In the city of Los Angeles, accidents that are considered personal injury claims happen every day.
It is unfortunate, but oftentimes a personal injury accident will result in a victim having severe injuries, or they may even result in a person’s death.
Because of the complexity of personal injury cases, a highly skilled personal injury lawyer in Los Angeles needs to be very aware and up to date in the intricate ins and outs of California law and have a strong track record for knowing how to negotiate successful financial compensation settlements for their clients.
Los Angeles personal injury lawyers also need to be well-skilled when it comes to winning verdicts in court for the clients that are counting on them.
Fortunately, Los Angeles (and Southern California in general) are full of personal injury lawyers, and many are experienced in a wide variety of different types of personal injury law.
The Downside to Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyers
That said, there is also a potential downside to this.
Because there are so many lawyers and law firms practicing personal injury law in Los Angeles, it can sometimes be difficult to find the right one for your case.
Like all of us, personal injury lawyers are extremely busy, and – even though one might tell you that your personal injury case is going to be a high priority for them – their limited time may mean that they may have overextended themselves and may be promising you something that just simply isn’t true.
Even more challenging can sometimes be finding the personal injury attorney who can really help you understand what it’s going to take for you to be able to effectively win your case.
The reason for this is this…
Though most personal injury attorneys have seen their fair share of different types of personal injury law cases, it’s not uncommon for a personal injury attorney to start specializing in one type of personal injury claim over the others.
Here’s a good example of this:
Let’s say that you seek out the counsel of a personal injury attorney that you’ve heard good things about. He is known for getting positive financial results for his clients and he’s more than happy to take you on as a client. Granted, it takes his law firm a long time to return your phone calls, and no one can seem to remember your name, but you still trust that this attorney is going to do a good job for you.
Then, you show up to his office for a free consultation only to find out he’s stuck in court and no one took the time to let you know before you drove cross town to meet with him.
Worse, while you are at his office, you find out that this personal injury attorney specializes in medical malpractice cases and rarely takes on any other types of personal injury lawsuits.
When you explain (again!) that your case involves a car accident, the attorney’s assistant explains that – though the attorney would still be happy to take your case, he’s currently pretty backed up, and may not be able to start working on your case for a few weeks, after the big trial he is in wraps up.
This whole scenario is going to end up being extremely frustrating for you, not to mention a huge waste of your valuable time.
It would have been nice if you had known ahead of time how busy this attorney was, and that he had a special type of personal injury law that he tends to focus on.
So…how can you avoid a scenario like the one above from happening to you?
1. Know if Your Situation Counts as a Personal Injury Case
Before doing anything else, it’s a good idea to understand a little bit about personal injury law and whether or not the accident that you were a victim of counts as a personal injury case.
Personal injury law is defined as any injury that happens to a person’s body, their emotions, or their reputation because of the negligence, carelessness, or intentional misconduct by another person or group of people.
There are three main grounds on which you can claim that someone is responsible for a personal injury lawsuit.
The first, and most common one, is negligence.
This is when another person has failed to behave with the level of care or concern that would have been normal and is known and expected in the given situation.
A good example of personal injury negligence would be when your neighbor decides to walk his dog without a leash, even though there are very clear leash laws in your community.
In a situation like this one, your neighbor is being negligent and risking harming others by allowing his dog to walk off-leash.
The second grounds for a personal injury case is considered to be liability.
Liability is grounds for a personal injury lawsuit to be filed because it states that a person (or organization) is responsible for something that has happened, regardless of whether or not they intended for the action to happen.
A good example of grounds for a personal injury lawsuit based on liability is when someone is seriously injured, or even killed, because of a defective product that they used.
In this type of situation, the manufacturer could very easily be held responsible for the victim’s injuries or death (referred to as wrongful death cases) even though they weren’t intending to hurt anyone, nor did they realize that their product could actually hurt someone.
Finally, a third reason why a victim would have grounds to file a personal injury claim would be if there has been an intentional act of violence, assault, or wrongdoing on another person’s part.
Personal injury cases that would be considered under these types of grounds would be anything that involves trespassing on a person’s private property, an assault on a person’s physical body, or even cases where it can be shown that someone was intentionally bringing emotional distress to another person.
Knowing these simple facts about personal injury lawsuits is going to help you decide if it’s time to reach out to an attorney to get your questions answered.
2. Make Your Case as Strong as You Can
Once you’ve determined that you definitely believe you have grounds for a personal injury case, the next thing to do is gather all the information you need to make your case as strong as you can.
This doesn’t mean that you have to go interview witnesses or gather police reports by yourself.
Once you hire the law firm you feel can best represent your case, they can help you gather all the necessary information you will need to win.
What you should try and do, however, is gather together the information you do have before you speak to the attorney of your choice.
A good law firm will offer you a free consultation after your initial phone call to inquire about their services. At this initial meeting, the more information you have to share with your potential attorney, the better he or she can begin to understand the details of your case.
It also will give him or her a chance to tell you whether they think they will be the best lawyer to represent you through a financially satisfying settlement, or in a court of law.
There is also certain protocol you should try and follow immediately after your accident happens, that will help a good personal injury lawyer make a better case for you and help you get the financial compensation that you need and deserve.
Here are some of the things you should try and have handy and that you should do before you show up for that initial free consultation with your potential attorney:
First and foremost, cooperate with any law enforcement that shows up on the scene.
Make sure you abide by any demands they make and listen to their instructions carefully, especially while you are still at the scene. Try to secure a copy of the police report. (Your attorney can always do this for you later, but if you can provide it at your initial free consultation, it will be helpful.)
As quickly as possible, seek the immediate medical attention that you need, and make sure to gather any medical bills, medical records, or other information you may receive at that first visit.
(Oftentimes, injury victims find it to be a good idea to take someone with them to that first medical visit just to ensure they don’t miss anything that is done or said. Even good medical records don’t always record everything you may need during your case.)
After you seek medical treatment, make sure you do exactly what your physician or healthcare providers tell you to do.
This could be very important to your case later down the road. If you don’t understand something, make sure you ask for clarification.
Try to refrain from talking to your insurance company or the other party’s insurance company until you have hired an attorney. You are not obligated to talk to either insurance group and if they tell you otherwise, consult with an attorney as soon as possible.
DO NOT be tempted to post about your accident or situation on social media. The less you say in these initial days, the better.
Clients are sometimes surprised to hear this, but an insurance company will search your social media accounts to see what they can potentially use against you later to deny your claims or reduce your compensation.
Whether they are representing the defendants in car accidents, defendants in pedestrian accidents, or anything in between, insurance companies can be brutal when it comes to trying to deny any sort of compensation to the victims in injury cases of all sorts.
As much as you believe you have a right to justice and financial compensation for the injuries and trauma you’ve suffered, insurance companies feel much differently.
The less information you can give them, the better.
3. Research and seek out the advice and counsel of a good and experienced personal injury attorney as soon as you are able.
After a difficult accident or incident, it may be challenging to find the time to be looking for a good attorney.
You are probably dealing with medical visits, medical bills, and family obligations and perhaps still trying to work through all of this.
Beginning the arduous process of looking for legal representation right now may just seem overwhelming and more than you can bear.
This is understandable, and part of the reason that – in the state of California – there is a law called the statute of limitations.
The Statute of Limitations is one of the California personal injury laws that is established to allow the victim of a personal injury accident the needed time before they decide to file a personal injury case.
Many states have a similar law, but each state sets its own parameters around it.
In California, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim is two years from the day your accident happened.
(There are a few exceptions to this that your attorney can explain in more detail if they may apply to you. But, for most cases, 2 years is the statute.)
Two years may sound like a lengthy amount of time, but it really isn’t.
For anyone who has experienced the trauma that a personal injury brings, you know there will be an enormous amount of physical, mental, and financial needs that are going to have to be dealt with in the days, weeks, and even months after the accident took place.
Not only that, but remember — the statute of limitations will run out after two years from the time your accident occurred.
This means that you’ll need to already have chosen an attorney and begun the process of having that personal injury law firm begin all the work to file way before those two years begin to approach.
In Los Angeles, the court system does not always operate as smoothly as we would like it to, so it’s best to err on the side of caution and give your personal injury law firm plenty of time to prepare your paperwork to be submitted to the courts to begin the process.
Because of this, a period of two years can pass quickly, so you don’t want to wait too long before you decide to begin your search for the best personal injury lawyers for you and your case.
In Southern California, personal injury victims need to act fast after serious injury, whether it has involved a car accident, medical malpractice, a workplace accident, or even something that seems minor, like minimal property damage.
These are three ways that you can ensure that you find the right personal injury lawyer for your situation and that you provide them with the best information you can to strengthen your case.
I’ve Gathered My Information and Done My Research…Now, What’s Next?
Once you’ve spent some time learning a bit more about personal injury law and figuring out what you can do to best help your case, it’s time to contact an accident lawyer to help you walk through the next steps.
Remember, any reputable personal injury lawyer will offer you a free consultation and will make the time for you as you deem necessary.
Any personal injury law firms that can’t offer you these two things from the very beginning should send red flags your way.
Once you find the personal injury attorney that can offer you these things, spend as much time as you need getting to know them.
Ask the questions that are important to you and make sure you get the answers you need.
Any personal injury attorneys that make you feel as if your questions aren’t relevant – or even that they are unnecessary – are not going to be a good fit for you.
These types of personal injury attorneys won’t be able or willing to make you the priority you deserve to be, nor will they be able to fight to get you the maximum compensation you deserve.
Finally, once you find a Los Angeles personal injury law firm that you think is a good fit for you, make sure you ask for references and how they will charge you for their services.
Get as much information as you can upfront.
Remember…your case should be important to your personal injury lawyer.
But it is most important to you.
Don’t let anyone make you feel like it shouldn’t be.
Consider the Law Firm of John J. Perlstein for your Personal Injury Needs
For over 25 years, the lawPerlstein of John J. Perstein have been advocating for and protecting victims of injury accidents in Los Angeles and the surrounding area.
As a firm that understands California law and stays on top of any changes to our current laws, we can help you navigate through your lawsuit.
Whether your tragic situation involved a dog bite, a car accident, a work injury, or even a wrongful death, we are here for you.
We will start by inviting you to a free consultation, at which time we will ask you for more details of your case and will gladly respond to the many questions you most likely still have surrounding it.
(And… in all injury cases, our attorneys can come to you!)
Also, know this:
Our personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, which means you won’t pay your personal injury lawyer until you get paid by the insurance company first.
There is no doubt that Los Angeles personal injury law can be complex.
Luckily, the lawyers at John J. Perlstein have the years of experience, the judicial relationships and the experienced attorneys to be able to understand and decipher your case in a way that we can win and get you the outcome you are looking for.
When you are ready to start your search for the best Los Angeles personal injury law firm, please give the offices of John J. Perlstein a call today.
You know you need an excellent Los Angeles personal injury attorney by your side to get you the maximum compensation you need and deserve.
Are you ready to talk to the best personal injury lawyers in Southern California?
We are ready to talk with you.