| Read Time: 3 minutes | Personal Injury

Personal Injury Basics 101

According to the Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute [personal injury | Wex | US Law | LII / Legal Information Institute (cornell.edu)], personal injury is defined as “an injury… to the body, mind or emotions”. Personal injury law is a provision allowing an injured person to file a lawsuit in court to legally recover for all losses they suffered due to an accident or incident. This article will discuss the basics of personal injury law. The fundamental purpose of the personal injury system is to grant the injured person financial compensation to ‘make them whole’ after suffering harm caused by someone else’s negligent or intentional conduct. There exist several different situations whereby the personal injury rules apply. Some of these include the following: Accidents – A Personal injury occurs whereby a person acts negligently and, as a result of their negligent actions, causes harm to another person in an accident. Examples of personal injury law accidents include car accidents or negligently failing to keep a store clean . Defective products – Personal injury rules come into play when vehicle parts, consumer products, medical devices, or other products are defective or unreasonably dangerous. If such a product harms anyone, they can seek legal recourse through a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer. Defamation – When defamatory statements made by one result in harm to another, the victim may file for legal recourse by way of a personal injury lawsuit. Intentional acts – When an individual’s intentional conduct results in harm to another person, such as an assault, personal injury laws are applicable. A common question asked with regards to personal injury law is who makes the personal injury laws. Most of the laws are based on very  old common law rules. The term common law comes from laws that judges make; these are different from most laws currently passed by way of bills and statutes. Common law stems from when, in certain case, appeals court judges hear a case and decide on it, and decide to officially publish their opinion; their decision on the case becomes precedent on all other state courts lower than the court where the case was heard. Thus, the different courts are bound by the decision made on such a case and must apply it–hence the term common law. However, it must be noted that common law can differ from one state to the next. The personal injury rules are not the same across the country. Other pieces of law that have been a source of personal injury laws include statues passed into law by legislatures. For example, legislatures passed worker’s compensation laws; these directly affect all work-related injuries and create a system outside the scope of personal injury laws, making worker’s compensation the sole remedy against an employer for work injuries. The legislature also  passed laws to allow someone to sue when a loved one dies,   but again there are strict statutory rules that govern how the process works. Another state law that shapes personal injury laws is that of the statute of limitations. By definition, the statute of limitations [Statute of limitations | Wex | US Law | LII / Legal Information Institute (cornell.edu)] is a law that limits or “bars claims after a certain period passes after an injury”. Therefore, a personal injury claim may have to be filed within two to six-years of the accident, depending on the state.  California is generally two years for an adult.  Sometimes there are grace periods for the victim to file their claim from the date of the incident or discovery of the injury. For more specific legal advice and representation in your personal injury case, contact a renowned Bakersfield personal injury lawyer today.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Personal Injury

What Happens in a Personal Injury Case?

No two personal injury cases are the same; each case is unique. However, there are common elements that can be expected once you file a personal injury lawsuit. This article will discuss some standard features you will encounter when deciding to file a personal injury lawsuit. The basis of each personal injury lawsuit is that the plaintiff was injured. Personal injury law provides for injured individuals to receive relief from the injuries they have suffered at the hands of a negligent party. As such, proof of the plaintiff’s injuries plays a significant role in the case. If the losses suffered by the plaintiff go beyond the threshold of the small claims court limit, most plaintiffs will consider hiring a Bakersfield personal injury lawyer [https://www.youngwooldridge.com/]. The initial consultation, which is free, allows both the attorney and the plaintiff to see if there is a valid personal injury case to be pursued. If both parties are happy, the attorney may agree to conduct further investigations that includes determining whether the defendant has insurance or sufficient assets to cover any settlement or judgement. Once this is determined, the attorney-client relationship is made official and binding by way of a fee agreement that the plaintiff and attorney sign. No fees will be charged unless the lawyer recovers compensation for the injury victim. The next stage is to file a complaint and serve it upon the defendant. First, the personal injury complaint is filed in the appropriate civil court. By definition, the complaint does what the word says, complain. It basically gives information stating the charges being made against the defendant. This may include what the defendant did and how the plaintiff was injured or suffered losses as a result. Once filed, the plaintiff’s attorney must locate the defendant and serve the complaint in a little over a month. Serving the complaint basically means that the document is physically delivered to the defendant in a way that can be verified. This is an important stage as it eliminates the possibility of the defendant claiming that they do not know about the lawsuit. Therefore, service papers and the complaint tell the defendant the date they are to appear in court. On the defendant’s side, it is often prudent on their part to hire an attorney before their first court date. If the defendant has an appropriate insurance policy or valuable assets, it will not be difficult to find a defense attorney willing to represent them. If their insurance is suitable for the personal injury case, the defendant will need to notify their insurance company as soon as they are aware of the lawsuit. The insurance company will then appoint and pay a lawyer to represent the defendant if the defendant has not hired one already. A pre-trial process is triggered, where both sides request evidence and witness information from each other. This phase is called discovery and allows both sides to request information of the other side. They may also agree to mediation or even arbitration. A trial date will be set by the court. The mere fact of filing a lawsuit in court does not mean the case will go all the way to trial. Most cases settle even if a lawsuit needs to be filed.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Safety

How Do I Negotiate My Car Accident Claim?

If you have been involved in a car accident, you will definitely need a reasonable settlement. This doesn’t come easy; you will need to negotiate with the insurance company. Negotiating a car accident claim requires a person to have a car accident attorney who has dealt with insurance adjusters and knows the best strategy for compensation. It’s better to negotiate and save yourself time and the cost associated with going to trial. However, if you cannot agree on the amount of compensation, the best thing would be to file a lawsuit. Negotiating Your Car Accident Claim Negotiating with the at-fault driver insurance company is not easy; you need to have an experienced lawyer who can advise you on what to say or not say to an insurance adjuster. Remember, whatever you say can be used against you, which could significantly reduce your settlement value. Also, you need to be sure that you’re not to blame for the accident and that you received appropriate and reasonable medical treatment. There are ways you can position yourself for a successful claim. These include: Get an organized demand letter: A well-crafted demand letter is a critical element for an injury settlement. The demand letter should have precise content of the nature of your claim and the sum value you think you deserve. Always ask for more than what you want in settlement. Having an experienced lawyer will help you get more information on what to include in your demand letter. Don’t take up the first offer:Instead of accepting the first offer, request the claim adjuster to respond to your demand letter. An insurance adjuster will have offered you a lower settlement than what you will have included in your demand letter. This is to start up the negotiation process. That way, you get a chance to counter the offer. Refusing the first offer shows that you know what your claim is worth, and you are ready to negotiate for a better settlement. Another way to show you know what you deserve is to request the claims adjuster to explain the low offer. Generally speaking, the insurance company will do all it can to offer you a lower settlement. But, you don’t have to accept such an offer. The best way to maximize your total damages is by getting the correct and reasonable medical care, by including any lost income, and by having a repair estimate for your car damage. Your compensation should include economic losses, such as lost wages, past and future medical expenses, and property damage. Your general damages will include any pain and suffering, trauma or other loss that cannot be assigned a dollar value. Negotiating your car accident claim becomes easier when you retain a lawyer who can help you: Document your injuries by showing the nature and extent of such injuries Argue for higher amounts for your pain and suffering Show the insurance company you are serious Prove the extent of your property damage The above helps you look organized, and it may only take up a few phone calls to have your claim settled. Getting Compensated A lawyer equips you with the proper settlement amount in mind as he/she will have discussed how much your claim is worth. If you have agreed with the insurance company on what the at-fault driver has to pay, the settlement should be in writing too-stating what you expect in payment, and the date to receive such payment.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Young Wooldridge

How Do I Get A Copy Of The Police Report

One of the most important things you should do after a car accident is to call the police at the car accident scene. Even if no one responds to the car accident, you would still be required to report the accident to law enforcement. Whether your accident was a minor fender bender or a much bigger crash, a police report will be helpful, especially when liability becomes an issue. If you have been involved in a car accident, you may wonder how to get a copy of the police report to be used for settlement or lawsuit. A Bakersfield car accident attorney can assist you in obtaining a police report and help you spot any mistakes that could jeopardize your recovery value. What Is Contained In The Police Report The police officer who responds at the accident scene takes notes and pictures, talks to witnesses, and obtains any other relevant information to prepare the report. Typically, the report will contain: The date, location, and time of the accident. Witnesses involved, their names, addresses. Weather information, road conditions, etc. The extent of vehicle damage. Causes and opinions of the car accident. In some cases, the police opinion may seem to differ from what you think was the cause of the accident. When such is used as evidence, it could jeopardize your car accident settlement. Fortunately, a police report can be amended. But this is possible as long as you have the evidence to show that what is contained in the police report is erroneous. Getting A Copy Of the Police Report The police who respond to your car accident prepare a report regarding the accident. Such a report gives their opinions, especially about who was at fault, which may or may not be correct. That’s why it’s always advisable for a victim to get a copy of the police report and see what may have been omitted or see any mistakes that could interfere with liability. Typically, a police report can be obtained in two ways: You can trace the police who wrote the report through the identification number given on the receipt at the accident scene. You can use the number to call the police department and meet with the police to obtain the copy. Or else, you can get to the government website and get the information on how to obtain the police report. Get a copy from the claim adjuster. In almost all accident cases, the at-fault driver insurance company will have to get a copy of the police report, which may shed light on how their insured was negligent in causing an accident. Note that if the material in the police report is deemed confidential, you may get some portion blacked out. Also, the report may not be available if there are still ongoing investigations about the accident. Police reports play a key role during car accident settlements. Also, it could be used in small claims court as evidence. If you are not sure about the information indicated on the police report after an accident, you can learn more from an experienced car accident lawyer.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Personal Injury

How Much Is The Settlement For My Motorcycle Accident?

If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident, you will be concerned with the value of your motorcycle settlement. Many factors affect how much you will receive for damages suffered after a motorcycle accident in Bakersfield.  Below is an overview of the factors to consider for your motorcycle accident case. Factors To Consider For Motorcycle Settlement If another driver’s negligence has caused your accident, you start up your case by determining liability. The next concern will be how much damages you have incurred as a result. You can consider both concerns as follows: Liability: Your case will be worth as much as you can prove that the other party was negligent enough to cause your accident. In case you also were negligent in your accident, you will also be blamed and may  receive less compensation. Since California is a pure comparative negligence state, you will be compensated according to the degree of your fault. Damage suffered: This has to do with your physical  injuries and also the damages to your motorcycle. If you were severely injured, this would usually  mean a higher settlement value. The insurance company considers many factors in any given motorcycle accident in an attempt to come up with a figure for settlement or verdict. Remember that motorcyclists are always believed to be in the wrong. So, when arguing your case with the insurance company, you will need to have an experienced lawyer help you overcome such prejudice. Calculation Of Damages Whether you settle or take your case to trial, your settlement will be based on: Compensatory damages. These are damages that have a quantifiable value. They may include your lost wages, medical expenses for your injuries, future lost earnings, etc. The insurance company adds all your expenses to come up with the dollar amount. Unfortunately, things such as future lost earnings and future medical bills may not be easy to calculate; you may require an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer who understands the right concept to apply. Non-economic damages. These don’t have an easily quantifiable value. For instance, if you were injured and this has affected you emotionally, you have a right to get compensated for pain and suffering. For such damage, the jury must decide on their own how to value your emotional  damages. That’s why it’s vital to have a lawyer represent you. The Bottom Line The jury is usually the one to decide what they think would be fair in your case.  Settlements can only be made if what you may be willing to accept and what the defendant is willing to pay to settle the case meet somewhere in the middle. This will be easier if the defendant is proven to be fully liable for your motorcycle accident. But all this will depend on what injuries you suffered and how this has affected your normal life, as well as any property damages. Where your damages may exceed the defendant’s insurance coverage limit, you may not get your verdict amount. However, your lawyer can advise you on whether to accept a settlement amount equal to the defendant’s insurance coverage limit. Your lawyer is better positioned to advise on how much your case may be worth with regard to the cases previously handled either through settlement negotiation or lawsuit depending on your jurisdiction.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Personal Injury

Common Types of Personal Injury Cases

Personal injury law allows an injured person to file a lawsuit in court to legally recover for all losses they suffered due to an accident or incident. This provision permits the injured person to receive financial compensation for their losses in a bid to ‘make whole’ the individual after suffering harm or loss due to the negligent or intentional actions of another. This article will discuss some common types of personal injury cases. Several situations can be remedied by way of a personal injury claim. However, it is essential to note that one’s suffering an injury does not automatically lead to legal liability. For example, some of the most common forms of personal injury cases include the following: Car accidents – Most personal injury cases in the United States are from car accident claims. In most cases, when a car accident occurs it is because one of the drivers failed to follow the road rules or was not driving as carefully as they ought to have been. As a result, a careless or negligent driver can be held responsible for injuries from the car accident. Medical malpractice – these are legal actions that arise when a health care professional (doctor, nurse, specialist, etc.) provides a treatment below the medical standard of care. The patient suffers injuries as a result. Medical malpractice cases are one of the most complicated forms of personal injury and thus require plaintiffs to enlist an experienced, professional personal injury attorney in Bakersfield CA. Medical malpractice attorneys can determine if you have a valid medical malpractice case or if your injury is simply a bad outcome, but still within the standard of care. All medical procedures are not successful. Slip and fall cases – slip and fall claims make up some of the most common claims in personal injury cases. These claims arise when an individual is injured as a result of a property owner’s negligence. Property owners have the legal duty to ensure their premises are reasonably safe and hazard-free. Depending on the situation and state, the property owner has specific legal responsibilities to fulfill. Not all injuries that happen on the property lead to legal liability. An injured person must prove that the owner was negligent. Wrongful death cases – wrongful death claims arise when a person dies due to someone else’s legal fault. Wrongful death claims include all fatal accidents, for example, vehicle accidents, medical malpractice, products liability, etc. The claim is brought on behalf of the surviving spouse, children or dependents of the deceased. Wrongful death claims are based on the theory of negligence, where a person failed to act reasonably under the circumstances or acted intentionally. Construction accident cases – These are claims that involve injuries sustained on a commercial property during construction due to the negligence of the property owner or third parties. There are usually a number of subcontractors at a construction site, and any on of them can be sued for negligence if it causes a worker to become injured. Keep in mind if your own employer is negligent, you can usually not sue them because of the worker’s compensation laws. As noted previously, personal injury law is a provision to ‘make one whole’ [Make One Whole | Wex | US Law | LII / Legal Information Institute (cornell.edu)], i.e., the individual who was a victim of negligent acts by means of financial compensation. For legal advice and representation, contact a law firm of renowned professionals specializing in personal injury matters.

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | Personal Injury Attorneys

What’s the Average Personal Injury Settlement Amount?

If you are injured in an accident and considering a personal injury lawsuit, there is usually one “first” question. How do I know what my injury case is worth? How much money might I get? What is the average amount that someone in a personal injury suit gets? Well, the answer is simple. There is none. Like most things with the law, a personal injury claim’s outcome relies heavily on the circumstances that created it. Most personal injury cases, especially those based on negligence, have so many different factors that stating a random number would be inappropriate Instead, it is better to look at the different aspects of these cases that can affect the average personal injury settlement amount. Injury Type and Severity This factor seems logical. The more serious a claimant’s injuries are, the more they are likely to get in a settlement. After all, the medical bills for a broken back are going to be much higher than the bills for a cut finger. The more medical care you need due to the accident, the more compensation you are likely to receive in a settlement offer. There is another issue to consider as well. If your injuries will require future treatment like physical therapy or surgery, you are certainly entitled to ask for a reasonable amount to cover these expenses. The issue here tends to be how do you come up with and prove those future costs. Sometimes the best way is for the plaintiff to hire an expert for a professional analysis of your case. This is why an injured person should seek the help of an experienced personal injury attorney before considering or accepting any settlement. Personal Injury Damage Caps Another issue that may crop up is the question of pain and suffering damages. In addition to proving the damages, a claimant should consider the laws in their state. Every state has a different approach on how to calculate pain and suffering, and several place a concrete limit on non-economic damages. Non-economic damages fall into a more subjective damage category than economic damages and include psychological and emotional pain, loss of enjoyment of life or certain activities, and pain and suffering. Eleven states cap non-economic damages for personal injury claims, and six states limit both economic and non-economic compensation. This can affect how you approach settlement negotiation. If the defendant’s insurance or legal team offers an amount close to a potential damage cap, you may be advised to accept it. On the other hand, if you receive a low-ball offer in a state with higher or no caps, harder negotiations or even trial may be the better choice. Negotiation and the Importance of Having an Attorney No matter what situation or state you are in, one of biggest difference makers in a personal injury settlement is proper legal help. Statistics suggest that those injured in auto accidents that hire attorneys receive around three and a half times more in personal injury settlement compensation than victims who don’t. Additionally, the numbers show that in 85% of injury claims resolved by settlement, the claimant had hired an attorney. A good personal injury lawyer knows more than just the law. They also know how to properly calculate your damages and what evidence you need to back up your claim. In addition, they recognize the tactics and tricks insurance companies use to settle claims quickly and cheaply and will do their best to make sure you’re not being cheated. And lastly, a good personal injury lawyer’s job is to be your advocate and adviser throughout the process, including negotiation, settlement, and even trial if necessary. A good personal injury lawyer knows more than just the law. They also know how to properly calculate your damages and what evidence you need to back up your claim. In addition, they recognize the tactics and tricks insurance companies use to settle claims quickly and cheaply and will do their best to make sure you’re not being cheated. And lastly, a good personal injury lawyer’s job is to be your advocate and adviser throughout the process, including negotiation, settlement, and even trial if necessary. Injured in an Accident? Call Young Wooldridge, LLP, Today! If you are wondering what’s the possible value of my personal injury settlement, after an accident, it’s time to ask the professionals. When you are injured in a car wreck or other accident due to the negligent actions of another, the team at Young Wooldridge is here to help you. Our firm is a Bakersfield institution, and we have served its residents and Kern county for over 80 years. We offer a free consultation for personal injury cases, so call us at 661-327-9661 or fill out our online contact form to schedule an appointment with a member of our team today. Let us fight for your rights and get you on the road to physical and financial recovery.

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| Read Time: 4 minutes | Personal Injury Attorneys

Do I Need A Lawyer for a Slip And Fall Case?

Slip and falls are some of the most common accidents people endure. Fortunately, not every slip and fall case leads to injuries. If you fell on someone else’s property and suffered a severe injury, you might ask yourself, Do I need a lawyer for a slip and fall case? The best way to know if you have a slip and fall case is to ask an experienced California personal injury lawyer about your rights. Talking to a knowledgeable lawyer for a slip and fall claim from Young Wooldridge, LLP, could help you understand all your legal options and devise a successful case strategy so you can recover your financial losses as well as pain and suffering. Why You Need a Lawyer for a Slip and Fall Case in California People might hold a misconception that slip and fall liability is obvious. If recovering damages for a slip and fall claim were that easy, no one would need a lawyer for slip and fall cases. A seasoned California slip and fall lawyer will fight to prove that you fell and injured yourself due to another person’s negligence. Filing a claim for a slip and fall injury means that you have to prove under California law that: The premises owner or occupier knew, or should have known, about a dangerous condition on the premises; The person in control of the premises failed to repair or warn others about the dangerous condition; and The failure of duty on behalf of the person in control over the premises led to the victim’s injuries. Having a dedicated California personal injury attorney represent you in your slip and fall case is essential to hold all parties liable who caused you to fall. Filing a claim for a slip and fall injury without a qualified slip and fall lawyer on your side could severely jeopardize your chances to recover fair and just compensation for your injuries. Dangerous Conditions that Lead to Falls Dangerous conditions are everywhere. As a result, we represent individuals who have fallen and sustained severe injuries from hazardous conditions such as: Food and liquid spills; Damaged sidewalks; Debris; Potholes; Loose or poorly maintained carpeting; Plumbing failures; Broken, dilapidated, or missing handrails; Floors that are broken or in disrepair; Furniture that is broken; and Unguarded construction site holes. We expect that people who own or control property will protect visitors against injuries from these dangerous conditions. If not, we will aggressively pursue all legal options to maximize your financial recovery. Slip and Fall Defenses Slip and fall cases are one of the most hotly contested personal injury actions in California. Insurance companies contest slip and fall claims on two grounds. First, the insurance defense attorneys for property owners often argue that the landowner did not notice the dangerous condition or is not legally liable for the victim’s fall. Second, the insurance companies attack the victim and blame them for their injuries. Denying Liability A landowner is liable for a slip and fall injury only if they failed to make their premises reasonably safe. They do not have to guarantee no one will get hurt. Additionally, the property owner must have reasonable notice of the defective condition. In other words, they are not liable for a defective condition that arose only a short time before you fell. Issuing warnings can protect the landowner from liability. A landowner cannot allow a hazardous condition to exist permanently on their property. However, they could warn people about the dangerous condition until they make the necessary repairs. Blaming the Victim If you ask yourself, Do I need a lawyer for a slip and fall case? you should consider the insurance companies’ common defense tactics before deciding to try to represent yourself. Insurance companies aggressively defend their bottom line by blaming the victim. Insurance defense lawyers often blame the victim for getting hurt by arguing that the fall was the victim’s fault. The landowner might not be liable if the dangerous condition was open and obvious and you did not take adequate precautions to prevent yourself from falling. Insurance companies will also scrutinize your injuries and look for ways to reduce liability. Insurance companies often argue that a victim’s injuries were not as severe as the victim claimed or were actually old injuries. Possible Damages in a Slip and Fall Case If you wonder, Do I have a slip and fall case? you should consider your legal damages. Damage claims depend on the particular case. Generally, a slip and fall victim may recover financial compensation for: Medical losses, Future medical expenses, Lost salary or wages, Lost future earning capacity, Out-of-pocket expenses, Pain and suffering, and Punitive damages, if appropriate. Punitive damages are available for reckless or intentional conduct by the landowner. Simple negligence forms the basis for most slip and fall claims. Limited Time to File a Damage Claim If you are considering filing a claim for a slip and fall accident, you must understand the time limitations under California law. California has a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims. Therefore, you must file your case in court on or before the second anniversary of your fall. You will most likely lose out on your chance to recover your losses if you miss that deadline. Expert Legal Advice for Your Slip and Fall Case Young Wooldridge, LLP’s lawyers for slip and fall cases, have the expertise you need to recover fair and just compensation for your injuries. For over 80 years, Young Wooldridge, LLP, has delivered high-quality personal injury advocacy for their clients. You can rely on Young Wooldridge, LLP’s slip and fall personal injury lawyers to fight for you and your family. Call Young Wooldridge, LLP, today at 661-327-9661 to talk with a California slip and fall lawyer who can help you answer the question, Do I need a lawyer for a slip and fall case?

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | Personal Injury Attorneys

Steps to Take After an 18-Wheeler Truck Accident

Sharing the road with 18-wheelers is a hair-raising experience. We trust the professionals behind the wheel of a semi-truck to drive safely. Still, we grab the steering wheel with white knuckles and pray that truckers will do their job correctly to avoid an 18-wheeler truck accident. When riding alongside a semi-truck in a standard passenger car, you immediately understand why federal and state governments passed strict safety regulations concerning commercial motor vehicles. A semi-trailer, without the cab, can be 53 feet long and weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. Comparatively, the average weight of a passenger car in the United States is slightly over 4,000 pounds. A semi-truck crash with another auto weighing much less can be devastating for the people in the smaller vehicle. If you or a loved one was hit by an 18-wheeler, you have legal rights. Contact a personal injury firm with a track record of success in truck accident claims, like Young Wooldridge, LLP, for help with your 18-wheeler truck accident claim. Our dedicated and experienced personal injury trial lawyers will fight for your rights and help you win just compensation for your 18-wheeler truck accident. Steps You Should Take to Protect Your Rights After an 18-Wheeler Accident The steps you need to take to protect your rights after a truck accident depend on the collision circumstances. However, we suggest that you follow as many of the following suggestions as you can to protect yourself and your family. Call for Help Call 911 immediately if you are able. If not, ask someone else to contact the police. You should give out enough information to inform the dispatcher of the accident’s location. You should also indicate if anyone needs medical help. Avoid saying any more than that. The police will arrive as fast as possible and begin to investigate. They will figure out what happened. Ask for Medical Assistance Semi-truck accidents are often devastating, and injuries are practically inevitable. Take care of yourself and anyone else with you in your car that is hurt. You must seek treatment for any injuries that you suffer in an 18-wheeler truck accident, even if you think you are not hurt badly. Some severe injuries might not surface right away, like muscle injuries or even fractures, because adrenaline masks the pain. You might experience only a dull ache at first. Seek medical attention to prevent further damage. Seeking medical assistance at the 18-wheeler accident scene or shortly after helps protect your legal rights. Insurance adjusters might deny your claim or discredit the severity of your injury if you wait too long after you were hit by an 18-wheeler to see a doctor. Preserve Information from the Accident Scene You might not have a chance to take photos or exchange insurance information at the accident scene if you suffered an injury. You should take photographs, identify witnesses, and obtain the truck driver’s information. Ask someone to do this for you if injuries prevent you from doing so yourself. The investigating law enforcement officers will document the scene so they can write a crash report. The officer might take photos of the scene. They will collect drivers’ identification, registration, license, and insurance information. They will interview witnesses too. We know how to get copies of the police reports and any pictures they took. If the police do not respond to the accident for some reason, you should collect this information yourself. Capture as many details as possible. You should ask for the witnesses’ contact information. We will speak to them during our investigation. You should also note the location of any businesses in the area of the semi-truck crash. These businesses might have surveillance cameras that captured the collision. We need to work quickly so that we can preserve surveillance video and use it to help strengthen your case. Avoid Talking to the Trucking Company’s Insurance Company You should limit the number of people you talk to about the crash after a truck accident. Any statement you give, especially to insurance companies, is another piece of evidence that they could use against you. Insurance companies representing the trucking industry will investigate your 18-wheeler truck accident and look for all possible avenues to limit your financial award. They will record your statement and use it to discredit you if you say something inconsistent later on. They will also use your words to open their investigation into the accident. You give them a head start if you talk with them. If an insurance adjuster contacts you about your 18-wheeler accident, you should politely but firmly refer them to your attorneys. Contact a Truck Accident Lawyer for Help Seek representation right away from experienced and dedicated truck accident lawyers if you or a loved one sustained injuries in an 18-wheeler truck accident. At Young Wooldridge, LLP, we use our client-centered approach to help you receive fair and just compensation for your injuries. Our personal injury attorneys offer free consultations and case analysis. Remember that the time you have to file a claim is short. Call Young Wooldridge, LLP, today at 661-327-9661 to protect your rights.

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| Read Time: 4 minutes | Personal Injury Attorney

Wrongful Death in California—Who Can File a Lawsuit?

Unexpectedly losing a family member is a traumatic event. When a loved one dies due to another person’s negligence, sadness may turn into anger. Understandably, you want to hold the responsible party accountable for your family’s loss. While no amount of money can bring a loved one back, a wrongful death lawsuit could ease some of your family’s financial burden. Only certain family members are eligible to bring a claim, so you may be wondering, Who can file a wrongful death lawsuit? Who Can File for Wrongful Death in California? At Young Wooldridge, LLP, our California wrongful death attorneys can help you determine whether you qualify to bring a claim. Those eligible parties who can file for wrongful death include: The surviving spouse; The surviving domestic partner; and Any surviving children and grandchildren. If there are no surviving family members who fall under one of these categories, then the eligibility transfers to someone who has a legal right under California law to inherit property from the deceased. Examples of eligible people could be the deceased’s siblings or parents, depending on who is still alive. Someone who is not related to the deceased or was not dependent on the deceased for services and support is not eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit. An adult child cannot file if the deceased has a surviving spouse. Parents of an adult child cannot file if the deceased has a surviving spouse or minor children. What Can Cause Wrongful Death? Wrongful death claims arise from a wide variety of accidents and other incidents. Some of the most common causes of wrongful deaths we represent clients for result from: Car accidents, Truck accidents, Pedestrian accidents, Motorcycle accidents, Medical malpractice, Defective products, Workplace accidents, Nursing home abuse, Negligent security, Premises accidents, and Criminal acts. Even if your loved one’s death was caused by something not on this list, you may benefit from consulting with a lawyer. Any circumstances where one or more parties contributed to another person’s death through negligence, recklessness, or intentional actions could be the basis for a wrongful death suit. How Long Do I Have to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit? You have only a limited amount of time to file a wrongful death lawsuit in California. In most cases, the deadline is two years from the date of death. However, there are some circumstances that may extend the statute of limitation. It is always a good idea to speak with a lawyer about a potential wrongful death claim, even if you think the deadline may have passed. What Is the Wrongful Death Lawsuit Process? If you determine you’re eligible to file a suit and there is a valid cause of action for wrongful death, you should start meeting with wrongful death lawyers. Once you retain an attorney, they will begin an independent investigation and determine your potential case value. When your case is ready, your attorney will file a formal complaint on your behalf. During the pre-trial process, your attorney will continue to negotiate with the defendants in hopes of settling the case without going to trial. If you cannot reach a satisfactory settlement with the at-fault party, then your attorney will continue to prepare your case for trial. You may be called to give a deposition or participate in mediation or arbitration. Do You Need a Lawyer for a Wrongful Death Lawsuit? Filing a wrongful death claim can be a complicated process. If you make any mistakes, it could ultimately jeopardize your case. Also, many wrongful death claims end up in litigation. You will definitely want an experienced trial attorney representing you throughout the litigation phase. It’s better to hire an attorney right from the start so they can be involved in gathering evidence and building a strong case early on. How Does Hiring a Lawyer Help Your Wrongful Death Case? Before you decide to pursue a claim on your own, it’s helpful to understand how an attorney can help. If you are ready to pursue a wrongful death claim, here are some of the tasks an attorney can assist with: Thoroughly explain the wrongful death claims process in California and advise what your legal options are; Help you identify all possible plaintiffs; Identify all possible defendants and potential insurance coverage; Handle all negotiations with the defendants and attempt to reach a fair settlement before filing a wrongful death lawsuit; Represent you throughout the entire legal process, including litigation; Ensure no filing or court deadlines are missed and that your case is filed in the proper jurisdiction and venue; Oversee collecting your settlement or jury award; and Represent you if either you or the defendant decide to appeal the court’s decision.  Wrongful death lawsuits can take considerable time to resolve. An attorney can make sure you have a strong case for trial. If your case could benefit from hiring specific experts, they will advance the legal fees to get them involved in your case.   Hiring the Right Lawyer for Your Needs Retaining the right attorney for a wrongful death case is crucial. Because these cases are typically complicated and may wind up resolving through a jury trial, you need a skilled California wrongful death attorney who has the experience and resources to build a strong case. If you lost a family member due to someone else’s negligence, contact Young Wooldridge, LLP, to schedule an initial consultation. We have decades of combined experience representing clients for all their personal injury needs, including wrongful death claims. Call our office today, and let us help you get justice for your loved one.

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