Frequently Asked Questions

Answers from a San Bernardino Personal Injury Attorney

The Law Offices of Vetchtein & Associates seeks to provide the highest quality personal injury representation for San Bernardino accident victims. In an effort to assist such victims, the firm has answered a number of frequently asked questions to help people realize their need for legal counsel. Personal injury claims are complex and should never be attempted without excellent guidance from a qualified San Bernardino personal injury lawyer. Call the firm today if you have been involved in an accident of any kind and need to file a claim for compensation. The firm can also answer all of your questions in detail and will keep in constant communication with you throughout the course of your legal process if you hire one of their personal injury attorneys.

What is considered personal injury?

Any injury that results from someone else's negligence, recklessness, or purposeful action can be considered a personal injury worthy of compensation. If the victim is responsible for the accident in any way, it may disqualify them from obtaining full coverage either through their own insurance, the other party's insurance, or both.

How much is my claim worth?
It is virtually impossible to determine an exact value for a personal injury claim, since some of the damages can be noneconomic. Economic damages such as medical bills and property repairs can be easily calculated using receipts, bills, and bank statements, but damages such as pain, suffering, or grief have no set monetary value. Even so, an experienced and aggressive San Bernardino personal injury lawyer will be able to examine your case in detail, gather documentation and evidence, and estimate the approximate value of your claim. Retain a lawyer from the firm today for the excellent representation that you need to recover maximum damages for your claim.

When should I file a claim?
Personal injury and wrongful death claims are both under California's statute of limitations. This means that victims only have a set period of time in which they may file a claim before they are no longer eligible for compensation. If you have been in an accident, you have two years from the date of the accident, or from the manifestation of any catastrophic injury, to file a claim so that you can fight for a fair recovery. Waiting longer than two years will result in forfeit and no right to recover your damages, so don't wait. Contact an attorney as soon as possible after your accident to preserve evidence and to get the process started.

Who can file for personal injury?
Anyone whose injury was caused by someone else is most likely eligible to file a claim. You should not have to suffer physically as well as financially due to another person's negligence. By filling a claim, you hold the liable party responsible for your injuries, medical bills, damage repairs, and suffering. The only prerequisite is that you had nothing to do with the cause of your accident and/or injuries.

How do I prove liability in a slip and fall claim?
The legal field of premises liability law can sometimes be one of the more complex areas of personal injury law because standards of liability and fault vary depending on the circumstances of the situation and the status of the injured plaintiff at the time of the accident. Generally speaking, if you were on someone's property with legitimate reason at the time of your accident, you and your premises liability attorney will need to prove that one of a few possible scenarios is true. Either the owner of the premises must have caused the condition that led to your fall, was aware of the condition but did nothing to fix/warn others of it or the owner was not aware of the danger but it was such that any reasonable person would have noticed and addressed it. In premises liability claims, as in many personal injury claims, the question of what qualifies as "reasonable" is likely to arise. Typically, these claims are determined by examining whether the owner made regular and thorough attempts to examine and maintain his or her property. Liability in slip and fall accident claims can be difficult to prove given the different elements that must be addressed, which is why it would be in your best interest to consult with a personal injury attorney to represent you in your claim for compensation.

What does negligence mean in a personal injury claim?
The principle that serves as a foundation for personal injury law is that everyone has a certain degree of duty to care for others. This care is to be executed in the form of taking reasonable measures to protect others from unnecessary harm or injury. The standard of care required from each person will differ depending on the situation and nature of relation between the alleged defendant and the plaintiff but the failure to exercise reasonable care is generally referred to as negligence. Negligence, in personal injury, is conduct, behavior, action or inaction that falls below the standard of care expected from a certain party to protect others from unreasonable risk of harm.

How do I prove someone was negligent?
In almost any personal injury claim, there are three main elements to proving that the defendant was negligent and that the plaintiff deserves to be compensated. The first thing that must be established is that the defendant somehow owed the plaintiff a duty to care. Examples of this include one driver's duty to adhere to traffic laws and drive at a safe speed to protect others from harm or the duty of a doctor to diagnose and treat the patient in a manner that any reasonable medical professional would. Once a duty of care has been established, you will then be required to show that the defendant breached that duty by failing to act in a manner that fulfills the standard of care required of them in that particular situation. Lastly, you will need to show that the breach of duty, also known as negligence, was the direct cause of real and actual injury to you, the plaintiff. In order to be compensated, there must be damages and losses to compensate for. In other words, you will be asked to show that, had the person acted as any reasonable person would have in similar circumstances, your injuries would have been avoided.

Will my personal injury claim go to court?
Since no two personal injury claims are alike, it is difficult to precisely predict whether your case will need to be presented before a judge or jury to decide. Many claims reach favorable settlements outside of court but rather than settle for less than what you deserve, your case may need the decision of a judge in order to be concluded. If you select The Law Offices of Vetchtein & Associates to prosecute your claim, their San Bernardino personal injury attorneys will do whatever it takes to recover the full amount of compensation you deserve, even if that means going all the way to court.

The insurance company offered me a settlement, should I accept it?
While the firm cannot speak specifically to your situation without further detail, you are highly advised to consult with an attorney about your case and the offered amount before you take any action towards settlement. This is simply to protect you from an unfair and insufficient settlement. Insurance companies often attempt to use prompt payouts as an incentive for claimants to settle at a lower amount. Lower settlements allow them to increase their own revenue by raising their customer's premiums with minimal loss on their part. The firm wants to protect you from these strategies, so before you speak any further with the insurance company that contacted you, allow them to review your case and determine whether the offered amount is fair.

Can I still claim compensation if I was partially at fault for a car accident?
Yes. California operates based off of a principle known as comparative negligence. Under comparative negligence laws, each person in a motor vehicle accident claim will be assigned a percentage of fault in causing the accident. After the percentages have been assigned, each party will be required to pay the claimed damages based on the ratio of that percentage. For example, if you are assigned 25% of fault in the accident that caused the damages you are claiming, you will be required to cover 25% of those damages and the other party will be compelled to compensate the 75% of damages that they were deemed responsible for.

Will my case go to trial?
A majority of personal injury cases settle before they go to trial. With that said, the San Bernardino personal injury attorney at The Law Offices of Vetchtein & Associates is not afraid to take a client’s case to trial if necessary.

How long will my case take?
Since every personal injury case is unique, it is difficult to determine how long a personal injury lawsuit may take. Some personal injury cases settle in a few months and never need to go to trial, while other cases can take years and numerous trips to the courtroom to complete.

How soon will I receive my settlement after my case is closed?
People usually receive their monetary compensation within one to two weeks after the release is signed. Cases that involve large settlements, the state, private individuals, or out-of-state insurance companies can take a lot longer.

Can I seek monetary compensation for emotional distress?
Yes, you can seek damages for emotional distress in many circumstances. Emotional damage can be just as painful as physical damage, and you have the right to earn compensation for your suffering.

What can people recover in a wrongful death claim?
Survivors can recover expenses associated with their loved one’s death, such as funeral and medical costs, mental anguish, pain and suffering, and much more.

Should I see a doctor after my accident?
If you are injured in the accident, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. While some injuries appear instantly, others may take a few days to appear. It is best that you see a doctor following an accident to rule out any serious injuries that may have occurred during the accident.

Who pays for my doctor bills?
In a majority of personal injury cases, doctors will take the case on a “lien” basis, which is when the doctor does not require payment from the client while they are being seen. Once the settlement is paid to the injured victim, the doctor will then ask for payment.

Do I need to hire a lawyer?
The short answer is yes, you need a lawyer! Filing for personal injury compensation without the counsel of an experienced attorney will not be likely to end in maximum compensation. Only a personal injury lawyer will have the knowledge and experience to know how much you deserve to receive, as well as the aggression and skill to fight for such a payout in court. Hire an attorney right away after you've been injured in an accident.

Speak with a Lawyer to Learn More

The legal team at The Law Offices of Vetchtein & Associates truly cares for each client and provides an impressive support system to keep each client informed and cared for. Get started on your case today by filling out the firm's online evaluation formor by calling now to contact a personal injury lawyer. The firm is knowledgeable in all areas of personal injury law and has extensive experience in trial cases. Call today for the representation you need!

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