June 28th, 2021|
In most states, the landlord of a property has a legal obligation to maintain the safety and security of the tenants they rent to. This means they must fix things such as broken stairs, weak railings, collapsing decks, or poor lighting to keep the rental free of hazardous conditions.
If your landlord fails in this regard and you become injured, they may be subject to premises liability laws and owe you compensation for your injury. Learn who can sue a landlord for personal injuries, how premises liability laws factor into your case, what type of compensation you may be entitled to, and how a slip and fall attorney can help.
Who Can Sue a Landlord?
A long list of people can sue a landlord for injuries incurred on the property. The list includes renters, tenants, visitors, workers, and even trespassers. Tenants or renters live on the property and are the most common plaintiff in landlord-tenant personal injury cases.
Visitors, such as family and friends of the tenant, may be entitled to compensation if they are injured while visiting the property. Workers such as landscaping crews, exterminators, and utility company employees can sue landlords for injuries they sustain while on the premises. Trespassers also fall under the list of people who may file a claim if they are injured in a rental property.
Examples of Unsafe Conditions
Many unsafe conditions may cause injury on a rental property. Common examples include:
- Slips and falls on slick surfaces
- Tripping on uneven stairs or obstacles that are hidden but easily fixable
- Falling through rotted or weak floorboards
- Falling on broken stairs
- Injuries from exposure to dangerous chemicals
- Injuries from a broken or weak railing
- Burns from scalding water
- Injuries from porch or deck collapse
- Injuries due to inadequate or non-existent lighting
Slip and Fall Accident Injuries
The most common type of personal injury claim affecting tenants and landlords is slip and fall accidents. These types of accidents happen when a person slips or falls and suffers a personal injury because of unsafe conditions on a property. The types of injuries a person suffers due to a slip and fall range from minor to severe. Injuries might include broken bones, head injuries, traumatic brain injuries, spinal injuries, muscle injuries like strains, tears, sprains, scrapes, wounds, or bruising.
Premises Liability Laws
The most significant legal factor in determining whether or not you can file a slip and fall claim against the property’s landlord rests in California’s premises liability laws. To win your case, you must show that the defendant owns the property where the accident occurred, that they were negligent in maintaining the property, and that their negligence was a major contributing factor to your injuries.
Negligence occurs when the property owner fails to:
- Repair the unsafe condition
- Give an adequate warning about the dangers
- Protect tenants, visitors, and workers from the hazard
Landlords in California are required to perform thorough inspections of their properties before renting to a tenant to uncover and repair hazardous conditions. If the landlord fails to discover, fix, and warn the new tenant of a hazard, they may be held liable.
Keep in mind that a landlord is not held liable for injuries that occur once you are in possession of the property. Landlords cannot perform surprise inspections on their tenants. Therefore, if a dangerous condition arises after you move in and you do not inform the landlord and then become injured, they are unlikely to be liable for your injuries.
The two exceptions to this situation are if your landlord is made aware of the hazard and fails to address it or if the accident occurs in a common area such as the hallway, stairs, or property elevators.
Personal Injury Compensation
If you are injured in a slip and fall accident due to landlord negligence, it is best to speak with experienced California slip and fall attorneys as soon as possible. Premises liability laws are complex, and cases of this nature are best handled by knowledgeable personal injury lawyers who specialize in the practice area.
An experienced attorney can help get you compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Contact Berg Injury Lawyers Today
If you or a loved one suffered an injury due to landlord negligence, contact the knowledgeable team at Berg Injury Lawyers today. During your free consultation, we will go over the facts of your case and help you consider your legal options. We have been representing victims’ rights for 40 years and will work to obtain the settlement you deserve.
June 21st, 2021|
If your legal team has finally reached a settlement regarding your personal injury case, you are probably eager to receive the funds, pay your bills, and move on with your life. It may have taken a while for the defendant’s insurance company to agree to the settlement amount, so the idea of waiting an additional amount of time is undesirable.
How long does it take to get a settlement check? The answer depends on the various processing steps and payments required before you get the check, but in most cases, you can expect to receive your funds in about six weeks. Knowing the steps that go into processing your settlement check can help you understand why it takes so long to receive it.
Signing Release Forms
The first step in receiving your settlement is to sign the appropriate release documents. These documents release the defendant and their insurance company from any further lawsuits or legal action in the case.
Depending on the terms of your settlement, your release forms may be simple or full of conditions. Go over them carefully with your lawyer to make sure you agree to all stipulations. In some cases, your legal team may wish to negotiate further on the settlement before releasing the claim. This can delay your payment further. However, it is better to wait than to accept terms you disagree with.
Insurance Company Processing
The next step is for the defendant’s insurance company to receive your release papers and sign them. Then, the company processes your payment. Payment processing does not typically take too long, but with larger settlements, the insurance company may drag out the process. Once the check is issued, the insurance company sends it to your attorney.
Trust Account and Payment of Liens
Once your lawyer receives the check from the insurance company, they are required to deposit it into a trust account. Your attorney pays off any liens or outstanding bills. This often refers to medical liens but can refer to other creditors that need to be paid. If you paid these expenses yourself, you may receive reimbursement during this stage, but this is not part of your victim’s compensation settlement amount.
Many personal injury attorneys offer to work on your case with the understanding that they don’t receive payment until you get paid. This is helpful because you don’t have to worry about money upfront to get compensation for your injuries.
At this point in the settlement process, your attorney deducts their fees from your settlement amount. This includes fees for court costs, taxes, expert testimony, and other legal expenses, as detailed in your contract. You can ask your attorney to send you an invoice of their legal fees so you know exactly how the funds were used. Once your legal team has received their payment, you are on your way to receiving yours.
The last step in processing your settlement is when you receive the funds. After paying all debts and fees, your attorney sends you the funds. You may opt to have the check sent in the mail or pick it up in your lawyer’s office. This last step can take several weeks as law offices handle many cases at one time. Always call your lawyer if you have specific questions about your settlement’s processing time.
Legal Counsel and the Settlement Process
Due to the complicated nature of personal injury cases, you stand the best chance of protecting your rights and receiving appropriate compensation if you work with a San Francisco personal injury lawyer.An experienced attorney can ensure that the defendant’s insurance company doesn’t take advantage of you by offering a quick and easy settlement that is a fraction of what you may be entitled to.
Contact the Team at Berg Injury Lawyers Today
If you or a loved one is considering filing a personal injury claim, contact the experienced attorneys with Berg Injury Lawyers for a free consultation. We can walk you through what to expect in your personal injury case and see you through the settlement process.
With 40 years of experience, Berg Injury Lawyers are ready to assess your claim and represent your interests so that you win the compensation you deserve.
May 10th, 2021|
While you might assume that a lawyer with a website and fancy office is legitimate and legally allowed to practice the law, there have been numerous cases where people have posed as lawyers for decades. These fraudulent lawyers have taken clients’ hard-earned money, lost important cases, or made critical mistakes in essential paperwork.
Before meeting a lawyer and agreeing to work with them, it’s essential you do some due diligence to ensure they have all the credentials they claim to. Whether you received a serious injury in a car accident or lost a loved one in an accident and need to file a Wrongful Death lawsuit, it’s essential that you work with a legitimate, experienced lawyer like those at Berg Injury Lawyers.
Why Should You Check a Lawyer’s Credentials?
To become a lawyer, you must attend law school, graduate, and pass the state bar where you plan to practice. Completing law school and proving your knowledge by passing the bar are essential since it demonstrates that a lawyer has a complete understanding of their state’s laws.
If someone claims to be a lawyer but has not gone through this process, it’s unlikely they have the expertise necessary to navigate the court system successfully. They could make significant mistakes, causing you to lose your case while also taking your money.
Another reason to check your lawyer’s background is that many people who lie about being lawyers also lie about other aspects of their lives or participate in identity theft or fraud.
When you work with a lawyer on a personal injury lawsuit, the attorney-client relationship is essential and must be based on trust. If you later learn that your lawyer is fake and has stolen money from you or used your information to take out a line of credit, you may need to enter into another lawsuit or partake in criminal proceedings to protect your finances.
How to Tell if Your Lawyer Is Legitimate?
While checking your lawyer’s legitimacy adds an additional step during an already stressful time in your life, it’s relatively straightforward.
Each state, including California, has a registry of all lawyers who have passed the bar and can legally practice law. When you speak with your lawyer, ask them for their full name, and, if it’s a common name, ask for their state bar number. You can then input their name into the State Bar of California’s Attorney Search engine and confirm that the name your attorney gave you matches the bar number. The search engine gives you their office address, contact information, where they went to law school, and their license status.
If the status of the license states Active, and all the information from the website matches the information your attorney gave you, then your lawyer is likely legitimate. You can also see when the lawyer joined the California bar. If the website states they joined over 20 years ago, but the lawyer appears to be around 35, that could be a sign they are not who they say they are.
Choosing the Right Lawyer
If you need a San Francisco personal injury lawyer, you should do some research to ensure you choose the best lawyer for your needs. First, ensure that the lawyer you choose has experience with similar cases to yours. For example, if you suffered a slip and fall injury at a hotel, ask your lawyer about their experience with those types of cases.
Once you’ve confirmed their experience and legitimacy, schedule a free consultation where you can get to know them. If you’re happy with what you read, schedule a free consultation where you can get to know them. During your meeting, be sure to ask questions. Depending on the case, you could need to work with your lawyer for several years, so you want to make sure you feel comfortable discussing personal matters with them.
Another thing to confirm at your consultation is how you can contact your lawyer with questions or concerns about your case. A legitimate lawyer always makes themselves available to their clients and addresses concerns in a timely manner.
Work With a Legitimate, Experienced Personal Injury Firm
If you’re in Northern California and require legal advice about an injury you’ve sustained because of someone else’s negligence, contact Berg Injury Lawyers today. With over 35 years of experience, our team can help you navigate the complicated legal process of filing a personal injury claim and get you the compensation you deserve.
We’re happy to provide any information you would like to prove our legitimacy and encourage you to learn more about our qualifications. If you’d like to learn more about us or determine if your situation allows you to file a lawsuit, call us today to arrange a free consultation.
February 22nd, 2021|
When you’re seriously injured by someone else’s negligence, you may be legally entitled to money to cover all the costs you’re facing because of your injury. But even if you’re already aware of your rights to compensation, you might be reluctant to pursue the money you’re entitled to.
We know and understand the reasons why you might be, but we’re here to tell you that you don’t have to be, especially if you’re worried you can’t afford to file a lawsuit.
Unfortunately, people often wrongly assume that filing a personal injury lawsuit is too expensive for the average Joe to do. That assumption ultimately leaves them paying all the costs for someone else’s mistake out of their own pocket, simply because they never take legal action.
At Berg Injury Lawyers, we believe everyone should know that they won’t be taking on debt when they decide to file a personal injury claim. Here are a few things you should know when filing a lawsuit when you have no money to hire a lawyer.
Find a Lawyer Who Works on a Contingency Fee Basis
Many personal injury attorneys, including those at our firm, work on a contingency fee basis. At Berg Injury Lawyers, our No Fee Guarantee® is a promise that if you don’t win, you pay nothing, and you never have to pay upfront—not even for your initial consultation.
Though filing a lawsuit can be expensive, you’ll be protected from these costs if your lawsuit is unsuccessful—as long as you hire an attorney who works strictly on a contingency fee basis.
Don’t Forgo Medical Treatment Out of Fear You Can’t Afford It
People sometimes don’t get medical treatment after suffering a serious injury because they’re afraid they can’t afford care. Ironically, this failure to get treatment is then used as evidence by insurance companies that someone isn’t actually injured.
If you have health insurance, it’s possible your insurer will cover your medical bills. However, if the injury was caused by someone else, that person’s insurance company should ultimately cover your injury-related bills once they are found to be at fault.
When your health and the viability of a compensation claim are on the line, don’t fail to seek medical treatment just because of the possible expenses you face. Do everything you can to have your injuries treated and documented. You can then demand payment from the at-fault party’s insurer with the help of your attorney. If you inform your healthcare provider you intend to file a lawsuit to reclaim your damages, they may even agree to cover your treatment under a lien rather than send you a medical bill right away.
Resist the Temptation to Accept an Insurance Company’s First Offer
If you have no money, and the at-fault party’s insurance company offers you a quick settlement, you might be tempted to accept it right away. However, that offer is likely far less than you deserve. There’s no way to know how much you’re owed before your medical treatment is complete, but an attorney can help you calculate not only your medical costs but your non-economic damages as well, such as pain and suffering.
Though it might seem like you’re getting money in your pocket right now, it’s likely you’ll eventually lose money when accepting the insurer’s offer, since the settlement may run out before you’ve finished paying your bills.
Know That a Lawsuit Might Not Even Be Necessary
It’s very likely that you’ll receive the compensation you need without ever filing a lawsuit. Most personal injury claims are settled before they go to court when you have an attorney negotiating with the insurance company for you.
You Don’t Have Money? We Can Help You Fight for Compensation.
At Berg Injury Lawyers, we believe that everyone deserves equal access to the legal system, regardless of how much money they make. That’s why we only get paid if you get paid. If you’re looking for a personal injury attorney in San Francisco or Northern California, contact our team today to schedule a FREE case assessment.
December 14th, 2020|
Catastrophic injury is a term used to describe only the most severe, debilitating injuries. It’s most commonly used in reference to brain and spinal cord damage, though it can also refer to other life-altering permanent injuries.
Attorneys and doctors use the term catastrophic injury to describe the severity of a client’s or patient’s injury. But for injured people, knowing whether an injury is legally or medically considered “catastrophic” can help them understand their path to recovery and their legal options in personal injury claims.
Hallmarks of a Catastrophic Injury
In general, catastrophic injuries include one or more of the following characteristics:
- Disability or a loss in function of essential body parts
- Extreme cognitive decline or loss of key cognitive functions
- The need for lifelong assistance to perform routine tasks
- Extreme psychological suffering related to the injury
- Dramatic loss in ability to enjoy life’s pleasures
Let’s review specific injuries that the legal and medical community consider catastrophic.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Though traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can include everything from mild brain injuries like concussions to severe brain injuries that dramatically affect a person’s cognitive abilities, catastrophic brain injuries typically refer to the latter type of TBI.
Catastrophic brain injuries often impair a person’s reasoning, memory, and personality. In some cases, catastrophic brain injuries also cause some form of physical impairment.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Catastrophic injuries to the spine often result in paralysis or, at the very least, a reduced ability to use one’s arms or legs. Paralysis is usually permanent, leaving the afflicted with serious challenges performing routine tasks without assistance. These injuries can also be extremely costly, resulting in millions of dollars in lifetime expenses.
Other Injuries Frequently Categorized as Catastrophic
Though serious, debilitating damage to the brain and spinal cord are universally considered catastrophic, other types of injuries are also sometimes called catastrophic because of the serious implications for the sufferer.
Those injuries include:
- Loss of Limbs
- Severe organ damage
- Vision loss
You’ll notice that these injuries carry many of the hallmarks of catastrophic injuries. They can all dramatically affect a person’s physical and emotional well-being in profound ways, as well as impact their ability to earn a living for themselves post-injury.
Seeking Damages for Catastrophic Injuries
Catastrophic injury cases are unique. Though some personal injury claims involve comparatively minor injuries, catastrophic injuries have deeply impacted a person’s way of life. Thus, when someone suffers a catastrophic injury and files a personal injury lawsuit, they will typically demand far more in damages than people who suffered a more minor injury.
Damages in catastrophic injury cases can include:
- Medical expenses: The costs of initial, ongoing, and future treatment for the injury itself, as well as costs for physical therapy, psychological counseling, prosthetic limbs, and any other related expenses.
- Loss of income: This includes the income lost during the period in which the initial injury occurs, as well as the income that the injured person won’t be able to earn throughout the remainder of their life because of their injury, including any raises or benefits they may have been eligible for before.
- Pain and suffering: These costs are called non-economic damages, and they include both the physical and emotional suffering one experiences in the wake of a life-changing injury. These damages are typically very substantial in catastrophic injury claims.
How to Determine Whether You Have a Catastrophic Injury Case
Because catastrophic injury is largely a legal term, the best way to determine whether you have a catastrophic injury claim is to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer in California. It’s important to make sure the attorney knows these types of cases well, so they can give you an informed opinion on whether your injury legally qualifies as “catastrophic.”
Let Us Evaluate Your Catastrophic Injury Case
At Berg Injury Lawyers, we know how difficult it can be for an injured person to determine the potential for a successful catastrophic injury claim. That’s why we offer free case reviews to injured people in California.
If you or a loved one has suffered a serious injury, and you want to explore your legal options, our personal injury lawyers want to help. Our consultations are free, and you’ll be under no pressure to move forward with a case unless you wish to do so.
December 7th, 2020|
For many people, giving gifts is the most rewarding part of the holiday season. Unfortunately, the chaos at shopping centers that often begins on Black Friday tarnishes that giving spirit and, in the worst of cases, leads to serious consumer injuries.
If you’ve had the misfortune of being injured while shopping or you simply want to know what to do if it happens to you, keep the following tips in mind.
Seek Medical Treatment
It’s most important to get medical treatment as soon as possible. First, you want to be sure your injury is diagnosed and treated by a physician. This will hopefully help you deal with the pain you’re experiencing and prevent the injury from worsening.
Getting medical treatment will also establish a record of your injuries – specifically, what they are and when and how they occurred. That will be critical if you need to file a personal injury claim to get compensation for the damages you’re facing from your injury.
Document Whatever You Can About How the Injury Happened
If at all possible, take pictures of the scene of the incident that led to your injuries. This means taking pictures of the place where the injury happened, the conditions of the property where it occurred or the injury itself. If there were witnesses to the incident, ask them for their contact information.
Talk to a Premises Liability Attorney
Premises liability claims help injured people get compensation when their injuries were caused by conditions of the property. Premises liability claims can also help someone get payment when their injuries were caused by another person on that property, which is typically the case in negligent security claims.
A premises liability attorney will be able to determine your best path forward when seeking compensation.
If You’re Contacted by an Insurer, Don’t Give Them a Statement
It’s possible that you’ll be contacted by an insurance company representing the party at fault for your injuries. If you’re contacted by an insurer’s representative, do not speak to them. They’ll want to get you on record with a statement, and they’ll use that statement against you if at all possible. Tell the representative to talk to your lawyer and say nothing else.
Examples of Shopping-Related Injuries
Causes of shopping-related injuries come in many forms. A few of the most common include:
- An attack by one shopper on another
- A slip and fall injury caused by dangerous conditions in the store
- An injury from the product itself
- A negligent driver in the parking lot of a shopping center
Each of these causes can mean a different legal path to compensation. It’s best to consult an experienced personal injury lawyer to learn your legal options.
Property Owners Have a Responsibility
Property owners must ensure the safety of their premises to reduce the likelihood of an injury. They might fall short of that responsibility when they fail to staff adequate security personnel or when they fail to maintain the conditions of their property.
If you’ve been injured while shopping, know that you likely have legal options available. At Berg Injury Lawyers, we can help you determine whether you’re eligible for compensation through a personal injury claim.
November 16th, 2020|
If you were injured after slipping and falling but a warning sign was posted, you can still file a lawsuit for your injuries. But several factors will determine whether your case is successful.
Property owners have an obligation to keep people on their premises safe. That legal obligation is called premises liability. Slip and fall cases are the most common type of premises liability cases, and they often involve serious injuries like traumatic brain injuries or broken hips, ankles, or wrists.
All property owners should post a sign if floors are slippery or uneven to let people know conditions aren’t safe. However, simply posting a sign doesn’t automatically absolve a property owner or business from responsibility for the injuries someone suffers.
When Posting a Wet Floor Sign Isn’t Enough
To be effective, a wet floor sign must be visible to people walking on a property. It must also clearly indicate the section of the floor that is slick.
So, if a sign is posted but it’s obscured or placed far away from the dangerous area, a person injured on the slick flooring can still make a strong case that the property owner failed to warn people about the danger.
Warning Signs Aren’t Always Effective
Wet floor signs, even if they’re placed near slippery surfaces, often go unnoticed. One notable study on the impact of these types of signs found that as few as 7% of people that passed by standard wet floor warning signs even notice them.
In some cases, people will move a wet floor sign or inadvertently push them out of the way to the point they’re no longer effective for the other people in the area. In other words, posting a sign and walking away does very little to ensure the safety of people in the vicinity of a slippery floor.
After a Fall-Related Injury, Always Explore Your Legal Options
Never assume that you are without a path toward compensation without first speaking to an experienced premises liability attorney. Slip and fall injuries are often caused by a property owner’s negligence, so if you’ve suffered serious injuries, it’s possible you’re owed a significant amount of compensation for the many damages you’ve suffered.
Don’t pay the price for someone else’s negligence. You have a legal right to pursue legal options for compensation, and you should exercise that right whenever you need it.
We Represent Slip and Fall Injury Victims in Northern California
Slip and fall accidents can cause devastating injuries. We’ve represented many clients in premises liability claims, and we know what it takes to hold negligent property owners accountable for damages facing a fall victim.
We want to meet with you to hear the details of your case. We’ll review your legal options and help you determine whether or not you have a case. If you or a loved one has been injured on someone else’s property, contact the California premises liability attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers for a free consultation.
November 9th, 2020|
The insurance industry is one of the most profitable in the U.S. These companies make steep profits, and that’s partly because they frequently offer policyholders and injured people far less than they deserve.
If you’re like us, you don’t like it when multi-million-dollar corporations get away with lowballing everyday people who work hard to pay their policies. As a law firm that regularly goes head-to-head with insurance companies, we can tell you that there are many strategies you can use to fight back.
Let’s look at some tips to make sure you’re not taken advantage of by insurance companies.
Consider Talking to an Attorney
Every day, we talk to people who are being given a raw deal by insurance companies. When someone is faced with the pain and stress of an accident or injury, the last thing they typically want to do is deal with the deadlines, paperwork, and endless legal complications surrounding injury claims and actually getting fair compensation.
Simply put, you probably have enough going on in your life without having to worry about playing hardball with the insurance company all by yourself. An experienced attorney can take care of the hard part for you.
Whatever you do, don’t accept an insurance company’s first offer without speaking to an experienced attorney.
Don’t Speak to Anyone Else’s Insurance Company
After an accident, you might be contacted by someone else’s insurance company. If so, you DO NOT want to speak to them. A representative of that insurance company will want you to make a statement on the record, and they’ll use that statement to find ways to deny your claim and offer you less than you deserve.
If you’ve been involved in an accident, you should notify your own insurance company. However, stick to only the basic facts, and avoid giving them any opportunity to offer you less than you’ll deserve.
It’s very likely you won’t know how much compensation you’ll need until you get a clear picture of the damages you’ve suffered, which can often take several weeks or months after an accident.
Keep Copies and Records of Your Damages
The accident-related expenses you’ll face will likely continue to add up over the days, weeks, and months following the accident. As the costs pile up, you should keep records of how much your injuries are costing you.
Keep copies of medical invoices, medication receipts, repair bills, or any other accident-related costs you encounter. Don’t forget to factor in how much income you lose due to your injury, as missed time at work or the inability to work can also be included in the damages you list in your injury claim.
Take Your Medical Care Seriously
After an accident, you should always seek medical care if there’s even a chance that you’ve been injured. Injuries often aren’t immediately apparent after an accident, so visiting a doctor helps ensure any injuries don’t worsen before they can be treated.
If you’ve suffered an injury, follow all your doctor’s orders and go to all your scheduled appointments, whether they’re check-ins, tests, or physical therapy sessions. Failure to do so could indicate to insurers your injuries aren’t as serious as you claim, and it could also lead to the worsening of your injuries and add to your overall expenses.
To thoroughly convey how your injury has disrupted your life, consider keeping an injury journal where you document all the challenges you face and the progress you make in recovery. These notes can help you and your attorney articulate exactly what you’ve gone through because of the accident.
Don’t Give Insurance Companies an Easy Win
Remember that everything you do and say publicly will be used by the insurance companies to reduce the compensation you receive. So, it’s vital to be cautious when talking about your accident or injury.
This is especially true on social media. Even innocent posts of you enjoying dinner or spending time with friends can be misconstrued by insurance companies. They might claim that your injury hasn’t reduced your quality of life in any significant way.
Instead of giving insurance companies this ammunition, refrain from using social media entirely until your claim has been resolved.
Don’t Wait Too Long to File a Claim
There are strict time limitations within which you must act in order to protect your rights. These time limits are complex and vary for different types of cases. You should avoid waiting too long before speaking to an attorney.
The injury claim process can be lengthy, and the longer you delay taking legal action, the more you could complicate your case. In the days, weeks, and months following your accident, there will be opportunities to maximize the value of your claim and potential pitfalls that could cost you dearly.
After you’ve suffered a serious injury in an accident, speak to an experienced, reputable attorney to ensure you’re doing everything you can to get a fair offer from the insurance company.
Let Berg Injury Lawyers Help You
If you’ve been injured and you want an attorney to protect you from the insurance company, Berg Injury Lawyers is here to help. We’ve represented thousands of injured people in Northern California, and we know what it takes to get a fair offer for our clients.
September 28th, 2020|
What are the worst parts of living with a serious injury? Most severe injuries are very costly and debilitating. A sufferer might face a stack of medical bills. They might be unable to do their jobs.
But above all else, most people fear the pain and suffering they’ll experience after an injury. Chronic pain and the mental anguish that comes with it become a heavy burden on their lives. They’re obstacles to joy, peace of mind, and meaningful connections with others.
One could easily make the argument that pain and suffering are the worst consequences of a serious injury. Fortunately, when someone files a personal injury claim, they can include pain and suffering as part of the damages they’re owed, in addition to the “economic” damages like medical bills and lost income.
What’s Included in Pain and Suffering?
Pain and suffering are considered non-economic damages, as opposed to economic damages, such as medical bills, property damage, and lost income. Non-economic damages include the physical pain caused by an injury. But they can also include emotional suffering, such as:
- Diminished quality of life
Pain and Suffering Also Includes Disfigurement
One important form of suffering caused by some injuries is disfigurement. Disfigurement presents both physical and psychological pain. It can cause sufferers to withdraw from others and make it more difficult to form meaningful relationships.
If your case involves any form of disfigurement, it’s important to know that this type of non-economic damage should be central to your case.
The Term “Non-Economic Damages” Doesn’t Tell the Full Story
As any experienced personal injury lawyer will tell you, the fact that pain and suffering is considered “non-economic” is very misleading to injured people. There are very concrete costs of living with chronic pain and emotional suffering.
For example, chronic pain contributes to an estimated $560 billion of overall costs to society every year in the U.S. These costs come via direct medical costs, lost productivity, and disability programs in the U.S.
Meanwhile, depression racks up a societal price tag of approximately $210 billion per year. These expenses are attributed to treating the direct costs of depression and the many associated conditions caused by depression, such as sleep disorders and migraines. Studies have also shown that people suffering from depression are more likely to lose their jobs in difficult economic times.
In other words, non-economic damages can have both direct and indirect financial implications. It’s yet another reason that these damages must be factored into an injury claim.
How Are Pain and Suffering Calculated?
In many cases, damages related to pain and suffering exceed the amount of economic damages an injured person receives in a settlement or judgment. The amount of compensation you should demand for your pain and suffering depends on the circumstances of your case.
Experienced personal injury attorneys use several methods to determine the amount of non-economic damages their clients are owed. They look at precedent in other similar cases, and they’ll get to know their clients to find out how seriously their injuries have affected their quality of life.
In California, there are no caps on the amount of money a person can receive in non-economic damages in most case types. However, there is a $250,000 cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice claims.
Berg Injury Lawyers Helps Injured People Throughout Northern California
Since 1981, we’ve been helping injured people get the compensation they’re entitled to after accidents caused by others. We can help you determine your legal options after a serious accident, including how much you’re owed in economic and non-economic damages.
September 21st, 2020|
Comparative negligence refers to the amount of fault assigned to everyone involved in an accident. California’s comparative negligence rule gives someone an opportunity to recover some percentage of damages from a crash, even if they were partially responsible for it. However, compensation is reduced in proportion to fault.
Understanding California’s laws regarding fault as it relates to compensation can help you better understand your legal options after an accident. Let’s look at how this law might be applied in practice.
An Example of Comparative Negligence in a Car Accident Case
San Francisco resident Steve is driving down Polk Street. Though the light is red, he turns onto Geary Street when he is struck by an oncoming vehicle. Steve didn’t see the vehicle when he turned on red, and he’d normally be considered at fault for the collision.
However, the police officer who responds to the scene finds that the driver of the oncoming vehicle that struck Steve’s car is intoxicated. Steve suffered injuries in the crash and demands compensation from the other driver’s insurance company, but the insurer refuses to pay any compensation because Steve turned on a red light without looking for oncoming vehicles.
The personal injury case Steve files goes to trial, where a jury determines that both drivers were 50% responsible for the collision. Steve’s damages total $100,000, but because he is deemed to be 50% at fault, he is awarded $50,000 in damages.
Though this is a completely hypothetical case, it illustrates how comparative fault might play out in a real-life legal dispute.
What Does Comparative Fault Mean for Crash Victims in California?
Each state has its own rules about fault in relation to compensation in injury and accident claims. California’s law is far more favorable for crash victims than laws in other states. Unless you are solely (100%) responsible for a crash, you have the right to get compensation for at least some of the damages you’ve suffered.
How Is Fault Determined After an Accident?
The police report often shapes the way fault is determined in a crash. However, once someone files a personal injury claim, the claimant’s attorney will investigate the circumstances of the crash to determine the true percentage of fault in a crash.
If you file a personal injury claim, your attorney will review the police report and all pertinent evidence that will help make your case. This evidence can often help establish a fairer percentage of fault for an accident.
After a Crash, You Can Improve Your Chances of a Successful Claim with These Steps
If you’re involved in a crash, call the police so they can send an officer to the scene. Cooperate with that officer and let them know what happened. If you see any witnesses to the crash, and you’re able to speak to them, ask them for their contact information. Take pictures of the scene and any vehicle damage you’ve experienced.
Perhaps most importantly, seek medical treatment as soon as possible after the crash. This ensures you get the care you need, and it establishes a timeline of your injuries, which is helpful when building an injury claim.
If You Need Help, Berg Injury Lawyers Is Here for You
At Berg Injury Lawyers, we represent injured people across Northern California. Our Bay Area personal injury attorneys have years of experience and extensive knowledge of comparative fault laws in California. Contact us today for a free consultation.