Los Angeles Accidents and Injuries Attorney Answers Frequently Asked Questions about California Personal Injury Law
If you have been injured in a car accident or a slip and fall on someone else’s property, you probably have a lot of questions regarding the incident: Do I have a case? Can I sue? How much is my case worth? Below you will find answers to these questions and others frequently encountered at the Law Office of Jonathan M. Pennell as we help people in Los Angeles and southern California who are injured due to the negligence of others. If you have other questions, please give us a call at 310-933-5370 to speak with experienced and dedicated personal injury attorney Jonathan Pennell. Mr. Pennell would be happy to talk with you and answer any questions you may have.
Do I have a case?
There are basically four broad issues that must be proven in a negligence case: 1) the defendant owed you a duty of care; 2) the defendant breached or violated that duty; 3) this breach caused your injury; 4) you suffered compensable harm. During your free initial consultation, we will discuss the facts of the accident and be able to form an opinion of whether you likely have a case or not.
Can I sue?
Filing a lawsuit may or may not be necessary in order to recover compensation from the other party. Initiating a lawsuit and pursuing litigation is often an effective way to build a strong case and achieve a fair settlement. Suing another party does not necessarily mean you will go to court, as most cases settle before trial. However, you will be in a strong position to obtain a full settlement, and you will be prepared for court if a trial is necessary in your case.
How much is my case worth?
Damages (the legal term for financial compensation awarded to a successful party in a negligence lawsuit) can include a variety of economic and non-economic costs. Economic damages are expenses you incurred or will incur due to the injury, such as property damage, medical bills and future medical care, rehabilitation, lost income or modifications to your home or car that may be required due to disability. Non-economic damages recognize harm such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and the loss of quality of life or companionship with a loved one. In some cases, courts award punitive damages, which is like a financial penalty on the defendant for extremely bad conduct. Punitive damages are not available in every case, and they are harder to prove. Nevertheless, attorney Jonathan Pennell will seek punitive damages in appropriate cases and put in the time necessary to justify an award.
How long do I have to file a claim?
In most negligence cases, such as an auto accident or slip and fall, you have two years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit. Lawsuits filed after the this time, known as the statute of limitations, are generally rejected. It is important to know that in some cases the time may be longer than two years, such as when you did not discover the injury at first. However, it is even more important to understand that in some cases the time period may be much shorter, such as a claim against the government for a slip and fall on public property or an auto accident caused by a city bus. It is crucial to contact an attorney as soon as possible after your accident to protect your rights to file a lawsuit and recover much-needed compensation.
What if I was partially to blame in causing the accident?
It is a typical ploy of insurance companies to try and shift at least some of the blame for the accident on to you by claiming that you were also negligent, such as by speeding or not looking where you were going. Don’t take their word for it, but contact an attorney of your own who will investigate the facts of the accident and determine who was at fault. Even if you were partially to blame, you can still recover compensation against the other negligent party, although your award will be reduced in proportion to the percentage of fault attributed to you. The Law Office of Jonathan M. Pennell fights hard to prove the other party’s fault and keep you from being unfairly saddled with any blame for the accident that does not properly belong to you.