A personal injury case arises out of an act or failure to act which causes injury to the plaintiff. PI cases manifest out of negligence, intention or strict liability, although the latter of these is applied in a very limited way in California. While you are not legally required to hire an Orange County personal injury attorney to represent you in your case, it is likely to be in your best interests to do so.
Burden of Proof
The plaintiff, or victim, in a personal injury case always carries the burden of proof against the tortfeasor, or defendant. Most PI cases are based on negligence, and, in order to prove your case, you and your Orange County personal injury lawyer must establish four elements:
• The defendant possessed a duty of care, which involves a standard of conduct that minimizes risk of injury to others. In automobile accidents, for instance, a driver possesses a duty of care automatically when he gets behind the wheel.
• The duty of care was breached. In other words, the defendant failed to abide by the standard.
• The plaintiff sustained injuries.
• The injuries resulted directly from the breach.
Types of Personal Injury Cases
Personal injury cases can be brought under myriad circumstances, including:
• Motor vehicle accidents
• Bicycle accidents
• Pedestrian accidents
• Boating/swimming accidents
• Slip and falls
• Falling materials causing injury
• Product liability
• Medical malpractice
Typical Steps in a Personal Injury Case
After you file a claim, the defendant’s insurance company will contact you to conduct an interview. The purpose of this as stated is to ascertain the facts of the case, but the insurer has no interest in allowing you to obtain a settlement. Once hired, your Orange County personal injury attorney will maintain contact with the insurer and conduct a full investigation into your case. This will involve obtaining the police report, your medical records, interviewing of witnesses, visiting the scene of the accident, etc.
Your attorney will then provide the insurance company with a demand letter which states the amount demanded for settlement of the claim. This amount will necessarily be larger than that which your attorney expects your claim to settle for because a period of negotiations follows. Ultimately, if both parties agree upon a settlement, your attorney will receive payment as a percentage of the award you receive. If both parties cannot reach an agreement, you and your attorney will need to discuss whether a trial is in your best interests.
An Orange County Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help with Your Claim
When you file your claim the insurance adjuster will want you to think that he has your best interests at heart. The truth of the matter is that the insurance company is representing the defendant’s and its own interests—not yours. This is why it is important to have an Orange County personal injury attorney in your corner. Call Stephen J. Mooney, Attorney at Law, today at (949)453-0310.