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
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 form or 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!