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Frequently Asked Questions for a Personal Injury Attorney

No two personal injury cases are the same. Every case benefits from a personal consultation with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney. However, some questions come up frequently. Here are some general answers to some of the most common personal injury questions.

What is a personal injury claim?

A personal injury claim is filed when you are injured because of someone else’s actions. Most often the injury occurs because the other individual was acting negligently or recklessly. 

Who will pay for your injuries after a car crash?

The individual who caused the accident is responsible to compensate you for your injuries.  Most California residents carry auto insurance and these policies make money available after an auto accident. Keep in mind there could be other people or businesses liable for your injuries.  The person who caused the accident may have been on the job or driving another person’s vehicle.  In those situations there may be more than one insurance policy to file a claim against to compensate you for your injuries.

How long do you have to file your insurance claim?

In California, you have 2 years from the date of the accident to either settle your insurance claim with the at-fault party or file a lawsuit.  If you do not settle your claim or file a lawsuit within that 2 year time frame, your personal injury claim will no longer exist, no matter how strong your claim was. 

Can you file a claim if you are partially at fault for the auto accident?

You don’t have to be entirely innocent to receive compensation after a car crash. Under California’s “comparative fault” system, you can still be compensated for some of your injuries even if you are partially to blame for the accident. However, the amount you recover will be reduced based on the percentage of your fault.

What money is paid if you win a personal injury case?

The money an at-fault driver, property owner, or other defendant must pay if you win a personal injury case is called “damages.” In California, these are divided into two categories, economic and non-economic.

Economic damages are bills you received or things that can be measured, like

  • Medical treatment
  • Replacement costs
  • Lost wages
  • Lost earning capacity

Non-economic damages are harder to measure. They cover:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Inconvenience
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of consortium (companionship and support)

In rare cases, you may also be awarded punitive damages for a defendant’s extremely outrageous acts. These are designed to keep the defendant (usually a company) from acting the same way again in the future.

How does a personal injury lawyer get paid?

The Pursley Law Firm handles all personal injury cases on a contingency basis. That means your personal injury lawyer gets paid out of the money you collect in a settlement or verdict. If you don’t win, we don’t get paid.

When should you hire a lawyer after an accident?

The sooner you start working with a personal injury lawyer after an accident, the better.  Not only will the Pursley Law Firm assist you in dealing with the insurance companies, police, medical providers, etc., hiring a personal injury attorney as soon as possible will help in maximizing the value of your personal injury claim.

Does breed matter in a dog bite case?

California law does not specify breed in dog bite cases. Whether you were bit by a pit bull or a chihuahua, the owner is still responsible for your injuries. However, some homeowners insurance policies exclude certain dog breeds from coverage. In those cases, you may have to collect from the dog owner directly.

Who is responsible for a slip-and-fall injury?

Premises liability lawsuits for slip-and-fall injuries can be filed against:

  • Property owners
  • Landlords
  • Commercial or retail businesses
  • Renters or tenants
  • Property managers

Figuring out who had the responsibility to maintain the property can be one of the toughest parts of a personal injury case. Your premises liability attorney will help you investigate who owned the property, and who maintained it, so that you can be sure the right people and companies are involved.

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