Have you or someone you love been in an accident in Fresno? Our personal injury attorneys can evaluate your case for free to determine if you have grounds for a claim and how best to proceed. You probably have a lot of questions. We can provide the answers you seek and help you understand the statutes and case law pertaining to your claim. Time is of the essence after any accident because valuable evidence may be time-sensitive, and one mistake early in the proceedings could jeopardize your entire case. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 1-800-GO-HARRIS.
Our Fresno Personal Injury Lawyers Handle All Accident Cases:
- 18-Wheeler Accidents
- All Car Accidents
- Motorcycle Crashes
- Tour, Public, and Other Bus Accidents
- Scooter Injuries
- Turo Vehicle Accidents
- Bike Accidents
- Dog and Other Animal Attacks
- Pedestrian Injuries
- Accidents Involving Rideshare Vehicles
- Train Wrecks
- Slips and Falls
- Premises Liability
- Boating Injuries
- Car Accidents
- Airplane and Other Aircraft Accidents
- Spinal Cord Injuries (SCIs)
- Brain Injuries
- Severe Burn Trauma
- Wrongful Death
- Other Personal Injuries
Mistakes That Could Harm Your Personal Injury Case
Our Fresno personal injury lawyers will handle all the logistics of your claim—from gathering evidence to interviewing witnesses to negotiating with the opposing party. There are, however, certain steps you can take and mistakes you must avoid to give your claim the best chance of resulting in a financial award. Below are a few common errors you should avoid during the proceedings:
- Talking to the Insurance Adjuster: Once you hire an attorney, you should direct any phone calls and other correspondence from the insurance adjuster to your lawyer. If you haven’t hired an attorney yet, you should avoid providing any recorded statements to the insurance adjuster. You might be asked leading questions that are designed to coerce you into providing statements that can be used to dispute liability or damages. Answering such questions—even if you’re careful about what you say—could jeopardize your entire case. Never forget that the claims adjuster represents the insurance company and therefore has incentive to find reasons to challenge your claim.
- Using Social Media: Did you mention your injuries on social media? If so, you should delete those posts right away so the claims adjuster cannot take them out of context to dispute your claim. You should also delete any photos of you taken on the day of the accident or at any time afterward. In fact, it’s wise to disable your accounts until the conclusion of your claim.
- Returning to Work Too Early: It’s not easy to stay out of work while the bills are adding up, but if your doctor has advised you to rest, it’s important that you do so. Returning to work too early might be considered a failure to mitigate your damages and could therefore reduce the potential value of your claim. The bottom line—you should follow all instructions from your healthcare providers, even if that means living a sedentary lifestyle for several weeks.
- \Accepting a Settlement Too Early: Until you’ve reached maximum medical improvement (MMI), it’s possible that the medical cost projections are inaccurate. If, for example, a particular treatment is unsuccessful, the cost of care could end up being far higher than anticipated. Our Fresno personal injury lawyers will most likely advise you to wait until you’ve reached MMI before entering settlement negotiations. Putting off the negotiations might be difficult if you’re falling behind on essential bills, but if you accept a settlement that’s too low to cover your future damages, you might end up in overwhelming debt.
Will I Have to Go to Trial?
Many personal injury victims are hesitant to initiate the proceedings because the thought of going to trial seems overwhelming. Fortunately, more than 90 percent of these cases don’t end up in court. Whether or not your case goes to trial will depend on a variety of factors such as:
- Whether everyone agrees on the relevant facts;
- The amount of compensation you’re seeking;
- Whether the opposing party is willing to cooperate; and
- The strength of your evidence.
At Harris Personal Injury Lawyers, we always strive to get our clients fairly compensated without having to go to trial. There are, however, some circumstances when going to court is the best option. If the opposing party refuses to pay a fair settlement, you can rest assured that our attorneys have the litigation experience to represent your interests in court.
What Role Do Expert Witnesses Play in Personal Injury Cases?
There are many different kinds of expert witnesses who might be able to assist your Fresno personal injury lawyer when building the case, negotiating for a settlement, or navigating through the various stages of litigation. These are well-credentialed professionals who possess in-depth experience and knowledge in a particular field such as medicine, accident reconstruction, or economics. Here are some of the most common expert witnesses called on during personal injury lawsuits and how they might help with your case:
- Medical Experts: Various healthcare specialists might be tasked with determining the extent of your injuries, the expected steps of the recovery process, the ongoing impacts of your medical condition, the cost of care, and other important elements of your path to recovery. A defendant may dispute the necessity of specific treatments or claim the plaintiff is exaggerating their injuries. In this scenario, the deposition of a medical expert can serve as valuable evidence. Medical experts can include a wide array of specialists such as nurses, neurologists, physical therapists, and others.
- Financial Experts: If you intend to seek compensation for future damages such as anticipated lost income, your Fresno personal injury attorney might bring in a financial expert to assist with the settlement calculations.
- Vocational Experts: This type of expert witness is called upon to explain why a plaintiff’s job performance may suffer due to their injuries. Vocational experts can help your legal team prove lost income and loss of future earning capacity.
- Accident Reconstruction Experts: Proving liability in an accident can be a complex undertaking. Accident reconstruction experts are tasked with reviewing evidence and performing investigations to build visual representations of how an accident happened. This can help a judge and jury draw conclusions regarding who was at fault.
- Other Experts: While the experts listed above commonly play a role in tort cases, there are many other specialists who might assist your legal team depending on the circumstances. Examples include product specialists and engineers.
Should I Visit a Doctor If My Injuries Aren’t Very Serious?
If you walked away from the scene with what seem like minor injuries, or even no injuries at all, it might be tempting to count your blessings and put the whole ordeal behind you without seeking medical attention. But there are several reasons why this could end up being a major mistake not only regarding your health but also regarding your personal injury claim:
- Some Injuries Have Latent Symptoms: Sometimes, symptoms from injuries don’t show up immediately. There are many reasons why this might happen. First, the adrenaline that results from a stressful situation like a car accident can sometimes mask the pain of the injuries you sustain, making you think that they are less serious than they actually are. What’s more, certain types of injuries don’t always present symptoms until several hours or days have passed. This is especially true of head trauma and soft tissue injuries. A concussion, for example, may only manifest symptoms like confusion, headache, or nausea, but they can lead to serious complications without treatment.
- Medical Assessments Must Be Performed Within a “Reasonable” Timeframe: It’s important to know a bit about how insurance companies operate in order to understand why this component matters. Typically, insurance companies will input the details of your accident into a program, and the output that is spit out on the other side is what they think you deserve in compensation. One of the factors is whether you sought medical attention in a reasonable amount of time. If you don’t visit a doctor within that window, the insurance company may assume your injuries are not very serious and, thus, you do not deserve significant compensation.
- You Must Be Able to Tie the Injuries to the Accident: If you put off the medical assessment, the insurer might say that your injuries must have been caused by something else.
Qualities That Set Our Law Firm Apart from Other Practices in Fresno
Hiring a Fresno personal injury lawyer to help you pursue fair compensation is one of the smartest steps you take after sustaining a serious injury. But you shouldn’t just hire any lawyer; you need to find an attorney with a specific skillset suited to your particular claim. Here are just a few factors that set Harris Personal Injury Lawyers apart from the other law firms in Fresno:
- The Right Experience: You should find an attorney who has handled similar cases to your own—and achieved successful outcomes in those cases. Such a lawyer will have a deep understanding of the relevant statutes, case law, and proceedings. At Harris Personal Injury Lawyers, we have many decades of collective experience in a wide array of tort cases. We can help you anticipate and prevent disputes, compile evidence, and approximate a fair settlement based on the particular facts of your situation.
- Accomplished Litigators: Due to the time, effort, and resources required to go to trial, many attorneys will do everything they can to settle a case out of court. It’s not unheard of for some lawyers to advise their clients to accept unfair settlements to avoid the headache of litigation. But if the defendant is unwilling to come to the table and offer a reasonable settlement, it may be in your best interests to file a lawsuit. In this scenario, having a successful litigator in your corner will be invaluable. Our attorneys have extensive experience in every stage of litigation including trial. We have won numerous six- and seven-figure verdicts for clients in highly complex cases.
- Available Around the Clock: Any lawyer can say what you want to hear during the initial consultation, but will they be there for you when you have questions or concerns? When an attorney is difficult to reach, their clients suffer tremendous undue stress. Our lawyers always make it a priority to be available around the clock—and that includes after office hours and on weekends if necessary. You will always have a direct line of contact to your attorney.
Arrange a Free Consultation with Our Fresno Accident Attorneys Today!
With many decades of experience and hundreds of millions of dollars won for clients, Harris Personal Injury Lawyers is one of the most accomplished law firms in California. Yet we are still dedicated to maintaining the personal touch of a small, local practice. To discuss your case with a member of our team, call 1-800-GO-HARRIS or send us a message online.