Personal Injury Lawyer
Why You Need a Personal Injury LawyerIf you’ve suffered a personal injury as a result of someone else’s negligence, you should contact the best personal injury lawyers you can retain immediately. Gathering information and evidence is important in building a case, and an experienced attorney can help you do this. Many who are injured in car accidents, slip and fall accidents, or bicycle accidents, for example, may suffer only minor injuries, leading them to think they don’t need a lawyer. Regardless of the severity of your injuries or pain, the long-term outcomes can be unpredictable and may worsen. This would increase medical costs over time and a reduced quality of life. The top personal injury attorneys can help assess your case along with trusted medical professionals to make sure you don’t have to suffer, or are compensated for your pain and loss. In California, some personal injury cases have a statute of limitations, so the sooner you seek the help of a lawyer, the better.
What Is Personal Injury?Personal injury is defined as physical damage, emotional damage, or wrongful death a victim sustains after an accident. In a personal injury case, a victim, or the victim’s heir(s), can be granted economic and non-economic damages if they are successful in showing proof of the other party’s negligence being the ultimate factor in their losses.
What Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Do?Personal injury lawyers in California are legal professionals who help victims recover money and damages associated with injury, property damage, medical costs, pain and suffering, and more. Personal injury attorneys specialize in tort law, which covers civil wrongdoing that results in harm or injuries. The difference between tort law and criminal law is that the injuries resulting from the latter are the result of crimes, rather than negligence. Most claimants will rarely have to deal with insurance adjusters or opposing counsel (the other party’s lawyers) as their own attorney(s) will do that for them. This is why it’s essential to retain a lawyer after a personal injury: you can also hurt your own case by speaking to insurance companies or other lawyers without them. The best personal injury lawyers will handle most aspects of an investigation, including gathering evidence and witness testimonies. Many victims feel that they can handle cases on their own, but we always advise them to strongly consider hiring an injury attorney. At West Coast Trial Lawyers, we will always advise, negotiate, and advocate on behalf of all our clients to get them the compensation and justice they deserve.
When to Hire a Personal Injury LawyerYou should hire a personal injury lawyer immediately after suffering harm or injury resulting from someone else’s negligence. After filing a police report and getting medical care, you should begin your search for a personal injury attorney right away. There is also a statute of limitations to filing a personal injury claim in California: you have 2 years to file a claim from the date of injury. If an injury wasn’t discovered until later, you have 1 year from the discovery of the injury to file a claim. In California, insurance companies and their attorneys, or the other party’s attorneys, will want to speak with you along with potential witnesses. You might also be required to be in a deposition where the opposing party's attorney takes a recorded statement from you. It’s imperative that you do not speak to anyone and have your lawyer communicate on your behalf. Retaining the best personal injury lawyer as soon as possible protects you from having insurance companies or other attorneys misquote or misrepresent your statements. Never speak to an insurance adjuster or lawyer, or occasionally the police, without a lawyer present.
Finding Fault in a California Personal Injury AccidentCalifornia is a comparative negligence state, meaning liability can be shared in accidents resulting in personal injury. Determining liability in an injury case can be a complex process, which is why a personal injury attorney is almost always a necessity. When the state decides to split the blame, compensation and settlements can be reduced based on how much fault is assigned to you. If a jury finds you partially responsible, or a judge during a bench trial, your payout is reduced based on how much fault you are assigned (although these numbers aren’t one to one, meaning your percentage of fault doesn’t mean that exact percentage is taken from your compensation). There is also a chance that the insurance company may try to offer a reduced settlement if you’re found partially at fault. These issues make it more critical to hire the best personal injury lawyer you can so you’re not taken advantage of when assessing liability.
How Long Do I Have to Sue Someone for Personal Injury in California?You have up to two years to sue someone for personal injury in California. However, if you discover your injury later, you have up to one year from discovery of the injury. Even mild injuries at the time of an accident can worsen over time, and it’s unpredictable when they do. For example, what might feel like mild whiplash after an accident can turn into chronic neck pain that affects your quality of life. There are also instances where you don’t feel or have symptoms from an injury until much later. Some examples of injuries with delayed symptoms are:
- Back pain
- Herniated disc
- Pinched nerves
- Internal bleeding
- Post traumatic stress disorder or PTSD
How Are Personal Injury Settlements Paid Out?Personal injury settlements vary depending on severity of injury, liability, coverage, and other factors. In car accident cases, for example, the greater the injury and coverage from the at-fault party typically results in larger payouts. Insurance companies will typically contact you frequently with low offers. Insurance adjusters will do their best to minimize payouts. The benefit of having a personal injury attorney is that they will fight for the highest settlements possible in injury cases because their own earnings are influenced by the settlement amount. Settlements and compensation from lawsuits can be paid out by check or electronic funds transfer of some type. When speaking with your attorney, you’re encouraged to ask questions regarding matters like these so there is never any confusion throughout the course of your case.
How Much Do Personal Injury Lawyers Charge?Personal injury lawyers work on contingency fees, which means you aren’t charged until your case settles or is won in court. You may have heard many ads that say, “We don’t get paid unless you do,” because personal injury attorneys take a percentage of your settlement amount. The benefit of this is there is no immediate out-of-pocket cost to hire a lawyer for a personal injury case. You’re also more likely to win compensation–whether through a settlement or lawsuit–because injury lawyers won’t take on cases that have a poor chance of winning. Lawyers typically take one-third, or 33%, or settlement or lawsuit amounts. While some may say that the amount is too high, the alternative is that you lose your case and get nothing at all. A personal injury attorney will be highly motivated to win your case, collect the highest settlement payout they can, and make sure all of your medical costs and procedural requirements are handled.
Types of Lawyers Who Can Assist You in WCTLThere are many types of injury lawyers that specialize in certain cases, like wrongful death or medical malpractice. At West Coast Trial Lawyers, we have a number of attorneys that can take on most types of personal injury cases. Our lawyers also have over 100 years of combined experience in personal injury law, so you’re guaranteed to have a lawyer with specific experience working on your case.
Car Accident LawyersThe best car accident lawyers can handle the complexity that arises from accident claims. This means your lawyer will handle evidence and information, offer you legal guidance, negotiate with insurance companies, and aggressively pursue compensation for your damages and losses. One of the biggest issues that we see in motor vehicle accidents is liability, or who was at fault. Liability establishes fault and affects insurance settlements and lawsuit payouts. Car accident lawyers who handle many of these types of cases will have a good idea for how to establish liability, and how to handle cases where liability is being manipulated by the insurance companies or the opposing party. In car accident cases, experience matters. You want an attorney that has successfully won favorable settlements and compensation.
Uber and Lyft Accident LawyersMany of the accident issues from Uber and Lyft cases can be similar to ones in other motor vehicle accidents, but there are often special circumstances because of the nature of rideshare rules and insurance. If you’re a passenger in an Uber or Lyft car and your driver is at fault for the accident, they are responsible for the damages resulting from the accident. If you’re a driver on the way to pick up a passenger or the passenger is in your vehicle, you are covered by Uber or Lyft for up to $1 million in commercial liability. Uber and Lyft drivers in California are classified as independent contractors, which means they are their own boss and generally carry responsibility in accidents they may cause. Having an Uber or Lyft accident lawyer handle your case means you wouldn’t have to worry about driver classification, liability, and compensation and damages.
Burn Injury LawyersBurn injury lawyers specialize in injuries caused by fire, electrical malfunction, chemicals, and injuries caused by friction. For example, you could be severely burned by radiators or hot pipes that don’t have proper warning signs or safeguards near them, or you could be burned by an exploding battery from your cell phone. An experienced burn injury lawyer knows that these types of injuries are very painful and can take a long time to recover from. A burn injury needs immediate medical treatment and proper care during the recovery process. There are varying degrees of burns and burn types, which means these cases can be fairly unique. Even in instances where it might seem easy to determine cause and liability in burn injury cases, it’s still best to consult with a lawyer to get the maximum compensation you can from a case.
Pedestrian Accident LawyersA seasoned pedestrian accident lawyer can appreciate and respect the complexity of pedestrian accidents. We’ve seen plenty of cases where liability wasn’t obvious, or where it was shared (e.g. a pedestrian was not in a crosswalk or even running across a highway). Pedestrians generally have the right of way in California, meaning vehicles need to yield or stop for pedestrians crossing the roadway – even if they’re not in a crosswalk. Anyone traveling by foot, skateboard, roller skates, or a disabled person using a vehicle such as a wheelchair are considered pedestrians in the state of California. If you’ve been struck by a vehicle in California, you are considered a “vulnerable road user” and should hire a lawyer to get justice.
California Premises Liability LawyersSustaining a personal injury on someone else’s property, whether it’s an individual or a business, can often mean the owner is liable if you can prove their negligence. A good premises liability lawyer can determine whether slippery floors, malfunction of equipment, or lack of safety measures on someone’s property caused your injury. An example of a premises liability case is a slip-and-fall accident at a grocery store where there are wet floors and inadequate signage for the floors. You could also be staying in a rental unit or AirBnB that has unsafe stairs or overhead fixtures that aren’t attached properly. Regardless of how you sustained your injury, if it resulted in negligent upkeep of someone else’s property, you likely have a case. It would be in your best interest to consult with a premises liability lawyer since it is free.
Truck Accident LawyersCalifornia is second only to Texas in the highest number of fatal truck accidents per year. An experienced truck accident lawyer is critical in handling accidents like these because of liability and coverage. After a truck accident, many are left wondering whether a truck driver, trucking company, or the companies using the trucking service are at fault–it can be fairly complicated. Truck accident attorneys also know that trucks have laden and unladen weight limits (whether they’re carrying a load), weight distribution requirements, and other configurations that are put in place for safety. If these strict restrictions aren’t followed, the likelihood of accidents–and the severity of those accidents–goes up significantly. Truck accidents are some of the biggest and more complex cases that personal injury lawyers handle. Don’t hesitate to take advantage of the free consultations we offer to all our clients.
Dog Bite LawyersA dog bite lawyer that has experience with animal attacks will tell you that there are different levels of dog bites. The outcome of your case–and your wellbeing–are affected by the severity of a dog’s bite. Most experienced dog bite lawyers will ask to get a copy of the dog’s medical history and if it is up to date in its training and immunizations. Getting bitten by a dog with rabies, for example, can be extremely dangerous. Dogs with a history of aggressive attacks might also have to be put down. Because of the complexity of dog bite cases, hiring the best dog bite lawyers will help get your case processed while you focus on healing from the emotional and mental trauma.
Bus Accident LawyersBus accidents in California are only thought to be limited to major cities and via the public transit system. However, our top bus accident lawyers also handle school bus accidents, tour bus accidents, and private bus and shuttle accidents. Most public buses don’t have the same safety features as cars, like seatbelts and airbags. Crashing in a bus can cause more injuries without these safeguards in place. Determining liability and coverage in a bus accident can occasionally be complicated, but an experienced personal injury lawyer can make this process smooth. If you’re involved in a bus accident in California, whether it’s via public transportation or a tour bus cruising through Hollywood, call us for a free consultation. We can guide you through the steps you should take to start your claim and your road to recovery.
Motorcycle Accident LawyersCalifornia has some special laws that other states don’t that may affect accident rates–namly lane sharing. Our top motorcycle accident lawyers understand that lane sharing, or lane splitting, carries as much risk as it does benefits. While you can usually beat traffic, all it takes is one careless lane change before a catastrophic accident. Motorcyclists don’t have the benefit of a car surrounding them, with front and side airbags cushioning any fall. Even a “small” crash on a motorcycle can yield devastating injuries. Our motorcycle accident lawyers–some of whom ride motorcycles themselves–understand that everything from road rash to fractured bones is difficult to recover from. Getting proper medical care, gathering evidence, and establishing liability is critical in building your motorcycle accident case.
Brain Injury LawyersBrain injuries can be the result of car accidents, physical activities like sports, or premises liability cases. Brain injury lawyers deal with cases where head trauma occurred, whether severe or not. Sometimes mild injuries to the head can cause lasting effects to the brain or nervous system. Our personal injury lawyers consult with a network of medical professionals we trust, many of whom specialize in brain injury. These are the types of injuries that should be monitored closely and never ignored. The lasting effects of traumatic brain injury can include:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Nausea or vomiting
- Vision problems
- Memory (short term and long term memory) problems
Spinal Cord Injury LawyersSpinal cord injury lawyers deeply understand the effects that a serious back injury can have on someone’s life. Spinal cord injuries can be caused by car accidents, slip and fall accidents, or trauma directly to the back and spine. Once your doctor has completed a thorough examination of your injury, your spinal cord attorney will inform you of the process in building your injury case. Like brain injuries, a spinal cord injury can be devastating and life-altering. At West Coast Trial Lawyers, we are keenly aware of the suffering our clients can go through, so we fight with everything we can to get them justice.
Wrongful Death LawyersLosing a friend or loved one as a result of someone else’s negligence is one of the most painful events one can experience. Our wrongful death lawyers understand and appreciate the difficult road ahead, including loss of consortium, great financial loss, and the grief that comes with the entire process. We also understand that when you’ve lost someone you love, the last thing you want is to hear from an attorney. However, the wrongful death of a friend or family member resulting from someone else’s negligence needs to be addressed right away. Because of their serious nature, wrongful death cases are often pursued aggressively by both plaintiffs and defendants lawyers and insurance companies. In California, the statute of limitations to file a lawsuit for a wrongful death case is two years. It is critical that your wrongful death attorney build your case for you so you can get the justice and compensation you deserve. We know that money won’t bring back your loved ones, but it can help in the healing and recovery process–especially the costs associated with funerals, therapy, and bills if the person you lost was a major financial contributor to your family’s life. Let our experienced wrongful death lawyers take care of the legal process for you while you grieve.
Scooter Accident LawyersWith more forms of scooters becoming viable on the road comes more scooter accidents. Our scooter accident lawyers see accidents from electric scooters, gas-powered scooters, and foot-powered scooters that children ride. When scooter accidents occur as a result of collision with a vehicle, the injuries sustained are usually very serious as opposed to collision with other pedestrians and cyclists. Electric and manual powered scooters don’t offer its riders any more protection than a pedestrian would have. Only riders under 18 are required to wear helmets, and it seems like most riders above that age decide to opt to ride without protective headgear. If you’ve sustained an injury while riding a scooter, contact the best scooter accident lawyers you can today at West Coast Trial Lawyers.
Bicycle Accident LawyersCycling for commuting purposes–and for leisure–is fairly contentious in California. The state is known for its car culture and car-dominated methods of travel. Our bicycle accident lawyers fully understand that some cyclists carry the “War On Cars” mentality every time they hit the road. The “War On Cars” doesn’t necessarily mean that cyclists are actively attacking drivers or destroying vehicles–it’s more of a mindset that it’s them versus cars. And when your mode of transportation exposes you to 4,000lb vehicles traveling at you at 40 mph, you would probably have the same mentality, too. Our bike accident lawyers are also cyclists and can empathize with the dangers bike riders face on the road each day. Bike accidents can result in broken bones, concussions, spinal injuries, and serious road rash. If you’ve been injured in a bike accident, call our best bicycle accident lawyers today.
Personal Injury Damages You May Be Entitled ToDamages in personal injury cases are the remedy or compensation you can receive to make you whole, or close to it, after an accident. Our personal injury lawyers fight for everything you’re entitled to after suffering due to someone else’s negligence. However, damages and compensation aren’t limited to just medical bills. Here are some brief explanations of the types of damages you could be entitled to after a personal injury case.
Medical ExpensesMedical expenses are one of the most obvious damages you can recover in personal injury cases. After a serious accident, burn injury, or slip and fall, for example, any medical expenses should be covered by the damages received in a lawsuit or settlement. These can include:
- Doctor’s visits
- Ambulance costs
Lost IncomeAs part of your settlement or lawsuit, you can also recover lost income or lost wages. After a serious accident, your injuries might keep you from doing your job. Anyone who loses income or their job as a result of an accident should contact a personal injury lawyer immediately. Losing income or work is a terrible stressor in addition to dealing with the physical pain and suffering that personal injury cases can bring. Our personal injury attorneys do everything in their power to ease this burden.
Compensatory DamagesCompensatory damages in personal injury cases can include the following:
- Pain and suffering
- Therapy and rehabilitation
- Loss of consortium
- Emotional distress
- Loss of earning capacity
- Future medical expenses
Punitive DamagesPunitive damages are the compensation awarded to a plaintiff as punishment to a defendant, hence the name. Our personal injury lawyers will let you know when the other party acted recklessly or maliciously, which are some of the conditions that would incur punitive damages. When appropriate, our injury attorneys will gather as much evidence as they can to prove that you should be awarded punitive damages in your case. If you were struck by a vehicle where the driver suffered a medical emergency, for example, it might not warrant punitive damages. However, if you were hit by a drunk driver who has a history of DUI charges, punitive damages are definitely in order.
Our Personal Injury Attorneys Will Fight So You Receive Fair Compensation For Your DamagesThe best personal injury attorneys will fight tooth and nail for the compensation you deserve. Your insurance company is most interested in avoiding paying for medical costs and property damage. The opposing party’s insurance company and lawyers might try to put most of the blame on you. If you’ve suffered a catastrophic accident or even a slip and fall that led to a broken arm, our personal injury lawyers will help you through the process of recovery and becoming whole again–or at least as close to whole as possible.
Contact Us TodayWere you or a loved one involved in an accident and are in need of a personal injury lawyer? Our legal team at West Coast Trial Lawyers will help handle your personal injury claim. We will assess your situation to determine what necessary courses of action are needed to ensure you are given the compensation you deserve. To schedule a free consultation with our top-rated personal injury lawyers, we welcome you to contact us by calling 213-927-3700 or filling out our quick contact form.
They know what they're doing, very well. Not only did I not make a single phone call from the day I hired them, but I also received calls from their case managers and paralegals who want to make sure my treatment was going well. They whole team took care of me. Thank you WCTL for taking full responsibility of my case and getting me an amazing settlement.
I can say with confidence that this team is the best in the business. . . . Dean took the time to really listen and hear me out. He assured me that he was going to move mountains because he believed in me, and he ended up doing just that. I’ve never met a more focused and passionate attorney in my life. If you’re looking for a firm that treats its clients with the utmost respect and care, calling WCTL is a no-brainer. I wouldn't think twice about working with them again in the future.