Santa Rosa Personal Injury Lawyer
After being injured in an accident, it is not uncommon for it to feel impossible to get your life back to the way it was. Injuries take a toll on a person’s physical, mental, and financial well-being. No matter what type of injury you may be suffering from, having a dedicated advocate like Attorney Eric J. Ratinoff on your side can make all the difference.
If you or somebody you care about has found themselves with an injury that was not their fault, Eric Ratinoff Law Corp. in Santa Rosa, California, may be able to help. Our top priority is to hold liable parties accountable for our clients’ injuries and make sure they receive the compensation they deserve for their injuries. We have the resources and experience to pursue your case aggressively, including taking your case all the way to trial, if necessary.
Commonly Asked Questions Regarding Personal Injury Cases in Santa Rosa
If you were injured in a situation that you believe resulted from another party’s negligence, you probably have many questions. A few common questions clients come to us with are:
How do I know if I have a personal injury claim?
To have a personal injury claim, you must be able to prove four things. First, you must be able to show that you have been injured, either physically or emotionally. Second, you must prove that the responsible party was negligent. Third, you will need to prove that their negligence caused your injury. Finally, it will need to be shown that the injury resulted in damages that can be compensated financially.
Do I still have a claim if the accident is partly my fault?
Yes. In most cases, you can recover money even if you are partially to blame for the accident. In California, this is known as “comparative fault,” which means the amount you recover in damages may be reduced by the percentage you are found to be at fault for the resulting injury. Always be honest with your lawyer about the facts surrounding your case. Your personal injury lawyer is on your side and will need to know the truth in order to pursue your case properly. Even if there are details that could point part of the blame on you, honesty with your attorney will help minimize the risk of reducing what you are entitled to receive.
What is auto negligence?
Automobile accidents are among the most common causes of wrongful death and severe injury in Santa Rosa and all of California. Almost all auto accidents stem from the negligence of another driver.
Negligence is the legal theory that if someone fails to act with reasonable care and their behavior (or lack of action) results in the injury of another person, they could be held liable for injuries incurred. Proving negligence is at the heart of most car accident cases and other torts or civil wrongs, such as slips, falls, and defective products.
When should I hire a personal injury attorney?
If you have been physically injured, either you or your caretaker should consult with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Hiring an attorney shortly after your injury will ensure that necessary evidence and documentation is collected and that you receive the most favorable result for your case. It is also essential to protect your legal rights before the statute of limitations expires, which dictates how long you have before you are no longer allowed to file a lawsuit regarding your injury. Although it varies state to state and depends on the type of injury and defendant, in some cases, this time period can be as little as six months after an injury. Don’t assume you have a long time to decide whether or not you want to take legal action. Most attorneys will do an initial consultation for free, so it’s a good idea to book a consultation as soon as you are able.
How much does a personal injury attorney cost?
At Eric Ratinoff Law Corp., our attorneys work on a contingency basis. When clients and attorneys enter a contingency fee agreement, clients do not pay any legal costs or fees unless there is a settlement or a winning verdict at trial – meaning we advance all upfront costs. Your attorney will then receive a percentage of the total case recovery. If there is no settlement or winning verdict in your case, you will not be charged for any of the work done on your case.
Often, people are hesitant to hire an attorney because of the fees they will eventually have to pay if a settlement is reached. However, personal injury cases can be quite complicated, and most victims do not have the resources, knowledge, experience or time required to pursue their case properly. Therefore, partnering with an experienced attorney can actually increase the amount of financial compensation you receive for an accident. Even once all of the attorney’s fees and costs are paid, victims often end up with more money in their pocket than they would if they had attempted to represent themselves.
It’s also worth noting that most personal injury attorneys charge the same percentage contingency fee—regardless of their level of experience. So, it’s worth your while to do some research and find an attorney with the experience and resources to obtain the best result for your case. Eric Ratinoff Law Corp. is passionate about providing excellent representation to our clients, and to obtaining the maximum recovery possible for their case.
How is the value of a personal injury claim determined?
Compensation for injuries will depend on several factors, such as the nature and extent of your:
- Injuries, including physical and emotional pain and suffering
- Change in quality of life
- Economic hardship or financial loss
- Decreased earning potential
- Physical impairment
- Future medical and life care needs
These considerations are why we invest such a great effort into getting to know your story and how your injury has affected your life.
How much financial compensation can I get for my injuries?
You are legally entitled to be fully compensated for your injuries to the full extent the at-fault party is found to be responsible for your injuries. According to California law, you are entitled to “be made whole.” Essentially, this means that you should be returned to the same position you were in immediately before the injury occurred. Since no one can go back in time and prevent an injury from happening, the law requires the negligent party to adequately financially compensate victims for their injuries. In legal terms, this compensation is called “damages.”
Types of Damages You Could Recover in a Santa Rosa Personal Injury Claim
Depending on the type and extent of your personal injury, you could be eligible for compensatory damages, which may include the following:
- Property damage
- Medical bills, both past and future
- Lost wages, including overtime
- Out of pocket expenses (transportation charges, etc.)
- Pain and suffering
- Physical disability
- Permanent scars
- Emotional trauma
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of love and affection
- Mental disability
Our attorneys take the time to get to know each of our clients and their goals so that we can formulate the best path forward for their unique cases.
Should You Accept an Insurance Company’s Offer for Compensation of Your Injuries?
You should never expect to be adequately compensated for your injuries by the insurance company. Insurance companies are in the business of making money. Their business model is to collect premiums and pay out as little as possible for insurance claims. Their adjusters and attorneys work diligently toward a single purpose – to minimize the amount they have to pay victims to make them “whole.” Often this means they will not even agree to pay victims for all of their medical bills or lost wages because they claim the bills are excessive or that the medical treatment was unnecessary.
Insurance companies may dispute the nature or extent of victims’ injuries. This happens most often with severe injury cases because the victim’s costs are usually exceptionally high. The insurance companies typically downplay the impact that injuries will have on a person’s future and frequently argue about the type of medical treatment and care victims require for the rest of their lives. In essence, insurance companies will try to minimize personal injury claims regardless of what happened.
Fighting the insurance industry and obtaining the best possible outcome for personal injury cases requires the assistance of an experienced and well-respected attorney. You can be confident the insurance company’s lawyers will know the amount of experience the lawyer you have partnered with has, and they will treat your case accordingly. The attorneys at Eric Ratinoff Law Corp. not only have the knowledge and experience required to pursue complex cases, but we have an excellent reputation in the legal community. We boast a long history of success fighting powerful insurance companies and large corporations. When they hear from us, they know they are in for a fight.
How Can a Santa Rosa Personal Injury Attorney Help Prove Negligence?
To prove negligence, the injured party bringing the claim (also known as the plaintiff) must establish four main elements in their case:
- First, that the defendant (the accused party) owed the plaintiff a duty of care. All drivers assume a duty of care to other drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and others on the roadway when they get behind the wheel. If an auto accident stems from a defective product, such as bad brakes, the manufacturer owes a duty of care to its consumers. An accident due to a roadway defect, such as a broken stoplight, comes under the duty of care of the party in charge of roadway maintenance.
- Second, that the defendant did not perform their duty of care. The defendant’s breach of care is the crux of personal injury law. It is the plaintiff’s burden of proof to convince the judge or jury that the defendant neglected to perform his or her duty. For example, texting while driving or driving under the influence could be considered a breach of duty. Having the right personal injury lawyer in your corner is critical in this step, as it is your lawyer who can gather evidence, such as eyewitness testimonies, roadway evidence, call records, and other clues, and use a variety of means to recreate your accident and prove its cause.
- Third, that the defendant’s breach of duty caused the accident. It is not enough to show that the defendant was negligent, careless, or reckless in some way. The responsible party’s act of negligence must have been the main cause of the accident. For example, let’s say a driver falls asleep behind the wheel. At the same time, a defective stop light makes another driver run a red light and collide with them. In this case, the drowsy driver would not be the main cause of the accident. The main cause of the accident would actually be the defective light despite the first driver’s negligence, thus absolving them from the responsibility of the second driver’s injuries.
- Fourth, that the accident caused compensable damages. If a plaintiff does not suffer any damages in an accident (such as physical injury, pain and suffering, mental anguish, emotional distress, medical bills, lost wages, loss of capacity to work, lost quality of life, or property damage), then there is no reason to file a personal injury claim.
A proficient personal injury attorney will strive to maximize recovery by utilizing powerful storytelling skills. These skills will help show the judge or jury the full extent of a plaintiff’s damages. At Eric Ratinoff Law Corp., we use multiple forms of advanced storytelling techniques. Our goal is to paint an accurate and compelling portrayal of your accident and injuries. We know what it takes to prove a car accident case. Whether we need to gather and protect important evidence, conduct eyewitness interviews, hire experts, or skillfully negotiate, we will do so on your behalf.
Types of Personal Injury Cases We Handle in Santa Rosa, California
Attorney Eric J. Ratinoff has been fighting for injured victims for over 25 years. Over that time, he has successfully represented thousands of clients, secured substantial settlements, and achieved highly favorable trial verdicts on our clients’ behalf.
His personal approach to legal representation and passion for obtaining justice makes all the difference in the results we obtain for our clients. Our team has an excellent legal reputation and has recovered millions of dollars on behalf of our clients for matters involving:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Car accidents
- Trucking collisions
- Bicycle collisions
- Insurance bad faith
- Wildfire litigation
- Slip, trip, and fall accidents
- Burn injuries
- Motorcycle accidents
- Dog bites
- Wrongful death
- Defective products
- Birth injuries
- Pedestrian accidents
- Workplace accidents
- Premises liability claims
- Construction accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Nursing home abuse and negligence
- Water park injuries
We know that financial compensation will never make your injury and pain magically disappear. However, recovering compensation can help ease your mind by putting you in a better financial position, obtain advanced medical resources, and replacing any damaged property – allowing you to spend more time focusing on your path to recovery.
Consult with a Santa Rosa Personal Injury Lawyer for a California Accident
If you or someone you care about has suffered a personal injury, Eric Ratinoff Law Corp. can help. Whether your case involves a car accident, traumatic brain injury, nursing home abuse, insurance bad faith matter, or any other catastrophic injury, we believe the health and well-being of our clients is always worth the fight.
Call us today at (916) 970-9100 or fill out our contact form for a free, no-risk, confidential case evaluation. We never charge a fee unless we win money for you, and we advance all costs associated with your claim. Whether you are unsure if you have a case or you just have questions about the legal process, we are happy to discuss your situation and provide the guidance you need.