A settlement is the term used when an agreement is made outside of the court between two parties. A settlement agreement is often the most common method for resolving personal injury claims in California. Generally, these claims do not usually reach a court, because it is not convenient for either party: neither for the plaintiff nor for the defendant. The legal and economic costs associated with a personal injury lawsuit are high enough to avoid going to trial and opting for a settlement agreement.
However, to achieve a settlement agreement that satisfies both parties, lawyers take into account an almost infinite set of elements. Although we cannot cover them all in this publication, it is possible to make an approximation to some of them. In other words, following is an outline of the damages regime in California.
Keep in mind that the consideration of these elements will depend, in a certain way, on each particular case. Depending on the nature of the injuries, etc., the lawyer of each of the parties will pay more attention to one aspect than to another. At the end of this article we will briefly explain the importance of a lawyer specialized in the area, as well as the quality of the services that we offer at Avrek Law Firm.
Issues about the responsibility of the injuries that are taken into account when agreeing the value of the settlements
– Responsibility of the defendant or of two or more persons
Comparative negligence is an important consideration. The first element taken into account is the responsibility of those involved. However, prior to this, it is first determined if there is a violation of the law by the defendant, since, if there is no law violation, there is no reason to compensate the injured party.
Where there is one, the process of establishing responsibilities is followed. In case the responsibility of the injuries falls exclusively on the defendant, the value of the liquidations will be high. On the contrary, if the defendant’s lawyers find elements of “comparative negligence”, that is, that the fault can be distributed between the defendant and the plaintiff, the value of the liquidations will be considerably reduced -depending, of course, on the degree of the plaintiff’s fault-.
– Intentionality of the defendant’s behavior
While the area is often negligence, the court will consider the recklessness of the defendant’s actions or omissions. The second aspect that lawyers focus on in these cases, usually, is the intentionality of the defendant’s imprudence. Obviously, if the plaintiff’s attorney finds evidence of a conduct done on purpose, the liquidations to the plaintiff will be greater.
However, it has been demonstrated that these types of allegations can become double-edged weapons, because an intentional conduct implies punitive damages. And the plaintiff, after knowing the intentionality of the defendant’s conduct, will want compensation for these punitive damages, delaying the process.
On the other hand, intentional negligence is excluded as a category in insurance policies. it may be counterproductive to claim intentional negligence if, in the end, the insurers will not disburse money for that.
– Distribution of fault
According to Proposition 51, which is already in the Civil Code of California in section 1431.2, compensation for economic damages resulting from personal injury, is a shared responsibility, that is, each of the defendants must assume an equal or equitable charge in repairing economic damages, such as medical expenses, property damage and lost wages due to physical disability.
But this recent legal invention also stipulates that there is compensation for non-economic damages; and this compensation can’t be distributed equitably, but its distribution will depend on the degree of responsibility of each of the defendants in non-economic damages caused by personal injuries.
In this way, if one of the defendants owns 30% of liability for non-economic damages and another owns 70%, each one will disburse an amount of money corresponding to that percentage. The compensation factor for non-economic damages significantly influences the value of the settlements.
Issues about injuries involved in calculating the value of personal injury claims in California
– Severity of the injuries, duration and prognosis
There is no doubt that the severity of the injuries plays a key role in the calculation of the value of the settlements, as well as the duration and the prognosis, because these factors influence the cost of medical treatment, in the short, medium and long term.
This point is one of the thorniest of a settlement agreement, since the advice and opinion of a large number of medical professionals is necessary: not only one, because each party will request their own professional and it will be necessary to check and compare all opinions to reach a satisfactory agreement.
In fact, in addition to the opinion of a panel of experts, the jurisprudence will also be examined, that is, all the opinions that have been made on more or less similar cases will be reviewed.
– Objective evidence of physical pain
The subjective component of pain is the factor considered by insurance companies to make the decision not to assume costs because of the magnitude of the pain. But there is objective evidence that can be useful to measure physical pain and thus make an adequate calculation of the value of your compensation: for example, tomography, X-ray analysis, and so on.
– Medical history of the injured
Also, the medical history of the victim is a crucial aspect in any liquidation agreement in personal injury claims. California law dictates that the medical history of the injured, see, injuries or previous injuries, do not alter the respondent’s liability, unless (and very careful with this) these previous injuries have been made worse by the current injury.
California law also provides that the aggrieved or defendant finds the plaintiff in his or her current state. In other words, if any of the plaintiff’s previous injuries affected the seriousness of the new injury, the defendant remains liable. Thus, the defendant’s attorney can’t claim that personal injuries are a product of the injured person’s medical history and not the accident.
However, claiming the medical record as evidence is a personal decision of the defendant in conjunction with his attorney.
– Age of the victim
The age of the victim is relevant as younger persons are seen to have a longer potential working period. Insurers usually place the magnifying glass on the age of the victim, because old age brings a physical condition prone to injury. insurance companies can claim that the injuries are a direct consequence of the victim’s old age, rather than the accident per se.
The age of the injured party is also considered if the victim is incapacitated for life, since the cost of medical treatment must be multiplied by the life expectancy of the injured party.
– Occupation of the injured
This aspect has a relationship with the previous aspect, in the sense that the profession of the injured will also affect the value of the liquidations for personal injury claims.
The question of whether the injured person was a full-time paid employee or an independent worker is not insignificant. As we indicated before, the liquidations must include the payment of all the wages that the injured person will not receive as a result of his injuries.
Also, depending on the nature of the injury, the inability to work can cause psychological harm to the victim, because it is a change in their lifestyle. I remember you that this falls into the category of non-economic damage, so it is taken into account in the calculation of settlements.
The importance of an expert lawyer and the services of Avrek Law Firm
As you may have noticed, the aspects concerning the process of negotiation and / or calculation of compensation for personal injury claims in California are numerous and each of them requires professional and specialized attention.
For example, other issues that are usually considered in these cases of liquidations for personal injury claims in California are: the reputation and experience of the lawyers (the insurers already know in advance who they should be involved with and who not); the identity of the accused (the twisting of cases through money is very common in the US, especially in California); and even the sympathy of the defendant is taken into account (the harshness of the actions and arguments of the insurers will depend in part on the personality of the accused, although you do not believe it).
In fact, in this article we only show some of those aspects, because they are too many to cover all of them in a single publication. However, it is not necessary for you to worry about all these aspects; you just need to hire an expert and specialized lawyer in the area. You should know that there are many cases of injured people who have not received nor even a little compensation for their injuries due to the inexperience and lack of professionalism of their lawyers.
And there lies precisely the importance of the services we offer in Lawyer with: we are not a group of ordinary lawyers, like those who only move for profit and do not pay due attention to the client’s case. We are a group of experts, professional, specialized, supportive and humanitarian lawyers.
We can handle your case with great expertise, at a completely accessible price and considering your personal situation. Just contact us and one of our professionals will gladly handle your case.
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