The San Clemente personal injury attorneys at Harris Personal Injury Lawyers have a track record of successful outcomes in high-profile cases throughout California. With years of experience and more than $300 million recovered for clients, our California injury attorneys know what it takes to help our clients obtain maximum compensation. If you have been seriously injured or have lost a family member due to another person’s negligence or intentional actions, contact Harris Personal Injury Lawyers to discuss your claim. Schedule a free consultation today by calling our law firm at 1-800-GO-HARRIS.
Our San Clemente Personal Injury Attorneys Can Help You
Our accident attorneys serve personal injury victims by handling cases involving adults and children, minor and severe injuries, permanent disabilities, and wrongful death. Below is a list of the types of cases we accept:
- Car Accident Claims
- Uber and Lyft Accident Claims
- Motorcycle Accident Claims
- Bus Accident Claims
- Train Accident Claims
- Boat Crash Claims
- Dog Bite Claims
- Traumatic Brain Injury Claims
- Burn Injury Claims
- Spinal Cord Injury Claims
- Commercial Truck Accident Claims
- Bike Accident Claims
- Pedestrian Accident Claims
- Bird Scooter Accident Claims
- Claims Arising from Injuries on Dangerous Premises
- Slip and Fall Claims
- Airplane Accident Claims
- Turo Accident Claims
- Other Personal Injury Claims
- Wrongful Death Claims
“When Will My Personal Injury Case Be Resolved?”
The duration of personal injury claims can vary heavily from one case to the next. There are numerous factors that will influence how long it will take to resolve your case, such as:
- Strength of Your Evidence: If you don’t have sufficient evidence to prove liability and damages, you can expect the insurance company or defendant to dispute your claim. This is why it’s so important to consult a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. The faster you act, the more likely it will be that essential evidence will still be available and unaltered when your lawyer begins the investigation. The injury attorneys at Harris Personal Injury Lawyers will assess any evidence you have gathered. We will then determine what evidence still needs to be compiled, file subpoenas to obtain evidence that is difficult to access, and possibly arrange expert witness testimony.
- Amount of Time It Takes Your Injuries to Heal: Some injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries, take months to heal. It is not a good idea to accept a settlement until you know exactly how much your injuries will cost to treat. The longer it takes for your injuries to heal, the longer it may be until you recover compensation. Although tempting, accepting a settlement too early could lead to financial turmoil. Be sure you know the full extent of your injuries to avoid unexpected healthcare costs and higher than anticipated medical bills.
- Insurance Company Cooperation: The insurance company will dig deep to find evidence that can be used to dispute your claim. If it refuses to cooperate and accept a fair settlement offer, your case might go to trial. Although litigation can draw out the proceedings, it may still be the best option. The San Clemente personal injury lawyers at Harris Personal Injury Lawyers will do everything in their power to help you obtain fair compensation. If insurance companies do not comply and off a low-ball settlement, we will gladly go to court on your behalf. We are well respected by insurance companies in California and will ensure your case is as strong as possible before we enter settlement negotiations.
Should I Seek Medical Treatment Even If My Injuries Aren’t That Serious?
Many serious injuries and conditions may, at least initially, present with minor symptoms. For instance, common signs of a concussion include headaches and fatigue. You may not think you need medical treatment, but delaying your doctor’s visit could cause your injuries to worsen. It could also lead to disputes from the insurance company. Here are a few reasons why you should visit a doctor as soon as possible after an accident:
- Insurance Companies Want Official Details: When you visit your doctor, you’ll kickstart a trail of documents that could play a vital role in helping you win your personal injury case. A dutiful doctor will create official medical records detailing the injuries you sustained, the seriousness of your condition, recommended medical treatments, prescribed medication, and other important elements of your recovery. Our San Clemente personal injury lawyers may use these records to help estimate a fair settlement, connect your injuries to the accident, and counter any disputes that may arise during negotiations.
- You May Prevent Your Condition from Worsening: Without treatment, many injuries can worsen over time, resulting in further complications and added medical bills. But visiting your doctor as soon as possible isn’t just about taking care of your health; if you delay the evaluation, this could give ammunition to the insurance company to argue that you did not take reasonable steps to mitigate damages. You could be liable for some—if not all—of your damages as a result.
- You Can Connect Your Injuries to the Accident: To win a settlement or verdict in a personal injury case, you must be able to prove three elements: liability, causation, and damages. Simply put, you not only will need to show that the defendant is liable and that you suffered serious injuries, but you must also prove that the tort caused your injuries. The quicker you attend a medical evaluation, the easier it will be for your San Clemente personal injury attorney to connect your injuries to the incident. Delaying your doctor’s visit could result in the insurance company challenging your claim. For instance, an insurer may argue that your condition stems from a separate accident or a pre-existing condition because the date of your medical evaluation does not correlate with the day of the accident.
- Prompt Medical Care Will Emphasize the Severity of Injuries: If you don’t seek immediate care, the insurer might be in a stronger position to argue that your injuries aren’t very serious. For example, if you suffered a traumatic brain injury or another relatively complex diagnosis, a disagreement could arise regarding the seriousness of your condition and its long-term impacts. In fact, it is entirely possible for medical experts for the plaintiff and defense to disagree on various characteristics of your injury. In this scenario, it is important that the evidence indicates your injury is as serious as your legal team is asserting. By getting medical care right away, this will strengthen the position that your injuries were indeed severe.
Important Terms to Know When Filing a Personal Injury Claim
Bringing a personal injury case can be intimidating—especially when you’re unfamiliar with the extensive legal jargon involved. Though it may seem like you suddenly have a whole new language to learn, adding just a few key terms to your vocabulary will help you make sense of the proceedings. Here are some common terms you may encounter when filing your claim:
- Negligence: In tort law, negligence is a failure to take reasonable steps that a person of ordinary prudence would take in the same circumstances. A party who is found negligent may not have actually caused harm deliberately but nonetheless could still be liable for damages incurred by other people as a result of their carelessness.
- Strict Liability: This refers to the imposition of legal responsibility on a party without proving fault. If a party is found strictly liable for an accident, they could be responsible for covering your damages even if you cannot prove negligence or intentional wrongdoing. This applies in some product liability and dog bite cases in California.
- Vicarious Liability: Sometimes it is possible to hold one party liable for the negligence of another. For example, if the person who injured you was acting within the scope and course of their employment at the time, you might be able to hold their employer vicariously liable.
- Duty of Care: This is a legal obligation to act with reasonable care. To prevail in a negligence claim, you will have to show how the duty of care owed to you was breached. For example, if you were hit by a drunk driver, your San Clemente personal injury attorney could assert that the driver breached the duty of care owed to you by choosing to drive while under the influence of alcohol.
- Maximum Medical Improvement: You may see this term abbreviated as “MMI” and possibly called maximal medical improvement. It refers to the point in treatment when your injuries have healed as much as doctors expect them to. This may mean you have made a full recovery, or it could mean that you will have to live with ongoing complications for the rest of your life. Your attorney might recommend holding off on settlement negotiations until you have reached MMI so you don’t end up underestimating the total cost of healthcare and other damages.
- Causation: This is one of the elements that must be proven to win a personal injury case. Causation is established by showing how the damages incurred by a plaintiff would not have happened but for the tort. For example, if you were injured in a car accident and hospitalized but later suffered complications while under the care of a doctor, the insurance company might assert that your condition is in part attributable to medical malpractice and not to the accident. A causation dispute might also arise if you had a preexisting condition that was aggravated or exacerbated by the tort.
Avoid These Errors That Could Harm Your Personal Injury Case
Besides gathering evidence, arranging expert witness testimony, and handling settlement negotiations, your personal injury attorney can also help you avoid critical mistakes that would harm your case. Some of the most common (and costly) mistakes made by personal injury claimants include:
- Discussing their cases with people other than their attorneys;
- Accepting social media friend requests from people they do not know after initiating the claims process;
- Posting photos on social media;
- Discussing their cases on social media;
- Not setting their social media accounts to “private;”
- Agreeing to settlement offers that do not include all available damages;
- Agreeing to settlement offers before reaching maximum medical improvement;
- Speaking to insurance companies or defendants in a recorded conversation; or
- Ignoring their doctors’ treatment instructions.
Discuss Your Case with a San Clemente Personal Injury Lawyer Today!
The claims process can be intimidating, which is why many victims of personal injury and wrongful death choose to put off taking legal action. But the longer you wait, the more likely it will be that important evidence will disappear. There are also strict deadlines for filing personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits in California. One mistake early in the proceedings could be all it takes to lose your case. The San Clemente personal injury and accident lawyers at Harris Personal Injury Lawyers, Inc. can help you navigate the legal system and fight for a fair settlement. Call 1-800-GO-HARRIS or message us online to set up a free case consultation.