I was recently in an auto accident. What are the most important steps to take?
Assuming you’ve left the scene of the accident and dealt with the immediate aftermath of the crash, the first thing you should do is seek medical attention. Even fender benders can cause whiplash injuries and other bodily harm. Failing to document any injuries suffered in an accident makes it much harder to prove your damages and compensation.
The same line of thinking applies to any property damage to your vehicle or other personal property that may have been damaged in the crash. Make sure to get repair and/or replacement estimates for property damaged during the crash so that there is a record of these losses. Create the strongest possible record by taking color photographs of any vehicle and property damage.
And while you should report the accident to your insurance provider in a timely manner, you may want to speak with an attorney first, as the insurer may offer an initial settlement that is not in your best interest. You should never, under any circumstances, speak with another driver’s insurer or give any type of statements as they may be used against you.
Is it really necessary to hire an auto accident lawyer?
The auto accident claims process is a minefield for the inexperienced. Insurance companies, at least in theory, are supposed to oversee the process in an equitable manner, but they consistently put their needs before those of accident victims. Hiring an Avrek Law Firm, attorney ensures that your needs come first. This means personalized attention and the recovery of maximum compensation for all losses suffered during an auto accident.
How much is my claim worth?
The question of how much a car accident victim is entitled to is one of our most frequently asked and the most difficult to answer. It makes more sense here to outline what you could be entitled to and then discuss actual damages with an attorney. Car accident victims are typically eligible to receive compensation for:
- Medical bills and hospital expenses, including future medical costs
- Lost wages and lost earning capacity
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
In order to help your own cause, it is vital that you keep detailed records. Lost work time and wages, pain and suffering, limitations incurred as a result of the accident, and all out-of-pocket expenses (such as transportation and medicine) should be meticulously documented. In addition, follow all doctor’s orders strictly. Failure to do so could be used as evidence by another party that your injuries and suffering are less severe than you claim
Who can I bring an action against for car accident damages?
Similar to the question of how much a lawsuit is worth, who can be the subject of a lawsuit depends on the details specific to your case. The obvious defendant in a car accident case is the driver of the vehicle, but depending on the actual circumstances, a number of other parties can be held liable for damages. For example, if your car was recently repaired incorrectly and this caused you to crash, the repair technician might bear responsibility. Similarly, if you were struck by a drunk driver who was served drinks at a local establishment despite being obviously intoxicated, the server or establishment could be found at fault. A government entity that designed a dangerous intersection or roadway section is another possible defendant. In short, any party that contributed to the accident by acting carelessly or recklessly can have a lawsuit brought against them.
How long do I have to take legal action?
Each type of lawsuit has a filing deadline. So-called “statute of limitations” for personal injury cases in California is typically 2 years from the date of the accident for private entities and only 6 months from the date of accident for public or government entities. The statute of limitation is one year for medical malpractice claims.
I’m having problems with my own insurance company. Can Avrek Law Firm, help?
Based on the terms of your auto insurance policy, your insurer should pay for auto accident damages that you caused. It may also cover you for damage caused by a driver who has no auto insurance (uninsured motorist coverage). Insurers are bound by law to fulfill policy terms. A denied claim, underpaid claim, or untimely payment could constitute insurance bad faith, a type of case that Avrek Law Firm, often helps clients with.
Isn’t legal representation expensive? I don’t think I can afford to hire a lawyer.
Avrek Law Firm, accepts personal injury cases on a contingency basis, meaning you do not pay any legal fees unless your claim is successfully resolved. At that point, you pay Avrek Law Firm, a percentage of the total award or settlement. The percentage is agreed upon when you decide to hire Avrek Law Firm, as your legal representative. If you do not win or settle the case, you do not pay any legal fees.
Why should I hire Avrek Law Firm?
We understand that you have many choices when it comes to resolving motor vehicle accidents in Irvine, Orange County, Riverside and Riverside County. Like any professional service, you get the legal services that you pay for. Avrek Law Firm, attorneys have more than 30 years of personal injury experience. We’ve recovered more than $100,000,000 on behalf of injured clients since 1998, and many of our top settlements and judgments speak clearly for our track records in handling auto accident cases. We feel that we give clients the best possible chance to obtain maximum compensation, and our many satisfied clients would agree.
What is a birth injury?
Birth injury is a term used to describe something that “went wrong” when a baby was born based on certain causes and effects. Some of the most common causes of birth injuries are failure to accurately monitor, evaluate or react to birthing issues that could have serious consequences. Some of the most common effects of a birth injury include brain damage, spinal cord damage, soft tissue injuries, skull fractures and injuries such as Cerebral Palsy, Erbs Palsy, Brachial Plexus Palsy and other developmental delay injuries.
What is the difference between a birth injury and a birth defect?
Some of the most common ways that birth injuries occur are when doctors, nurses, midwifes or others deviate from a “standard of care” during the pregnancy or delivery process such as:
- Failure to properly read fetal monitoring strips or read vital signs
- Failure to react to situations which may require a Caesarean section or other medical procedure to avoid damage to the child
- Deprivation of oxygen
- Failure to consult with specialists in situations where pregnancy risks are above average
- Extensive force used during delivery
- Failure to have a neonatologist at delivery for resuscitation if needed
How can I tell if my child suffered from a lack of oxygen during delivery?
There are numerous factors to consider when trying determining if a child suffered from a lack of oxygen (hypoxia) or from choking (asphyxia) which can also result in a lack of oxygen to the brain during delivery. Some of these factors include:
- Abnormal fetal monitoring strips
- Abnormal kidney function
- Abnormal labor pattern
- Abnormal MRI/CT
- Excessive bleeding
- Low Apgar score at delivery
- Low ph readings
- Need for a Caesarean Section
- NICU placement
- Prolonged labor
- Prolonged rupture of membrane
- Seizures after delivery
An experienced birth injury attorney understands all of these medical terms and how they may have affected your situation.
How do I know if I can file a birth injury lawsuit?
The simple answer to that question is that you won’t – until you speak with an experienced birth injury attorney. That being said, it’s always important to assume that you may have a case unless the attorney tells you otherwise. Unfortunately, many healthcare professionals will do whatever it takes to avoid a medical malpractice lawsuit.
That may mean telling you that there were unavoidable complications and that they did everything they could – even if that’s not the complete truth. An experienced birth injury attorney will know what information is needed to determine what really happened, how to obtain it and analyze it to find out whether you may be entitled to compensation and file a birth injury lawsuit.
Am I barred from filing a birth injury lawsuit if I signed a consent form?
Generally not. While all are different, most consent forms signed at a hospital simply mean that you agree to treatment or that you’ve been warned about the risks of receiving certain types of treatment. However, consent forms do not protect healthcare professionals when they have deviated from a standard of care and acted negligently.
What types of damages might be available in a birth injury lawsuit?
Damages in a birth injury lawsuit can be compensatory or punitive in nature. Compensatory damages include both economic and non-economic damages.
- Economic damages include medical bills, loss of income, costs for special equipment and home modifications, special education, lifetime care, loss of potential future income and others.
- Non-economic damages include emotional pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life and others that are more difficult to adequately put a price on.
Punitive damages are those awarded to punish; however, they are generally only awarded when someone’s conduct has been especially egregious or intentional.
How do you assess the lifetime costs of care for birth injury victims?
When assessing the lifetime costs of care for birth injury victims, experienced birth injury attorneys will generally work with certified life care planning specialists, economists and doctors to determine what types of care and services the child may need over the course of his or her life such as:
- Personal care providers
- Medical care
- Adaptive devices and transportation systems
- Home modifications
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of potential earnings
- Any other type of anticipated costs
Although experts are used to determine these costs, it’s an attorney’s job to aggressively pursue that compensation via an insurance settlement or by taking your case to trial and obtaining a jury verdict.
I have been injured on the job, what should I do?
First and foremost, you should get the medical care you need right away. As for your legal rights, California law protects injured workers by providing workers’ compensation benefits for medical bills, and for temporary or permanent disabilities. Fault is not at issue. All that is required is that a worker suffers an injury while at work, such as a strained lower back from lifting an object or getting injured in a car accident while making deliveries. If you have been injured on the job, it’s very important that you report your injury right away to your employer. If a work-related injury or illness developed over time, you should report it as soon as you believe it was caused by your job. Promptly reporting a work-related injury helps prevent problems and delays in receiving benefits, including any medical care you may need. If your employer does not learn about your injury within 30 days and this prevents it from fully investigating the injury and how you were injured, you could lose your right to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
What paperwork do I need to fill out?
The most important document that you need to complete and submit is the Workers’ Compensation Claim Form (DWC 1). Your employer must give or mail to you the DWC 1 form within one day of reporting your injury. You can also download it from the forms page on the California Department of Industrial Relations\Division of Workers Compensation’s website. This form opens your workers’ compensation case and starts the process for determining what benefits you are entitled to under the law.
What workers’ compensation benefits are available?
California workers’ compensation provides five essential benefits:
- Medical care to help you recover from an injury suffered on the job
- Temporary disability payments for lost wages while away from work
- Permanent disability payments
- Vouchers to help pay for retraining or skills enhancement if you do not recover completely and do not return to work for your employer
- Death benefit payments to your spouse, children and other dependents
Does workers’ compensation cover independent contractors?
No, but sometimes a case can be made that an independent contractor is actually an employee. In that situation, the independent contractor would be entitled to workers’ compensation.
When can I pursue a personal injury claim outside of worker’s compensation?
You may have a personal injury claim if you are injured by a third party – such as a worker not employed by your employer or a company that manufactures a defective machine or tool. For example, a subcontractor on a construction site injured when struck by carelessly operated heavy equipment can sue the employer of the equipment operator. Another example is when a worker is injured by a machine that fails to work properly or is inherently dangerous. The worker can pursue a products liability lawsuit against the manufacturer of the machine.
What do I need to prove to win a personal injury claim related to my workplace accident?
A personal injury claim is based on the law of negligence. To prove liability, you must demonstrate that someone acted carelessly under the circumstances, and that the careless action caused your injuries. Your damages would likely be comprised of medical bills, lost past and future wages, and pain and suffering.
If I pursue a personal injury claim, do I lose my rights under workers’ compensation?
No. You can pursue both. California employers have to pay for workers’ compensation coverage. It’s a cost of doing business. You are entitled to benefits for work-related injuries regardless of fault. However, you cannot sue your employer since the workers’ compensation system covers all worksite injuries not caused by a third party except in power/punch press injuries. A personal injury claim against a third party (i.e., not your employer) is entirely separate from your workers’ compensation claim.