Traumatic brain injuries can uproot lives. Depending on the severity of the injury, they can result in days, weeks, months, or, in severe cases, years of rehab or hospital stays. Accident victims must wrestle with the financial, social, and psychological cost of the event. While they juggle medical bills and presenting to various medical providers, they must also heal physically and mentally. For those wondering, What can I expect from my traumatic brain injury settlement in California? contacting an experienced attorney is your best bet for understanding your legal options. Because California personal injury claims can have a short statute of limitations, involving an attorney early on is critical. If you file your claim after the legal deadline passes, you may be barred from bringing the claim at all, but exceptions may apply. An experienced brain injury lawyer can help you find out if you have a valid claim. They can also help you meet your deadline by filing a claim or lawsuit on your behalf. How Can I Get a Fair Traumatic Brain Injury Settlement in California? Filing a traumatic brain injury lawsuit may sound daunting, but it can be necessary for victims and their families to get the compensation they deserve. A fair settlement for a traumatic brain injury takes into consideration the past, current, and future costs of the accident and your injury. Compensation might include reimbursement for medical expenses, lost wages, and rehabilitation services for both past and future costs. Additionally, you may be eligible to receive money for your pain and suffering. While nothing can turn back the clock, a financial award can help to alleviate your burden, so you can continue on your healing journey. Often, insurance companies contact victims to try to persuade them to accept quick-fix traumatic brain injury settlement offers. The insurance company may even tell the victim that this is the best offer that they can give. Oftentimes, this is not the case. The insurance companies’ goals are to resolve the case as quickly as possible and for as low as possible. At the end of the day, their bottom line is top of their mind. Your best defense against these tactics is having an experienced lawyer that you trust. Your TBI lawyer performs many vital functions. They serve as your advocate, protector, and legal counselor. They work for you and your best interests—not for the insurance company. Michael Beliz at The Beliz Law Firm has helped hundreds of clients successfully maximize their personal injury settlement. Michael founded The Beliz Law Firm with the express purpose of enriching the community and helping personal injury victims recover. A fierce legal advocate, he’s who you want on your side. What Happens During Settlement Negotiations? Settlement negotiations typically begin with your attorney sending a demand to the at-fault party’s insurance company outlining the liability, your damages, and the details of your brain injury. The insurance company may then send you an offer. Many insurance companies also perform their own investigation into what happened. Investigators and insurance adjusters review the evidence, check the policy limits, and calculate their estimate of the accident and your injuries. Based on this, they submit to you an amount of money that they say is fair under the circumstances. Best practice after receiving an offer from an insurance company is to talk to an attorney. The attorney can review your case, the evidence, and the law to decide what they believe a fair settlement offer is. From there, they talk to you about your legal options and work with you to propose a counteroffer. Ideally, the back and forth continues until everyone agrees on a settlement offer. In some cases, however, the parties can’t reach an agreement out of court. In that situation, filing a traumatic brain injury lawsuit and going to trial may be your best option. A brain injury lawyer can file the lawsuit on your behalf and gather additional evidence needed to prove your case. What Happens If My Case Goes to Trial? If your case goes to trial, then a brain injury lawyer can represent you in court. In the months—or, sometimes, years—before trial, the parties engage in activities like discovery. During discovery, both sides ask the other side for key information about the accident, such as medical records, financial statements, and other important documentation. The parties use this information to prove their case (or disprove the opposing party’s case). During discovery, the parties may also interview witnesses outside of court (called a deposition). Discovery is a long but crucial process, paving the way to trial. In some cases, parties agree to settle the case after they complete the discovery process. At trial, both parties present their case to the jury (if a jury trial) or the judge (if a bench trial). They may call their witnesses to the stand and question the opponent’s witnesses. After both sides present evidence at trial, they give a closing argument. After this occurs, the jury (or judge, if a bench trial) considers the evidence, law, and arguments for each side. Then, they issue a decision. If the losing party does not agree with the decision that the jury or judge made, then they may be able to appeal. The Beliz Law Firm Understands Your Hurt and Wants to Help Suffering from a traumatic brain injury can take an immense toll on you and your family. At The Beliz Law Firm, we understand the pain endured by TBI victims and their families. We live to serve our clients—to help them heal and recover the compensation they need to move on. Michael Beliz lives and serves the public in Long Beach, California. For over a decade, The Beliz Law Firm has provided clients with small firm attention and big firm results. We take pride in treating our clients like people, not dollar signs. We regularly give back to the community because we care and want to make it a better place. Contact us today for a free case review.Keep Reading
Helping Clients Navigate Injury Claims
We’re ready to help with a variety of case-types, here’s just a small example of how we can help:
Large Firm Results & Representation with Small Firm Personalized Attention & Care
Michael is determined to provide each of his clients with personal, one-on-one legal attention. With the Beliz Law Firm, you’re not a number. Each case is important to us, and we promise to treat our clients with respect. We firmly believe in providing you with a voice in your time of need. At the same time, our Long Beach Injury Lawyers focus on maximizing the value of your case - we’re ready to handle tough negotiations with the insurance company. Finally, we won’t hesitate to take your case to trial if that’s what’s needed.
I would highly recommend The Beliz Law Firm and should I need legal counsel or a personal injury lawyer in the future, Michael Beliz has become my new go-to guy.- M.M.
Long Beach Personal Injury Lawyer Michael Beliz
Small Firm Attention, Big Firm Results
Michael A. Beliz, Esq., established The Beliz Law Firm in the spring of 2011. Michael has been a practicing attorney since 2006 and worked for two of the most prominent plaintiff’s personal injury law firms in Southern California. He has extensive experience with personal injury claims and has worked on and handled hundreds of cases as an attorney in all types of accident and injury cases, including car accidents, pedestrian accidents and dog bites, and successfully recovered millions of dollars for his clients.
At the University of San Diego School of Law, Michael was a multiple-year recipient of the Delroy Richardson Endowed Law Scholarship and attained the high pass in Negotiation. In addition, he was a semi-finalist in the ATLA Intramural Mock Trial Competition. Prior to graduating from law school, Michael earned a master’s degree in economics from the University of California, Santa Barbara and his undergraduate degree from California State University, Long Beach where he was a member of the Omicron Delta Epsilon, the International Honor Society for Economics. Michael A. Beliz is admitted to the State Bar of California and United States District Court, Central District of California.
"I was referred to the Beliz Law Firm by a family friend and was not disappointed. I was a passenger in a vehicle that was hit by a drunk driver and when I needed the services of an attorney, Michael Beliz came to my work to discuss my options. He is very friendly and explains everything in effectively and in detail. He recommended a great chiropractor whom I then sought treatment from and who helped me recover from my injuries. Michael created an excellent report used in my case which allowed me to receive the maximum return in my settlement. I have already referred a family friend and recommended another long time friend to seek his services. God forbid I ever get in another serious accident, but if I do I will for sure contact Michael again to seek his help. He’s a great guy who does great work!"Y.R.
Long beach personal injury lawyer Michael Beliz represented my personal injury case this year and I’m glad I found them. In summation Michael Beliz came across as intelligent, effective, friendly, and genuine. An excellent people person and well versed attorney is a hard combination to find. Michael walked us through everything; spoke to me like a person and not a case number. He just pretty much made the whole ordeal so much easier. Michael was extremely helpful, patient and responsive with my family and me the entire time. Michael regularly checked in on me during my recovery and kept me up to date on the status of the case and conversations with the other parties’ insurance company. My case wasn’t large but he treated me as if I was one of his only cases. I would highly recommend the Beliz firm to family and friends as the highest recommendation I could offer.”M.G.
"No one wants to involve an attorney in an auto claim, but sometimes you have no choice. Michael made an unpleasant situation so much easier. He really took the time to understand everything that was going on and always gave me prompt and personal attention. He was involved immediately and took over all the interactions with the insurance companies. He became the only one I had to deal with and there were never any games with him, only sound advice. My only mistake was not calling Michael sooner. I now recommend an attorney anytime an injury is involved in an auto accident, if only so they can deal with the insurance companies’ games, and you would be hard pressed to find someone better than Michael Beliz."T.V.
Recent Results & Settlements
Michael has a long history of getting his clients the compensation they deserve. Here are a few of his recent results:
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Even though, as a whole, people drove less in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic, auto accidents were unfortunately widespread. Distracted driving accounted for approximately 14% of all car accidents resulting in injuries in 2020, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Adminstration (NHTSA). Also in 2020, over 1,100 people lost their lives due to alcohol-related car accidents in California. NHTSA estimates that in 2021, over 4,000 lost their lives in a traffic accident. Car insurance serves to help make sure that a crash victim receives a minimum amount of compensation for their injuries and damages. But what if the damages are more than the insurance policy limit? Can an auto accident settlement exceed the policy limit in California? California Insurance Policies and Limits California has special laws when it comes to car insurance. By law, individuals can carry traditional motor vehicle insurance or provide proof of financial responsibility in lieu of insurance. This allows individuals flexibility to choose how they would like to cover car accident liability. Additionally, it protects the public by requiring individuals to secure a method to compensate car accident victims for losses. Types of California Insurance Policies California allows drivers to carry the following types of liability policies: Car insurance from a licensed insurance provider; Self-insurance certificate issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV); Evidence of a $35,000 deposit with the DMV; or $35,000 surety bond issued by a business licensed to operate in California. Some individuals may qualify for a low-cost insurance program. This program improves access to insurance coverage to individuals who can’t afford traditional car insurance. In return, however, the policy limits and coverage are less than those of traditional insurance. California Insurance Policy Limits California’s drivers must provide evidence of the following minimum amounts of financial responsibility in case of an accident: $15,000 minimum coverage for bodily injury or death of one person in an accident; $30,000 minimum coverage for bodily injury or death of two or more persons in an accident; and $5,000 minimum coverage for damage to the property belonging to others in the accident. If the individual carries a low-cost automobile insurance policy, the following limits apply: $10,000 minimum coverage for bodily injury or death of one person in an accident; $20,000 minimum coverage for bodily injury or death of two or more persons in an accident; and $3,000 minimum coverage for damage to the property belonging to others in the accident. These are the minimum amounts of coverage that California’s drivers must carry or bear responsibility for. But drivers can opt to take out policies with higher coverage amounts. Can an Auto Accident Settlement Exceed the Policy Limit in California? It depends. Part of the insurance contract is that the driver agrees to pay the insurance company X amount in exchange for the insurance covering losses totaling X amount or less. Typically, insurance policies and limits represent the highest amounts that the insurance company may agree to pay if there’s an accident. In California, you have to give the at-fault insurance company one opportunity to resolve the claim within their limits by sending over enough information to show the limit amount should be tendered. If the insurance company disagrees and does not pay, then the insurance policy limit is open. You can still negotiate with the insurance company and at-fault parties to reach a settlement agreement that works for everyone. Additionally, if you have underinsured motorist coverage, your insurance company may cover some of your damages. Having an experienced auto accident lawyer to help you increases your chances of recovering. The Beliz Law Firm helps people like you negotiate with the insurance company. We’re not afraid to go to court to help victims and their families get the compensation they need and deserve. What Are My Options If My Damages Exceed the Insurance Policy Limits? Some car accident injuries like traumatic brain injury can incur a lifetime cost for medical treatment of thousands to over $1 million dollars. Aside from medical costs, you or your loved one may be missing out on wages, enduring pain and suffering, and going through other hardships because of the accident. Do you have options? If you’re unable to negotiate a suitable settlement outside of court, filing a lawsuit may be your best option. If you go to court, the money award you receive isn’t limited by the insurance policy limits. California’s personal injury damages laws set how much you can receive from the at-fault party or parties. Under California law, you may be entitled to full, fair, and reasonable compensation for the damages that the at-fault party caused. This includes direct damages, like to your car and your body during the accident. Additionally, you may receive compensation for the harm to you, your life, and your family because of the accident. In other words, compensation for your pain and suffering and lost wages. Unfortunately, just because a court may award you damages does not mean you will be able to collect them. Underinsured drivers often lack the resources to pay a judgment. Your attorney can investigate to help you determine whether filing a lawsuit will be worthwhile. If you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage on your own insurance policy, you can make a claim with your own insurance company up to the limits of that policy. A lawyer can help you navigate claims with both the at-fault driver’s insurance company and your own insurance company. Hiring a knowledgeable and trustworthy auto accident lawyer helps you maximize the recovery you receive. The Beliz Law Firm—Trusted By Southern California Since 2011 Car accident victims need someone they can trust on their side. After all, insurance companies want to save money and at-fault parties aim to pay as little as possible. Meanwhile, car accident victims and their families must pay the price of an accident that wasn’t their fault. Without an attorney in their corner fighting for them, victims may unknowingly sign away their rights to compensation and accept a car accident settlement...Keep Reading
Pursuing a personal injury claim for compensation following a car accident can be complicated, especially one involving a company vehicle. A company vehicle is any vehicle owned by a business and driven by an employee or other “agent” of the business. The vehicle could transport equipment or goods or be an employee’s assigned company car. Understandably, prospective clients come to us to find out, “What should I do if I was hit by a company vehicle?” If you suffered injuries due to another driver’s negligence, don’t hesitate to contact the Beliz Law Firm. We can help you determine the best course of legal action when a negligent driver in a company vehicle causes an accident. What To Do Immediately Following the Accident The steps you take immediately following an accident can impact your injury claim later. Here are some helpful things to remember following an accident with a company-owned vehicle in California. Contact the Police It’s crucial to contact the police following an accident with injuries, especially when a company vehicle is involved. In a traffic collision report, it usually states the driver’s name and the owner’s name. An officer may determine that the vehicle being driven was a company vehicle. In addition, the report will state the insurance information like company and policy number. This insurance information may also lead to the finding of the vehicle and/or the insurance being with a company. Exchange Contact Information Be sure to exchange all information with the other driver. Exchanging information will get you details on insurance and the owner of the vehicle. The insurance information will lead to the value of the policy limits. If the other driver was in the course and scope of employment and driving under their employer’s insurance plan, the policy limits may be higher. Most company insurance is higher than the average personal auto insurance limits. Further, remember to gather information on independent witnesses. Witnesses are essential in these collisions because the insurance adjuster will strongly argue that the company representative was not at fault. Take Scene Photos If you can do so safely and not further injure yourself, take photos of the damage and surrounding scene. You don’t need a professional camera; cell phone images are fine. Try to get pictures of all vehicle damage, debris on the ground, skid marks, or any element of the scene that might be important to your claim. Most importantly take photos of the other vehicles. There may be a decal that shows it was a company vehicle. Don’t forget other factors like weather conditions, road hazards, a broken or blocked traffic sign, or any other relevant detail. Seek Medical Treatment Right Away If you do not require emergency medical transport from the scene, you still need to seek medical treatment right away. Even if you do not think you are severely injured, it’s crucial to get checked out. You could have internal injuries or soft tissue injuries that are not visible. If you delay treatment, the defendant’s representatives will likely use that fact to say that you weren’t that injured. Or they might suggest that another intervening event—that happened after the crash but before seeking treatment—caused your injuries. Contact an Attorney The other driver’s insurance will try to dissuade you, but it’s best to hire a lawyer right away. The sooner you have legal representation, the more your rights are protected. Having a legal advocate from the start will allow your attorney to do your talking for you, thereby keeping you from saying something that could harm your case. Determining Liability in a California Car Accident California follows the rule of pure comparative negligence. This means that you can still collect compensation if you share fault for the accident. However, your award or settlement will be reduced by your percentage of fault. So someone who is 20% liable would not receive more than 80% of their total damages. Claims involving company vehicles differ from other common accidents in several ways. Company vehicles can be commercial vehicles, but it doesn’t only mean 18-wheeler trucks. It could be a delivery van, shuttle, courier, etc. The driver could also drive a company car because they do outside sales, conduct inspections, attend meetings, and more. If the other driver was acting within the course and scope of their employment at the time of the crash, the company would likely be responsible for the driver’s actions. Company vehicles typically have commercial insurance policies with higher limits than a personal auto insurance policy. That could be important if you sustained severe injuries. However, if the driver was on personal time, their personal insurance policy might be responsible for your damages. Speak with Our Lawyer at the Beliz Law Firm You might be thinking, What should I do if I was hit by a company vehicle? If so, contact the Beliz Law Firm to discuss your case and your options. No two accidents involving a company-owned vehicle are alike, so it’s best to speak with a car accident lawyer to help you make sense of the confusing legal process in California. The legal team at the Beliz Law Firm has years of experience assisting injured victims just like you. Contact our office today to schedule an initial consultation and learn more about how we can help.Keep Reading