Los Angeles County Personal Injury Lawyer

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Los Angeles County Personal Injury Attorney

Experiencing an accident or injury, whether it’s a vehicle accident or a slip-and-fall injury, or suffering harm or losses due to someone else’s actions can be devastating. In addition to the financial costs associated with suffering an injury, the incident can have a significant impact on your overall quality of life. It is important to speak with a Los Angeles County Personal Injury Lawyer to discover how you may be entitled to recover damages for your injury and loss.

As a victim of someone else’s negligence, you are legally entitled to recover compensation through a personal injury claim. Unfortunately, personal injury cases can be challenging, as various legal complexities and opposition by the defense can conspire to reduce the recovery amount for which you are rightfully due. The right personal injury attorney can ensure that you receive the maximum compensation available in your case by representing you throughout the process.

Personal Injury Representation in Los Angeles County, CA

With thousands of personal injury cases having been fought and won, Duque & Price prides itself on helping accident victims in Los Angeles County, California. Our dynamic personal injury attorneys know how to investigate and litigate any type of personal injury lawsuit and we know how to win. We have offices located all across Southern California.

We have helped numerous injured accident victims battle against insurance companies, so that they can obtain the compensation that they deserve. As you can imagine, the insurance companies are not always pleased to pay out claims to accident victims, especially when an accident victim has been seriously injured and the damages begin to reach large numbers. You have the right to seek fair compensation for the damages you have incurred as the result of another person’s negligence or carelessness.

These damages can include medical expenses, pain and suffering, time off of work, and damages for your family members. At Duque & Price, we aggressively take on all types of personal injury cases, including car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, construction accidents, tractor trailer accidents, workplace injuries, and wrongful death cases. Your initial consultation is absolutely free and you do not pay any legal fees until we obtain a financial recovery for you.

What Is a Personal Injury Case?

A personal injury case represents a claim filed against an at-fault or liable party for harm suffered or injury inflicted as a direct result of the other person or entity’s action or inaction. Generally, this action or inaction is referred to as negligence, and the claim is a legal attempt to hold the party accountable through financial responsibility. Successful claims obligate the negligent party to pay damages covering the injured party’s losses and injuries.

A personal injury occurs when another party’s action, whether that party is an individual, business, entity, or government agency, directly causes you some type of harm, whether physical harm, financial harm, or some combination of the two. Personal injuries can result from a wide range of differing incidents, such as car accidents, medical malpractice, workplace accidents, defective products, or intentional acts of tort, such as assault, fraud, or discrimination.

The Basic Concepts of Personal Injury

If you are considering pursuing a personal injury claim against another party, it is important to understand a few basic concepts regarding personal injury law. The following represents the essential components of personal injury cases and how they may apply to your case:

  • Negligence. The legal concept of negligence is where most personal injury cases will hinge. Negligence occurs when an individual or entity fails to demonstrate reasonable care towards you. The other party must owe you a duty of care, and their actions must breach that duty and directly lead to injury or harm.
  • Damages. The compensation awarded to an individual as redress for a loss or harm caused by another party’s actions is known as damages. There are several types of damages, including compensatory damages and punitive damages.
  • Liability. The legal obligation a person or entity has to compensate for any injury or loss resulting from an accident or other incident is known as liability. Proving liability will come down to establishing fault and demonstrating negligence to hold responsible parties accountable for their actions.
  • Statute of limitations. The legal time frame indicating the deadline by which a claim must be filed in order to be accepted by courts is known as the statute of limitations. If you’ve been injured or have suffered loss as the result of an accident or incident, you must bring your case forward within this time period. Otherwise, you risk having your case thrown out.

Your personal injury attorney can explain these and other concepts and how they apply to your case. Lawyers provide legal guidance through each step of the claim process in addition to representation. Our team offers a free consultation, during which you can discuss the details of your case and potentially find out how much your case is worth.

How Do I File a Personal Injury Claim in California?

If you believe you have suffered a personal injury for which you intend to seek damages, there are a few important steps to take:

  • Seek medical care. If you haven’t already, it is imperative that you seek medical attention for any injury you have suffered. This is important for several reasons. First and most important is to prioritize your health. You may not immediately know the extent of your injury, and it is vital that you receive the care you need as soon as possible.Second, it will prove essential as your case progresses to maintain thorough medical records indicating the extent of your injuries.
  • Speak with a qualified attorney. Though hiring a personal injury lawyer is not a legal requirement for filing a case against another party, it is highly recommended. In fact, you should involve your attorney in your case at the earliest possible point.This gives your attorney the greatest opportunity to gather the necessary evidence, including interviewing witnesses and obtaining surveillance videos while they are still available. They can help expedite much of the process and will ensure that you are able to file within all legal timeframes.
  • Establish the details of your case filing. Before you can bring a case against anyone, you must first determine whom you are bringing your case against. It will then follow where you will file, as the county in which you file can depend on where the defendant resides in addition to where you live or where the incident occurred. Your attorney can be a great asset in helping determine these details.
  • Send a demand letter. Your attorney can send a demand letter to the defendant or to the appropriate insurance company. The letter will outline the details of the accident, the presumed liability, the extent of your injuries and loss, and the damages sought in the case.
  • Negotiate. Often, a well-crafted demand letter will lead to negotiations that can result in a favorable settlement. You should attempt to settle your case out of court, as this will save both parties on expensive court fees. The other party will be motivated to settle during this phase but may attempt to undervalue the claim. If no agreement can be reached, you and your attorney will proceed to file a formal case against the party.
  • File a personal injury case. Your attorney can fill out the necessary documents with the appropriate court, officially bringing a personal injury case against the other party. After filing, both sides will enter into a discovery phase, where evidence and information are gathered together. Then, both sides will most likely attempt alternative dispute resolutions, such as mediation, in order to try again at settling before the case goes to trial.
  • Go to trial. Most personal injury cases are able to be resolved before this point, but many still require taking a case to court to reach an appropriate settlement. This happens particularly in cases where defendants challenge the claims made in the case or when they deny responsibility for the incident. Your attorney will continue to represent you through this process.

Provided you and your attorney win your case, you will then collect the settlement. If you file against an insurance company, you can usually collect your settlement within 30 days of the verdict. In order to be successful, you will need to be able to prove the liability of the other party or parties. The first step in doing that is proving negligence.

How Do I Prove Negligence in My Personal Injury Case?

Establishing fault in a personal injury case will most often revolve around proving negligence. Proving negligence requires evidence of the following four points:

  • Duty of care. You and your attorney must establish that the defendant in some way owed you a duty of care. Drivers owe others on the road a duty of care to drive in a reasonable and safe manner, observing all traffic laws.Medical professionals, such as doctors, owe their patients a duty of care to provide accurate and appropriate treatment and diagnoses. Even businesses owe a duty of care to their employees to provide a safe working environment.
  • Breach of duty. You and your attorney must demonstrate that the defendant in some way breached their duty of care. If the defendant committed a violation or failed to exercise reasonable care, this could constitute a breach of duty. In some cases, committing a crime without excuse is enough to establish negligence, as the burden of proof would then move to the defendant to challenge the legally presumed negligence on their part.
  • Damages. You must demonstrate that you experienced real loss or harm in your case. This is the “personal injury” referred to in a personal injury case. It is important to keep careful copies of all medical records, receipts, repair estimates, and other evidence of costs incurred as a result of your accident or incident.
  • Causation. Finally, you and your attorney must demonstrate that the breach of duty of care by the defendant directly resulted in the harm or loss you experienced. This will hinge on adequately proving the direct connection or relationship between the accident or incident and your injuries.Depending on the details of your case, this may be relatively straightforward, such as in cases of assault, or it may be more challenging and difficult to prove.

If you and your attorney are able to establish these four points, then you can demonstrate the defendant’s liability in your personal injury case, meaning the at-fault party will be accountable for paying you appropriate damages for your injury or loss. However, you should be aware of the possibility of shared fault in your case.

How Does Comparative Negligence Work?

California’s shared fault laws work on a pure comparative negligence standard. This means that a court may determine that fault is shared by more than one party. If you share fault in the incident, you are still entitled to receive compensation, but the settlement amount will be reduced in keeping with your portion of the fault.

This means that if a court awards you a gross amount of $60,000 for damages but deems you to be 20% at fault, then you will receive a net settlement amount of $48,000.

In some cases, this works for you. Because it is a pure comparative negligence standard, California law entitles you to pursue compensation even if you share most of the fault. In fact, victims who are found to be 98% at fault can still take legal action to recover the remaining 2% of their compensation.

In any case, it is vital that you work closely with a personal injury lawyer who is able to protect your final compensation amount by defending you against unfounded attempts to undermine your claim or shift liability by placing undue blame onto you. Insurance companies will especially attempt several different tactics in order to minimize their own liability in your case.

What Damages Can I Recover in My Personal Injury Case?

There are several different types of personal injury cases, and even within the same type of case, no two are exactly unique. The details of your case will be particular to you, and our attorneys understand how to personalize each case. When it comes to recovering compensation, there are certain types of damages that will generally be available to you in a personal injury case. They include:

  • Compensatory damages. These damages seek to reimburse or restore the victim for the harm and loss they experienced. The purpose of this legal recompense is to make the victim “whole” again through financial means. Compensatory damages are provided through both consequential damages and general damages.Consequential damages refer to the more easily quantifiable monetary values associated with the losses experienced in the case. This includes medical expenses, property loss, lost wages, and the loss of earning capacity. Through careful record keeping, these damages are relatively easy to calculate, prove, and recover.

    General damages refer to the non-economic losses associated with the case that are more difficult to quantify. This includes the pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of quality of life, and loss of consortium experienced as a result of the case. Despite it being more challenging to place a value on these losses, victims are just as entitled to compensation for these non-material losses.

  • Punitive damages. In many circumstances, a defendant’s actions represent gross negligence or a blatant disregard for the lives or safety of others. In these cases, a judge may choose to impose further financial obligations on the defendant as a means of discouraging this type of behavior in the future. This is known as punitive damages.In this way, the judge is awarding damages to the victim as punishment for the defendant rather than as redress to the plaintiff.

It is challenging to completely ascertain exactly how much your case is worth, but your personal injury attorney will be able to provide you with a good idea during a free consultation. With comprehensive experience handling a wide range of cases, your lawyer can fight for what would be a fair and just recovery amount for your particular injury.

Should I Take the Initial Settlement Offer?

As medical bills, car repairs, missed income from being out of work, and other expenses start to mount, it can be tempting to take the initial settlement offered to you by the other party or their insurance company. Insurance agents particularly will count on this being the case so they can settle out of court as quickly as possible. However, these initial settlement offers rarely represent the full extent of your losses and tend to drastically undervalue your claim.

This is another reason why it is imperative that you begin working with a qualified and experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible in your case. It will always be better for your attorney to initiate the terms of the proposed settlement before the insurance does, as that is the greatest opportunity to present the full extent of your injury and financial loss. It will be much more difficult to work an offer up than it will be to keep it from going down.

Insurance companies may attempt to minimize your claim by challenging the extent of your injury or underestimating the value of your losses. By having an attorney on your side who is unafraid to take a case to trial, the defense will be much more likely to negotiate terms that are more favorable to your outcome.

What Is the Statute of Limitations on a Personal Injury in California?

If you’ve been the victim of an accident, intentional tort, workplace injury, malpractice, or other personal injury, you must file a claim within the appropriate deadline in order for your case to remain valid. This is known as the statute of limitations. California has several statutes of limitations for filing personal injury claims in the state, depending on the type of case. Cases that are filed outside of these statutes of limitations may be automatically thrown out and dismissed in court.

For most personal injury claims, California has a two-year statute of limitations, beginning on the date of the injury. If the injury was not discovered until later, the victim has one year from the date that the injury could have been reasonably discovered or two years from the date the injury happened, whichever is longer.

Property damage claims have a three-year statute of limitations. In many cases, victims will file claims for both injury and property damage compensation, but the statute of limitations is longer for the latter. Some crimes, such as murder, have no statute of limitations at all. It is most effective to work with your attorney to ensure that you are pursuing a case within the legal time frame afforded to you by the applicable statute of limitations.

Finally, if your claim is against a government entity, such as a public transportation agency, city or other local municipality, or government agency, you must file a claim within six months of the incident. This statute of limitations represents a significantly shorter window, which is why it is further recommended that you work with an attorney as soon as possible so that you are able to properly pursue your claim against all responsible parties within the appropriate legal deadlines.

How Much Does a Personal Injury Attorney Cost?

Most personal injury attorneys work on what is known as a contingency fee basis. This means they receive payment for their legal services by taking a percentage of the settlement award rather than directly from their client. This eliminates much of the barrier to entry for most individuals to receive highly qualified and skilled legal counsel.

It also provides the freedom to engage in every means necessary to secure a favorable outcome, as they will not be charging hourly for every particular task.

While the exact percentage your personal injury attorney will charge may vary based on several factors, such as experience, the type of claim, and the complexity of your particular case, most lawyers will charge around a 33% contingency fee, receiving roughly one-third of the final net settlement amount of your case. It is important to discuss fee structure and other costs at the start to ensure that you understand and agree on all services.

At Duque & Price, our team offers a free initial consultation to our prospective clients. This provides you with an opportunity to discuss the details of your case and find out what we believe your case may be worth. This obligation-free consultation is the most effective way to receive initial guidance and legal counsel on recommended next steps.

What Types of Personal Injury Cases Do We Represent?

LOS ANGELES COUNTY CAR ACCIDENTS

When you are involved in a car accident, you know that the weeks and months following can be overwhelming and difficult. A collision caused by a careless or distracted driver can result in you getting compensated for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and other expenses.

LOS ANGELES COUNTY WRONGFUL DEATH

Pursuing a wrongful death action after losing a loved one can be very difficult, but it may be the only way to obtain justice for another person’s negligence. For many of our Los Angeles County clients, their ultimate goal is to hold responsible parties accountable for their negligence, wrongful actions, harmful inactions or recklessness.

LOS ANGELES COUNTY MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENTS

At the law offices of Brent A. Duque, we are aware of the general negative attitude toward bikers. We also know that this stereotype is often unwarranted and unfair. As Los Angeles County motorcycle accident attorneys, we know that just because an accident victim was riding a motorcycle, he or she is not necessarily at fault.

LOS ANGELES COUNTY TRUCKING ACCIDENTS

A commercial truck or big rig easily weighs over 75,000 pounds, especially when full. These trucks, by their sheer weight and size, can be extraordinarily difficult to manage and maneuver, creating somewhat of a hazard for those sharing the road with them and all too often leading to catastrophic injuries.

LOS ANGELES COUNTY DOG BITES

Dog bites are common, especially against small children. According to the American Humane Association (2014), over 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs every year, and more than half of those are children.

LOS ANGELES COUNTY PREMISES LIABILITY

The legal theory of premises liability is a concept defining how property owners and residents are responsible for accidents and injuries that happen on their property. The types of accidents that may result in premises liability claims can range from slip and fall injuries to an injury suffered on an amusement park ride.

LOS ANGELES COUNTY CONSTRUCTION ACCIDENTS

Los Angeles County is rife with expansion and construction projects, meaning that accidents can happen daily. Construction site accidents account for thousands of workplace injuries and deaths nationwide. In a constantly growing area like Los Angeles County, with construction on the freeways, new buildings and houses going up all the time, accidents occur far too often.

LOS ANGELES COUNTY SPINAL CORD INJURY

A back/spinal cord injury can affect your life forever. Spinal cord injury (SCI) results from any type of trauma or injury to the nerve fibers attached to the spinal cord. These injuries are a result of falls, motor vehicle accidents, sports injuries, and other violence to the spine.

LOS ANGELES COUNTY BURN INJURY

Burn injuries happen regularly and are among the most devastating a person can suffer in his or her lifetime. Such injuries are not only extremely painful but can also require years of surgery, recovery, and convalescence. In severe burn injury cases, skin and tissue damage can take years to heal.

LOS ANGELES COUNTY BRAIN INJURIES

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) results when the head suffers a violent hit or even a sudden jolt. Since the brain is actually floating in cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) inside the skull, it is vulnerable to extreme collisions within the skull itself, such as those that occur in automobile accidents (whiplash). Have you been involved in a whiplash injury?

Your Los Angeles County Personal Injury Lawyer

Whatever injuries or losses you may have suffered or experienced on account of someone else’s negligence, you deserve fair and just compensation. Only by working with a qualified and skilled personal injury attorney can you expect to receive the full extent to which your case is worth. Our team at Duque & Price can help you discover how much that may be and can work diligently to secure the most favorable outcome for you.

To begin building your case, contact the law office of Duque & Price today. We can help you obtain a full recovery by representing you in every aspect of your case. Don’t hesitate to get started.

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