NOTICE

Please note that the submission of a contact form, or other use of this website, does not create an attorney-client relationship.  As a prospective client, however, communications are protected even if you do not retain our law firm.

The content and information on this website was accurate at the time written but we do not guarantee that all information herein is current.  The information is general and should not be relied on as legal advice; if you have questions, you should consult with an attorney.

We do not assume responsibility for the content of any website linked to this website and have not authorized any third-party to act as our agent in any manner.

Please feel free to share your thoughts and comments on our web page or request more information.

©2019 by Law Office of Gil Lee Arbel

P.O. Box 5404 Whitsett Ave. #118 | Valley Village, CA 91607

Tel. 818.305.LAW1 (5291) | Fax 818.925.8319

gil@arbelegal.com

OUR PHILOSOPHY

Clients have a lot of choices who they hire as their attorney and clients should expect their attorney to be competent.  What makes our law firm truly stand out is our commitment to CLIENT SERVICE

​If I undertake to represent you, I promise to ALWAYS:

  1. Respond to your questions, concerns, and requests PROMPTLY;

  2. Treat you not simply as someone to bill but as an ACTUAL HUMAN BEING who has entrusted me to represent them and advocate on their behalf; and

  3. Go ABOVE AND BEYOND what is required to advocate on your behalf.

If you've been injured in an auto accident, a personal injury attorney can help you deal with car insurance companies and ensure that you receive fair treatment in settlement negotiations.


Benefits of Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer


There are many benefits to hiring a personal injury attorney when you've been injured in a car accident, especially if your injuries are serious. Here are some of the ways hiring a personal injury lawyer can help you deal with your claim.


Experience with Car Insurance Companies


You probably do not deal with insurance companies every day. We do. We understand the process of reaching a settlement, and because we have most likely seen cases like yours, we have a good idea of the type of settlement you can expect.


We also understand how to negotiate with auto insurance companies to get you the fairest settlement possible.

 

Knowledge of the Law


An experienced personal injury lawyer knows the laws that apply to your accident. Because of this, we may see other avenues for settlement that you do not. This is especially important if the accident involved an uninsured driver.


Understanding of Accident-Related Injuries


Because we specialize in personal injury cases involving injuries caused in car accidents frequently, we can make recommendations for medical tests and care you should explore. We understand the long-term effects, if any, of your injuries. This is vitally important in deciding whether a settlement offer is a fair one.

 

Court Experience


This is essential if you must sue the auto insurance company or others to get full coverage of your medical expenses and other pain and suffering.


What to Provide a Personal Injury Attorney


The more information your attorney has about your case, the more quickly and completely you can be compensated for your medical expenses and pain and suffering.


To ensure a complete, speedy resolution to your case, make sure your lawyer has all the information and documentation he needs to pursue a settlement. That information may include:
Your vehicle, insurance, and driver's license information.
Details of the accident, including:
Date, time, location.
Weather and traffic conditions.
Information about other vehicles, drivers and passengers.
Names and contact information for witnesses and copies of any accident or incident reports filed.
Copies of traffic tickets written at the scene and information about any charges brought against drivers involved, including DUI charges.
Physician report and medical records related to the accident.
X-rays and test results related to injuries from the accident.
Information about pre-existing conditions or injuries that may have been exacerbated by the accident.
Record of expenses for ongoing medications, treatment, and therapies.
Any other expenses incurred because of the accident, including transportation costs.
Documentation of days, hours and wages lost because of the accident.
Copies of all correspondence with insurance companies related to the accident.
It may be helpful to keep a personal injury diary to note appointments, expenses, contacts with the insurance company and your general feelings and medical condition following the accident.

GOING TO THE DOCTOR(S) - -This is very important. Follow your doctor's instructions and treatment and do not stop seeing your doctor(s) until discharged from further treatment. You should return to each of your doctors as often as necessary and should always tell them about all your complaints. You should neither minimize nor exaggerate your ailments to your doctors. A doctor must know these things to properly treat you. If you plan to see any additional doctors, please advise us before you see them and tell us their names and addresses.


TAKING PHOTOGRAPHS - -Photograph and forward to our office all visible injuries that were caused by the accident and during the healing process. Also, if possible, try not to have the vehicle involved in your accident repaired until having it photographed.


KEEPING RECORDS --At frequent intervals send our office all bills related to your accident or injury. Keeping such records may be very helpful when, a year later, you will be asked by the defense to recall your pain, difficulties, and expenses. Therefore, please keep accurate and detailed records of the following:
Lost time and wages;
Hospital, doctor, prescription drugs, and other medical bills; and
Receipts for other losses directly resulting from your injury (i.e., transportation, childcare, new car parts, etc.).

 

PRESERVING EVIDENCE --Any photographs pertaining to your case which you or any of your friends have taken. If you are required to be in the hospital and are receiving any type of treatment such as traction or physical therapy, please take photographs. If possible, contact your own insurance carrier or company for a copy of all their photographs and investigative materials on your case. Please talk to us about any evidence that you have or know the whereabouts of that may help us to prove your case.
Save any physical evidence and discuss it with your lawyer and investigator.

 

WITNESSES --Try to furnish us with the names, phone numbers, or any other contact information of any witnesses you may learn about. If a police report is made and you know any of the details (name of the police officers, report numbers, etc.), please also let our office know.


PAYING YOUR MEDICAL BILLS --The other party's insurance carrier may have the obligation to make your medical payments, but also consider that doctors and hospitals are more cooperative when their bills are paid. Therefore, you should have your medical insurance pay any balance for your medical bills as soon as possible and not expect them to wait until your case is tried or settled to receive payment.


BEING CAREFUL - -Discuss your case only with your attorney. Do not give information to anyone except your doctor(s), without your attorney's approval. This includes appearing or giving statements to traffic courts, police investigators, the DMV, or others without first notifying this office in order that we might have one of the attorneys from this office assist you or represent you at such hearings.  The reason for this is to be sure that you do not prejudice yourself in the action in which we represent you.


INFORMING YOUR TEAM - -Please inform us if any of the following occur:
There is a change in your contact information, such as your address, email or phone number(s).
Your condition worsens.
You have another accident, injury, complication or other illness.
You are hospitalized.
You must miss work due to your injuries.
You change doctors or are referred by your doctor to a specialist.
Any other circumstances that you think will affect your claim.


UPDATING OUR OFFICE - -Be sure to furnish our office with the names and addresses of all doctors who have treated you about your personal injury accident along with all medical bills, including prescriptions, the name and address of your employer, and any health insurance or automobile insurance policies that you have or if you are covered on your parent’s policies.


OTHER QUESTIONS --We will probably not contact you until we have something definite to report. We will be contacting you if your case is ready for trial. If you have any specific questions about these instructions or any other matters about your case, please feel free to call or write us or come in and review your file. Please be patient and remember that many things will be done on your file without your presence. For everyone's convenience, please do not come into the office expecting to see one of the attorneys or investigators without an appointment.


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS


Q. How do I know if I have a personal injury case?
A. First and foremost you must have suffered an injury to your person or property. Second, was your injury the result of someone else's fault? It is not always necessary to have a physical injury to bring a personal injury lawsuit, however. Suits may be based on a variety of nonphysical losses and harms.


Q. Should I bring any documents with me to the consultation?
A. Yes, you should supply any documents that might be potentially relevant to your case. Police reports, for example, contain eyewitness accounts and details about conditions surrounding auto accidents, fires, assaults and the like. Copies of medical reports from doctors and hospitals will describe your injuries. Information about the insurer of the person who caused the injury, is extremely helpful, as are any photographs you have of the accident or of your injury. The more information you can give your lawyer, the easier it will be for him or her to determine if your claim will be successful. If you haven't collected any documents at the time of your first meeting, don't worry. Your lawyer will be able to obtain them as well.


Q. What kind of legal fees should I expect in a personal injury case?
A. Personal injury lawyers generally charge their clients on a contingent fee basis. That means you pay your lawyer only if you win. Your lawyer is paid a percentage of the total amount recovered. You'll sign what is called a retainer agreement with the lawyer you choose to represent you, clarifying all fees and charges. Remember that even if you lose the case, you are likely to have to pay the expenses of investigating and litigating you case, such as court filing fees and payments to investigators, court reporters, and medical experts, as well as the expenses of securing medical records and reports.

 

Q. What can I expect after the first consultation?
A. If a lawyer believes your claim is one you can recover, on-and you have signed the retainer-he or she will proceed with gathering information about your claim. To arrive at a figure for damages, your lawyer will need to determine the extent of your injuries, including pain and suffering, disability and disfigurement, the cost of medical treatment, and lost wages. Your lawyer then provides your damages figure to the insurer of the person who injured you. If the insurer considers it a valid claim, the case is likely to be resolved early on and won't have to be tried in court.


Q. What does it mean to settle a case?
A. Settling a case means that you agree to accept money in return for dropping your action against the person who injured you. You'll sign a release absolving the other side of any further liability. To help you decide whether to accept the settlement offer, your lawyer will be able to provide a realistic assessment of whether a lawsuit based on your claim will be successful. (Settlement also can take place at any point in a lawsuit once it is filed, including before trial or even after a case has been tried but before a jury reaches a verdict.) The decision to accept a settlement offer is yours, not the lawyer's.
Q. What happens if I file a lawsuit?
A. You become the plaintiff in the case and the person who injured you becomes the defendant. Lawyers for each side (and for the insurer) typically begin gathering facts through exchange of documents, written questions (interrogatories) or depositions (questions that are asked in person and answered under oath). This process is called discovery. After discovery, many cases get settled before trial. Only a small percentage of personal injury actions ever go to trial. Of the cases that do go to trial, most plaintiffs ask for a jury to hear their case, but personal injury actions can be decided by judges as well. That is known as a bench trial, as opposed to a jury trial.


Q. What if more than one person has caused my injury?
A. You must bring an action against every person who causes your injury. The negligence of two drivers, for example, may have produced a collision in which you were injured. According to traditional legal principles, each one could be held 100 percent liable to you. In a more recent legal trend, however, many jurisdictions have abolished such "joint and several" liability and each defendant, known legally as a "joint tortfeasor," becomes responsible for only that portion of the harm he or she caused. This is the rule of comparative negligence, which exists in most states. (See the section titled "Automobile Accidents" for more on comparative negligence.)
Q. What will I get if I win my case?
A. If you win, a judge or jury awards you money, known as damages, for your injuries. That amount can include compensation for such expenses as medical bills and lost wages, as well as compensation for future wage losses. It also can compensate you for future lost wages and medical expenses and for physical pain and suffering. In addition, you may receive damages for any physical disfigurement or disability that resulted from your injury. The money is intended to restore your loss, is not considered as income, and is not taxable as income by the federal government or the states. Note that an award of damages does not necessarily translate into hard cash. You may have to take further legal steps to collect the money. If a defendant against whom you have won a judgment does not pay it, collection proceedings can be initiated. If the defendant owns property, for example, you may be able to foreclose on it. Another option would be to garnish the defendant's wages. Your personal injury lawyer-or any lawyer you contact-would be able to help you in this regard.

 

Q. Will the person who caused my injury get punished?
A. No. Punishment comes from criminal cases, not civil cases. Defendants in civil actions for personal injury do not receive jail terms or stiff fines as punishment. Those are criminal sentences and personal injury cases are civil disputes. But juries and courts can award what the law calls punitive damages when the defendant's intentional acts have injured you. These awards are rather rare. Courts use them to punish people (and more often large corporations) who have behaved recklessly or against the public's interest. Courts also hope that ordering the payment of punitive damages will discourage such defendants from engaging in the same kind of harmful behavior in the future.

 

Q. Does a personal injury lawsuit have to be filed within a certain amount of time?
A. Every state has certain time limits, called "statutes of limitations," that govern the period during which you must file a personal injury lawsuit. In some states, for example, you may have as little as one year to file a lawsuit from an automobile accident. If you miss the statutory deadline for filing a case, your case is thrown out of court.  You see, then, why it is important to talk with a lawyer as soon as you receive or discover an injury.

 

Q. What if a person dies before bringing a personal injury lawsuit?
A. It depends on whether a person dies because of the injuries or from unrelated causes. If a person injured in an accident subsequently dies because of those injuries, that person's heirs may recover money through a lawsuit. Every state has some law permitting an action when someone causes the wrongful death of another. And if a person with a claim dies from unrelated causes, the tort claim survives in most cases and may be brought by the executor or personal representative of the deceased person's estate.


NEGLIGENCE


Q. If someone causes an accident and I am hurt, on what basis will that person be responsible (liable)?
A. A person is liable if he or she was negligent in causing the accident. Persons who act negligently never set out (intend) to cause a result like an injury to another person. Rather, their liability stems from careless or thoughtless conduct or a failure to act when a reasonable person would have acted. Conduct becomes "negligent" when it falls below a legally recognized standard of taking reasonable care under the circumstances to protect others from harm.

 

Q. Negligence law seems so confusing. It uses words such as duty and causation. What do they mean?
A. Negligence law can be complex and confusing even for people who are familiar with it. To understand it better, forget all the legal jargon and go back to the car accident example. A driver has a duty to use reasonable care to avoid injuring anyone he or she meets on the road. If a driver fails to use reasonable care and because of that failure injures you, then the driver is responsible (liable) to you for those injuries.

 

Q. Who determines whether a defendant has acted reasonably?
A. After being presented evidence by your lawyer, a judge or jury will decide what an "ordinary" or "reasonable person" would have done in similar circumstances. In the example of an automobile accident, a judge or jury is likely to find a driver negligent if his or her conduct departed from what an ordinary reasonable person would have done in similar circumstances. An example would be failing to stop at a stoplight or stop sign.

 

AUTOMOBILE ACCIDENTS

 

Q. I was in a car accident, but I think I can prove it was not completely my fault. Will this make a difference regarding what damages ultimately are awarded?
A. In the past the rule was that if you could prove the other driver contributed in any way to the accident, he or she could be totally barred from recovering anything from you. But now most states have rejected such harsh results and instead look at the comparative fault of the drivers. If a jury finds that you were negligent and that your negligence, proportionally, contributed 25 percent to cause the injury and that the defendant was 75 percent at fault, the defendant would only be responsible for 75 percent of your damages, or $75,000 if your damages totaled $100,000. In some states, a plaintiff may recover even if he or she were more negligent than the defendant, that is, negligent in the amount of 51 percent or more.

 

Q. A neighbor who rides with me to work was injured when I got into a car accident. Do I have to pay her medical bills?
A. In many states today, no-fault automobile insurance would protect you—and often passengers in your car--by compensating those injured up to a specified level, regardless of who was at fault in the accident. About half of the states currently have no-fault insurance. Though there is a strong trend away from them, some states still have automobile "guest statutes" that make drivers liable for injuries to nonpaying-or guest--passengers only if the drivers were "grossly negligent" by failing to use even slight care in their driving. In a guest statute state, if your neighbor can prove she was not a guest passenger--that both of you agreed to share expenses--then she possibly could recover from you under ordinary negligence principles. Cases have also held a driver liable for the negligent operation of a car and for harm caused by known defects, but not for injuries caused by defects in the vehicle about which the driver had no knowledge.

 

Q. I received an injury when the bus I ride to work was involved in an accident. Is the bus company at fault?
A. It's likely. "Common carriers"--bus lines, airlines and railroads—transport people for a fee, owe their passengers "the highest degree of care" and are held to have a special responsibility to their passengers. Common carriers must exercise extra caution in protecting their riders and do everything they can to keep them safe. Whether you win your case will depend on the circumstances of the accident. Did the driver pull out in front of a car and have to slam on the brakes? What were the road conditions? A jury will have to consider those factual circumstances to determine if your driver acted negligently. But as an employee of a common carrier, the driver must provide you with a high degree of care. (If the bus were hit by another car, the other driver may also be liable for your injuries.)

 

Q. My car sustained damage when it hit a pothole on a city street. Can I recover from the city?
A. Some cities have pothole ordinances, a form of immunity that releases them from any liability for pothole accidents, except where they had prior notice. Whether you can recover will depend on your city's law controlling liability and its immunities against suits.

 

Q. I was in a car accident during my pregnancy and my baby was born with a deformity because of injuries from the accident. Does my child have any legal recourse?
A. Many states today will permit an action by a child for the consequences of such prenatal (before birth) injuries. (In states with no-fault automobile insurance, your right to sue often is limited.) Most courts also will allow a wrongful death action if the baby dies from the injuries after birth.

 

Q. Someone recently stole my car and then wrecked it, injuring passengers in another vehicle. Now one of those passengers is trying to sue me. Can they win? Am I responsible?
A. Probably not, since the thief did not have your permission to use the car, although a lot would depend on the law in your state. Suppose you left your car unlocked with the keys in it, making it easy for the thief to steal. This could be negligence. Even then, most courts generally will not hold you liable if the thief later injures someone by negligent driving. That is because courts hold that you could not foresee that your actions ultimately would result in such injuries. In a few cases, though, courts have looked at whether your actions caused an unreasonable risk of harm to someone else. If you left your car parked with the engine running, for example, you might be liable if the car thief then injures children playing nearby. In a no-fault state, on the other hand, it might be difficult--if not impossible--for the passenger to sue you.

 

Q. I was hit by a car driven by a drunk driver who was going home after a night out. What can I do, in addition to suing the drunk driver?
A. If you live in a state that has a Dram Shop Act, you may be able to recover from the tavern owner where the drunk driver was served the liquor. Such acts usually come into play when intoxicated people served by the bar later injure somebody while driving. Some of those laws also make tavern owners liable when drunk customers injure others on or off the premises. But some courts say a tavern owner will not be liable unless the sale of the liquor itself was illegal.

 

Q. My wife was injured when her car was hit by one being driven by some kids who had been drinking at the home of our neighbor. May I take any action against the neighbor, who supplied the liquor to the youths?
A. Possibly. Courts have imposed liability against such neighbors or parents when they have served liquor to minors. Parents can be liable for negligent supervision of their children. But generally, courts have said that social hosts are not responsible for the conduct of their guests, unless the hosts routinely allow guests to drink too much--or take illegal drugs-and then put them into their cars and send them out on the highway.
Q. I was injured when my automobile collided with a truck driven by a delivery person. Can I recover damages from the driver or the employer?
A. You may be able to recover from both. Under a form of strict liability, known as vicarious liability, you probably can recover from the delivery person employer. Under the law, employers may be held liable to third persons for acts committed by employees within the scope of their job. Although the employer was not negligent, it becomes indirectly liable for the negligence of its employee. Was the employee making a delivery when the accident occurred? If so, the employer is liable, since deliveries clearly is part of the driver's job. But if the employee first stopped at a restaurant for drinks and dinner with friends, the employer may be able to escape liability.

Glossary

 

Being involved in a car accident can be painful enough. But following through on a lawsuit afterwards—or having one brought against you—can add stress and confusion to injury.In the wake of so much activity, it's a good idea to not only read up on how to handle a personal injury accident, but to learn the lingo that will ensure you're fully prepared for the dual processes of healing and dealing with the court case.AccidentLegally, this refers to an unexpected occurrence perpetrated without intent that causes an unfortunate result, such as injury.Accident BenefitsThe income and medical benefits that are accessible from your insurance company after you've been involved in a car accident. Benefits can be offered by an injured party's employee-based health insurance, car insurance, or another policy.See also: No-Fault.Accident InsuranceThis is insurance particularly used to cover bodily injury or death caused by an accident.Activities of Daily LivingThese are descriptions of what an injured party would do on a regular basis, besides going to work, before the accident. Typically, they include hygiene upkeep and recreational activities, among other actions.Activities of daily living can be used when building a case seeking non-economic damages, if an injured party has been prevented from doing these routines after getting hurt in the accident.See also: Damages.AnswerThis is the defendant's response to the complaint. It's the official document that informs the court of the defendant's position regarding the accusations.See also: Complaint.Average Daily Wage (ADW)The calculation of an injured party's daily earnings. This total is sometimes used by personal injury lawyers to determine the amount of wage loss damages a plaintiff may seek.See also: Damages; Average Weekly Wage (AWW).Average Weekly Wage (AWW)The calculation of an injured party's weekly earnings over a certain period. This total is sometimes used by accident lawyers to determine the amount of wage loss damages a plaintiff may seek.See also: Damages; Average Daily Wage (ADW).Bodily InjuryAny physical harm to the body caused as a direct result of the car accident.Brain InjuryAny physical harm to the brain because of direct trauma to the head or whiplash sustained in an auto accident. The injury will cause impaired functionality of the brain.Burden of ProofThis phrase describes the responsibility to prove that the allegations described in the complaint are true. In almost all cases, the burden of proof falls on the plaintiff.Typically, in accident-related personal injury suits, the plaintiff must show that the defendant's actions more likely than not caused their injuries.ClaimA request to an insurance company demanding payment for medical treatment, rehabilitation services, and other costs related to the accident.ClaimantThe person presenting the claim to the insurance company.Claim AdjusterThe liaison between an insured injured party and his or her insurance company. The claim adjuster is responsible for investigating and overseeing the claim on behalf of the insurance company, as well as approving medical and rehabilitation treatment plans.Comparative FaultAlso referred to as non-absolute contributory negligence. This is a legal defense that could find both parties partially responsible for the accident, thus limiting the amount that could be recovered in a negligence-base claim.If you are considering bringing a lawsuit after a car accident, make sure to discuss the potential for comparative fault with your accident lawyer, as laws vary drastically from state to state.ComplaintThis is the official document filed by the plaintiff(s), which comprises the heart of the lawsuit. It will enumerate the grievances and allegations being claimed and include the demands sought by the plaintiff(s). Filing a complaint represents the formal start of the lawsuit.Contingent FeeAlso referred to as contingent agreement or contingent retainer. This is a deal struck between an injured party and his or her accident lawyer dictating that the lawyer will not collect payment until or unless the case is won.CounterclaimA complaint filed by a defendant, seeking damages from the plaintiff.See also: Complaint; Answer.Covered PersonThe individual or group of individuals eligible for benefits provided by an insurance policy.DamagesThese are what a plaintiff is looking to receive from their lawsuit. In the case of accident-related personal injury claims, damages usually mean money.There are two types of monetary damages a plaintiff could seek:Economic damages—These are quantifiable numbers, such as medical bills, wage losses, or car repairs.Non-economic damages—These are more abstract ideas, including pain, suffering, and humiliation.See also: Average Daily Wage; Average Weekly Wage.DeductibleThe amount of money the covered person is responsible for paying toward a claim. Once the deductible has been reached, the insurance company will cover the remainder of the costs.Defendant(s)The person or group being served the complaint is the defendant(s). While assumed innocent until proven guilty, the defendant is the person being accused of causing the accident or injury.DismissalThe resolution, closure, or termination of a claim.Family Law Act ClaimA complaint filed by family members of the injured party, where damages can be awarded for the loss of companionship, guidance, and care provided by the injured party prior to the accident.Field AdjusterOften the employee of an insurance company—or a contracted claim adjuster hired by the insurance company—this person does a brunt of the outside-the-office work involved in an accident claim.Among other responsibilities, field adjusters could help:Conduct face-to-face meetings with claimants, scene investigators, and/or damage inspectors.Negotiate with the above parties.Further inspect the cause and outcome of an accident.First Party BenefitsBenefits offered to an injured party through his or her auto insurance.Future DamagesAny long-term losses or impairments an injured party expects to deal with after an accident. This figure is typically included in the total damages sought by a plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit.Some future damages may include:Loss of income, including:Regular wages.Overtime.Bonuses.Future medical and rehabilitation costs.Attendant care.Home maintenance.See also: Damages.Health Care ExpensesThe costs incurred by seeing several different health care providers, such as doctors, therapists, and specialists.An injured party must acquire authorization to visit the health care provider from the insurer providing accident benefits before health care expenses can be approved and covered.Income Replacement Benefits (IRBs)This is money in lieu of income received by a person injured in a car accident who can no longer work. Typically, the money is paid by the car insurance company. Policies on IRBs vary by insurance carrier.Independent AdjusterA contracted employee of the insurance company responsible for the same duties as a claimadjuster.See also: Claim Adjuster.LiabilityThe burden of fault assigned to an individual or group found to be responsible for injury or damage suffered by another person.Liability AdjusterThe adjuster primarily responsible for investigating the car accident. The liability adjuster will oversee:Car repairs.Collision payments.Property damage payments.Payments in connection with bodily injury settlements.Future medical expenses, including at-home assistance.Litigation RiskA term referring to the likelihood of winning a personal injury lawsuit. Your accident lawyer should be responsible for assessing the litigation risk of your case.LossThe monetary value assigned to injury or damage suffered in an auto accident. Loss can include:Pain and suffering.Past and future income.Future medical care, including at-home assistance.NegligenceNegligence is a specific type of tort, describing situations that stem from careless actions. Many car accidents are filed under this legal category.To prove negligence in a personal injury lawsuit, the court must find:The defendant(s) had a duty or obligation to the plaintiff(s).The defendant(s) violated that duty.That violation caused harm to the plaintiff(s).The negligent act led to actual damages.See also: Torts.Out-of-Court SettlementAn agreement reached between the plaintiff(s) and defendants(s) which does not require the approval of a judge. Typically, an out-of-court settlement will be struck between the two personal injury lawyers before a trial takes place.Out-of-Pocket ExpensesAlso referred to as special damages. Money spent out of the injured party's own funds on expenses related to his or her injuries. Some out-of-pocket expenses may include:Travel.Medications.Assistive devices.Pecuniary DamagesThe term referring to the loss of past and future income.Plaintiff(s)A plaintiff is the individual or group of people initiating the personal injury lawsuit. In a personal injury case, they are usually the people who have been harmed. They are responsible for filing the complaint.PrognosisThe anticipated chance of recovery from an injury, based upon the symptoms and nature of the case.Quality of LifeAn inclusive term that attempts to describe the type of existence an injured party was living prior to the accident or after being involved in the car crash. A quality of life assessment could include factors such as:Activities of daily living.Mobility and organization.Social relationships and ability to interact.General life satisfaction.Recreational or work-related activities.Prospects.Reasonable CareThe level of treatment that would be considered adequate by a fair and sensible person.RehabilitationThe process of restoring necessary skills for self-sufficiency after an injury sustained in an auto accident.Rehabilitation BenefitsTreatments, programs, and accessibility to health care providers offered by private or employee-based health insurance, with the intent of helping the injured party lessen or eliminate the effects of his or her injury and reenter his or her family dynamic, the labor market, and society.Stacking of LimitsThe legal permission to use a combination of multiple policy limits to cover costs incurred from the same case.See also: Liability Limits.Statute of LimitationsThe amount of time between when the accident takes place and when you can legally file a claim is called the statute of limitations. This period will vary from state to state and from case to case.If you are considering bringing a lawsuit after a car accident, make sure to check on your state's statute of limitation laws and see a personal injury attorney about your specific case.Strict LiabilityStrict liability is a legal idea that expands the responsibility for wrongdoing to another party, regardless of their direct involvement in the accident.For example, if a car company produces a model with faulty brakes, and those faulty brakes lead to an accident, the car company could be deemed accountable for the accident due to strict liability.These cases will essentially shift the burden of proof from the plaintiff to the defendant, causing the defendant to prove he or she is not liable.See also: Burden of Proof.TortsA tort is a wrongful act that is not a crime but does cause some type of injury or loss. Many car accidents are legally considered torts.A tort forms the grounds of a case where the plaintiff is seeking damages from the defendant, rather than criminal punishment.

Instructions and Suggestions1. Do not discuss the case with anyone other than members of this firm, your spouse, our private investigator, your health care providers, or other persons with whom we authorize you to discuss your case.2. Consult us before you do something that might affect your case, including changing health care providers.3. Sign nothing dealing with your claim until you have received our instructions or approval.4. Do not discuss your claim with your own insurance company adjuster, refer them to us and we will handle matters such as arranging for you to have a statement taken.5. Tell your health care provider about all your current systems and any prior similar complaints, to ensure that an accurate and complete record of your condition is well established.6. Follow your health care provider’s instructions.7. Send us copies of all bills you receive as a result of your claim (whether paid by insurance or not). Please indicate, on a separate piece of paper, whether you have paid them.8. Obtain a receipt or bill for all drugs or appliances purchased by you, and mail those items to this office.9. Obtain a receipt or bill for any household services utilized by you as a result of your injury, and mail those items to this office.10. Notify us at once of any changes in employment, raises or reductions in salary, or loss of job. Similarly, if you are required to miss any work due to your injuries, send us a note identifying the dates of work missed.If you are self-employed, keep a record of all the times you are unable to work or perform your duties, and discuss with us how we might best demonstrate your loss of income. 11. Notify us right away of any change of address or of home or business telephone numbers.12. If you are going to be out of town for more than one week, please advise our office of when you will return and how you might be reached while away.13. Keep a record of any other expenses incurred as a result of the collision, including payments to persons you employ to do work that you would have done but for your injuries.

EXAMPLE 1:If you have both personal health insurance and medical pay provisions in your car insurance policy, you will provide to your doctor(s), hospital(s), etc. your personal health insurance information only. Then, if you wish, upon presenting your medical bills to this office we will forward them to your car insurance company for payment pursuant to the medical provisions of your policy. Upon receipt of your insurance company’s draft we will forward it to you for use in either paying medical bills or for your personal use.REMEMBER: You are ultimately responsible for all unpaid medical bills and this office is responsible only for payment of any lien billings which have been sent to this office and are to be paid at the time of your settlement.EXAMPLE 2:If you do not have personal health insurance and do have medical pay provisions in your car insurance policy then, of course, you will provide the doctors, etc. with that information so that your bills can be paid up to the amount of the provision of your car policy.We look forward to assisting you in any way possible and obtaining for you an equitable settlement of your personal injury case. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact my office.

Dog Bites

 

Dog Bites Occur Frequently

 

An estimated 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs every year, with 800,000 of these dog bites requiring medical attention.  Every seven seconds, another person is bitten by a dog.  According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), dog bites are a national epidemic. 

 

If you or someone you know was bitten recently, contact us today to seek Legal Counsel! We can help you build a strong case for any of the following:

 

  • Seek immediate medical attention

  • Call the police and animal control

    • Insist the police take a report

    • Insist the dog be quarantined

    • Have the dog examined for rabies

  • If the dog cannot be located or captured, note a description of the animal

  • Note the name and address of the dog's owner

  • Note the name and address of witnesses

  • Document your injuries - Take pictures

  • Preserve any evidence, including clothing

 

 

Slip & Fall

 

Slip and Falls Can Arise From Negligence

 

Slip and fall accidents occur more often than most people realize.  Valid personal injury claims can arise when a person slips and falls as a result of a hazardous condition on someone else’s property.  These falls can happen inside or outside buildings on commercial, residential, or public property.  Property or building owners have a level of responsibility to make sure an environment is safe, just as visitors have the responsibility to watch where they are going.

If a property owner is aware of a potential slip and fall hazard, whether a structural defect or weather related, and chooses to do nothing about it, a negligence claim is warranted.

 

If you or someone you know recently slipped and fell, contact us today to seek Legal Counsel! We can help you build a strong case for any of the following:

 

  • Pay medical bills

  • Avoid financial difficulty when unable to work

  • Keep the insurance companies honest

  • Obtain compensation for pain and suffering

  • Hold guilty parties accountable for their actions that include:

    • Private property owners

    • Retail stores

    • Restaurants

    • Cities

    • Defective product makers

 

 

Construction Site Accidents

 

Dangerous Environments

 

Construction sites are dangerous environments.  As a result, construction workers have one of the highest rates of injury across all industries, with 1 out of every 17 construction workers suffering an injury every year.  In 2006, over 400,000 workers were injured on the job, and close to 1,200 construction workers die every year on the job.

All construction workers are entitled to a safe working environment.  Accidents can and will happen when a construction site has:

 

If you or someone you know recently had an accident on a construction site, contact us today to seek Legal Counsel! We can help you build a strong case for any of the following:

 

  • Inadequate safety precautions

  • Inadequate posted warnings

  • Contractors that hire inexperienced and unsafe workers

 

 

Accidents on the Job

 

Determining Responsibility for Injuries

 

When a worker is injured on the job and becomes unable to work due to the injury, he or she should follow the procedures and guidelines under state laws governing workers compensation.  However, it is sometimes necessary to pursue cases against third parties partially or wholly responsible for the injury.

For example, work injuries are sometimes caused by defective tools or equipment or unsafe workplace conditions.  Special attention and extra resources are required to successfully pursue the liable party in these types of cases.

 

If you or someone you know recently had an accident on a construction site, contact us today to seek Legal Counsel! We can help you build a strong case for any of the following:

 

  • Pay medical bills

  • Avoid financial difficulty when unable to work

  • Keep the insurance companies honest

  • Obtain compensation for pain and suffering

  • Hold guilty third parties accountable for their actions

 

 

Compressed Natural Gas Accidents

 

CNG Vehicles Becoming Commonplace

 

Compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles are becoming a much more familiar sight on the roads.  Some companies are turning to CNG vehicles in response to high gas prices and environmental concerns.  CNG vehicles are used often for public transportation and delivery trucks.  California is leading the way in the use of an availability of the energy needed for CNG vehicles.

 

Natural gas vehicles undergo the same federal safety tests as gasoline powered vehicles and are proven as safe machines.  However, as these vehicles age, certain things may occur to make the natural gas tanks of these vehicles unsafe.  Due to the size of CNG tanks, they are usually fitted underneath vehicles.  This location can cause problems on vehicles that ride low to the ground or have worn shock absorbers. Also, every CNG tank has an expiration date.  When you combine older CNG tanks with years of punishment, the results can be troubling.

 

Risk for Serious Injuries

 

Compressed natural gas tank explosions can be devastating and can happen without warning.  CNG vehicle explosions can involve serious and catastrophic injury to drivers, bystanders, and even rescue personnel. 

Once I agree to represent an individual on a particular case, I try to make sure to meet the client in person as soon as possible to explain all of the relevant legal issues in such a way as to ensure that my client understands the law and how the law applies to their particular circumstances.  This allows my client to make informed decisions.  After, I discuss with my client the potential consequences for various possible courses of action and then, based on my opinion, the likelihood of success for each or other recommendations and advice depending on the client's particular goals.  I believe it is important to explain everything openly and never sugarcoat the facts with my clients so that they are fully aware of their whole situation and therefore are equipped to make the best decisions.