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Our Experienced Santa Clarita Personal Injury Lawyers will help you get fair compensation to your injuries
Personal Injury Attorneys Santa Clarita, CA
Bish & Cutting, APC22505 Market Street, Suite 104 Newhall, CA 91321 Phone: (661) 250-6992
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7 Mistakes to Avoid If You Want the Money You Deserve After an Injury
You Need to Know #5 Right Now
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Call us today for a consultation
7 Mistakes to Avoid If You Want the Money You Deserve After an Injury
You Need to Know #5 Right Now
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7 Mistakes That Could Ruin Your Personal Injury Claim
You Need to Know #5 Right Now
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The whole team played together every step of the way and won on my behalf. Thank you for making my pain less painful, bless you all.
Amazing to work with, answered all questions, kept me informed and treated with kindness and compassion. Highly recommend Bish & Cutting, APC,
This place worked hard to get my settlement for a car accident that I almost died from and got me the money that I needed to recover from the devastation.
Personal Injury Attorneys Santa Clarita, CACalifornia is a pure comparative negligence state which basically means that you can get compensation for your damages and injuries. The caveat here is that your compensation will be reduced by however much at fault you are found to be. For instance, if you were riding a motorcycle and a driver merged into your lane without checking their blind spots, but you were going over the speed limit by a little bit, you may be found at fault for some of the accident. Let’s say you are 20% at fault. If you were to be awarded $10,000 for your injuries, you would only be able to recover $8,000. It cannot be stressed enough how important it is to have personal injury attorneys in Santa Clarita, CA work with you to keep the insurance company from blaming you for your accident. You might get yourself into trouble if you agree to make a statement with the insurance company if you haven’t already obtained counsel. The adjusters are trained to ask you questions that will lead you down a path to incriminate yourself. That is something you want to avoid at all costs. They have the capability of barring you from receiving compensation if you answer the questions the way they hope you will.
Types of Personal Injury ClaimsPersonal injury is a broad term that includes many different kinds of accidents. We defend people who were injured in:
- Slip and Falls
- Car Accidents
- Motorcycle Accidents
- Bus Accidents
- Pedestrian Accidents
- Truck Accidents
- Construction Accidents
- Dog Bites
- Wrongful Death
- Medical Malpractice
Understanding Personal Injury ClaimsThere are some universal rules that apply, in the most part, with all of these cases. One of these being the statute of limitations. In Santa Clarita, CA, you will have two years from the date of your accident to bring your claim or to settle. This might differ for certain cases such as slip and falls on municipal property as well as medical malpractice. It would be wise to sit down with personal injury attorneys in Santa Clarita, CA to determine if your statute of limitations is two years, or if your case is different. Our advice pertaining to the statute of limitations is to not wait them out. You should not be bringing your claim to an attorney with a week to spare. There is a lot of preparation that goes into these cases and we need time to do them. There is also a significance to calling an attorney as soon as you possibly can. A huge part of our job is to collect evidence. We do that by taking pictures, talking to witnesses, and recreating the scene. The sooner you come to us, the better the results are going to be. Here’s why: imagine seeing a car accident on the highway one day. You offer your contact information to the injured driver as a witness. You think they’re going to call you soon so you keep your ringer on your phone looking for a phone call. What if they were to call you eight months later? Do you think you could give them an accurate memory from that event? Most likely not. When we take on a case, we always hope that we’ve been contacted as soon as possible so that we can get the clearest memories from people about the accident. Your witnesses might remember something very fuzzy even a few weeks after the accident, so there is no time to waste. Secondly, let’s say you were involved in a construction accident. If we are not contacted in a timely manner, by the time we get to the scene of the accident, your coworkers have most likely continued to do their job and keep building or repairing. If we can’t get to the scene right away, the hazard that caused your accident could have disappeared or been cleaned up. That goes for accidents such as slip and falls as well. The hotel might have repaired the broken sidewalk that you tripped on, or the jutting tile in the lobby that made you fall. You can help us with these cases by collecting as much evidence as possible. If you’re physically able to, take photos and videos of the scene of the accident. Get a picture of your injuries, if you were in a bike accident for instance, a photo the damage to your bike would be worth a thousand words to the insurance company when you ask for property damage compensation.
Frequently Asked Personal Injury QuestionsHow Do I File a Personal Injury Claim? Step number one is to find personal injury attorneys in Santa Clarita, CA. That is the simplest way to deal with the process, especially if you’re the one who’s injured, because your priority and our priority would be to get you better as quickly as possible. While you may have two years to file a lawsuit by law, it’s important that you take the steps, mostly through finding a good personal injury attorney, to start gathering evidence and preparing the case to be filed as a lawsuit from inception, and then line up the process in a way that makes sense and in a way that your lawyer will present to you, so that it presents well for the claims insurance companies and opposing counsel. Is There a Minimum for Medical Bills to Be Covered? The simple answer is there is no threshold or minimum. Medical bills are what they are. Oftentimes, especially at the beginning of a case, what you think hurts is minor could and sometimes develop into something much more significant and long-lasting, and medical bills will go up with the treatment that we will set you up with. The answer is they don’t matter, especially in the beginning. What if I Have a Preexisting Injury? I have a client who was involved in a car accident that we’re going to trial for, but he’s had multiple previous accidents, one of which resulted in two neck surgeries. In our accident, he also injured his neck and he was very concerned about how his previous injuries would affect or impact the injuries he suffered in our wreck. Luckily, in the state of California, laws make accommodations for people with preexisting conditions. The law essentially states that you take the person as they are. As someone who violates the laws and the rules of our state, you don’t get the benefit of somebody being already injured before to escape responsibility. If you an injury that you suffered previously that was re-aggravated by the current situation, you are entitled to compensation for that re-aggravation, and for the new or heightened pain you’re suffering. Can I Sue for Emotional Distress? Part of any personal injury claim, in addition to the injuries themselves, is an emotional component, the human losses. What has this injury cost you emotionally? What has it done for your family, for your mental health, or for your self-esteem? To me, most times, that is actually a bigger claim than the injuries. It is also a much more difficult claim to prove because it’s not tangible and it’s very subjective. That is where a good lawyer and a good relationship with a lawyer that’s built on trust helps bolster that claim. Should I Take a Settlement Offer? Our job as lawyers is to get the best possible outcome for you as a client. That, essentially, is how cases get resolved. It’s a haggling process that we like to think of something as a back and forth negotiation, same as when you buy a car or when you negotiate for a price of a house; usually the first offer is not the best. There’s usually more money, and it never hurts to ask to see if there is more money. My suggestion is, if there’s an offer and it’s the first offer, go back to that party and see if there’s more money available. Can I Switch personal injury attorneys in Santa Clarita, CA? Yesterday I met with a person who is represented by an attorney in a lawsuit and one of her concerns was whether or not she could switch attorneys because she wasn’t happy with her representation. The answer is yes, you are the client and the holder of your case. You can switch attorneys at any time you want. If the lawsuit has been filed, that’s simply done through a substitution of attorney; it’s a legal form. Your current counsel has to sign it. It is an ethical obligation. They have to turn over your file within five days of request. The process is much simpler if the lawsuit hasn’t been filed yet; that is simply just calling your attorney and telling them that you’re going to find someone else, and then they should turn over your file. No documents need to be filed, although I would recommend and suggest that you put that in writing so there’s a paper trail. Will My Case Go to Trial? The majority of those clients would probably prefer that their case doesn’t go to trial because it’s a setting that’s unfamiliar, uncomfortable, and scary to a lot of people. Statistically speaking, about 95 to 96% of the cases resolve before trial, whether that’s through litigation or informal discussions with insurance companies directly. The decision is always going to be yours. Offers will be made on cases, and it will be up to you as a client to decide whether the offer makes sense, whether we can make or obtain a higher offer through additional work or counter-discussions, and ultimately, the decision to go to trial will be up to you. We will never force you to go to trial. All we can do as lawyers is give you the best advice and present you with both sides of the situation for you to make an informed decision. Can I Avoid Going to Trial? The simple answer is yes. Again, as the client, you are the holder of the case and the ultimate decision whether or not the case goes to trial will lay on your shoulders. However, some cases, to get the best possible outcome, have to go to trial. Whether the offer is low or you feel like you’re being treated unfairly by the other side, sometimes the only way to make a point and to take a stand is to go to trial. Part of having a good lawyer that you trust is to have somebody who can prepare you for trial, remove a lot of the stigma and the fear of the process, and make it comfortable enough as to where you can sit, have a conversation, and relay your story to the jury to get the verdict you believe is just. Will My Case Settle Before Trial? Few people want to go to trial. I always say trials are either to make a point or if you have a lot of money and are willing to take the risk. Some cases, of course, have to go to trial for various reasons; most people want to avoid that, and I understand that part. The answer is that cases often resolve well in advance of trial, but sometimes trial is inevitable. Will I Have to Testify in Court? If after months or years of back and forth negotiations, the case does go to trial, testimony by all the people involved in the lawsuit is very important. That is how the jury hear what happened and are able to frame the story in a way that makes sense to them. If the case goes to trial, you will have to testify. You are the holder of the truth. You know what happened like no one else. No matter what the paperwork says or what the police report says, you are the only one who knows what happened to you in a way that makes sense to you, and that is the role of a plaintiff to present to the jury. What Do Expert Witnesses Do? In cases that do go to trial, oftentimes the issues can be complicated or complex that require expert opinions, opinions that you or I am not allowed to offer in court. That can be in the form of medical opinions coming from doctors who examined you and prescribed future treatment. It can be from engineers who reconstruct the car collision, or safety experts who can explain the role of a store owner keeping the floors safe. Experts are critical. In a lot of cases, the issues are so complex that without experts, the law would not translate to everyday scenarios for the juries, and that is the role of an expert. Experts work with attorneys to present the case in a way that makes sense to the jury, because ultimately, that is who’s going to make the decision. How Long Will This Case Take? One of the most important questions that I’m asked, and it’s also maybe the most valid question to a person who’s been injured, is about how long this is going to take, because closure is very important in every aspect of our life, but especially when you’re hurt. The answer is not as simple. We have up to two years to file a lawsuit. Oftentimes, lawsuits are filed sooner than that, and also other variables, such as who the party is that injured you, dictates how quickly we have to file a lawsuit. Depending on the complexity of your injuries and the treatment, how quickly your injuries are resolved or stabilized, what evidence we can gather at the beginning of the case, that will dictate how long it will take. While most cases resolve at the earliest possible opportunity, often well before the two-year statute of limitations, some may take two to four years to resolve, depending on the cooperation of the other side and the complexity of the case. How Much Will My Case Be Worth? If you’re injured in a motor wreck and you’re wondering what insurance companies look at to evaluate your claim, you’re not alone. Everybody is wondering that. There are simple and easy things that they look at. Those include medical bills for past treatment. It includes severity of the collision, severity of your injuries and also, written recommendations for future treatment. Obviously, if you need surgery going forward, that would increase the value of the case. If you have the surgery, that does increase the value of the case. There are factors, also, that are much more difficult to prove to insurance companies, such as human losses. Those come through family members and how they see this accident affecting your life. It comes through co-workers, or people at church. In addition to medical bills or maybe loss of earnings (showing income statements that are decreasing because you can’t go to work) also consider witnesses who can testify about how your life has changed day to day.
Car Accident Attorneys Santa Clarita, CAIf you have been involved in a car accident in Santa Clarita, know that you are not alone. In 2016, there were a total of 55,360 traffic accidents. This includes car, pedestrian, and motorcycle accidents. It is a staggering number of people. It seems that the number of accidents in L.A. has spiked over the years. If you were one of the many people who were seriously hurt due to someone else’s negligence please call Santa Clarita car accident attorney Mindy Bish today. Our experienced Newhall personal injury lawyers will make sure that the negligent party is held responsible and you receive full compensation for your injuries. When seriously injured in a crash, it is important to get in contact with a skilled attorney as soon as possible. Our dedicated car accident lawyers are ready to help. Contact our office today to schedule a free consultation.
Causes of Car AccidentsWe know that everyone is in a big hurry to go nowhere especially in L.A. It is a city full of people who have business to attend to and there are some drivers who put other drivers’ safety at risk because they’re in a rush. Those drivers are usually the ones who cause the accidents. The LAPD has data that reflects the fact that they have dramatically reduced the number of speeding tickets they have been giving over the past ten years. It is perhaps because their numbers have been focused on keeping crime at bay. While perhaps there has been a neglect to patrol our freeways, this may have contributed to the rise in traffic accidents. The one true cause of these accidents, however, is unsafe drivers. Some common causes of car accidents in L.A. include:
- Drowsy driving
- Driving under the influence
- Distracted driving
- Failure to merge or yield
Santa Clarita, CA Car Accident CompensationAs per the rules of pure comparative negligence that Santa Clarita, CA abides by, you are able to collect compensation even if you were found to be at fault for the accident. Some states will cut you off at a certain percentage of fault, but pure comparative negligence allows you to be found at fault for any percentage of the accident and still be able to get compensation. However, the drawback of this is if you were to be found 30% at fault and you were awarded $10,000, you would be barred from receiving 30% of that award. The compensation would be reduced to $7,000. If you hire an experienced Santa Clarita car accident attorney, you don’t have to worry about your compensation being significantly reduced. They will fight the insurance companies for you and protect your rights and get you the most compensation possible for your claim.
Importance of Contacting an AttorneyThis is not the type of thing to try to go at alone. You may be seriously hurt and we want you to focus on healing, not trying to figure out ways to defend yourself. If you have not dedicated your education and career towards defending injured drivers, you won’t know the best way to handle the insurance companies or how to tell when they are offering you a fair settlement. We are here to take all the guesswork out of the equation and go for what we know is a full and fair compensation. Getting to an attorney right away is very important for the success of your case. This is for two main reasons: we want to be able to collect evidence right away and start discovery for your case immediately. The longer you wait to start asking witnesses for statements, the fuzzier their memory will be and the less accurate their information will be. You want to get to these witnesses and see the scene as soon as possible. The sooner this all happens, the more helpful the information will be. You also want to start your claim as soon as possible because you will be under a time constraint. There is something called the statute of limitations. That is the amount of time you get to bring a claim or settle a claim. In Santa Clarita, CA, you have two years from the date of the accident to bring your claim or settle it. That might seem like a very long time, but once you start your healing process, and then get back into work and stress because you fell behind, and deal with normal life, time will have passed. If you don’t keep this claim on the front burner, you run the risk of forgetting. We suggest you make the call to us as soon as you are physically able to so we can go right to work for you.
Frequently Asked Car Accident QuestionsWhat Are the First Steps After a Car Accident? The first thing to do is get documentation of the incident, be it through a police report or photographs taken on a cell phone. It’s most important that the accident gets documented. After that, we generally have a period of time in which you seek treatment. After culmination of treatment, we usually begin the dialogue with the insurance companies or whoever is handling the claim on behalf of any municipalities or cities. After that point, if we are presented with a reasonable offer, the client ultimately decides whether or not to proceed with the claim. If we are unsatisfied with an offer for settlement, we will initiate litigation. Once we initiate litigation, which you began by filing a lawsuit, you begin what’s called the discovery phase of litigation, which is the formal exchange of information. It is at that point that your case is formally geared up for trial. In securing a trial lawyer from the outset of your case, you can guarantee, that your case is being geared up for trial from the very inception. What If I’m Seriously Hurt in an Accident? There are three basic answers to that question. The first is to get yourself treated. Get the medical treatment that you need to make yourself feel better. I can’t stress the importance of that enough. Number two is to seek out experienced personal injury attorneys in Santa Clarita, CA. personal injury attorneys in Santa Clarita, CA, preferably a trial attorney, will know how best to package your case and your claim to take it all the way to trial. When you get an attorney who’s taken cases such as yours to trial, you know that they would be best suited to handle your claim the best way. A third aspect to the answer of that question is to start a paper trail and start the documentation of the incident as soon as possible. Whether it’s a slip and fall and reporting that incident to a manager, or it’s taking photos of damage to a vehicle, it’s important to get the ball rolling and document that stuff, and to get any witness information from anyone who may have seen the incident. What Mistakes Should I Avoid? There are two or three that come to mind. The first is probably minimizing your own injuries and suspecting that they’ll just go away over time and waiting too long to seek medical care. Another common mistake is when people do seek medical care, generally close in time to the incident, but they don’t follow through on their doctor’s advice, meaning a doctor may say, “Thanks for coming in. I need you to get x-rays. I’m going to recommend a round of physical therapy,” or “I’m going to recommend that you go see a chiropractor.” The mistake being you don’t get it done or you get it done much later in time than they should have been done. Finally, another mistake that comes to mind is an injured victim thinking that they can handle the claim on their own without the advice or guidance of an experienced injury attorney. Car accident attorneys have experience, or very likely have experience, with the exact same claim that you’re walking in the door with. It’s a good idea to retain an experienced car accident attorney, preferably one who has experience taking cases like yours to trial. Who Will Pay My Medical Bills? As a general matter, when you have been injured through no fault of your own, liability or acceptance of liability by the other side is the aspect that determines how your medical bills are going to be paid. Generally, it’s the other side who should be responsible for paying those medical bills. Should I Deal with Insurance Companies? My answer is always no. The reason you retain a lawyer is because that lawyer, in many ways, becomes your voice in advocating to the insurance company and, if it gets that far, to a jury of your peers. It’s never a good idea to speak to the insurance company unless and until you have to. We have found that any statements that are given prior to retention of a lawyer, or even after, can often be twisted and can be used to argue things that you never meant to assert in the first place. What is Lost Wage Reimbursement? We begin by documenting or providing documentation of how much you were making, and we compile an estimate of how much you lost as a result of your inability to work over a period of time. That documentation, be it W9s or documentation from your employer, is then sent over to the other side and that begins the wage loss reimbursement process. What Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage? The other day, we had a prospective new client come in and she had been involved in a car wreck with an uninsured driver, meaning there was an auto incident where she was injured through no fault of her own. The problem was the person that hit her did not have insurance. As a general matter, when you are seeking out insurance and when you are purchasing insurance, there is an additional coverage that you can purchase called, UM/UIM, which stands for uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. That coverage, and the limits you get to decide effectively dictates or covers you for any incidents that you may be involved in with an uninsured driver. Therefore, if you are pursuing a claim against an uninsured driver, the first thing to do is to look to your own insurance policy and ascertain whether you have coverage for the incident. How Long Will My Case Last? The answer to that is it depends. It depends, in large part, on the extent of your injuries. We don’t know the extent of your injuries unless and until you’re done treating. After treatment, once we have an idea what your injuries are, the case is poised to resolve. Now, whether it resolves then or soon after, or we have to take it to trial, you can rest assured that we will move your claim to resolution as quickly as possible. How Long Do I Have to File? It’s important to understand, first and foremost, that you should seek the advice of experienced personal injury attorneys in Santa Clarita, CA because there are multiple laws that govern how and when you should file your claim. For example, if you are involved in a claim or an incident with what’s called a governmental entity, the statute of limitations to bring your claim is only six months. Alternatively, if you’re involved in an incident with a private citizen, you have up to two years to file your claim. The distinction between when to file a claim is pretty nuanced, and that is one of the main reasons why you want to seek the advice of personal injury attorneys in Santa Clarita, CA as soon as possible. How Much Is My Claim Worth? It’s important to understand that, at the very outset of your case, things are a little murky and it’s not exactly clear what the value of your case is, in large part, because the extent of your injuries aren’t clear yet. There’s a correlation between the value of your case and the extent of your injuries, which really doesn’t become clear until several months or maybe even a year or two after treatment begins. Another aspect in the value of your case is how long your injuries have lasted. Have they lasted for a finite period of time? Have you had them for a long time and you anticipate, according to doctors’ treatment, that your injuries will continue on, either into the future or for the duration of your life? The question of “How do I determine my case value?” is multi-tiered, and it’s never clear right at the beginning. It’s composed of your damages, and when we go to a court of law and we present your case in front of a jury, there are seven or eight different aspects of how the injury and subsequent treatment have impacted your life. It has to do with social context, with what’s called future earnings, with any professional issues in your ability to secure future income, and pain and suffering. That’s not an exhaustive list. I think there are nine or ten different categories of damages that ultimately will help us in answering the question of what the value of your claim is.
Contact Our Santa Clarita, CA Office TodayIf you need an experienced lawyer who will take on your car accident case in Santa Clarita, please call Santa Clarita, CA car accident attorney Mindy Bish today. You will be in competent hands. Your recovery is our priority. Don’t let the insurance company jerk you around. Allow our experience to work to protect your rights. You are a priority to us. Please call us today.
Motorcycle Accident Attorneys Santa Clarita, CAHave you ever been on the 101 and seen tire marks and debris as you drive? You know that in a few seconds, you’re going to see a brutal accident. No one wants to imagine that happening to us, but if you’re reading this, you’ve probably been involved in one. Motorcycle accidents in Santa Clarita, CA are horrifying. People drive like maniacs and some drivers have no regard for motorcyclists. If you were seriously injured by a driver who was acting carelessly or recklessly, you may have a claim. These accident cases are complex ones and we have the added potential challenge of fighting off bias from jurors who might believe that you, as a motorcyclist, are inherently at fault for the accident. Please call our personal injury attorneys in Santa Clarita, CA today. She will protect your rights and fight to get you the compensation that you deserve. Let her experience make this a successful endeavor for you. With the help of Mindy Bish, you can recover what you need to get back on your feet. Santa Clarita, CA follows the rule of pure comparative negligence meaning you can recover regardless of your percentage of fault, but you want to ensure that a lawyer keeps you from getting the accident pinned on you. You don’t want to have your compensation reduced if you can avoid it. The way it works is if you are, for instance, 10% at fault, your award will be reduced by 10%. You would be recovering $9,000 of an award of %10,000. Get a lawyer who will fight to protect your rights of a full recovery.
Why Motorcycle Accidents Are Often Fatal or Life-RuiningAs previously stated, drivers in L.A. can be downright reckless. Some people zip through traffic with no regard for safety. Motorcyclists are at a higher risk for life-ruining injuries and fatalities. We just want to say, if you are here on behalf of a loved one who has been killed in an accident, we are truly sorry and we want to take on your wrongful death claim to get you and your family the compensation you deserve. Most motorcycle accidents are caused by automobiles and only a small percent of the accidents are due to a motorcyclists running into a median or something of that nature. It’s rare for a crash to be caused by a bike malfunction. Unfortunately, about half of the time, motorcyclists get into an accident because of rider error, but just about as often, these motorcyclists have no choice but to lay down their bike and take a hit because of another driver’s error. Above all, the most common cause of accidents is when a driver doesn’t look for a motorcycle and hits them either while merging or turning. Because motorcyclists have roughly two seconds to react defensively in order to avoid getting hurt from another driver’s error, these crashes take place often. That is such a quick window of time for anyone to try to avoid getting hurt and it is especially scary for those who are on a bike with no addition protection from impact. According to Santa Clarita, CA statistics, an average of 97% of accidents involving motorcycles cause injury and almost half of these injuries are serious. Half of motorcycle injuries are to the lower extremities of the rider, in those cases, not wearing a helmet won’t really matter in terms of compensation for your injuries. Another reason why these accidents prove to be so horrific is because our roadways are designed to protect cars, not motorcycles. There are bars up on the freeways that, if a car is rammed from the right, the bar on the left will stabilize the car, sometimes preventing worse damage. For motorcyclists, that bar on the road is just another hazard. If hit, they can be flung from their bike or crash into it with their whole body. Any way you put it, these motorcyclists are coming out of these accidents in bad shape. There isn’t much they can do to prevent most injuries such as broken arms and legs, but there are some ways to prevent some injures. Wearing thick clothing can prevent road rash which can leave permanent scarring; some people wear leather gloves, jackets, and pants and others go for thick cut denim. Wearing a helmet is also going to be of benefit to the rider who does not wish to suffer permanent brain damage.
How to Ensure a Successful ClaimAt the scene, there are a few things that you should get done if you can. What I mean by “if you can” is that you may be physically unable to do anything but wait for the ambulance. In that case, that is your vital first step. If you are able to function after the accident, collecting evidence is going to be paramount to your case. Talk to your witnesses and gather their contact information. Get the police on the scene to get the accident recorded. In the meantime, it is important to take as many photos and videos as possible. You can do this on your phone if it has those features, which most phones do these days. This evidence will be beneficial to you and your attorney down the road when you have to go up against the insurance company of the driver who hit you. Make sure that, if you’re not taken by an ambulance to seek medical care, at the very least you see your primary physician or visit an Urgent Care to get your injuries checked out. Do this for your own wellbeing, but also because you need to get these injuries officially recorded so we can use that information to show the insurance company that you need rightful compensation. You also need to know how to handle the phone calls from the insurance companies when they come calling, which they will. They are trying to get a statement out of you to make you either seem at fault for the accident or make it seem like you aren’t as injured as you claim to be. The first call they make to you, you don’t have to pick up, but if you do, we suggest you tell them that you have obtained counsel and all communication can go through your lawyer from now on. Do not give them any information about your injuries or the accident or the aftermath of it.
Frequently Asked Motorcycle Accident QuestionsWhat If I’m Hurt in a Motorcycle Accident? People who are involved in motorcycle crashes are usually badly injured, much more so than a car accident. The thing that I would tell victims in a motorcycle accident is the first thing you should do is find a good lawyer. Very often, the knee-jerk reaction by the witnesses, the police, and anyone who was involved in the crash, is to blame the motorcyclist. That’s our human nature. There are more cars on the road than motorcycles and as a collective, car drivers will blame motorcyclists, even if the motorcyclist did everything right. Because the injuries are more severe, my recommendation is that you find a lawyer you trust and who’s familiar with motorcycle cases. You hire them to be able to then redirect your focus on getting better and healing, because that will be the most important part for you. What’s the Difference Between Motorcycle and Car Accidents? When dealing with motorcycle collisions, as opposed to car accidents, we have to consider the severity of injuries. A motorcycle rider does not have the benefit of the protection of the car around them. They’re exposed to the elements, they’re exposed to the road and other vehicles, so the injuries tend to be more severe, more visually apparent, and more immediately critical. Also, the public perception is one that is against motorcycle riders. Even though a motorcycle rider may follow all the rules of the road, do everything their supposed to, and wear the proper gear, unfortunately the immediate knee-jerk reaction is to blame the motorcycle rider, and that is not usually the case with car accidents. There’s usually a clear delineated person to blame. When you’re looking for an attorney to represent you in a motorcycle crash, it’s important that you find somebody that you’re comfortable with and somebody who understands the challenges presented by you being on a motorcycle. How Do I Pick a Motorcycle Accident Attorney? My number one answer is you want to pick somebody you’re comfortable with. Second, you want to look for an attorney who specializes in not just motor vehicle accidents or personal injury, but has experience with motorcycle crashes, because they are nuanced. Typically, the deck is stacked against the motorcycle rider, even if they did everything right, so there are certain steps that must be taken early on in the case to set up the case in a way that results in a positive outcome for the victim. What Mistakes Should I Avoid? Typically when I talk to people who were involved in a motorcycle crash, I notice certain mistakes they make, and it tends to happen to almost any person. One, because of the adrenaline, if they’re capable of talking at the scene, they tend to say things that can be misconstrued by the police or the witnesses against them, because public perception is also against motorcycle riders, so if they can find any statement that can be used against the motorcycle rider, to blame the motorcycle rider, they will do that. It’s important that you stick to the basic facts, you don’t overreact, you present in a calm fashion, and you immediately seek medical attention. Injuries tend to be very severe. Then get a hold of an attorney that is comfortable representing motorcycle riders so they can get ahead of the typical pitfalls that face motorcycle collisions. Should I talk to the insurance company? You should never speak to the insurance company on your own without first consulting with an attorney. This is especially the case with motorcycle accidents because public perception is against motorcycle riders and questions will be asked in such a way to have you answer in a way that incriminates you or causes you to be at fault for things you didn’t do. I would always recommend that, before you speak to an insurance company, you consult with an attorney you trust, and I am sure that that attorney would instruct you not to speak to the insurance company without their presence, or if you do speak to them, it’ll be through the attorney. Can I Bring a Claim If I Was a Passenger on a Motorcycle? If you’re a passenger on a motorcycle and you were injured as a result of a crash, there potentially exist two possible claims, at least, that you can make; one against the other vehicle involved and one claim could be against the rider of your motorcycle, depending on whether or not they followed the rules of the road. It is important to gather the facts, meet an attorney who can put together a case and a strategy, and determine who’s at fault, how many parties were involved, and who the claim can be made against. What If I Was Run Off the Road? If you’re involved in a motorcycle collision where you’re run off the road and the car took off, and there was no contact, it is very important that you gather as much information at the scene as possible. You can make a claim, but you will either have to speak to witnesses, get video footage of the collision or the person running you off the road, their license plate number, and any information that could help your attorney in finding the person who caused the injuries and the collision. Do I Have a Claim If Bad Road Conditions Caused My Accident? If a motorcycle rider is injured due to poorly maintained roads, the claim is to be made against a government entity. The trick with those claims is determining ownership of that road. It can be Caltrans in California, or it can be the local municipality. The first step is to find an attorney who can start the investigation in determining who had ownership or control of the road where the incident occurred, and then the claim will be expedited because a government claim is required to be filed within six months, as opposed to the typical two-year period, so it is important that very shortly after the incident, you get ahold of an attorney who can start doing the work and determining who controlled the property to make the proper claim. How Much Will My Claim Be Worth? The other day, I was asked by a victim in a motorcycle collision how we will evaluate and determine the amount of a claim. The insurance companies will look at the severity of the injury, the fault of the parties involved, the treatment provided, the necessity for future treatment and costs associated with that treatment, and the emotional component; if there’s visible scarring or an inability to work, things like that. Things that will affect your day to day life will be evaluated, and the more evidence we can present to show those losses, the greater the compensation for the claim. How Long Will My Case Last? One of my clients who was involved in a motorcycle collision wanted to know how long it’s going to take to resolve the claim, and that’s a very valid question because until the claim is resolved, that person has no closure. There are things in their life, factors that change day to day that won’t be resolved until the claim is resolved. The answer is not so simple. Typically, claims get resolved at the earliest opportunity, when all the treatments are completed, when we have an understanding of the extent of injuries and damages suffered, and they usually resolve within the first year or two. Oftentimes some cases, on rare occasions, have to go to trial and that could take two to three years from the time of the claim. It’s important to start early in lining up the case for a quick resolution by getting all the evidence, getting all the treatment, following doctor recommendations, and staying in contact with your attorney at every step of the way to make that process is as quick as possible.
Truck Accident Attorneys Santa Clarita, CAIf you have been involved in a truck accident in Santa Clarita, CA, you may initially be in shock before your injuries set in. This is an experience that we wouldn’t wish upon anyone. Trucks carry tons upon tons of weight and when they crash into passenger vehicles, it can be truly terrible. It is absolutely terrible that insurance companies hope to maintain the bottom line when you come asking for rightful compensation. You deserve to be compensation, but unfortunately, they don’t want to give it to you. That is when having a great attorney comes in handy. Upon seeking a consultation, you will find that our Santa Clarita, CA truck accident attorney, Mindy Bish, cares about you and your recovery. She will fight the insurance company tooth and nail to get you what you are entitled to.
Causes of Truck AccidentsTruck accidents are caused for a number of reasons and that is why it is sometimes harder to find the liable party. You could have a situation where the driver did everything right, but the truck itself caused to accident because it was not properly situated by a company shipping their goods. It’s also possible that a truck accident occurs because a driver other than yourself caused them to crash into you. Often times, it is as simple as the driver of the truck being far overworked, making errors, or sometimes above the legal limit for BAC. There are ways to discover the at fault party that our attorney will know how to do. There may be multiple people responsible for your accident who owe you compensation, and without an attorney, you may not have been able to find that out. The most common causes of truck accidents are:
- Distracted driving
- Drowsy driving
- Drunk driving
- Improperly maintained truck
- Overweight load
- Driver error
How Compensation WorksThe first thing that everyone should know about truck accident cases in Santa Clarita, CA is that you will be able to receive compensation even if you are found partially at fault for the accident. You cannot, however, be deemed completely and entirely the cause of the accident and still receive compensation. But if you are 20% at fault, you will. The only catch is that you will have your award reduced by that amount. Let’s say you are awarded $100,000 for your injuries, and you are 20% at fault. You would be allowed to collect $80,000 from the award. Therefore, when insurance companies want to know about the accident and your injuries, it is best not to talk to them to avoid getting pegged as the at fault party. Once we understand that, and determine fault, we can go after the compensation. In order to know how much your case is going to be worth, we have to determine just how injured you are and how long you are going to be affected by this. We encourage patience in this process. If you are taking a very long time to heal, it is better to know the full extent of your injuries and get complete compensation because you were patient rather than get a low settlement because you were not patient with the process. It is wise to have an attorney for the reason that you do not want to be at risk of getting taken advantage of. With truck accidents, your injuries are probably very severe. You may need surgery, and you may need to have pain medication. The insurance company of the liable party knows this and will try to call you when you are your most vulnerable and likely to slip up and say the wrong thing. They will ask you questions about the accident in a way that makes it seem like you caused that accident. At all costs should you avoid making a comment for the insurance company. I would be hesitant to even tell the police too much about the accident to avoid this being deemed as your fault.
Frequently Asked Truck Accident QuestionsWhat Should I Do After an Accident with a Truck? I had a client come in to my office that was seriously injured in a wreck involving a commercial truck. She wanted to know what she needed to do. If you are seriously injured by a commercial truck, there are some basic things that need to be done. One, you need to obtain all the information available that you can regarding the collision. You need to try and get the license plate number, and the information of the other driver. If there’s a police report, you need to try and obtain that. You need to seek medical treatment, get evaluated by a doctor, and follow that doctor’s recommendation and advice. You also should always consult with an attorney regarding the collision and your claims. They can help you identify any potential parties there may be to the claim. What Attorney Should I Hire? A gentleman came to my office and wanted to know what he should consider when selecting an attorney for a collision that he was in with a commercial truck. Commercial trucks are different than regular trucks on the road, so when you’re involved in a collision with a commercial truck, different factors need to be taken into consideration. First of all, truck drivers of those big trucks are required to have a special license. They’re subject to a whole set of rules and regulations that the rest of us are not subject to. Additionally, trucking companies are also subject to a bunch of rules and regulations that they need to follow. Quite often, you find out during discovery in litigation that those companies do not actually follow the rules; they take a lot of shortcuts involving their equipment, the hours that their drivers spend on the road, and things like that. It’s important to pick an attorney that is familiar with the different rules and regulations that apply to commercial drivers and commercial trucking companies. Should I Talk to the Truck Insurance Company? A client came to me after she had been involved in a collision with a commercial truck. She had been approached by the representative for the insurance company and was asked to speak with them regarding the collision. She wanted to know if that was something she should do. If you are involved in a collision with a large commercial truck, it is never a good idea to speak with the representative for their insurance company or any attorney or representative from the company that employs the driver of the truck. They do not have your best interests in mind ever, and they will merely be there to try and gather evidence and position the facts in a light that is definitely not favorable to you. You should always seek the advice of counsel before giving any statement to any insurance company or representative from the employer of the trucking driver that hit you. What Mistakes Can I Avoid to Make Sure My Case is Successful? A young man came into my office that had been involved in a serious collision with a commercial truck. He made a common mistake that I see quite often. On the day of the collision, he sought emergency medical treatment at the hospital, but weeks had gone by and he had not followed up with any doctor, even though he was still in pain. People do this for a number of reasons. They think they’re going to get better, or maybe they don’t have a primary care doctor or they don’t have insurance. but it’s very important to seek medical care immediately after your injuries and to continue to treat for those injuries. Another common mistake I see is that people think that perhaps they can deal with the insurance company on their own and get the claim resolved themselves. I cannot emphasize how important it is to get an attorney that is experienced in this area of the law. Commercial trucking companies are subject to different rules and regulations, and it’s important to seek the advice of a professional, because an insurance company is never going to give you the full value of your case. Only a professional can help you do that. Another common mistake I see people make is they don’t get enough information from the driver of the truck. They don’t get his employer’s information, license plate number, or a copy of the traffic collision report. These are all also very common mistakes that people make. What Steps Do I Need to Take After My Accident? I had a young lady come to my office after she had been hit by a commercial truck and she wanted to know what steps were needed for getting her claim started. First and foremost, it’s also always really important to consult with an attorney, especially one that’s highly skilled in this area. Those trucks these days quite often have little black boxes on them that record speed. There’s also driver’s logs that, quite often, the companies only retain the physical copies for 90 days. There’s information out there that you want to get as soon as possible before it gets destroyed. An attorney can send letters and put those companies on notice that they need to retain that evidence for your claim. You want to gather as much documentation about the collision as you can. That includes taking photographs, getting the traffic collision report, and obtaining information on the trucking company that hit you. You also want to seek medical care as soon as possible and be sure to follow your doctor’s advice. How Are These Cases Different Than Car Accidents? A young lady came to me after she’d been injured by a commercial truck. We were discussing her case, and I was explaining to her that being hit by a commercial vehicle is different in a lot of respects than being hit by somebody driving a regular car or truck. Some of the ways those cases are different is that, one, commercial vehicles are usually a lot bigger, heavier, and carry a lot more force when they hit you as opposed to a regular vehicle. Another way in which they’re different is that the drivers are professional drivers; they hold a Class A license, so they’re held to certain standards and rules that the rest of us aren’t obligated to follow. Trucking companies are also subject to a bunch of rules and regulations regarding the weight of their vehicles, the way that their vehicles have to be maintained, and inspections of those vehicles. Drivers have to keep logs. There is a whole host of different things that trucking companies have to adhere to under the law, and quite often, they don’t follow those rules or things get overlooked and it can really impact your case and the value of your case. Should I Accept an Offer from an Insurance Company? I met with my client and he wanted to know if he should accept the trucking company’s offer on his case. He had been involved in a collision with a commercial trucking company and this was the first offer that the insurance company was making for his claim. I explained to him that, although it could be the insurance company’s best offer, in all likelihood, that is not the case. Most of the time, the first offer that comes from an insurance company for a trucking company is not the best offer, especially if that offer is coming early on in the claim or early on in the litigation. Quite often, what happens as litigation progresses and we discover and uncover more information about the company and their oversight, the value of the claim goes up. Generally, the first offer from a trucking company will not be the best offer and generally, it is my advice usually that you shouldn’t take it. How Long Will This Case Take? A young gentleman came to see me after he had been involved in a collision with a commercial truck and he was injured. He wanted to know how long the claims process would take. I explained to him that the length of a claim depends on a lot of different factors. First and foremost, we want to make sure that an individual has fully recovered from their injuries, so we will never even attempt to full resolve a claim until we know that the person has fully recovered. If you have some sort of life-long injury, that’s a different story, but typically, we want to make sure you’re okay and that we’ve got everything covered before we try and resolve the claim. Another factor that will impact the length of the claim is the number of the defendants that you have in a case. Also, the amount of time it takes to get the information out of the defendants will affect the length. Sometimes they don’t want to willingly provide information and you have to spend months in court fighting to get it from them. Sometimes you get an insurance company on the other side that wants to play hardball; they don’t really want to offer anything, and you have no choice but to take it all the way to a trial, and sometimes it can take years to get there. Ultimately, the amount of time that it takes to resolve a claim varies case by case. It can take a few months up to several years. How Long Do I Have to File? A young gentleman came to me after he had been involved in a collision with a commercial truck and he wanted to know how much time he had to file his claim. Typically, you have two years to file a lawsuit if you’ve been injured in a commercial trucking collision. The only exception to that would be if the driver of the commercial vehicle is employed by a governmental entity or the truck is the property of a governmental entity, then your claim would have to be filed within six months. It’s always important to seek the advice of skilled counsel that can help you identify the liable party and how long you have to file. How Much is My Case Worth? I met with one of my clients who’d been injured. She was hit by a large commercial truck and she was wondering what the value of her claim was. I had to explain to her that the value of any claim depends on a lot of factors. In a trucking case, the value of the claim can fluctuate wildly, depending on how egregious the defendant’s conduct has been. As a case progresses, quite often we will uncover evidence where we can show the trucking company has deliberately broken rules or sometimes even unintentionally not followed rules that have put the public in danger. It’s their violation of the safety rules that causes injury. When you have a defendant who is intentionally breaking the rules and putting the public at risk, it can greatly affect the value of the case. It can increase the value of your claim, even if you’re not that injured. The seriousness and the extent of your injury can also affect the value of your claim. How long it takes you to recover from your injuries will affect the value of your claim. Any missed time from work will affect the value of your claim. At the end of the day, it’s important to consult with a professional attorney who is well-versed in trucking cases, so that they can help you determine the full value of your case.
Construction Accident Attorneys Santa Clarita, CAIn Santa Clarita, CA, there is construction all over the place. This is a busy city that we live in and it is sprawling. When construction accidents happen, they can be devastating for victims. Whether you were the innocent bystander struck down by construction equipment or you are a worker who was hurt due to someone’s negligence, you may be eligible for compensation. We know just how awful it can be to suffer injuries from these types of accidents and you should not be forced to suffer financially because of someone else’s mistakes. Our Santa Clarita construction accident lawyer, Mindy Bish, is here to do one job and that is to get you justice.
How You Get CompensationBefore you can do anything to get compensation, you have to make sure that this accident and these injuries are documented. You absolutely should tell your boss right away about what happened. If they do not write it down, as them to. Ask for a copy of the accident report and keep that for your own records. This is very important. Make sure that you collect evidence through pictures and videos from the scene as that can be used. Lastly, most importantly, get to the doctor so they can thoroughly examine your injuries so that we know the full extent of them. The obstacle for injured workers is that you cannot bring a claim against your boss if you have workers’ compensation available to you. However, it is very common for these accidents to involve a third party. In these cases, you can bring a third party injury claim against the negligence party. It is very similar to bringing an injury claim like someone would for a slip and fall or a car accident claim. It is a claim against the insurance of the liable party and they will be responsible for your pain and suffering, lost wages, and medical bills. If you are an injured worker and are relying on workers’ compensation to get you the money you need for your bills and lost wages, and your employer does not offer it, you might be worried. It is actually unlawful to not have workers’ compensation for construction workers. Your employer can get in a world of trouble if they do not provide you with workers’ compensation. It is also unlawful to knowingly withhold information about workers’ compensation and how you can get it. If for some reason, this is the case for you, call us immediately so that we can guide you through your next logical steps.
Types of Construction AccidentsThere is no injury case without the accident that caused it. These injuries tend to be more severe than perhaps a slip and fall because there is usually heavy machinery involved and dangerous heights. It is important for us to understand how the accident happened and who or what caused the accident so we can effectively represent you. The most common types of accidents that happen on a construction site include:
- Falling from Heights
- Getting struck by falling objects
- Construction vehicle accidents
Frequently Asked Construction Accident QuestionsWhat Should I Do If I’m Hurt on a Construction Site? There are several things you should do if you’ve been seriously injured on a construction site. First and foremost, always seek medical attention immediately. You always need to report the incident to the job foreman or your supervisor. If possible, you should take photographs of the scene and your injuries. You should collect the names and phone numbers of any witnesses that may have seen what happened when you were injured. These things are extremely important. You also don’t ever want to give a recorded statement to anyone without first consulting with an attorney. If your injuries are serious, contacting an attorney is always a good decision. How Do I Pick the Best Attorney? There are a lot of different things that go into deciding what type of attorney is best to represent you and your interests. Like any other profession, not all attorneys are created equal. There are several attorneys that actually never set foot in a courtroom to try a case, so you should always ask whether or not the firm tries cases in courtrooms. Attorneys that try cases will get different results than attorneys that never set foot in a courtroom, because other attorneys and insurance adjusters know which firms are willing to take the risk and which ones are not. Also know that selecting an attorney is important because it’s a relationship, and it’s a relationship that will last from a few months to perhaps several years, so you always want to make sure that you feel comfortable with who you’ve chosen and that it’s a right fit for you. What Mistakes Should I Avoid Making? The other day, a client came into my office. He had been seriously injured on a construction site, and he made a mistake that I often see from clients. He did not immediately report the injury to his supervisor or job foreman. He believed he was going to get better with time and that he could deal with it. That wasn’t the case. Common mistakes to avoid if you’re seriously injured on a construction site include waiting to tell someone that you got hurt.. You don’t want to wait to seek medical care and treatment either. You don’t want to miss getting names and phone numbers of other witnesses that may have seen what happened. You don’t want to miss your opportunity to photograph the scene and the site and the time of your injury. Get Our FREE Construction Accident Guide Should I Talk to the Insurance Company? My advice is that you should never talk or speak with any representative or any insurance company without first consulting with an attorney, and it is never a good idea to do that on your own. Quite often, these insurance representatives will ask questions in a way that will lead you into giving answers that maybe are not entirely accurate and do not accurately reflect what actually occurred. Always seek the advice of counsel before giving any statement to any representative of any insurance company. How Long Will My Case Take? There’s no hard and fast answer for that. The truth is that it depends. Some claims can be resolved within a matter of months, some take several years. You have two years to file a lawsuit for injury claims. In that two-year period, we would gather evidence and investigate, and also speak with representatives from insurance companies. There’s always the possibility that the case can be resolved prior to filing a lawsuit. However, quite often, insurance companies do not want to pay the full value of a claim unless a lawsuit is filed. Once you file a lawsuit, typically most cases will get to trial in about two years. Some cases can be resolved faster. Some cases, depending on the issues and the amount of parties in a case may take longer than that two-year time frame. Cases can resolve in a few months or it can take several years. It all depends. How Much is My Claim Worth? If you are to ask me this, I will tell you that the value of your case will depend on many factors. One is the gravity of the injury. A broken leg is different than a broken pinkie finger. Another thing that will affect the value of your claim is the extent of the injury. Will you recover from your injuries fully, or is it a life-long injury? How egregious was the conduct of your employer? Did the employer do something really horrible that injured you, or was this just a matter of somebody simply making a mistake? The amount of medical treatment you receive affects the value of your case. Whether or not you can return to your employment affects the value of your case. Some people need to be fully retrained and go into a completely different career because of their injuries. That will also affect the value of your case. Quite often, initially at the beginning, we cannot really tell the full value of your case. It takes time and the expertise of medical professionals to help us determine that. Get Our FREE Construction Accident Guide
Bus Accident Attorneys Santa Clarita, CAIn Santa Clarita, CA, public transit is an excellent way to get around. There are a lot of people who rely on buses to get them safely from point A to point B. We don’t think that we’re in danger, until something unthinkable happens. Being involved in a bus accident can be absolutely devastating. These immense vehicles can cause catastrophic damage. You may be feeling seriously hurt and wiped of all energy. We want to be a champion for your case. Your focus should be on your health, and we want to help you get better. We will take over the legal aspect of recovering full and fair compensation. Call our Santa Clarita bus accident attorney Mindy Bish today to see how we can help you get back on your feet.
Determining the Liable Party and Getting CompensationThe way you get compensation for your accident is through the insurance company of the liable party. By “liable party” I mean the person or company who caused the accident. Bus accidents are unique in the sense that there may not be an obvious party right away. There are a few possible people who are going to be the liable party. There might be a driver of a car or motor vehicle other than the bus driver who caused the accident. It is very likely that the bus driver is the one who caused the accident. The causes of the accidents are similar to other motor vehicle accidents including distracted driving, drowsy driving, speeding, driver error, etc. Sometimes accidents are not necessarily two vehicles crashing. There are some accidents that have to do with the bus itself. If you are injured on the bus, getting on or off the bus, you may have an injury claim. You are going to need an attorney to help you figure out all of the liable parties as there may be more than one. Once we have determined the liable party or parties, you can pursue compensation. The way this work is that we make the claim through the liable party’s insurance. The insurance will then be our adversary in this process and we will do everything in our power to keep them from bullying you out of a fair settlement. Because buses carry added insurance that car drivers don’t need, getting full compensation is more challenging than other motor vehicle accidents, but we are up for the fight.
How Compensation WorksYou do not have the benefit that other states have with No Fault insurance which is automatic coverage for your medical bills and lost wages. In Santa Clarita, CA, we have to worry about fighting for compensation for those damages. What we go after is compensation for medical bills that you have paid and will be expected to pay into the future, pain and suffering that you have and will experience, and loss of consortium. The fair value of your claim will be evaluated by us and we will push to get that amount for you. However, when you first walk into our office to go over your case, we cannot tell you how much you will get for you claim. The reason we can’t put a chart here to show you the exact amount you can be expected to get for the types of injuries you sustained is because we don’t know the full extent of those injuries. You need to give it some time. If you’re unable to make a full physical recovery, your claim value will increase. If you need multiple surgeries, physical therapy, or a caretaker, then your claim value will also increase. We can suggest medical professionals to you who will be able to make determinations about your health and that can help us figure out how much your claim is worth.
What an Attorney Can Do for YouHiring an attorney is not required but it is highly recommended. You don’t want to go after this on your own. You have not spent your education and professional career defending against negligent bus drivers and you don’t want to have to dedicate all of your time figuring out how to win a case and get the compensation you deserve when you could fall back on an experienced attorney to take your case and be your champion. What we first can do for you is take over communication between the insurance adjuster and yourself. If they come calling for you, you can tell them to refer to our office for any questions they may have. We do this to one, protect you from their questioning. They will ask you about the events of the accident and try to make you seem either at fault for the accident, or that you aren’t injured enough to get any compensation. That’s their job, to keep you from getting money. Our job is to make sure they do not succeed. When they offer you a first settlement, we will help you determine if it is a fair offer or if they are low-balling you. More often than not, it will be far too low to get a fair settlement. What we do next is push them for a fair settlement. If we have to we are willing and able to take this case to trial.
Frequently Asked Bus Accident QuestionsWhat Do I Do After I’m Hurt in a Bus Accident? I had a friend of mine call me the other day and he said, “I just had a bus hit my car, and I’m already hurting a little bit, what should I do?” I advised as follows: I said first and foremost, let’s begin the documentation process, by which I mean make sure that the bus driver knows that there was an incident and that you’re not feeling so hot. It’s important to document the incident as thoroughly as possible, be it taking photographs, seeking or requesting any video or surveillance having to do with the bus, and seeking out any potential witnesses that may have seen the incident. Additional to that is ensuring that you start your treatment if you’re not feeling so hot. Get better, and seek the advice and try to retain an experienced bus wreck attorney. What Mistakes Can I Avoid Making? Here are some common mistakes made by people who’ve been involved in bus incidents, be it someone who was a passenger on the bus or a driver of a vehicle that was hit by a bus. One, failure to begin the documentation process, which means you either don’t let the bus driver know that you were injured or you don’t take photographs, and you don’t in any way document the initial incident that occurred. Another mistake could be not following through or seeking medical treatment right away. If you are injured, get treatment. Finally, perhaps most importantly, is to seek the advice and retention of an experienced bus accident attorney. What If I’m Hurt on a Bus? If you are injured as a passenger on a bus, the most important thing you can do immediately after the incident is let the bus driver know you were injured. This begins what’s called the documentation or paper trail process. After you’ve alerted the bus driver of how you’re feeling and what happened, it’s important to follow through on any documentation. This doesn’t mean that you have to speak to their representatives; it does mean that you should get the paper trail rolling. After that, it’s important to embark upon your treatment. Again, if you’re not feeling good, get treatment to feel better. After that, it’s important to seek the advice and to retain an experienced bus accident attorney who has experience dealing with those sort of claims, who can best package your case. How Do You File a Bus Accident Claim? The basic steps to filing a bus injury claim entail the following: One, let the bus driver know that you were injured and/or involved in an incident. This begins the paper trail or documentation process, which is crucial for your case. After that, it’s important to gather any and all witness information, and any and all surveillance video and things of that nature, either depicting the incident or your fall. In addition to all that, it’s important to seek the advice of an experienced bus incident attorney because they are in the best position to ensure that your claim is best packaged for trial and potentially settlement. How is a Bus Accident Different from a Car Accident? A bus accident is different being involved in an accident with another vehicle. The main thing that distinguishes the difference is that a bus is more often than not a governmental entity, meaning you’ll have a shortened period of time in which you can file a claim and then file the corresponding lawsuit; the claim and the lawsuit are two different things. Another important aspect of bus injury claims is that there is often video, and it’s video depicting the incident. It’s important to retain experienced personal injury attorneys in Santa Clarita, CA, in large part, because personal injury attorneys in Santa Clarita, CA will, at the outset of the case, do whatever they can to make sure that the evidence is preserved. It is the preservation of that video and the broader preservation of evidence, as it pertains to the bus incident case, that is one of the most important parts of the claim. Should I Talk to the Bus’s Insurance Company? I recently spoke with a client that retained our firm, and he was involved in a bus crash. One of the questions that he had, and it was relatively early in his claim, was, “Is it alright if I speak to the insurance company representatives for the bus company?” My answer to him was firm, and it was no. You don’t want to speak to someone who you don’t have to speak with, and that you’re under no legal obligations to speak with, in large part, because your words can be twisted to mean or asserted to mean something that you never meant in the first place. It’s important to refrain from speaking with any insurance representatives prior to hiring a lawyer as well as afterwards. Should I Take a First Settlement Offer? If you’ve been involved in a bus wreck and you are the recipient of a first offer to settle your case, a question that we encounter from clients is, “Should I accept this offer?” As a general rule, I have found both in the legal context and in simple business negotiation context, that the first offer and acceptance of the first offer is not the best offer you can get. By which I mean it’s not a bad idea to counter and to see if you can get more compensation for your injuries. What If My Kid Was Hurt on a School Bus? A question that I recently encountered in the context of a new client coming in was from a young lady whose child was injured on the bus. It was a school bus that was run by the school district, and the allegation is that the bus driver was driving improperly and it caused the young child to fall and hit his head on the bus. The question that the client had was ultimately, “Who’s responsible for this?” The short answer, given the limited set of facts that we had, was the school district. The answer to any questions having to do with whether your children or child is injured on a bus, and who’s the responsible party, is the school district. How Much Is My Case Worth? In determining the value of a claim related to a bus wreck, be it as a passenger on a bus or a passenger of a vehicle that was struck by the bus, it’s important to recognize that there is a direct correlation between the nature and quality of your injuries and the value of your case. The value of your case, therefore, is not a wholly or clearly apparent unless and until you are done treating and we know what your injuries are. There are some tangential aspects to the value of your claim in such an instance, but the most important is the nature and quality of your injuries and treatment. How Long Will This Case Last? The question is interesting, nuanced, and multi-tiered. First and foremost, you need to seek treatment for your injuries. After the treatment period is over, we’ll have an idea of the nature and extent of your injuries. Once the nature and extent of your injuries are apparent, we’ll be better suited to start pushing towards resolution of the claim. You can rest assured that once the nature and quality of your injuries are apparent, the case will be moved toward resolution as soon as possible. How Long Do I Have to File the Claim? Whether you were a passenger on the bus, or someone who was hit by the bus either in your car, on your bike, or while walking, the general answer is between six months to two years. If it’s a governmental that you’re making a claim against who was operating the bus, you have six months. If it’s a private entity, you have two years. Distinguishing and recognizing which applies to who is nuanced, and it’s a good idea to retain an experienced attorney who can identify the relevant statute of limitation that is at play. What’s most important is not to wait until the very end. Retain an experienced bus wreck attorney as soon as possible, and they’ll get the ball rolling on your claim and make sure that your case is best packaged for trial.
Slip and Fall Attorneys Santa Clarita, CAIf you have been seriously injured in a slip and fall, you may be feeling embarrassed for falling, frustrated that you hurt yourself, and worried about how this is going to affect your life. We see these cases all the time and your injuries might have really thrown your life off course. We are here to help you get back on your feet.
How an Attorney Can Help YouWe are full-time injury attorneys dedicating our life to helping injured victims like yourself. We can set you up with excellent doctors who will help you make a full recovery if possible. You don’t have to worry about figuring anything out on your own. When you first come in the office to meet with our Santa Clarita, CA slip and fall lawyer, Mindy Bish, you will feel supported in your journey to seeking full recovery. She will take over communication with the insurance company who will most likely be calling and looking for a statement. She will make sure they do not have the opportunity to ruin your claim by getting incriminating statements from you. If you call right away after your accident, our lawyer will guide you through the necessary steps to make sure you are well informed and know what to do.
Steps After an AccidentMost of the time, after a slip and fall accident, you are going to be able to get up and walk away without needing an ambulance. If you do, however, because you have sustained and injury to your head or neck, please take that ride. Don’t worry about the cost, as we can include that in your full and fair compensation. If you are able to, we highly suggest you collect as much evidence as possible. You can do this in a few ways. First would be to take pictures of what made you fall. What is a liquid on the floor? What is a tile jutting out of place? Having photographic evidence makes our job much easier when we tell the owner of the property that they were negligent and did not do what they needed to do to prevent this accident. You should also document your injuries. If you have a visible injury, perhaps an obviously broken bone, try to capture that on camera. You can also document your injuries by getting to the doctor right away. This is a vital step in any injury case. The worst thing you could do for a slip and fall injury case is to not take care of your injuries. You might be really terribly hurt, and if you have a broken bone, waiting is not a good idea. They may have to reset the bone and your healing time will be much longer. That goes for any injury. The longer you wait for treatment, the worse you’re going to feel.
Obstacles the Insurance Company PresentsLike mentioned before, not seeking a medical professional is going to be detrimental to your case. The insurance adjuster is not your friend and will find any possible reason to end your case. If you wait weeks to get your injury checked out, they will not let that slide. They will say that you were not truly hurt and that you don’t have a claim to compensation. To them that is evidence that you are fine. Even if you were writhing in pain for two weeks before you finally gave in to see a doctor, they will use that fact against you. Fortunately, in California, it is much harder for the insurance companies to throw your claim out. We follow pure comparative negligence rules which means you can receive compensation for any percent of fault. You could be 90% at fault and still receive some compensation. In some states in this country, you will be barred from getting compensation if you were 50% at fault. While it is good news to hear that you can receive compensation so long as you are not fully at fault for your accident, there is a downside with this. You are not going to be able to walk away with the full award if you are 90% at fault. The way pure comparative negligence works is that your award will be reduced by the percentage of fault you were at. If you were to be awarded $100,000 but you were 90% at fault, you are going to be able to get $10,000. The insurance company knows this and wants to make you as at fault as they can manage. We also know this and will fight them and their bullying tactics. You should not miss out on huge portions of what you deserve and we want to make sure of that.
Frequently Asked Slip and Fall QuestionsHow Do I Choose the Right Attorney? When deciding who to select as a slip and fall attorney in California to represent you, it’s important to look at the experience of that attorney. We call it the experience factor. You’re looking for an experienced personal injury attorneys in Santa Clarita, CA who has taken cases similar to yours to trial. It is that trial lawyer, who is well-versed in that particular practice area, who will package your case best for potential settlement or trial in front of a jury of your peers. What Mistakes Can I Avoid After a Slip and Fall? Some of the common mistakes that are made by people who’ve been involved in slip and fall incidents and have been injured are as follows. One, they may not begin the paper trail or document that the incident ever occurred. That means that they may not tell the manager or the owner of an establishment, “I was injured on your property.” A second mistake, and also in the same vein as documentation, would be not taking photographs of the incident that caused your condition. A third would be not seeking out witnesses or people who have seen the incident. Additional mistakes have to do with not seeking immediate medical attention, not following doctors’ advice, speaking to insurance representatives before having consulted an attorney, and sometimes waiting too long in which to retain an experienced personal injury lawyer. Do I Have a Claim for a Faulty Handrail Injury? The other day I spoke with a client and he was injured as a result of a faulty handrail on some steps at a mall. He was leaning on the handrail, and the handrail effectively gave way, causing him to sustain some pretty significant injuries. His first question was, “Do I have a claim?” The answer, in light of the information that he provided to us was yes. A landowner has a duty to all people on their land to ensure that their premises are safe. Do I Have a Claim for a Faulty Step Injury? The answer is, if you feel or believe you have fallen as a result of defective stairs, it is important that you seek and retain experienced personal injury attorneys in Santa Clarita, CA as soon as possible to find out. Additionally, it is important that you document or take photographs of the stairs upon which you fell as soon as possible. There are a myriad of bases for liability for a landowner as a result of defective stairs. It may well be that the stairs were in disrepair. It may well be that the depth differential of the stairs are not up to the relevant building code. Again, it’s important that, if you feel you have sustained injury as a result of defective stairs, you retain experienced personal injury attorneys in Santa Clarita, CA as soon as possible. That experienced injury attorney will have access to experts who can ascertain whether the staircases were indeed dangerous as a matter of law. Does a Caution Sign Affect My Case? We had a client come in who had slipped and fallen at a grocery store. He was concerned because, after he slipped and fell, he noticed that somewhat close to the location where he fell there was a sign. It was a “CAUTION: WET FLOOR” sign. His question was, “Does the presence of that sign close to the area where I fell mean that I don’t have a claim?” The answer to that question is, not necessarily. It’s important that the location of a sign indicating some sort of dangerous condition, be it a wet floor or something otherwise be visible and readily apparent. If it is not, your claim may very well survive. Do I Have a Claim for a Slip and Fall on City Property? I recently spoke with a client who was injured on a sidewalk. Her question was pointed and simple: “Who do I sue, and can I sue the city or the county?” The answer to that question is, more often than not, yes. It depends, of course, on who the owner of that land was and who was responsible for maintaining that sidewalk. Do I Have a Claim for a Slip and Fall on Residential Property? It’s important when you slip and fall at a residence that you try to alert the landowner or whoever is occupying the residence that you were injured. Also, document the location that caused your injury. Next, get as much information as you can with respect to the actual land on which you were injured. You may not be able to get that information on your own, but if you seek an experienced injury attorney and you are armed with the address of the location of where you were injured, that attorney should be able to assist you in getting the ball rolling on your claim. How Long Will My Case Take? The answer to that is very nuanced and it depends, in large part, on one’s treatment and the nature and extent of one’s injuries. Once you have concluded your treatment and we have an idea of what we call the damages picture, then the resolution of the claim becomes that much more attainable. The short answer to the question is it depends. It depends on your injuries. It depends on how easy it is to prove that the incident occurred and that you were injured as a result of the incident. You can rest assured that, when you’ve retained our offices, we will expedite and move the claim forward as soon as possible. How Long Do I Have to File a Claim? The general answer is, you have two years from the date of the incident in which to bring your claim and initiate what we call litigation. If you should slip and fall on city property or on some sort of governmental entity grounds, the time limit in which to bring that claim is shortened to six months. It’s important, be it a six-month statute or a two-year statute, that you do not wait until the end to bring the claim and you seek the counsel of experienced personal injury attorneys in Santa Clarita, CA as soon as possible. How Much Will My Case Be Worth? In determining the value of one’s case, there are several factors. They range from the nature of your physical, amount of medical damages, to your emotional damages and to how this injury impacted the nature and the quality of your life. Once you’ve undergone your medical treatment, and the nature of your injuries and damages are apparent and identifiable, the value of your case becomes more apparent.
Santa Clarita, CA Pedestrian Accident AttorneysIf you have been involved in a pedestrian accident, we just want you to know how terribly sorry we are that you have to endure potentially life-long symptoms because a driver broke the rules of the road. Santa Clarita, CA is full of lousy drivers who constantly break traffic rules. When you are someone who relies on your own two feet to get around, and someone hits you, you are probably feeling an immense amount of pain. While you are lucky to be alive, it’s more likely than not that you are terribly injured. You may not be able to get around let alone get up by yourself. It is common to be worried. Medical bills can really add up and cause you a lot of stress if you’re missing work on top of that. Our personal injury attorneys in Santa Clarita, CA are here to help you get the compensation you deserve.
Figuring Out Who Caused the AccidentThe way to get your compensation is through the insurance company of the liable party. With the help of your attorney, you can determine who is at fault. This will be the person or people who were completely or partially responsible for the accident. Causes of the pedestrian accidents where the car driver is at fault include:
- A driver failing to yield to you. It does not matter if you were in a marked cross walk or not. They have to yield to you.
- A driver zipping around the person in front of them (who was yielding to you) and ends up hitting you.
- A driver going up onto a sidewalk or failing to yield for you when you’re walking across a driveway or parking lot.
- A driver stopping in the middle of the crosswalk, forcing you to move into harm’s way to get around them.
- A driver speeding and not being able to stop on time before hitting you.
Getting Compensation for Your DamagesYou will be seeking compensation from the person who caused your accident. There is an instance in which you might not be able to find the liable party. If you were involved in a hit and run, unfortunately you are going to have to fall back on your own insurance if you have no way of identifying that driver. Fortunately, it’s not impossible to find the driver. There are ways to discover who this is. Call us right away and we can help you find them. In most cases, you will be going after one person’s insurance company seeking compensation. In California, you are allowed to get compensation even if you are found to be partially at fault for the accident. We follow pure comparative negligence rules for accidents. That is a term to describe how anyone at fault can receive some compensation. Even if you are 50% or more at fault, you are not barred from pursuing a claim. One way you can be barred from getting compensation is to be completely at fault for the accident. If you are 100% at fault, which is highly unlikely for a pedestrian, you cannot pursue a claim. As mentioned, according to stats, you did not cause your own accident. However, the insurance adjuster wants to prove that you were, even if you weren’t. They will call and ask you for a statement. You should tell them that all communications will go through your attorney. Do not give them any statements. Don’t say anything to them. Even if you are just trying to be polite, they can use their own words against you. It is best to avoid talking to them at all.
Benefits of Moving QuicklyThere are a few things you need to do right away. The most important thing is seeking medical attention. This is important for two reasons. You want to make sure your injuries are taken care of. Letting them go, even for a little while, can make them so much worse. You can get on an ambulance at the scene, or see your primary physician later that day. You might even go to Urgent Care. Bottom line is that you need to get check out. It’s beneficial to your case to do so. If your injuries are officially recorded, it makes our job much easier when we tell the insurance company what the extent of your injuries are and how much you need to be compensated for. Another vital step that will ensure you are getting the compensation that you deserve is to hire a competent attorney right away. In California you have what is called the statute of limitations which is your time limit to bring your claim. You need to get all of the discovery of your case finished in two years, which for someone who has never brought a claim sounds like a long time. That is not the case. You should hire your attorney right away so we can, collect all available evidence, talk to your witnesses, and bring the claim in a timely fashion.
Frequently Asked Pedestrian Accident QuestionsHow Do I Pick the Right personal injury attorneys in Santa Clarita, CA? If you are a pedestrian that has been injured, you want to pick an attorney that regularly handles those types of cases. You also want to pick an attorney that is not afraid to go into the court room and try your case. Quite often, what happens in pedestrian cases is the insurance companies want to find ways to point the finger at the pedestrian and make it their fault. They want to try and minimize your claims and pay as little as possible. It’s very important to get somebody who’s really willing to stand up and fight for you and really fight the injustice that the insurance companies try and force on all of us. What If I Was Injured in a Hit and Run? A young lady came into our office and wanted to discuss an incident where she had been hit by a vehicle as a pedestrian, but then the driver fled the scene. She wanted to know if she had a claim. There are a few different ways to handle that. The answer is perhaps no, but you shouldn’t give up hope. You should always contact an attorney, someone that can explore this with you. In certain cases, if you’re insured as a driver, there may be the possibility that your own uninsured/underinsured motorist collision coverage will kick in and can provide coverage for your injury. Some renter’s or homeowner’s policies can also provide coverage for hit-and-run instances. There’s also the possibility that if you have enough information, the police can eventually find the person that hit you. In that case, you could file a claim against that driver’s insurance as well. If you’re completely uninsured and the driver is ultimately never found, it may be that there is no one to file a claim against for your injuries. What Mistakes Should I Avoid Making? A young gentleman came into our office who’d been injured as a pedestrian, and he did not report the injury to authorities. That is one of the most common mistakes I see with pedestrian injuries. The collision occurs, the person gets up, goes to the doctor, but doesn’t report the collision to anyone. You always want to report the incident to the proper authorities. You always want to get as much information from the driver as you can including insurance information, license, and registration. You also want to seek medical care and treatment immediately. If possible, you want to try and photograph the car that hit you, along with your injuries as well. Often, people don’t think they’re going to be filing a lawsuit and they don’t think to do those things, and it can put you at a disadvantage when you don’t. Those are some of the most common mistakes that I see in pedestrian cases. How Are These Claims Different from Car Accidents? One of the differences between a pedestrian injury and an injury when you’re in a vehicle is that when you’re in a car, you have airbags around you, you have a metal frame, doors and windshields; you’re protected. As a pedestrian, there’s nothing protecting you from that other vehicle. Quite often, we see people that when hit, people can be pulled under the vehicles, thrown many feet away from the vehicle, and they quite often have very significant injuries including broken bones, severe scarring from road rash, etc. In those ways, being hit by a car as a pedestrian can be far different than when you’re in a vehicle. Should I Talk to the Insurance Company Adjuster? A client called us who had been injured as a pedestrian. The incident was reported to the driver’s insurance company, and a representative from the insurance company called her and wanted to get her recorded statement. She was smart and called our office first and asked me if I thought it was a good idea. I explained to her that she should never give any type of recorded statement to any insurance representative without speaking to an attorney first. Quite often, those representatives will ask questions that are not completely clear, and that invite answers that will not be in your best interest to give. Always seek the advice of an attorney before giving any type of recorded statement to any insurance representative in a case where you have an injury claim. How Long Will This Case Take Me? The answer is not so simple. You always have to consider the nature and extent of a person’s injury. You have to consider whether or not they’re going to lose time from work. You have to consider what type of medical treatment they need and the expenses associated with that. You need to look at how long the medical treatment is going to last. You need to figure out if it’s an injury that is going to resolve pretty quickly on its own, or if it’s an injury that may last for a few years or possibly a lifetime. All of those different factors go into how quickly a claim can be resolved. In some cases, with very minor injuries, they can be resolved pretty quickly, within a few months. Other injuries, depending on the length of the medical treatment, could take years. How Long Do I Have to File? Generally, in California, for personal injury actions, you have two years to file a claim. That is the general rule for all personal injury claims, including those as a pedestrian. The only exception to that would be if you are having to make a claim against a governmental entity, that could be perhaps the city employee who’s driving a vehicle and they hit you; that would be considered a case against the government and in that situation, you would only have six months to file a claim. How Much is My Case Worth? The value of anyone’s claim is going to be decided by multiple factors. The first is the seriousness of the injury. A few scrapes and bruises won’t be that big of a deal, but broken bones, and internal bleeding are much more serious, hence the difference in the value. Another factor is what the other driver was doing. Was it a simple mistake? Were they under the influence? Had they been texting? Things like that also affect the value of a case. Again, the amount of medical treatment that is necessary for your injury also will affect the value of a case. Quite often, we’re not able to determine the true value of a case until you are completely done treating for your injuries and we know whether or not your injury has completely healed or will ever heal.
Personal injury attorneys in Santa Clarita, CAMost people think of going to the doctor’s office as a solution. To many, that is what it is, but for you, you found complications from your visit. Medical malpractice encompasses many possible scenarios from misdiagnosis to surgical error. It can be any type of medical professional who is responsible for your injuries including general practitioners, obstetricians, cardiologists, and plastic surgeons. The best way to determine if you have a medical malpractice claim and who is the liable party is to contact our office today for a free consultation. Our personal injury attorneys in Santa Clarita, CA, Mindy Bish, is a wonderful and dedicated lawyer who will fight for your rights and your justice. Do not hesitate to give us a call.
Types of Medical MalpracticeAs previously mentioned, medical malpractice is a term that includes a lot of different scenarios. It is not as cut and dry as, let’s say, a car accident case. Here are six common medical malpractice types that you may fall under.
- Misdiagnosis. This is two-fold. Your doctor could check you and claim that you are fine, and free to go home while missing an issue that needs treating, or they could determine you have the wrong condition. Both of those two scenarios can be completely devastating. You may go without life-saving medicine, or you may be taking medicine that you do not need which may have unwanted side-effects.
- Delayed diagnosis. In this scenario, you may have found out what is wrong, but because your doctor missed it initially, you have unnecessarily suffered because of it.
- Failure to treat. You most likely know what your condition is, and you may have realized that you are not getting any healthier despite following your doctor’s orders. When your doctor gives you inadequate treatment, you may have a claim.
- Surgical errors. While this is not as common, it is completely devastating. Your surgery may have been performed incorrectly leaving internal damages. You may have gotten infection from dirty equipment. Your anesthesia might have caused damage. And most horrifying, you may have had the wrong surgery performed on you. Some people have even had the terrible misfortune of being wrongfully amputated. We will fight hard to win your case.
- Birth injury. Both mother and baby can be at risk of injury during birth, and while this is supposed to be a great experience for you, it may be terrible due to malpractice. There are many things that we can pursue for a claim, and we would be glad to talk you through yours.
- Medical product liability. While the liable party in this instance might not be your doctor, this is still medical malpractice. We would be going after the manufacturer of the product that caused you injury.
What to Know About Medical MalpracticeThese cases are very unique personal injury cases. With every injury claim, you will have a statue of limitations. For accidents such as slip and fall or truck accidents, the time limitations is going to be two years from the date of the accident. Because medical professionals are protected a bit more, it is harder to bring your claim. According to California statutes, you are to bring the claim within one year of discovering the malpractice or one year upon which you reasonably should have discovered it. It also states, you have three years upon the date of the injury. They enter in this line about discovering it within a year to make it harder for you to get rightful compensation. Because of this statute, we encourage you to bring your questions and concerns about medical malpractice to personal injury attorneys in Santa Clarita, CA right away so that you are not at risk of having your case thrown out. Even if you aren’t sure, there is no harm in coming into the office. You very well be eligible for a claim as well as full and fair compensation. That compensation will come in the form of:
- Physical pain
- Mental suffering
- Medical bills
- Lost wages and lost earning ability
Frequently Asked Medical Malpractice QuestionsWhat Should I Do If I Think My Doctor Caused Me Harm? If you believe that you’ve been injured, hurt, or made sick because of a doctor’s negligence, first thing you should always do is contact an attorney to speak with them about your circumstances and your facts. You always want to get a copy of your medical records. Obviously, it’s better if you get a copy of the medical records before the doctor’s know any sort of attorney’s involved because sometimes, when they know attorneys are involved, records can go missing. You want to talk to an attorney, obtain your medical records, and run those records by a qualified independent medical professional that can evaluate the claim to see if indeed the doctor did make a mistake, or it was just a stroke of bad luck for you. What Qualifies as Medical Malpractice? The other day, a young gentleman came to my office. He believed he had a medical malpractice claim against his doctor. We were discussing his case and he wanted to know what a breach of the doctor’s duty was. I explained to him that a duty is an obligation for the doctor to act like any other doctor would under the same conditions. For example, we had a case where a man went into the ER. He was complaining of shoulder pain, upper back pain, and shortness of breath. The shortness of breath with the shoulder pain should have been enough to put any reasonable emergency room doctor on notice to test his heart for a heart attack. However, they did not do that and 36 hours later, the heart attack went undetected and, unfortunately, the man died. That’s a situation where a reasonable doctor should’ve seen the shortness of breath and immediately ordered the test to see if he was having a heart attack. In that case, the doctor did not do that and that would be a breach of his duty of care. How Do I Pick the Best Attorney? Medical malpractice claims are very difficult, complex, and they require a special skill set. There are certain caps in this area of the law, so when choosing a medical malpractice attorney, you want to make sure that you have someone who is skilled in this area of the law, understands the different rules that apply, and is skilled in not only trial, but the arbitration setting. In a lot of medical malpractice cases, people are subject to arbitration rather than trial. Those are some of the factors that you want to consider. Also, you want to think about what sort of relationship or connection you have with the attorney because this is a relationship that is going to last several months, if not several years, so it’s certainly important to choose somebody that you’re comfortable with. Mistakes to Avoid After a Medical Malpractice Injury The other day, a lady contacted our office. She believed that she had been injured through her doctor’s negligence. She had some ongoing health problems and conditions that she was certain was related to some of the advice given to her by her doctors. However, the problem was that it had been nine months since she had been given that advice. Here in California, you only have one year to file a claim against a doctor for any sort of perceived medical malpractice. By waiting nine months, she effectively cut off anyone’s ability to get records and investigate the claim, and make a decision or a determination about whether the doctor did commit malpractice, before having to file. This is a common mistake that many people make; they wait too long to find an attorney. Another mistake people make is they will just hire any attorney off the street, somebody that’s not necessarily really familiar with medical malpractice claims and how they work. That can also work against you in that things can take longer than they should, cases do not get worked up like they should, and so you end up putting less in your pocket at the end of the day. What Damages Can I Recover? In California, we have something called caps on medical malpractice claims, which means that if you’re loved one passes away due to a doctor’s medical negligence, you are only allowed to recover a maximum of $250,000. However, if you are injured through a doctor’s negligence and you live, it’s a little different. You’re capped at the $250,000 for any pain and suffering you might have, but you are entitled to recover economic damages, which would be the cost of medical bills, treatment, and lost wages that you suffer as a result of your injuries. Those are the different items that are recoverable for medical malpractice here in California. Do Most Medical Malpractice Cases Go to Trial? Here in California, if a doctor agrees to settle a medical malpractice claim, if the amount of that settlement is over $30,000, it has to be reported to the state medical board. I can tell you that it’s often extremely difficult to get medical malpractice claims resolved because quite often, the doctors do not want to consent to any settlement, because any settlement over $30,000 is going to be reported to the medical board. In certain instances, it is more likely that you’ll go to trial if you have a doctor that will not give their consent. Will My Case Be Affected if I Didn’t Follow Doctor’s Orders? A young woman came into my office and she had a surgery and she believed that the doctor didn’t do his job correctly and made her worse. However, she also told me that she didn’t follow all of the doctor’s instructions and she wanted to know if that would destroy her claim. I explained to her that, although you should always follow your doctor’s advice and orders and take care of yourself, that will not defeat your right to any sort of recovery for medical malpractice that has been committed. It can, however, certainly affect the amount of money damages that you’re entitled to recover. Although it’s very important to follow doctor’s orders, the fact that you didn’t will not defeat your right in its entirety, but it certainly can lessen the value of your claim. What is Medical Malpractice Arbitration? There are several key differences between arbitration and litigation, the primary difference being that in a lawsuit, you can walk into a courtroom and have your case heard by 12 jurors; 12 of your peers will hear the evidence and independently evaluate it. In arbitration, you have what’s called a neutral or an arbitrator. Sometimes you can have a panel of arbitrators, up to three or five, and they get to hear the evidence that’s put before them and they make the decision. The interesting thing with arbitration is that your neutrals are people that have experience in the legal profession and the legal field, unlike jurors, so your arbitrator is going to be either an attorney or a retired judge, and that can greatly affect the decisions that get made about your case, and it can affect the amount of money that you recover in your case. How Much Are Medical Malpractice Attorney Fees? The other day, a young man contacted our office about a possible medical malpractice claim that he believed he had against his doctor. One of the questions that he asked was, “How much do you charge? What do I have to pay an attorney to represent me in this case?” Most, virtually all, medical malpractice attorneys work on what’s called a contingency fee. What that means is you’re not going to take any money out of your pocket upfront. It means that we’ll take on the case, we investigate it, we litigate the case, and you don’t pay anything until there’s a resolution at the end, and that fee varies. In California, there are special rules that apply to the fees that a medical malpractice attorney can charge. Should I Speak to the Insurance Company for the Doctor? The other day, a young man contacted our office. He believed that he was injured through his doctor’s malpractice. The doctor’s insurance company wanted to speak with him, and he contacted our office first and asked if I thought that he should give them a recorded statement. I explained to him that the insurance companies for the doctors are not interested in him; they don’t really care whether or not he’s been injured. Their whole job and purpose is to try and minimize the value of his claim and to try and defeat any sort of claim he might have. I explained to him that it is never wise or safe to speak with any insurance representative for the doctors. How Do We Prove Causation? I was having a conversation with a young woman about her medical malpractice claim. I was explaining to her that we needed to show that what the doctor did caused her injury. This is what we refer to as causation. It’s important to prove that the doctor made a mistake, but you also have to prove that that mistake the doctor made actually caused your injuries. If the doctor made a hundred mistakes, but none of those mistakes actually caused your injury, then you have no claim against the doctor. Quite often, you have to retain other doctors to look at the medical records and look at the facts of your case to determine whether or not the doctor’s conduct was the cause of your injury. What Scenario Might Keep Me from Having a Claim? I had a woman contact my office who believed that she had a pretty serious claim against her doctor for medical malpractice. I, unfortunately, had to have a conversation with her and explain to her that although she was very injured, the doctor didn’t actually do anything wrong because his standard did not fall below the standard of care. For example, this woman needed surgery and they scheduled the surgery for about a month out. She believed that the surgery should’ve been performed on an emergency basis and had the surgery been performed on an emergency basis, she wouldn’t have gotten as sick as she did. There was nothing to indicate to the doctor that her condition was serious or life-threatening, so he waited. The moment she started showing signs that perhaps she was in a life-threatening situation or condition, he did what every doctor is supposed to do – he told her to go immediately to the emergency room. The fact that he scheduled the surgery for a month out didn’t fall below any medically acceptable standard of care, and he did everything that he was supposed to do. It was just unfortunate that her illness came before the date of the surgery. How Long Will This Case Last? Medical malpractice claims are a little different than average claims in that you have to file a suit within one year. For most personal injury claims you have two years, but for medical malpractice actions, you only have one year. You also have to put the doctors on notice that you are filing the claim against them. Additionally, many doctors have arbitration agreements in the papers that you sign with them, so instead of going to court and having a trial in a courtroom, quite often, many of these cases are sent to what’s called arbitration. Arbitration can be a lot quicker or a lot slower than a regular trial, depending on the arbitrator, the number of parties, and how quickly discovery can be conducted. There’s no hard and fast rule, although most claims can and should be resolved somewhere between one and four years. How Long Do I Have to File a Suit? Here in California, you only have one year to file a claim against a doctor. You can extend the statute by 90 days by sending what we call a 364 letter. If you send the CCP 364 letter on the 364th day, you will have an extra 90 days to file your lawsuit, but in general, you only have one year from the date of injury to file your claim. How Much is My Case Worth? In California, we have medical malpractice caps. What that means is that money that they can collect for pain and suffering is capped at $250,000, which means – and as terrible as this is – if a doctor mistakenly takes off the wrong leg, you’re capped at $250,000. If they go in and open you up and leave a sponge inside of you and cause horrific damage, you’re pain and suffering damages are capped at $250,000. The only other area you can recover is for what we call economic damages. If you are harmed through a doctor’s negligence and you have a lot of medical bills, you’ve missed a lot of work, or you have a lot of future medical bills, those can be compensated as well. While your pain and suffering damages are capped at $250,000, your economic damages will vary from case to case.
Call Our Santa Clarita, CA Medical Malpractice AttorneysIf you want legal representation to help you get through this difficult time, please contact our personal injury attorneys in Santa Clarita, CA today. Mindy Bish is our full-time medical malpractice lawyer dedicated to fighting for your rights to full and fair compensation.
Wrongful Death Lawyers Santa Clarita, CAIf you have lost a loved one to wrongful death, you may be feeling a kind of grief few people can relate to. This is a terrible thing for a family to have to endure, and you don’t have to suffer by yourself. We want to say just how very sadden we are by these cases and we hope to help you on the way to recovering the damages you and your family are entitled to. We are a full-time practice dedicated to helping you to seek the compensation you may need to carry on. You will only have to pay us when we win, as we work on a contingency basis. We don’t want you to go with a lawyer who is going to push you through the mill to get your case done. We will show you the support and guidance needed to be successful in this case.
Types of Wrongful Death Claim TypesWrongful death claims include many different types of accidents and injury-related deaths. The claim may vary slightly in terms of logistics and evidence collection depending on how your loved one passed. Here are the examples of possible wrongful death accidents:
- Medical malpractice
- Auto accidents
- Nursing home negligence
- Construction accidents
- Criminal activity
- Premises liability
- Product liability