Sadly, children, the elderly, and persons with disabilities are the populations most susceptible to personal injuries. Even worse, their personal injury cases are often not taken seriously due to bias and misconceptions.
It is important that these individuals understand their rights when it comes to dog bites, motorcycle accidents, and all other types of personal injury and wrongful death cases. Los Angeles personal injury lawyers are highly skilled in handling these cases. They actively work with the insurance company to protect victims from exploitation. And in wrongful death cases, a Los Angeles wrongful death attorney will provide loved ones with the justice they deserve.
Understanding your rights as a victim or loved one of a victim will increase your chances of a successful outcome. Read the guide below outlined by our Los Angeles personal injury law firm. For individual questions pertaining to your case, please call us at (213) 252-1070.
Potential Issues with Personal Injury Cases
While each personal injury claim differs, there are some broader underlying trends that can impact the elderly and persons with disabilities. It is important to work with a Los Angeles injury attorney to discuss any biases or expected complications in your case.
A major defense used against individuals making a personal injury claim is the concept of pre-existing conditions.
Imagine a 90-year-old individual slips on a wet floor at the grocery store due to a lack of signage. The individual was healthy, but in this accident, injures their back. They now require a cane and physical therapy–both of which are expenses in addition to their medical bills.
Now imagine that same scenario with a 20-year-old individual. Age is the only difference between the two cases, however, the 20-year-old will likely receive a higher compensation. Often, insurance companies will try to blame injuries on the assumption of an individual’s pre-existing injuries to lessen the compensation awarded. The 90-year-old individual had no pre-existing back pain, though, it is probable that many of their peers might. Thus, it is easier for opposing parties to scratch the case.
This concept is also common in persons with disabilities. The opposing party may draw upon one’s medical conditions to diminish the role of the accident itself.
An experienced Los Angeles injury attorney will draw upon medical records and expert insight. In doing so, they will prove that any underlying conditions were not relevant to the case. Note, it is important to be upfront and honest with your lawyer to ensure they can mitigate any opposition.
Similarly, the opposing party may lessen the compensation based on an assumption of less damages. Younger individuals will have a longer life expectancy ahead than the elderly so their pain and suffering calculations are typically higher. A younger person is simply likely to have complications for a more significant percentage of their life.
A younger victim’s compensation can also account for loss of wage. Depending on the case, elderly individuals may be retired or close to retirement. This means they are not losing as much wage from their injury. Meanwhile, a 20-year-old’s paralysis can cost them 40+ years of wages.
The ideology may also apply to cases involving persons with disabilities. This is especially prevalent if their pre-existing conditions already hinder them from working.
Personal injury attorneys in Los Angeles, California, and the surrounding regions are well-versed in these cases. Thus, they will argue for maximum compensation applicable to the circumstances.
Because personal injury matters are intense, self-representation is not ideal. This is why our injury lawyers in Los Angeles practice on contingency, to ensure you do not pay unless you win!
Enter the Eggshell Skull Doctrine
Luckily, there are some legal protections in place to protect these populations, one being the eggshell skull doctrine. In California and many other jurisdictions, the court will uphold this ruling to protect vulnerable victims.
Under the eggshell skull doctrine, liable parties are responsible for their negligence towards vulnerable populations. Even if the victim is more susceptible to injuries than the average individual, they can sue for damages. So, what does that mean?
Let’s say an individual with osteogenesis imperfecta (also known as “brittle bones disease”) is rear-ended by a distracted driver. In this accident, they break several bones. Note that in this scenario the average individual would not have experienced comparable injuries due to the extent of the crash.
Even though the individual was predisposed to these types of injuries, the driver will still be liable. This is because the driver acted negligently and contributed to injuries that otherwise would not have occurred.
Using the same example, say the victim fatally died from injuries endured in the accident. A Los Angeles wrongful death attorney would use the same doctrine to hold the driver responsible. In other words, the driver’s negligence contributed to the wrongful death. If successful in their claim, a Los Angeles wrongful death attorney can get compensation for the victim’s loved ones.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Unfortunately, wrongful death claims can also be subject to bias or blame. It is advisable to work with a Los Angeles wrongful death lawyer to strengthen your case.
The first step in filing a wrongful death claim is to make sure you do so within the statute of limitations. Once filed, wrongful death lawyers in Los Angeles will work tirelessly to prove your loved ones’ innocence. In filing a wrongful death claim, you can potentially receive compensation for:
- funeral expenses
- medical expenses
- loss of companionship
- loss of financial support, if relevant
Again, insurance companies will often undermine wrongful death cases involving the elderly or persons with disabilities. However, with the right legal representation, you can successfully receive justice and closure.
Personal Injury Attorneys in Los Angeles, CA
Personal injury accidents can be traumatic, especially for more vulnerable populations. It is unfair for these victims to suffer from blame or exploitation because of another’s ignorance. Our Los Angeles personal injury law firm is dedicated to serving justice to all individuals and will stop at no cost.
John Perlstein is among the most elite Los Angeles personal injury lawyers. In his 25-year career, he has taken more cases to trial than any of his peers. John employs a personalized and sympathetic approach in the most sensitive of situations, leaving clients with peace of mind.
We understand that insurance companies and other opposing parties can have selfish agendas. But, that does not mean your case won’t stand a chance. Contact us today for a free consultation with a Los Angeles personal injury and wrongful death attorney.