contact us for a Free analysis of your case.
How much is my case worth?
Every injury case is unique and outcomes vary widely. Several factors apply when evaluating a claim, including:
- The insurance policy limits of each party involved.
- The person, company or government entities responsible.
- The percentage of fault of each party.
- The amount and kinds of damages you have experienced.
This information is usually not fully known at the time of your injury and only becomes clear over time. As your case progresses it becomes easier to estimate the value of your claim.
Our goal is to gather this information as quickly as possible, while also helping you avoid the tactics insurance companies use to try and pay you as little as possible.
There are many types of damages that may be due to you, depending on your case. Some examples include:
- Medical expenses: Doctor costs, medical equipment, specialists, prescriptions, ambulance, rehabilitation.
- Pain and suffering: physical injury, mental trauma, emotional distress.
- Long term care: In home care or other ongoing treatments if permanently disabled or altered.
- Travel cost: to see doctors and specialists.
- Lost wages and benefits.
- Loss of future earning.
- Punitive damages to punish the defendant.
- Loss of consortium and companionship with your partner.
In addition to the above, the experience, skill and resources of the personal injury law firm you select can have a huge impact on how much you recover.
Large insurance companies, government entities and auto manufacturers are very good at protecting their interests. They will try to pay you nothing or as little as possible after your accident.
To maximize the value of your case, it is key to quickly hire a top accident law firm that has the skills, experience and resources needed to maximize your recovery and skillfully fight your case in a court trial if needed.
Why should I hire an accident lawyer?
Many accidents cause minor damage that you can directly handle with the insurance company without involving an accident lawyer.
But if you are seriously injured or have lost a loved one in an accident caused by someone’s negligence, there are many reasons to hire a lawyer:
- Martindale research found that injury victims that hire a lawyer receive 340% more compensation than those that do not.
- The best accident lawyers know how to fight all the tactics insurance companies use to pay you as little as possible.
- A respected lawyer gives you negotiating leverage because insurance companies know you will sue them if they don’t pay a fair settlement.
- Serious injury cases are very complex and require an expert attorney to properly argue for pain and suffering, loss of income, medical care, future earnings lost and all the damages due to you.
- Your lawyer can take over communicating with the insurance companies and coordinate your medical treatments so you can focus on resting and recovering from your injuries.
It is important to not give recorded statements to insurance companies or sign anything until you have consulted with a lawyer. Doing the wrong thing can reduce the value of your case, even if you later hire a lawyer.
A personal injury lawyer on your team can help you get your life back, adjust to the challenges you are facing and hold those responsible for your pain and suffering.
While an accident lawyer can’t make things the way they were before, we can help get fair compensation to ease the massive financial burden that serious injury can include.
How long will my case take?
Some personal injury cases can be resolved very quickly while others can take years to complete. The time required often depends on the type of case and defendant you are dealing with.
Insurance companies often try to offer you a tiny fraction of what your case is actually worth. Certain types of cases, especially defective product, medical device or dangerous drugs, may need to be settled through a court trial.
It is very important to work with a law firm that will not settle your case for less than it is worth just to get a quick resolution.
If an insurance or other company is being unfair with you, fighting them in a court trial may be the only way to secure the fair compensation you are due.
Chudnovsky Law’s legal team has extensive experience taking cases to trial against large companies and winning large court verdicts.
How long do I have to make an injury claim?
Personal injury victims are required to file a claim or lawsuit within a limited amount of time from the date of injury. This is called the “statute of limitation.”
If you wait too long, you can lose your right to ever make a claim. Injury cases become harder to pursue the longer you wait from the date of injury. It is best to quickly consult a lawyer after an injury to learn your rights.
California laws define different statute of limitations depending on the type of personal injury as follows:
- Injury to Person: 2 years
- Libel/Slander: 1 year
- Fraud: 3 years
- Damage to Personal Property: 3 years
- Government agency, agent or employee: 6 months Gov §911.2
- Medical Malpractice: 1 year from discovery, 3 years if injury is known
What to do after an injury or accident
The most important thing to do after an injury is to look after your health and get medical treatment for your injuries as soon as possible. Once that is taken care of, you can begin to think about what happened, who is at fault and evaluate whether you have a personal injury claim.
After an Accident:
- Keep documentation of your medical treatments and injuries.
- Make detailed notes of what happened while it is fresh in your mind.
- Collect and preserve evidence that may help your case including photos, videos any witnesses and their contact info.
- Consult a personal injury lawyer to evaluate your case and get advice on your next steps.
What NOT to do after an Accident Injury:
- Do not admit fault or give any recorded statements without consulting an attorney.
- Do not settle your case prematurely without knowing the full extent of your injury and recovery.
- Do not sign release forms prematurely including those insurance companies put on checks they send out.
Once you hire us to represent you, our firm will take over communicating with insurance companies and coordinating your medical treatments so you can focus on recovering from your injuries and taking care of your family.
How many car accident injuries and fatalities happen in California and Los Angeles?
According to the latest Census data from 2018, there are currently an estimated 39,557,045 people living in the state of California. This is 12% of the entire population of 327,167,434 people living in the United States. Los Angeles County is home to 10,163,507 or 25% of the state’s residents.
Since California has so much tourism and some of the busiest freeways in the country, motor vehicle accidents or personal injuries are a constant concern.
Data below from California Highway Patrol SWITRS show thousands of people are killed or catastrophically injured each year in California auto accidents and almost 100,000 more are injured.
Tragically, about half of those injured come away with permanent disabilities like paralysis, brain damage and other bodily injuries that can affect their function and future independence.
Number of California auto accident injuries in 2017
|City||Accident injury||Severe injury||Fatality|
What are the causes of California auto accidents?
According to data from the California Highway Patrol, there were a reported 158,121 total motor vehicle collisions in Los Angeles County in 2017. The top causes of accidents were unsafe speed, improper turning and auto right of way. For more detail see the table below:
Cause of Los Angeles Auto Accidents in 2016
|Cause of accident||# of Accidents||%|
|Auto Right of Way||20,562||13%|
|Unsafe Lane Change||14,903||9%|
|Influence of Alcohol or Drugs||8,504||5%|
|Traffic Signal or Sign Error||8,229||5%|
|Unsafe Starting or Backing||6,009||4%|
|Following Too Closely||4,061||3%|
|Other Than Driver||2,580||2%|
|Wrong Side of Road||2,573||2%|
|Pedestrian Right of Way||2,190||1%|
|Other Improper Driving||889||1%|
How many Accident lawsuits are filed in California?
California’s 2018 Court Statistics Report shows 38,833 total injury and accident lawsuits filed per year statewide. Los Angeles county had the most lawsuits by far at 15,668 or 40% of the entire state total.
Injury Accident Lawsuits Filed per County per Year
|County||# of injury lawsuits||Resolved after a trial|