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Why You Need a Personal Injury Lawyer 

Were you injured at work due to hazardous materials or negligent coworkers? Did you get into an accident while on the road? If so, you may be eligible to pursue legal action against the party at-fault for any damages or injuries. However, you will need to seek legal representation from an experienced personal injury lawyer to be able to recover compensatory damages. 

At West Coast Trial Lawyers, our personal injury attorneys have more than 100 years of collective legal experience. We have successfully won over 5,000 cases, which has accumulated to more than $1.5 billion in settlements recovered for our clients. With our continued success in delivering client satisfaction, we are confident that we will get you the best possible outcome for your personal injury case. 

We work under a contingency-fee basis, meaning that no fees will be charged unless we win or settle your case. If you are interested in using our services, you may reach out to our 24/7 legal team by calling 213-927-3700 or completing our online contact form. 

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? 

Did you get injured after an accident? Are you planning on filing a personal injury claim? If so, you will need to seek legal representation from a personal injury lawyer. Now, you may be wondering, why do you need a personal injury lawyer? Personal injury lawyers provide legal assistance that will better a client’s chances of obtaining the compensation they deserve. Below, we have created a list of benefits that personal injury lawyers may offer. 

Protect Your Legal Rights 

A personal injury lawyer is intimately familiar with the way insurance companies operate. They will take care of all the details and paperwork that go into filing a personal injury claim. Furthermore, they will build a strong case in your favor and tirelessly advocate on your behalf. Most importantly, they will make sure that you don’t do or say anything to the insurance companies and other parties involved in your claim that may negatively impact the outcome of your settlement offer.

Guide You Through the Legal Process 

Your personal injury lawyer is completely dedicated to your case. They will answer your questions and patiently guide you through every stage of the legal process. They will explain your options and will provide you with all the information you need to make the best decisions for you and your loved ones. An experienced and dedicated lawyer is always available to reassure you and make sure you understand the legal process.

Negotiate With Insurance Companies 

Many people have been led to believe that insurance companies have our best interest in mind. However, this is simply not the truth. An insurance company is strictly a profit business. Their objective is to make as much money as possible, meaning that they will provide low settlement offers to personal injury victims. It is important to consult with a personal injury lawyer before settling your case in order to get the best offer possible.   

Recover All Avenues of Compensation 

Your dedicated personal injury lawyer will assess your case and aggressively pursue all damages available to you. In addition to damages for your past and future medical bills, you may be entitled to compensation for past and future lost wages, loss of earning capacity, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and all costs associated with your injuries.

In order for your personal injury lawyer to recover compensation, they will need to prove the other party’s negligence. The elements of negligence include the following:

  • The defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care;
  • The defendant breached their duty of care;
  • The defendant’s unlawful actions resulted in the plaintiff facing injuries or damages; and
  • The plaintiff has records of all costs associated with the injuries or damages caused by the defendant.

Once your personal injury lawyer has explained how the other party has committed negligence, your compensation will be calculated in accordance to what was provided. 

Since California is a comparative negligence state, any negligence contributed by both parties will be taken into consideration to determine what amount of compensation should be given to each side. For instance, you were speeding on the road while the other party ran a red light and crashed directly into you. Based on the evidence provided, you have been ordered to compensate 40 percent to the other party, while they are required to give you 60 percent to cover for any damages you sustained from the accident. 

File a Lawsuit in Court, if Necessary

Most cases are resolved without the need for litigation. However, litigation may be in your best interest. In these cases, your personal injury lawyer will present a strong and persuasive case to the judge or jury to help get you the maximum compensation you deserve.

Statute of Limitations for a Personal Injury Claim

The statute of limitations for a personal injury claim is two years starting from the initial date of when the incident took place. We encourage personal injury victims to act fast. Filing a personal injury claim is not an easy task. You will need to spend a lot of your time gathering evidence and searching for an experienced personal injury lawyer who will represent you. If you procrastinate, it will become difficult to handle everything in a timely manner.

If you are unable to submit a personal injury claim before the deadline, you will no longer be qualified to pursue legal action against the party at-fault for damages. However, there are a few exceptions that may extend the amount of time you are given to file a personal injury claim. If the plaintiff is one (or more) of the following, an extension may be granted:

  • The plaintiff is a minor;
  • The plaintiff is out-of-state;
  • The plaintiff is incarcerated; 
  • The plaintiff is legally insane; or 
  • The plaintiff is incapacitated.

The “discovery rule” may also apply. Your statute of limitations will begin once you have or should have reasonably discovered what day you noticed your injuries. 

Personal Injury Cases We Handle

Personal injury lawyers typically handle a wide variety of cases. Each type of case involves its own unique circumstance that will require a different approach to ensure that the client is given a fair settlement offer. Below, we have listed legal services our personal injury lawyers at West Coast Trial Lawyers handle and background information on each situation. 

Car Accidents 

Car accidents are the leading cause of personal injuries in the United States. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), U.S. traffic deaths have reached a 16-year high in 2021. About 42,915 people have died in a fatal accident, which was a 10.5 percent increase compared to 2020. 

Bicycle Accidents 

Bicyclists are known for sustaining severe or fatal injuries in a bicycle accident. With little to no protection surrounding a bicyclist, they are considered as one of the most vulnerable parties to occupy the road. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) an estimate of 1,000 bicyclists are killed in traffic accidents, while 130,000 are injured in the United States each year. 

Motorcycle Accidents

A motorcycle is often viewed as a dangerous vehicle due to its built-in speed and lack of protection. Its small size has also made it difficult for drivers to locate a motorcyclist when on the road, even in plain sight. 

Not only can a motorcycle appear dangerous, but the motorcyclist himself or herself can also pose a safety risk to others. It is common for a motorcyclist to be found under the influence of alcohol while riding on the road. As alcohol impairs the mind and body from functioning normally, it can make it difficult for a person to properly operate a vehicle.

According to the National Safety Council (NSC), motorcycle deaths have increased by 11 percent from 2019 to 2020. Within 10 years, motorcycle fatalities have increased by 20 percent. Most motorcycle accidents involved motorists who were under the influence of alcohol. 27 percent were motorcyclists, 23 percent were car drivers, 19 percent were light truck drivers, and 3 percent were truck drivers. 

Pedestrian Accidents

Negligent drivers are the number one cause of pedestrian accidents. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), U.S. drivers have killed 7,485 pedestrians in 2021. This is considered as the highest number of pedestrian fatalities in a single year in four decades. 

Wrongful Death 

Factors, such as traffic accidents, dog bites, and dangerous properties, have cost the lives of over thousands of people in the United States. In a wrongful death case, the victim’s heir(s) will be given the legal right to file a wrongful death claim against the party at-fault in order to receive damages. 

Uber and Lyft Accidents

Rideshare companies, such as Uber and Lyft, have become popular across the United States. Many people favor the idea of requesting a ride without the need to go through the hassle of driving themselves. Elderly people and those with a disability that prevent them from operating a vehicle have also found convenience in using rideshare services to travel from point A to point B. 

Although rideshare services offer several benefits to the public, they do come with some downsides that should be acknowledged. This includes the following: sexual assault, physical assault, and uber and lyft accidents. 

Uber recently released a safety report for 2019 and 2020. In the report, it revealed that the rideshare company had 3,824 sexual assaults submitted by riders and drivers through its app. Additionally, 20 people were killed in assaults and 101 died in an accident. 

Lyft’s safety report covers 2017 to 2019. In the report, it states that 4,000 people were physically assaulted during trips. About 10 of those people were killed. Reports of sexual assault increased from 1,096 in 2017 to 1,807 in 2019. Lastly, 105 people died in a fatal traffic accident.

Food Delivery Accidents 

Food delivery companies have changed the way people order food in the United States. Postmates, DoorDash, and Grubhub are some of many food delivery companies that offer services through an app. Each company has thousands of restaurant options for people to choose from. The convenience of ordering food at the comfort of your own home, or even at the workplace, has increased the popularity in food delivery services.

Even though food delivery services do come with many perks, there are some problems that have been reported, especially with food delivery drivers. Since food delivery drivers are expected to deliver a customer’s order on time, they will feel pressured to perform well, which may influence them to speed on the road. Furthermore, if a food delivery driver is unfamiliar with a street, they will likely look away from the road to check their GPS. These scenarios can result in a food delivery accident. Other drivers may also contribute to a food delivery accident, especially if they are speeding, driving while fatigued, intoxicated, or aggressively navigating through the road. 

Since food delivery drivers are identified as independent contractors, it will be difficult to file a lawsuit against the company they are working for. You will need to seek legal assistance from a personal injury lawyer to determine whether you can file a claim against the food delivery driver and the company they are associated with.

Burn Injury 

Burn injuries can occur in several locations, such as in a restaurant, tanning salon, workplace, or your own home. Cooking, beauty products, explosions, and excessive radiation from a tanning bed can result in serious burns. According to the CDC, it is estimated that 1.1 million burn injuries must receive medical attention, and up to 10,000 people die each year due to burn-related infections. 

Dog Bites

Dog bites commonly occur when a dog owner fails to properly train their dog to behave around others. With dogs being the most commonly owned pets in the United States, it is important for all dog owners to take on the responsibility of training their dogs to be obedient in order to prevent or reduce the number of dog bites in the country. 

However, dog owners may not always be at-fault for their dog biting another person. Oftentimes, people will tease or harm a dog on purpose to get a reaction out of them. If that is the case, then it is possible for the dog owner to not be held accountable for injuries or damages caused by the dog’s bite. 

According to the CDC, over 4.5 million people are bitten by a dog every year in the United States. About 800,000 people seek medical attention for injuries caused by a dog bite. A majority of victims who have been bitten by a dog are children. Since children are unaware what signs to look for when a dog is in distress, they will continue to perform actions that will make the dog they are interacting with feel uneasy. This may result in the dog putting itself in defense mode, which may ultimately result in the child getting bit. 

California enforces a strict liability law (CVC 3342) for dog bites. If a dog bites someone on public property or lawfully on private property, the dog owner will be held accountable for any injuries or damages regardless of whether the dog had no history of aggression or the dog owner had no knowledge of their dog’s aggressive behavior.

Truck Accidents 

Truck accidents have the ability to create mass destruction. Due to a truck’s large size, it is capable of inflicting powerful force onto any other vehicle(s) nearby. It has been reported that some drivers have been stuck directly under a truck after a truck-related accident. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the likelihood of the driver sustaining serious or fatal injuries will increase in an underride crash.

Spinal Cord Injury 

Falls are the leading cause of a spinal cord injury. Common areas where a person has fallen down and sustained a spinal cord injury include the stairs, bathtub, shower, or bedroom. Motor vehicle accidents, physical violence, and sports-related activities have also contributed to the cause of a spinal cord injury. 

According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, an estimate of 17,730 new spinal cord injury cases are reported each year in the United States. About 78 percent of spinal cord injury victims are males. The most common age group to sustain a spinal cord injury are seniors who are 65 years or older. 

Premises Liability 

Property owners are required to remove any dangerous products or foreseeable hazards on their premises. If the property owner fails to take any proper action to protect the safety of others, they will likely face a premises liability claim. Common premises liability cases include slip and fall accidents, escalator or elevator accidents, swimming pool accidents, staircase accidents, inadequate security, and dog bites.

Scooter Accidents 

With shared e-scooters becoming more accessible across the United States, the rise in scooter accidents continues to increase. According to 2017 to 2020 data collected by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), there have been over 190,000 emergency room visits due to micro mobility products. These ER visits have increased by 70 percent within those three years. 

Scooters contributed to most of these ER visits. It was reported that scooter accidents rose three times as much from 2017 to 2020. 

  • 2017: 7,700
  • 2018: 14,500
  • 2019: 27,700
  • 2020: 25,400

Common body parts that sustained the most damage were the upper limbs, lower limbs, head, and neck. To reduce the chances of experiencing such injuries, a scooter rider is encouraged to wear safety gear, such as a fitted helmet, elbow pads, and knee pads. 

Bus Accidents 

Buses have been designed to endure serious impact to prevent passengers from getting killed in a bus accident. The strategy implemented into a school bus or public bus design is not entirely effective in protecting passengers from bus accidents, but has given a low rate of injuries and deaths compared to other parties.

According to the 2011 to 2020 data collected by the NHTSA, 70 percent of deaths in a bus accident were occupants of vehicles, 16 percent were pedestrians, 5 percent were school bus passengers, 5 percent were school bus drivers, and 3 percent were bicyclists. 

For injuries, nearly 33 percent were school bus passengers, 8 percent were school bus drivers, and 54 percent were occupants of other vehicles. The remaining other personal injury victims were identified as pedestrians and bicyclists.

Brain Injury 

A brain injury can derive from intense physical contact. Common causes of a brain injury include sports-related activities, motor vehicle accidents, physical violence, and slip and fall accidents. According to 2020 data collected by the CDC, there were more than 64,000 reports of traumatic brain injury deaths in the United States, which can be  translated to about 176 deaths a day. 

How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer? 

Hiring a personal injury lawyer after an accident is the best decision you can make. By acquiring the right lawyer, they will help strengthen your claim and negotiate with insurance companies to ensure you are given maximum compensation. However, many people do tend to worry about the costs of hiring a personal injury lawyer.

Each law firm in the United States operates differently. Some will charge by the hour, while others will get paid after your case has been settled. If you are looking for affordable legal services, we suggest seeking assistance from a personal injury lawyer who works under a contingency-fee basis. A contingency-fee is defined as a sum of money a personal injury lawyer will receive only if the client’s case has been won or settled. 

How to Know if Your Personal Injury Lawyer Actually Has Legal Experience

A personal injury lawyer will try to give a good impression when they meet a client for the first time. However, a client will begin to feel curious about whether their interaction with the personal injury lawyer is authentic or just a cover up. This is a normal thought that many people have processed while trying to find legal representation. It is also justifiable to develop these sorts of thoughts as you will be entrusting them with your case, which is a pretty big deal.

If you’re curious to learn more about the personal injury lawyer you are planning on hiring, below is a list of ways you can research them to help make your final decision. 

Look Them Up on a Search Engine 

Using search engines, such as Google or Binge, will help you locate news stories, publications, or websites associated with your personal injury lawyer. 

Go on Yelp

If you are interested in learning about other people’s past experiences with your personal injury lawyer, you should visit Yelp. Once you access their app or online website, you will come across 1 to 5 star reviews and comments expressing the user’s satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the services they were given. 

Check Their State Bar Profile

All personal injury lawyers who have a license to practice law must be listed in your state bar association’s directory. Do not be fooled by those who use “Esq.” in their letterhead. Using that label does not mean that they are licensed to practice. 

To locate your personal injury lawyer, you must visit the state’s bar association website and input a state bar number or first or last name. Once you have located your personal injury lawyer’s profile, you will be given access to look at their contact information, any records of misconduct, and whether they can actively practice law. 

Visit Their Website 

By visiting your personal injury lawyer’s official website, you will find more information on their accolades, testimonials, and publications. You may also likely come across their biography, which may include what type of education they received and what other job occupations they had before becoming a personal injury lawyer. 

View the Third-Party Rating Groups 

Sites like Yelp are not always reliable when it comes to reviews. Oftentimes, unverifiable users who have not used the personal injury lawyer’s services may post a positive or negative review. This can make it difficult for others to determine whether they should entrust the personal injury lawyer to handle their case.

A notable choice of reliability is Super Lawyers, which is a rating service that undergoes a patented selection process to acknowledge excellent lawyers. These searches may generally take 10 to 15 minutes, however, you will save a lot of time trying to figure out whether or not it is worth it to hire the personal injury lawyer you had in mind. 

Contact Us Today 

Were 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. 

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