| 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: 2 minutes | Personal Injury Attorney

Personal Injury Lawyer │ Thanksgiving Cooking Safety

Personal Injury Lawyer │ Thanksgiving is right around the corner, which means it is time again to join loved ones for a delicious home-cooked meal.  While entertaining family and friends during the holidays can be fun, it is important that we not forget about basic kitchen safety during the festivities. According to the National Fire Protection Association, cooking fires are three times more likely on Thanksgiving Day than on any other day of the year.  In 2016, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 1,570 home cooking fires on Thanksgiving. Here are a few safety tips to follow that will minimize your risk in the kitchen and ensure that your holiday feast is prepared as smoothly – and safely! – as possible. Before Cooking Begins Start the day off by making proper attire choices. Cooks should avoid loose clothing and dangling sleeves while preparing food. Test all smoke alarms in the home and replace batteries, if necessary. Smoke alarms should be located near the kitchen, on each level of the home, and near sleeping areas. Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen. Contact a local fire department to learn about the proper use of fire extinguishers. While in the Kitchen  Check food regularly and remain in the home while cooking. Use a timer as a reminder that the stove or oven is on. Be sure to stay in the kitchen if you are frying, grilling or broiling food. If you are simmering, baking roasting or broiling food, remain in the home. Keep all flammable items away from the stove, oven, or any other appliance in the kitchen that generates heat. This includes pot holders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, and towels or even curtains. Children should stay away from the cooking area. Enforce a “kid-free” zone and have kids stay at least three feet away from the stove After You’ve Finished Always check the kitchen before going to bed or leaving the home to make sure all stoves, ovens, and small appliances are turned off. Don’t forget to include these safety tips on your Thanksgiving menu to reduce the risk of injury to you and your loved ones. If an injury occurs due to the negligence of another or a faulty product, call to schedule a free initial consultation with a Personal Injury Lawyer at Young Wooldridge, LLP. From our family to yours, we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving with your loved ones.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Personal Injury

Personal Injury Attorney | Drowsy Driving Prevention

Bakersfield Personal Injury Attorney helping drivers reduce their risk on the road when it comes to drowsy driving. Personal Injury Attorney | Drowsy drivers are a dangerous addition to America’s roads. With nearly one-quarter of American adults saying that they know someone who has fallen asleep at the wheel, it’s no wonder that drowsy driving has become an increasingly concerning issue on our nation’s roads. From 2011 to 2015, 4,121 lives were claimed due to car accidents related to drowsy driving. The National Safety Council warns against these symptoms of drowsy driving: Frequent yawning or difficulty keeping your eyes open “Nodding off” or having trouble keeping your head up Inability to remember driving the last few miles Missing road signs or turns Difficulty maintaining your speed Drifting out of your lane One staggering statistic from the American Sleep Foundation tells us that more than half of all U.S. drivers admit to consistently operating a vehicle while feeling drowsy. Drowsy driving can be hazardous to you, your passengers and other motorists around you. Driving when fatigued affects awareness and attention behind the wheel and greatly reduces the driver’s reaction time. Our team of Personal Injury Attorneys advise you to follow these safety tips to prevent drowsy driving and reduce your risk on the road.   Remember the following tips and help put an end to tragic drowsy driving accidents. If you’ve been awake for 24 hours or more, do not drive. It isn’t safe. Travel during times you are normally awake. If you feel fatigued, stop and drink something with caffeine. Make sure you are not fatigued by any medications you might be taking. If you are, use public transportation instead. On long road trips, make a pit stop every 100 miles (or every two hours) to stretch, get something to eat or drink and break up the monotony of the road. If you simply cannot shake your exhaustion, stop and nap in a safe place. Adults need seven to nine hours of sleep every night. For many of us, stress, responsibility and distractions make it hard to get this recommended amount. That means that many of us are susceptible to drowsy driving much of the time. Statistics show us that men are slightly more at risk for fatigued driving as are people between the ages of 18 and 25. Most fall asleep accidents happen at high speeds, on long road trips or rural highways. Armed with this knowledge and the above warning signs and safety tips, you can help to reduce the number of drowsy drivers on the road. If you have suffered a personal injury due to drowsy driving, contact The Personal Injury Department at Young Wooldridge, LLP. A personal injury attorney at Young Wooldridge, LLP can inform you of legal options you may not know you have.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Personal Injury

Personal Injury Lawyer | Basic School Bus Safety

An experienced Personal Injury Lawyer can inform you of your rights if your child is injured on a school bus due to negligence.  Personal Injury Lawyer | School buses are the safest form of travel for children going to school. By taking an average of 36 cars off the road per bus, school buses aren’t only decreasing car accidents for children, they’re decreasing traffic and subsequent accidents, in general. However, as with any motor vehicle, school bus accidents do occur. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, four to six school-age children die each year and about 17,000 children are treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries associated with school buses. School bus injuries can occur when children are riding the bus, getting on or off the bus, or just standing near the bus. Understandably, some parents can be apprehensive about putting their children on school buses each day. To help dissuade some of their concerns, parents can follow and talk about some recommended practical safety measures with their school-aged children before sending them off to ride the bus. To limit risk and ensure the safest ride to school for your child, teach them to practice these safety guidelines: When Riding the Bus: If seat belts are available on the bus, buckle up. Stay in your seat. Wait until the bus has come to a complete stop before exiting. Don’t yell, speak loudly or make abrupt noises that may distract the driver. Keep your hands, arms, and heads inside the bus at all times. Getting On and Off the Bus: Stand away from the street as the bus approaches. When crossing the street before boarding or after exiting, teach kids to make sure the bus driver indicates it is safe to cross. Children should always walk in front of a school bus. Teach them to look left, right and left again before crossing. Bus Stop Safety: Walk children to the bus stop and wait with them until the bus arrives. Make sure that your bus stop and the children waiting are highly visible to other neighborhood drivers. Drivers should always exercise extreme caution around school buses. Although motorists are required, by law, to stop and wait for a school bus and exiting or boarding children, more school-aged pedestrians are killed in the hour before and after school than any other time of day. Every motorist should expect that children boarding or exiting the bus are not paying attention to other vehicles as they cross the street. If you or someone you love has suffered a personal injury involving a school bus, contact the Personal Injury Department at Young Wooldridge, LLP. A personal injury lawyer at Young Wooldridge, LLP can inform you of legal options you may not know you have.

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | Personal Injury

Personal Injury Attorney | Holiday Highway Safety | Young Wooldridge, LLP

TRAVELING TO SEE FAMILY AND FRIENDS THIS SEASON? AVOID DANGEROUS HIGHWAY DISASTERS WITH THESE TIPS For many Americans, the holidays are a time to jump in the family vehicle and make the hike to visit loved ones who live far away. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, long-distance trips (more than 50 miles, one way) increase by 54% over the short Thanksgiving holiday period and by 24% through the Christmas and New Years stretch. About 91% of holiday travel is done by personal vehicle. These facts mean our nation’s major highways are more crowded than usual with travelers who may not be familiar with the roads. Concerns like inclement weather, drowsy driving, distracted driving and, the always dangerous, driving while under the influence are heightened during the holiday season. As an increased number of people crowd onto the roadways, more of these hazardous driving situations become realities. It’s no wonder that Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years consistently rank in Deadliest Holiday Lists. Before you gas up for that long drive this year, check out the list below for tips to prepare you for safe holiday travel. Never start a trip after you’ve been drinking. Get some rest and allow your body enough time to return to an alert state before getting behind the wheel for any long, or even short, periods of time. Get a good night’s sleep before a long-distance trip. Drowsy driving is one of the deadliest factors on the road. Don’t make plans to leave straight from work, early in the morning or at times you would otherwise be resting. If you become tired while driving, stop and rest or get some caffeine to wake you up. Maintain a safe distance from other vehicles. The potential for multiple car accidents increases in heavy traffic. Maintain safe speeds and distance from the vehicles around you to ensure you have time to stop or space to avoid a collision. A safe rule to stick to is one car length for every ten miles per hour you’re traveling. Don’t be a distracted driver. Distracted driving accidents now make up roughly one-quarter of all traffic accidents. With the widespread use of cell phones and other handheld devices, we are less present behind the wheel than ever before. When you are operating a vehicle, you need to be focused on one thing only: the road. Leave work emails, family texts and GPS directions for your rest breaks and gas stops. Keep your seatbelt on. It is common for drivers or their family members to unbuckle during long drives for comfort. Everyone in the vehicle should wear their seatbelts at all times while the car is in motion. It is no secret that seatbelts save lives, especially in high-speed auto crashes. Maintain your vehicle. Before your trip, take some time to ensure your vehicle’s safety. Check tire pressure, refill washer fluid and test all lights and signals. Make sure that there is nothing lose or hanging from your vehicle. If you should break down while traveling, be sure to pull as far off the road as you can or at a designated rest stop if possible. Be prepared. Map your route before you embark on your trip and be ready for crowded roads. Have emergency roadside assistance information on hand. Keep cell phones charged and handy in the event of an accident. Keep the holidays merry and bright and protect yourself and your loved ones from deadly highway accidents by staying alert and properly preparing for your trip. If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident, contact The Personal Injury Department at Young Wooldridge, LLP. A personal injury attorney at Young Wooldridge, LLP can inform you of legal options you may not know you have.

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