Attorney Portrait Personal Injury

How Long Do Slip and Fall Injury Cases Take to Resolve?

| Read Time: 5 minutes

When you get hurt in a serious slip and fall accident, you are probably wondering: how long does a slip and fall case take to settle? The short answer is that slip and fall accidents can take varying times to resolve, and the timetable for any given slip and fall case in California or elsewhere depends upon the facts of the case. At the same time, however, slip and fall claims tend to have similar elements, and it can help for slip and fall injury victims to understand the process of filing a premises liability claim in order to have a better understanding of the length of time for any given slip and fall case or settlement. Example of a Slip and Fall Injury Case in California How long do slip and fall settlements take? In order to provide you with more information about this question, we want to give you a hypothetical example of a slip and fall case that we will use to tell you more about how the premises liability settlement process works. Here is an example of a slip and fall case: Joe was grocery shopping at a local supermarket. He was wearing shoes with a leather sole, which tend to be somewhat slick on flat surfaces, but he came directly from work. Joe usually wears his leather-soled shoes when he makes any stops on his way home from work, and he has never had any problems in the past. Joe knows he needs only a handful of items on a grocery list, including a new bottle of olive oil. He heads down the aisle with oils and other cooking supplies, carrying a shopping basket that is relatively heavy since it is filled with other grocery items. The floors in the supermarket are an off-white color, so Joe does not notice that a bottle of olive oil spilled on the floor. Clearly, someone cleaned up part of the spill previously—there are no signs of a broken bottle, and only the olive oil remains on the floor. Joe is rushing down the aisle to grab the oil he needs because he realizes he is late to pick up his child from daycare. While rushing down the aisle, Joe slips and falls on the oil. As a result of the slip and fall, Joe breaks his wrist and suffers a concussion. Because of the concussion, he needs to take several days off from work, and he also needs extensive surgery and follow-up medical treatments to repair the multiple breaks in his wrist. How is Joe’s slip and fall case likely to proceed? Demand Letter and Insurance Negotiations Typically the first step in a slip and fall settlement is to send a demand letter to the property owner to seek compensation for losses through insurance. The supermarket in the example above likely has insurance, and Joe’s premises liability lawyer could attempt to negotiate with the insurance company for a fair slip and fall settlement. In order to convince the insurance company to offer a fair settlement, the demand letter usually needs to make clear that Joe would win a slip and fall lawsuit because the facts of the case meet the essential factual elements of a premises liability claim: Supermarket owner or manager (the defendant) controlled the property where Joe slipped and fell; Supermarket owner or manager was negligent in failing to properly clean up the oil spill in the aisle; Joe (the plaintiff) suffered harm as a result of the defendant’s negligence; and Supermarket’s negligence was a substantial factor in causing Joe’s injury. In some cases, the defendant’s insurance company will negotiate a fair settlement, but in other cases, the plaintiff will need to file a premises liability lawsuit. When an insurance company makes a fair settlement offer, a slip and fall settlement can occur very quickly—within weeks to a couple of short months after the accident. However, when a plaintiff needs to go to court, the timetable for a settlement offer becomes much longer. Filing a Premises Liability Claim in California A plaintiff has two years from the date of the slip and fall injury to file a premises liability lawsuit in California. This is known as the statute of limitations. As long as two years have not passed, Joe’s lawyer can prepare a complaint. The complaint will provide key factual information about the case, such as who is being sued, where and how Joe slipped and fell, and what kinds of damages Joe expects the supermarket to pay for his injuries. Damages in slip and fall cases typically include compensatory damages, which compensate a victim for losses. These can include economic damages (like lost wages and medical bills) as well as non-economic damages (like pain and suffering). Once Joe files a complaint, the defendant will be able to file a response, which is known as an answer. The answer typically involves the defendant admitting to or denying the statements in Joe’s complaint. In the answer, the defendant can also bring up any affirmative defenses, such as a comparative fault. Under California law, a plaintiff’s damages can be reduced if he bears some responsibility for the accident. In the hypothetical, the defendant might argue that Joe is partially to blame because he worse shoes with slippery soles and that he would not have slipped otherwise. At any point, after Joe has filed a complaint, the defendant can offer a settlement amount. If it is acceptable, Joe can take the settlement offer and end the case. If not, Joe’s lawyer can negotiate a better settlement, or the case can move forward. The longer a case remains in court, the lengthier the timetable before Joe receives compensation. Discovery and Premises Liability Trial Motions If a case moves forward without a settlement, it will go through a phase known as discovery (where both parties gather evidence), and then to trial motions. It can take quite awhile for the discovery process to conclude, as well as to set court dates and...

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Attorney Portrait Personal Injury

Why Should I Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?

| Read Time: 3 minutes

Hiring a personal injury lawyer after an accident is an important decision. For many people, being involved in an accident is an emotional and overwhelming event. Hiring a skilled California personal injury attorney can be a wise decision to help bring you peace of mind and ensure you have someone who will represent your interests. Do I Need a Personal Injury Lawyer? This is a highly personal decision, but one of the main benefits of hiring a personal injury attorney is the ability to have someone who is objective and can negotiate with the other side’s insurance adjuster and/or attorney. Here are some other reasons you should hire a personal injury attorney: Most personal injury attorneys offer free consultations to start. You are not obligated to sign a contingency agreement before leaving the office. A contingency agreement means you are not paying for the time of the attorney but for the attorney’s results.  Take time to meet with additional attorneys if you don’t mesh well with the first one. Your attorney will handle your first party coverages, such as uninsured or underinsured motorist claims as well. These are claims made against your own policy that will maximize recovery on a motor vehicle accident. A personal injury attorney will ensure the statute of limitations is protected. The statute of limitations is the cut off period that can bar recovery on your claim. If the cut-off date passes without a complaint being filed with the court, there is no obligation for the other side to continue negotiations. Personal injury attorneys are familiar with the various insurance laws and have the ability to negotiate. They do this for a living, so they are better equipped to anticipate the other side’s next move. Your attorney can give you a realistic picture of what compensation you’re entitled to. Just because your friend or family member received a huge settlement for their car accident doesn’t mean your claim is worth the same. Every case is unique onto itself .  Cases values are based on its particular facts and injuries. Tips for Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer You need to start by locating an attorney first. You can start your search by asking your close friends and family if they have a recommendation for a personal injury attorney. Doing an Internet search for “personal injury attorneys near me” is another option. Look for independent law firms rather than opting for a directory because there is no way to know where or whom the directory will lead you to. Look at the attorneys’s reviews and his or her reputation. Having experience in the type of personal injury matter you have is key. Read their biography, any testimonials, past results, and blog posts on the types of cases they handle.  Experience is important because you want an attorney who has a proven record of success. Finding Personal injury attorneys near me Finding a California personal injury attorney near you is recommended because you may need to make multiple office visits and attend meetings like depositions. Having an attorney that is convenient to your home or work can help reduce travel time. If you need a personal injury attorney near Long Beach, California, the Beliz Law Firm has over a decade of experience handling hundreds of cases, including car accidents, dog bites, slip and falls, wrongful death, and more. Our firm services clients throughout the Southern California area, including Los Angeles, Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, and San Diego counties. Contact our office at 562-452-3772 for a free consultation.

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Attorney Portrait Personal Injury

Average Personal Injury Settlement Amounts

| Read Time: 4 minutes

No one really knows the “average” amount of compensation injured victims receive in a personal injury settlement. Many different factors are in play that no two cases are exactly alike. Rather than worry about the “average” amount of money available, you should strive to better understand what factors go into determining how much compensation our clients receive. Calculate Your Economic Damages Economic damages are damages you can prove with a bill or a receipt. Medical Treatment   For example, many of our clients need medical treatment to deal with their injuries, such as: Surgery Doctor’s visits Rehabilitation Transportation to the hospital Prescription drugs Over-the-counter drugs Equipment, such as crutches, wheelchairs, braces, etc. Injured victims can receive compensation for all of the medical treatment that is related to the personal injury accident. If the injuries are serious, you can receive a payout for future medical care as well. For example, clients who have been paralyzed or suffered a traumatic brain injury might need at-home care for the rest of their lives. Loss Wages   Additionally, loss wages is another form of economic damages. If your injuries have kept you out of work, you can receive money to replace the amounts lost. In addition to past loss wages, you can be compensated for future loss wages.  Keep any proof of your income, such as: Paystubs 1099/W-2 forms from employer Tax returns Other proof of self-employment income You can also make a claim for loss of earning capacity.  This is where you could have made more salary in a different profession if not for the injuries from the accident.  For example if you just passed the board exams to become a doctor and received a brain injury from an accident, you may have a claim for loss of earning capacity for years of not being paid like a medical doctor. Property Damage   Also, you can receive compensation to replace any property damage, such as damage to your car involved in a collision.  Further you may recover rental car charges, towing bills, storage costs, and loss of use.  Hold onto repair estimates, charges, or bills that show how much it cost to repair or replace the vehicle and anything else related to the vehicle. Estimate Your Non-Economic Losses California allows injured victims to receive a sum of money for intangible harms like pain and suffering. These injuries are harder to measure in dollars and cents because there is no receipt or bill attached to them. However, you can still receive compensation for these harms, such as: Physical pain Emotional distress Loss of enjoyment of life Disfigurement In some situations, your spouse might also have a claim for “loss of consortium,” meaning negative changes to your marriage caused by the accident. For example, they might have suffered loss of companionship, sexual intimacy, or services of the household as a result of the accident. Estimating the amount of non-economic losses is tricky. Clients may receive some multiple of their economic losses in non-economic damages or the cost of the daily loss of enjoyment spread out for the rest of their life. You can maximize your non-economic damages by carefully documenting your pain and suffering. For example, keep a pain journal where you note the location of pain every day and its intensity. Also explain how the injury has affected your mental health and whether it has prevented you from enjoying your favorite hobbies. Identify Whether You Were Partially at Fault for the Accident California law recognizes that victims sometimes contribute to their injuries by being negligent themselves. For example, you might have been reading a text message while driving when another car slammed into you. Or you might not have been paying attention to where you were walking when you tripped over a hazard and injured yourself. A victim’s own negligence is called “contributory negligence” and it can affect the amount of money you receive. Fortunately, personal injury victims can still pursue settlement or a lawsuit if someone else is at least 1% responsible for the accident. However, your settlement will be reduced by your proportion of fault. For example, your injuries might be worth $100,000, but you were 50% responsible for the accident. In this case, you will only receive $50,000 in compensation. If you were 80% responsible, then you would receive only $20,000. During settlement negotiations, your lawyer will try to minimize your proportion of fault.  The larger percentage you can place on the other party, the greater likelihood the other party will will negotiate.  Therefore before your lawyer can advocate effectively, however, he needs to know what you were doing right before the accident, so always be honest with your lawyer. Analyze the Defendant’s Assets To receive compensation, the other side must have some assets so that they can pay you.  California law states that every driver on the roadways and highways must have automobile liability insurance.  Even though another person caused the accident, the insurance company will be the one compensating you for your damages. If you were injured by a business employee, then you may be able to hold their employer responsible for your injuries. This concept is called “respondeat superior” and it holds companies liable when their employees injure someone in the scope of their employment. Often, suing a business is better than suing an individual because a business has deeper pockets, but everything depends on the circumstances. If your injuries happened at someone home like from a dog bite, the person’s homeowners policy may contribute to your compensation.  A business general liability insurance for may cover you when an accident occurs on the business property like a slip and fall. If someone without insurance hits you in traffic or does not have a homeowners policy, you might not receive anything in a settlement or judgment, especially if the driver/homeowner has no income, savings, or other assets.  Therefore, it is especially important to investigate if the negligent party has insurance. Our Results No lawyer can promise a result, and...

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Attorney Portrait Personal Injury

Were You Injured by a Drunk Driver?

| Read Time: 2 minutes

Nearly everyone understands the dangers associated with drinking and driving. Media is saturated with campaigns that discuss legal penalties faced by those who are arrested while intoxicated behind the wheel. Of course, many other advertisements show the serious injuries and fatalities that may result from drinking and driving. Sadly, even with this information, many people still choose to make the decision to drink excessively and drive a vehicle. And in far too many cases, this one choice can lead to catastrophic consequences. In the aftermath of a drunk driving accident, victims and their loved ones may be unsure of where to turn. They also may be facing piling medical bills and other rising costs. If you find yourself in this position, we invite you to reach out to our legal team today. We have significant experience assisting drunk driving accident victims. We will aggressively advocate on your behalf to help you recover the compensation that you deserve. Drunk Driving Causes Serious Damage in California Just how serious is the problem of drunk driving in California? To be sure, drunk driving crashes caused more than 10,000 deaths and thousands of injuries in California between 2003 and 2012, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC also reported that 1.8 percent of Californians admitted to driving after drinking too much. In many cases, drunk driving may only lead to an arrest and criminal penalties. In others, however, the intoxicated driver may fail to control their vehicle and collide with unsuspecting victims. This could result in massive property damage, significant injuries, and, in the worst cases, death. Suing a Drunk Driver in California If you sustained injuries because of a drunk driver in California, you have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit in order to recover the compensation that you deserve for your damages. However, you should only do so with the help of an experienced personal injury attorney who can help determine your legal options. Attempting to navigate the legal system on your own may put your rights in jeopardy. Furthermore, it’s important to act quickly, because evidence grows stale, memories fade, and there is a statute of limitations for filing your claim. (A statute of limitations is the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit after sustaining injury or loss.) In California, accident victims have two years from the date of the injury (or wrongful death) to file a lawsuit against the negligent party. Contact Us Today for Assistance If you sustained injuries by a drunk driver in California, there is no reason to proceed any further without the help of our skilled legal team. Don’t hesitate to contact our office in Long Beach, California, for a free consultation if you were injured, or if a loved one was killed, by a drunk driver. Our personal injury attorneys will help recover the compensation that you deserve.

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Attorney Portrait Personal Injury

How Much Are Personal Injury Lawyer Fees in California?

| Read Time: 3 minutes

California Personal Injury Lawyer Fees Injured in an accident? You might wonder if you’re eligible for compensation to cover your medical bills and other issues. You might also be unsure if hiring a personal injury attorney is worth the money. Unlike most other lawyers, personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis. This means inability to pay is never an issue. You will never lose money by hiring a personal injury lawyer to handle your case. What Does “Contingency” Mean in Personal Injury Cases? If a personal injury attorney decides to take your case, you will not owe any money up front. Instead, the attorney will collect a fee for his services once they settle or resolve your claim. The attorney’s fees are a percentage of the total amount you recover from your personal injury claim. If you do not recover any money, the attorney does not charge you anything. An experienced personal injury lawyer will usually offer a free consultation to anyone injured in an accident. The attorney will review the facts and legal issues in your case, as well as the damages you have suffered. If he believes he can be an asset in your case, he will offer to represent you on a contingency basis. What Is a Fair Contingency Fee in California? Most contingency fees in California range from 33% to 50% of the total settlement. Most times the fees change based on various steps on a case. Usually, there is a lower fee if the case settles before you file a lawsuit or arbitration. The fees increase once the case is in litigation. It is not unusual to see fees go up once the first mediation passes, date of expert experation, or the start of the trial. You are your attorney will sign an agreement that defines the fee structure. California law prohibits an attorney from charging “unconscionable” fees for legal representation. This means the legal fees must not be unreasonable or outrageous. However, there is no standard maximum (or minimum) fee permitted. A personal injury attorney will usually cover the costs of litigation until final judgment or settlement. These costs are separate from the attorney’s fees. In most circumstances, the attorney’s fees are taken out first from the settlement then cost. For example, if you receive a $150,000 settlement, the attorney will collect his fee (let’s say one-third, or $50,000), plus the cost of litigation expenses (which can be several thousand dollars). What to Look for in a Personal Injury Attorney Every attorney has different levels of contingency fees. It is important to consider the value of finding the right attorney. You don’t just hire the cheapest attorney. A skilled personal injury lawyer may be able to obtain a bigger settlement offer or judgment. Clearly, this will yield a larger net recovery. Look for a personal injury lawyer with experience handling your type of case. You may find that someone who handles personal injury cases exclusively provides more focus to your case. Choose an attorney with a good reputation and a personality that meshes well with yours. You could be working closely with this person for quite a while. Do you need legal assistance? Michael Beliz is an experienced personal injury attorney dedicated to helping individuals receive fair compensation for their injuries. Contact our office in Long Beach, California to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.

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Attorney Portrait Personal Injury

How Long Does the Personal Injury Claims Process Take?

| Read Time: 4 minutes

Personal Injury Claims Process In California Most people involved in a personal injury lawsuit are anxious to close the book on this part of their lives. The plaintiff has medical bills and other expenses piling up. So he may find himself out of work and unable to support his family. Unfortunately, the personal injury claims process can be a lengthy one. It is impossible to predict how long your personal injury case will last. This depends on the individual circumstances of your case. If the defendant acknowledges fault for the facts of the accident, your injuries and offers fair compensation, your case may settle within a few months. If your case involves factual disputes, or either party refuses to entertain reasonable settlement offers, it can take years to obtain a final judgment in your case. Personal Injury Statute of Limitations in California A statute of limitations is a law limiting the amount of time you have to bring a legal action for any given reason. Statutes of limitation vary by state and legal matter. If you unable to settle your claim or fail to file a lawsuit before the statute of limitations passes on your claim, you will be permanently precluded from seeking compensation for your injuries in court. So, a judge will dismissal any lawsuit you file, and you may not be able to recover anything for your injuries. The statute of limitations for a personal injury claim in California is two years. This is how long you have from the date of the accident or injury to make a claim. However, this statute of limitations applies when the claim is against a citizen. Against the government, the statute of limitation shrinks to six months. It is important to seek legal counsel as soon as possible after an accident to determine if there is a governmental claim with a shorter time limit. In addition, sometimes, an injury may not be immediately apparent after an accident. Injuries can take weeks or even months to fully develop. If this is the case, contact an attorney as soon as you are aware of the injury. Understanding the Extent of Your Injuries Understanding what injuries you have and how they happened is crucial. That is why treatment is such an important step in the personal injury claims process. Injuries may take time to develop, and testing isn’t always conclusive. This can draw out this part of the process and even take several months. Learning the extent of your injuries is critical to understanding how much your personal injury claim is worth. We calculate damages on the economic and non-economic losses. You must have suffered these losses as a result of the accident. This includes expected future damages, like ongoing medical costs and reduced earning capacity associated with a permanent or long-term disability. If may take months to years to get a reliable medical prognosis for your injuries. You do not want to settle your claim premature until knowing all of your damages. Gathering Evidence to Prove Your Claim You will need to present a detailed documentation of the accident and your injuries. You can do this a variety of ways. Obtain accident reports, gather witnesses, or even take pictures of the accident scene. The information you collect can help support the facts of the case. In addition, you will need to provide doctor’s opinions and other medical records. This documents the severity of your injuries. As part of their defense, your opponent may also want to collect evidence from their own medical experts. The process of gathering evidence to support (or defend against) a personal injury claim is discovery. Parties have a duty to share any information or evidence used with the other side. Some methods for obtaining information from the other parties in a lawsuit include: Depositions: Attorneys on both sides of the case interview parties and witnesses. Subjects make statements under oath and a court reporter transcribes the process. Interrogatories: Written questions presented to either party by counsel for the opposing side. Requests for Admission: Similar to interrogatories, requests for admission are questions that each side must answer affirmatively or negatively. Attorneys use them to pin down a party’s position on a particular issue. Production of Documents: With the exception of documents protected by attorney-client privilege, parties must provide the opposing counsel with any documents they intend to use in their case. Like every other step in the personal injury claims process, gathering evidence and discovery can take many months. The actual amount of time it takes will depend on the complexity of your case. Negotiating a Settlement for Your Personal Injury Claim Once the plaintiff calculates damages, settlement negotiations can begin. The plaintiff’s attorney will usually send a letter to the defendant or his insurance company demanding a specific amount of damages. The defendant’s attorney or insurance company will typically respond with a counter-offer. It is unusual for either party to accept a first offer or demand. So negotiations could go back and forth this way for quite a while before sides reach an agreement. The parties may agree to attend mediation to try to reach a mutually acceptable solution. Litigating Your Personal Injury Claim About 95% of personal injury claims will be voluntarily settled out of court. For the small number of cases that go to trial, a judge or jury will decide what damages the plaintiff receives. The cases that go to court obviously last longer than the average personal injury claim. Once a trial date is set, prepare to see it rescheduled at least one time maybe twice. It may take at least two years, sometimes longer, from the time of an accident to take a personal injury case to trial. Hire Personal Injury Attorney in Long Beach, California If you or a loved one has been injured due to someone’s negligent behavior, reach out to a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Michael Beliz, an experienced attorney in Long Beach, CA is eager to assist...

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Attorney Portrait Personal Injury

How Much is My Personal Injury Case Worth?

| Read Time: 5 minutes

If you’re facing an injury from an accident, the first thing that likely comes to your mind is, “How much money can I recover?” And for good reason. You don’t want to pay for medical bills and other expenses for injuries that weren’t your fault. You want to make sure the liable party pays for all the damages you suffered. So that begs the question: How much is your personal injury case worth? Does a car accident result in more compensation than a slip and fall case? What about a dog bite? There is no straightforward answer. It all depends on the facts of the case and the resulting injuries. For the most part, it depends on damages. There are many types of damages you could receive for suffering a personal injury. Typically, the more serious the injury you suffer, the more damages you can expect to receive. It doesn’t really matter what type of accident occurred. A slip and fall accident could be worth millions of dollars, especially if there is a traumatic brain injury. If you broke your arm in a car accident, it may be worth only $10,000. There are many factors that can affect your total amount of compensation for a personal injury. Read on to learn more about how people value cases. Types of Damages in a Personal Injury Case These types of damages are available to victims to make them whole again. Being made whole again refers to being in the same physical and mental condition as before the accident occurred. This is not always possible, however, depending on the extent of the injuries. Therefore, the purpose of compensation is to aid the victim in recovering to the fullest extent possible. Common types of damages include: Medical Bills This is often the most expensive part of the recovery. A hospital stay alone can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Compensation includes previous medical bills, current treatment, and future medical bills. Lost Wages If you had to take time off work after the injury, you could receive compensation for your lost wages. This also includes any loss of earning capacity caused by the accident. For example, if you can’t work at all due to your injuries, you could receive compensation based on the amount of income you are losing out on in the future due to the accident. Property Damage This is common in car accidents. If the crash left your car totaled, you could receive enough compensation so you can buy a new one. You could also receive compensation for anything else damaged as a result of your accident, such as clothing or other personal items. Pain and Suffering This is a type of emotional damage that is difficult to calculate, but you can receive compensation for ongoing pain that you are experiencing from the accident. Some parties determine this by taking adding medical bills and using a multiplier based on the severity of the injuries. Another way to determine the monetary number is to give a value for every time you ache from the injury. Emotional Distress This is often included in pain and suffering damages. This refers to psychological damages that the victim may face after a serious accident, such as anxiety, depression or loss of sleep. Loss of Enjoyment This refers to the victim’s lack of ability to enjoy once-favorite hobbies. If the victim was an avid tennis player, but now cannot play due to a back injury, he or she could receive compensation to make up for this loss. Punitive Damages The Court awards punitive damages in cases where the liable party acted in an especially malicious or purposeful manner. These damages punish the liable party for their intent to harm. By hitting the defendant in the pocketbook, it will deter him or her from engaging in this type of behavior in the future. One of the most classic examples for receiving punitive damages is for injuries in a drunk driving accident. Punitive damages can exceed millions of dollars. Because of this, many states have caps on punitive damages. California, however, has no cap on these damages. However, they must bear a “reasonable relationship” to other damages. This means that a claim worth only $20,000 should not have $5 million in punitive damages. Other Factors Affecting Your Case Value Besides damages, there are other things that can affect how much money you get for your case. Negligence is one of these factors. If you were partially at fault for the accident, you still might be able to recover damages. California state law allows collection for your damages even if you were as much as 99 percent at fault. This is pure comparative negligence. It reduces your compensation amount based on your percentage of fault. For example, if your damage award is $100,000 and you were 50 percent at fault, you would receive 50 percent of the damage award, which would total $50,000. As a victim, the law requires you to take appropriate steps to fix or mitigate your damages. You should do so as soon as possible following the accident. If you don’t see a doctor for two weeks after the accident, the court is going to assume that you are not seriously injured. This could cause the jury to significantly reduce your damage amount. Let us Value Your Personal Injury Case Valuing your personal injury case is no simple task. There are many variables involved, and no two cases are alike. A thorough assessment of the case is needed so you can what types of compensation you are eligible to receive. The Long Beach personal injury lawyers at The Beliz Law Firm can assess your case and help you get a fair value for all the damages incurred by the liable party. Contact us and schedule a consultation by calling (562) 452-3772.

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Attorney Portrait Personal Injury

How Much is My Bike Accident Injury Claim Worth?

| Read Time: 2 minutes

When you’re injured in a bike accident, the impact can be life-altering. It’s likely that you’ll need immediate, urgent medical treatment. The trauma of colliding with a much larger vehicle can be serious. Long-term care may also be necessary to bring you back to health. Plus, some bike accident injury victims never fully recover. The accident can lead to a lifetime of therapy. You may not be able to work at your normal job if your injuries are severe. This can lead to financial difficulties at a time when medical bills are adding up. California law allows you to recover compensation from the person who caused the incident through negligent conduct. The amount of your settlement or verdict depends upon the legal theory of damages. In bicycle accidents cases, they generally fall into one of two categories: 1. Economic Damages: “Economic” damages are those supported by documentation. When determining how much your bike accident injury claim is worth, you would include: Medical Expenses: You will likely visit different healthcare professionals that treat your injuries. Each of these providers will bill you for their services. Your claim will include costs related to practitioners such as doctors, ER physicians, medical specialists, chiropractors, occupational therapists, and others. You can ask for both past medical expenses and future medical cost. Lost Wages: If you miss work due to your bike accident injuries, you may recover the lost wages. To prove lost wages as an economic loss, you can present pay stubs, canceled checks, or tax records. Like medical expenses, you may ask for both past and future lost wages. In addition, you can request loss of earning capacity from the negligent party. 2. Non-Economic Damages: You would also include damages that fall in the non-economic category. These are damages where there are no receipts. They include: Pain and Suffering: It’s hard to put a value on the trauma you will experience after a bike accident. However, you can be sure that there will be lingering effects. Your case is worth compensation for pain and suffering that may result from the inability to sleep, chronic soreness, and lack of mobility. Emotional Anguish: You will include the impact of a bike accident on your daily routine and lifestyle when considering what your case is worth. Loss of Relationships: The value of your bike accident claim also includes losses you suffer with respect to your loved ones. A Long Beach Bike Accident Lawyer Can Help Being involved in a bike accident is horrific. But California law protects victims by allowing them to recover losses. However, it is difficult to prove your right to compensation. It usually requires an extensive legal background in personal injury cases. When you’re up against a pushy insurance company or in court, it’s necessary to have a strong advocate at your side. The dedicated attorneys at The Beliz Law Firm have the experience and skills to ensure you’re fully compensated for the various types of losses you sustain, so please contact us about your case. We’re available at (562) 452-3772 to answer your questions, or can schedule a case evaluation for you at our convenient Long Beach, CA location.

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Attorney Portrait Personal Injury

Who Can File a Long Beach Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

| Read Time: 2 minutes

A sudden death of your loved one is shocking and upsetting. When the death results from someone else’s fault, it is normal to have questions about your legal options. For surviving family members a wrongful death lawsuit may be in order. It is impossible to replace a loved one whose death occurred due to another’s negligence. Before you bring a suit, it is important to meet with a Long Beach wrongful death lawyer. Discuss your case and legal details, including specifics of filing a wrongful death lawsuit. Be aware, however, that only certain family members can do so. Only Certain Parties Can Bring Forth Wrongful Death Actions in California Each state sets its own laws regarding who can bring forth a wrongful death action. In California, only certain family members can file a wrongful death lawsuit. These parties include the decedent’s: Spouse; Children; or Domestic partner. If none of the above parties exist, there are special circumstances. Section 337.60 of California Code of Civil Procedure, allows for any person “who would be entitled to the property of the decedent by intestate succession” to bring forth a claim. In some cases, other parties may bring a claim. This includes stepchildren or parents of the deceased. The parties must prove they were dependent on the decedent. You Must File a Suit within Two Years There is a two-year statute of limitations on filing wrongful death lawsuits in California. This applies to all parties who may be eligible to file. If you wait longer than two years to bring forth your action, you will lose your right to the claim. When a minor child faces injury, the child has until the age of 18 years old plus 2 years to either settle the claim or file a lawsuit for injuries. This is not true for wrongful death cases. A minor child who has standing in a wrongful death claim only has 2 years. There is one exception to the two years. If the wrongful party is a government agency than the time frame is shorten to six months. Are there specific types of compensation surviving family members can recover? A person with standing to sue may recover damages from the responsible party, based upon: ● The value of the deceased’s contribution to the household, financially and otherwise; ● The losses that will result from anticipated financial support; and, ● Emotional losses, including loss of affection, moral support, and guidance. Contact Us Today If a family member has died to the wrongful acts of another and you believe you have the right to file a lawsuit based on the information above, contact The Beliz Law Firm for a free consultation. Our Long Beach wrongful death lawyers are available by phone 24 hours a day.

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Attorney Portrait Personal Injury

What Are Common Deposition Questions for an Auto Accident Lawsuit?

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Most car accident claims settle without ever going to court. However, when parties cannot come to a fair settlement, a claimant may  file an auto accident lawsuit to get the compensation amount they deserve. When they file suit, depositions will ensue and your personal injury lawyer will be able to interview the defendant. It is also likely that opposing counsel will interview you as well. The following considers what a deposition is, and what some common deposition questions are during an auto accident lawsuit– What Is an Auto Accident Deposition? Depositions are one of the tools that lawyers use during the discovery – or investigative – process of a lawsuit to gain information. Simply put, depositions are oral statements given by parties under oath, and deposing a person is the act of the lawyer asking the person questions. In an official deposition during the car accident lawsuit process, the deposition is recorded, and all persons questioned are required to answer truthfully. Multiple parties, including the plaintiff and the defendant, as well as any medical providers and witnesses, may be deposed. Auto Accident Deposition Questions for the Defendant Your car accident lawyer will be responsible for deposing the defendant, the person against whom you are filing a car accident lawsuit. In addition to several background questions, such as the defendant’s name and address, your attorney will probably ask: Where did you start your travels prior to the collision? Where was your destination if the car crash did not happen? Who else was in the vehicle with you? What were your activities prior to operating your vehicle that day? Had you consume anything alcoholic to drink, or taken any other impairing substances, including prescription drugs within 24 hours prior to the accident? Were you in scope of employment at the time of the car crash? How fast were you going at the time of the accident? Were you talking on a cellphone at the time of the incident? How large was the impact between the two vehicles? Did you see the other vehicle that was involved in the collision prior to the accident? The list of questions goes on and on, and will vary significantly depending upon the details of your crash. Your lawyer’s goal is to secure facts for an admission of fault from the defendant in order to prove negligence and strengthen your case. Auto Accident Deposition Questions for the Plaintiff You will also be deposed during the car accident process. Just like your lawyer will try to secure an admission of liability from the defendant, the legal representation for the defense will try to gain information to lessen their scope for fault and damages for your injuries. For this reason, it is very important that you are careful in what you say, do not provide more information that you are asked, and are prepared for even the most difficult of questions. Some common deposition questions include: Background questions regarding name, birthday, school and work history. Describe the details of your accident. Where were you going? Did you make any stops? What did you see before the accident happened? What were you doing at the time of the crash? How fast were you going? Did you see the other vehicle involved in the accident prior to the collision? Were you wearing a seatbelt at the time of collision? Did you call the police after the accident? When did you seek medical care after your accident? How much time had elapsed after the accident did you see a medical provider? Whom did you see for your injuries? How long did you see your doctors? What did the doctors do for your injuries? What are your bills? Describe the details of your injuries. Did you lose any time off of work? How much? Are you fully healed? What limitations are you now experiencing? What can you not do currently that you were able to do before the collision? Additional Depositions In addition to deposing the defendant, and being deposed yourself by the defendant’s lawyer, you should also consider deposing key witnesses and experts. Witnesses may be key to prove the defendant is at fault for the car crash and to strengthen your pain and suffering claim. Experts can make opinions on how your body moved due to the impact of the crash and future medical needs. Luckily, when you work with the experienced auto accident lawyers at the Beliz Law Firm, we will handle all aspects of the deposition for you, and help you to prepare for the defense’s questions. Contact us today for your free consultation and information.

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