Frequently Asked Questions

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Personal injury law pertains to civil cases between private individuals or entities. When one party causes injury or harm to another, the injured party can seek compensation for the resulting losses through a personal injury claim. The attorneys at Eric Ratinoff Law Corp want California residents to understand how personal injury law works. Consider the following frequently asked questions about personal injury if you are unsure about any aspect of a claim, and contact us today to schedule a consultation if you believe your claim holds merit.

Q: What are the grounds for filing a personal injury lawsuit?

A: An individual may file a personal injury claim after sustaining some type of measurable loss or harm due to the negligent actions of another party. For example, John runs a red light and T-bones Dave’s car, causing severe injuries and property damage. John’s insurance is insufficient to cover Dave’s losses, so Dave files a personal injury claim against John to recover his damages. Personal injury claims can also arise from dog attacks, slip and fall injuries, or as civil actions from the victims of criminal acts.

Q: How much is my personal injury claim worth?

A: To determine the worth of a personal injury claim, first calculate the total economic damages resulting from the incident. For example, after a car accident that resulted in severe property damage to your vehicle and a broken arm, your economic losses could likely include the cost of repairing or replacing your damaged vehicle and the medical expenses for treating your broken arm. If your injury prevents you from working until you recover, you can also claim the wages lost in that time as damages in your lawsuit.

Additionally, some claimants will qualify for pain and suffering damages to compensate them for the physical pain, emotional distress, and psychological anguish resulting from an accident. There is no firm rule for calculating pain and suffering damages. Some courts will use a “per diem” rule and award a set amount of compensation per day until the claimant reaches maximum recovery. Others will multiply the claimant’s medical expenses by a certain amount, sometimes two to five times, and award that amounts as pain and suffering compensation.

Q: How long do I have to file a personal injury claim?

A: Generally, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim in California is two years. This starts counting down on the date the injury occurred or on the date the plaintiff discovered the injury.

Q: What if I was partially at fault for my accident?

A: California follows a pure comparative negligence law, meaning that a plaintiff may recover damages, even if he or she is partially at fault for the incident in question. The jury will assess the facts of the case and assign the plaintiff a fault percentage, if necessary, and the plaintiff will lose a portion of the case award equal to this fault percentage. For example, a plaintiff found 30% at fault in a case worth $100,000 would lose 30% of the case award for a net total of $70,000 instead.

Q: Do I need to hire an attorney, or can I represent myself in court?

A: While you always have the option of attempting to represent your own interests in court, doing so without any legal training or experience is not a wise decision. Even if you believe your claim is open-and-shut, the average person does not know how to navigate the court’s filing requirements and deadlines. It’s very likely you could have your case thrown out before it even reaches trial. It may cost more to hire an attorney, but an experienced and reliable personal injury attorney will strengthen your claim and explore every available channel of compensation for your damages.

If you have recently suffered injuries you believe occurred due to the negligence of another party, call the Eric Ratinoff Law Corp today to schedule a free consultation. We will review the details of your claim and let you know what type of compensation you could expect from a lawsuit.