The most important thing to do if you are injured is to seek immediate medical help. Only after you are treated and safe should you begin to think about hiring an attorney to handle you claim.
The Law Offices of Edward Misleh, APC is a Sacramento law firm, located in Sacramento, California that practices personal injury law. We represent clients in Sacramento, California and clients in Northern California with services they need and deserve when addressing injuries suffered from an auto accident or slip and fall due to another party’s negligence. Call now our Lawyer Hotline. We offer a free consultation and no upfront fees. We get paid only when we settle your case. Call now 916-443-1267 for your free consultation.
Your Personal Injury Claim
Your personal injury claim can be affected by the evidence you have for your potential lawsuit. There are a number of steps that you can take that will help you, and your attorney, in a lawsuit for your personal injury claim.
- Take pictures – of the area, vehicles, the parties, and any injuries.
- Contact law enforcement – explain what happened and, in detail, what caused your injury. You will later have to request a report.
- Contact medical staff – seek medical treatment and explain to medical staff what happened and what caused your injuries. This will be recorded in your medical records.
- Notify the landowner or business owner – inform the property or business owner about the accident and get the names of anyone you talk to.
- Write down what happened – this includes writing about what you were doing immediate before the accident, the accident itself, and what you did after the accident.
- Keep all medical bills, hospital visits memos, and work or wage documents.
Compensation for Special Damages
Your personal injury claim is made up, in part, of special damages. This is the damages you suffered for making the following payments:
- Medical care and doctor’s bills.
- Lost time at work time taken for treatment.
- Travel to and from hospitals, doctors and therapy.
- Educational loss.
- Vacation or recreation loss.
Compensation for General Damages
Another part of your personal injury claim are the damages which are not precise. They are:
- Pain and suffering.
- Permanent physical disability or disfigurement.
- Loss of family and social interaction.
- Emotional damages, such as stress, embarrassment, depression, or strains on family relationships (your inability to care for your children, anxiety over the effects of an accident on an unborn child, or interference with sexual relations, and damaged property).
And since there is no precise way to put a dollar figure some of your other injuries, insurance companies have come-up with a damages formula which they often use.
The Damage Formula
The insurance company adjuster begins negotiating your personal injury claim by determining a “base figure.” The base figure is the total of all special damages plus the total of all general damages. Special damages are the total of all money payments related to the injury. General damages is compensation for pain, suffering, and other nonmonetary losses. General damages are determined by using a multiplier which represents the severity of the injury.
- When the injuries are relatively minor, the adjuster will multiply the base number by 1.5 or 2.
- When the injuries are particularly painful, serious, or long-lasting, the adjuster will multiply the base number by up to 5.
- Should the injuries be extreme, the adjuster may use a multiplier as great as 10.
- When the adjuster arrives at a figure, they then add to it any income lost as a result of your injuries.
Percentage of Fault
The damages formula gives you a range of how much your personal injury claim may be worth. The next step is to determine fault before you will know the actual compensation you may receive from your claim. Determining fault is also not a precise process but is arrived at by looking at the circumstances surrounding the accident and then by assigning a percentage of fault to each party involved. The percentage of fault assigned to each party is known as their comparative negligence. The percentage that you are assigned is the percentage that you claim will be reduced and the money you will receive.
The extent each person is at fault is the most important factor affecting how much the insurance company is likely to pay.
Insurance Company Tactics
The insurance company and their adjusters have been accused of delaying claims, denying claims, and then defending claims in an effort to frustrate victims. And because insurance companies routinely handle claims and have well-trained adjusters, they are skilled at what to do to defend against a personal injury claim which will effect the money you receive for your damages.
Protect Your Personal Injury Claim
To maximize the amount of recovery for your personal injury claim, you should consider the following:
- Remember that when you talk to an insurance adjuster, you are talking to an agent for the insurance company, who is trying to minimize any money you are to receive for your injuries.
- You can retain an attorney to handle your claim who will often provide legal services on a contingency basis – attorney fees are paid out of your settlement.
- You claim must be filed within a certain time limit for you to recover damages.
- You will most likely have to provide a copy of your entire medical history which may be used to argue a reduction in the amount of money you receive for your injuries.
There are times you need a lawyer, and considering that a personal injury could affect your health for the rest of your life, you should have someone there to represent your interests.
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