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If you have been injured in an auto accident or another type of accident that you did not cause, it is imperative that you immediately seek the advice of a qualified personal injury attorney who knows the law and has the ability to secure the compensation you deserve.  The consequences of injuries can be overwhelming: pain, suffering, medical treatment and loss of work. To add to the burden, you then have to deal with insurance companies who are simply show no compassion and want to settle your case for as little as possible. But there is hope.

With over 250 years of combined legal experienced and millions recovered for our clients, our dedicated attorneys will take the burden of the legal issues and burdens off your shoulders. We will assist you every step of the way and ensure you are fully compensated for all of your losses so that you can get back to your life and your priorities.

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Personal Injury Lawyer FAQs

How Does the Personal Injury Claim Process Work?

Successfully asserting claims for personal injury, whether it involves (1) an automobile accident, (2) an injury due to a dangerous condition, or (3) or some other type of injury, all require certain basic procedures at the outset to make sure your rights are protected. This includes immediately notifying the responsible party (and their insurance provider) that you are making a claim for personal injury and seeking appropriate medical treatment. There are also important deadlines and procedures if the responsible party is a government agency – for example, if you were struck by a police vehicle in an accident or were injured inside a government building. Any delays in this process can negatively impact your claim. That is why it is important to retain counsel soon after an incident to make sure your rights are protected.

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How do you submit a personal injury insurance claim?

Providing the responsible party with written notice is a crucial first step. Sometimes this means complying with specific claim procedures, depending on the type of personal injury matter and who is at fault. To make sure your rights are protected, consult with an attorney to determine the best way to submit a claim.

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Why do personal injury lawsuits take so long?

Litigation in court is often very time-consuming and can involve unexpected delays such as availability of the trial court, attorney schedules, and the availability of key witnesses. Because of these delays, it is important to retain competent counsel that will make every effort to resolve your personal injury claims before filing a lawsuit. By investigating the claim and working with insurance providers, the attorneys at The Matian Firm will make every effort to settle your claims before filing a lawsuit.

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When should I hire a personal injury attorney?

Successful outcomes to personal injury cases are often determined by crucial steps taken at the very beginning of a case. This includes immediate medical evaluation and treatment for injuries, as well as preserving key evidence such as surveillance footage. In order to give you the best opportunity for success in your claims, it is important to consult with a personal injury attorney right away. The experienced attorneys and staff at The Matian Firm are ready to discuss your situation and determine the best next steps to protect you and your rights.

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What are the types of damages in personal injury cases?

Most personal injury cases involve two types of damages: (1) Special Damages and (2) General Damages. Special damages include any specific costs incurred as a result of the injury, such as bills for medical care and prescription medication. Special damages may also include future costs that are reasonably anticipated, such as additional medical treatment. Special damages can also include lost wages from work that was missed due to your injury or other out-of-pocket costs. Alternatively, general damages cover damages for “pain and suffering” or psychological trauma that results from the injury; these damages are real and are allowed under the law, even if they don’t have an obvious dollar amount.

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What is premises liability?

Premises liability refers to the legal responsibility a property owner has for the injuries another person suffered on the premises. This can take many forms. Some examples are: a homeowner invites company over for a barbeque and a guest is injured falling on a rusty piece of equipment in the backyard; or a shopper slips and falls on a spill that was not cleaned up at a grocery store. In order to demonstrate liability, the injured party must usually demonstrate that (1) the property owner had a duty of care to the injured party and (2) the property owner had reasonable notice that there was something dangerous on the property – usually referred to as the “dangerous condition” – that posed a risk to people on their property. The key question in assessing the “duty of care” is whether the injured party was invited on to the premises – whether it is a potential customer entering a business or an acquaintance invited into a residence. The second factor – whether there was reasonable notice of danger – depends on the facts and should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. If you have any questions about how these factors apply to your situation, you should consult with an attorney right away to make sure you understand your options in pursuing a claim.

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What is third-party insurance?

Third-party insurance, often called “liability coverage,” usually refers to automobile insurance coverage that satisfies the bare minimum requirement for legal car insurance in California. If you have only liability or third-party coverage, this means your insurance will cover insurance claims made by others – also known as third parties – if you are found responsible for an automobile accident. However, this kind of insurance will generally not cover claims made by you, even if you were not at fault. This is why it is important to get what is often called comprehensive coverage – including uninsured motorist (“UM”) coverage – so that you will be covered if the following occurs: (1) you are not at fault but the other driver does not have adequate insurance to pay for repairs or medical bills; (2) you are not at fault but the other driver’s insurance disputes liability, delaying settlement; or (3) you are found to be at fault for the accident but need to repair your vehicle and/or pay for medical care. If you have any doubts about your insurance coverage while dealing with an accident, it is best to consult a knowledgeable attorney right away so you know how to proceed.

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How do car insurance companies investigate accident claims?

Insurance companies will usually do two things to investigate accident claims: (1) review evidence and (2) inspect the vehicles involved. The written evidence is usually witness statements, medical reports, bills for treatment, and police reports if the accident was investigated by law enforcement. Vehicle inspections usually happen 1-2 weeks after an insurance claim is made, so it is important that the vehicle be kept in a safe, secure location until the inspection occurs. Insurance companies will often want to do a recorded statement, but that can come with risks – such as misstating something or the insurance investigator (who are motivated to avoid insurance payouts) misinterpreting what you say. Sometimes, it is best for an attorney to negotiate a written statement to avoid these issues. If you or a loved one has been in an accident and is unsure how to deal with an insurance investigator, it is best to let an experienced attorney step in to protect your rights and make sure your claim is handled successfully.

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When Should I contact an Attorney After a Car Accident?

Even if you have good insurance and did nothing wrong, accident investigations can be riddled with pitfalls and potential traps. Whether it is an unscrupulous driver trying to avoid liability or an insurance company looking for an excuse to avoid coverage, it is always best to contact an experienced attorney right way so any dispute is resolved quickly and with the best outcome. Our attorneys can make sure your claim is handled properly from the outset, including connecting you or a loved one with medical care so you can get back on your feet as soon as possible.

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Is my employer liable for an injury on the way home from work?

Generally speaking, employers are responsible for injuries that happen “in the course and scope of employment.” This includes travel required for the job, such as transporting or going to a specific destination during work hours. However, this generally does not include employees driving to or from work when they are not “on the clock.” However, every situation is unique and it is best to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney right away to better understand your options and protect your rights.

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How to file an insurance claim for a slip and fall injury case

Filing insurance claims against another party can be complicated. There are different procedures depending on the party at fault. For example, if you are injured at someone’s residence, you may need to contact the owner’s insurance company which requires getting information from a (potentially uncooperative) property owner. Alternatively, if you are injured in a publicly maintained building or park, you may need to submit a tort claim to the correct government entity in a very short time period to avoid waiving your rights. Last, many companies have their own claims departments to handle injuries at their businesses. In order to protect your rights and make sure your claim is handled properly from the beginning, it is crucial that you retain an experienced personal injury attorney to navigate your claim successfully.

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Why is my personal injury attorney talking about a jury trial?

A jury trial is the final proceeding to determine who prevails in a lawsuit. Most personal injury claims should be resolved without filing a lawsuit, let alone going to trial. However, if the damages from an injury are very high – whether it be medical bills, destruction of property, or loss of life – sometimes a lawsuit must be filed to compel the party at fault to pay a fair settlement. If you have questions about an active case or are want to know what it will take to resolve your claim, contact our experienced personal injury team right away to get your questions answered and have the peace of mind that comes from knowing you are in good hands.

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What is a no-fault law for automobile accidents?

Some states have “no-fault” laws that allow a person injured in an accident to deal exclusively with their own insurance unless the accident and resulting injuries are serious enough to warrant litigation. However, California is a “fault” state, which means that claims must be made against the at-fault party (or their insurance) in the event of any accident – regardless of how serious your injuries may be. Often, insurance companies may avoid assisting you with a claim or getting treatment, especially if you have “liability” or “third-party” insurance that only covers liability if you caused the accident. That is why it is so important to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney to protect your rights.

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What can people do when injured by defective products?

In the modern age of manufacturing, everything from can openers to safety seats are subject of strict safety regulations to protect consumers. Unfortunately, some products can be defective to the point that they risk injury. This can come in two main forms: (1) design defect and (2) manufacturing defect. A design defect is when a company failed to take into account basic safety concerns and built a product that is inherently dangerous to use – i.e. the design was flawed, rendering the product dangerous. A manufacturing defect, however, is where that specific item was made improperly, and somehow was sold or used even though it did not conform to the safety standards for which it was designed. In California, these kinds of products liability claims have “strict liability.” This means that if the evidence shows the product was improperly made (whether due to its design or manufacturing), and the defect caused your injury, then the company is automatically liable. If you have questions about whether your injuries or those of a loved one were caused by a product defect, it is important to consult with an experienced attorney right away to protect your rights.

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What happens if you crash someone else’s rental car?

Car insurance is required in California, including for rental cars. Most people who rent a car will either pay for insurance directly from the rental agency or use their own automobile insurance. However, both the terms of the rental agreement and the insurance coverage may be limited to specific drivers such as the person renting the car and their spouse. If you were involved in an accident while driving a rental car, the first step is to determine what insurance, if any, covers the accident. Did you have permission from the rental company or the person who rented the car to use the vehicle? Do you have your own automobile insurance? These are just some of the important questions that will determine how coverage and liability will be decided after the accident. As with any accident, it is important that you consult with an experienced personal injury attorney right away to understand your rights.

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What is liability car insurance?

Liability insurance – sometimes called “third-party” insurance or “barely legal” insurance – is the minimum automobile insurance required under the law in California. If you have only liability coverage, this means your insurance will cover insurance claims made by others – also known as third parties – if you are found responsible for an automobile accident. However, this kind of insurance will generally not cover claims made by you, even if you were not at fault. This is why it is important to get what is often called comprehensive coverage – including uninsured motorist (“UM”) coverage – so that you will be covered if the following occurs: (1) you are not at fault but the other driver does not have adequate insurance to pay for repairs or medical bills; (2) you are not at fault but the other driver’s insurance disputes liability, delaying settlement; or (3) you are found to be at fault for the accident but need to repair your vehicle and/or pay for medical care. If you have any doubts about your insurance coverage while dealing with an accident, it is best to consult a knowledgeable attorney right away so you know how to proceed.

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What is workers’ compensation?

Worker’s compensation is a program designed to help provide payment to workers injured on the job. Most employers are required to participate in if they do business in California. If you are injured while performing your job duties, you should notify your employer immediately so that a claim can be opened. Some injuries that occur on the job may be the fault of a third party other than the employer. Separately, sometimes employers retaliate against their own employees for filing for worker’s compensation, which is illegal. For these reasons, it is important that any employee injured on the job have the opportunity to consult with an experienced attorney to discuss their legal options and protect their rights.

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Is insurance coverage important in a personal injury case?

Insurance coverage is an important factor in a personal injury case. Even though an individual or a company may be legally responsible for your injuries and medical care, they may not necessarily have enough assets or income to pay. Bankruptcy laws in the United States often allow debtors to discharge debt from legal judgments, especially if those judgments are for negligent injury. Because insurance coverage is one of the several sources of compensation to satisfy legal claims, it is important to speak with an experienced attorney right away to determine the best way to proceed.

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How do insurance companies calculate car accident settlements?

There are different kinds of damages that exist for automobile accident claims. Most damages fall into two main categories: (1) Special Damages and (2) General Damages. Special damages include any specific costs incurred as a result of the injury, such as bills for medical care and prescription medication, as well as costs in repairing your property (usually your vehicle). Special damages may also include future costs that are reasonably anticipated, such as additional medical treatment. Special damages can also include lost wages from work that was missed due to your injury or other out-of-pocket costs. When calculating special damages, most insurance companies will not only look at the costs incurred from medical treatment and damage to property but will also compare those costs to determine if they are in the same range as what others charge for similar services. Alternatively, general damages cover damages for “pain and suffering” or psychological trauma that results from the injury; these damages are real and are allowed under the law, even if they don’t have an obvious dollar amount. General damages are notoriously difficult to calculate, but most insurance companies (and other attorneys) will compare with the general damages that have been awarded in similar cases as a comparison. In order to make sure that you are seeking the appropriate damages and are not limiting compensation available from an automobile accident, it is important that you consult with an experienced personal injury attorney right away.

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Is my personal injury settlement taxable?

Each settlement is different and any questions about how to prepare or file tax documents with the Internal Revenue Service or the California Franchise Tax Board (or any other state tax collection agency) should be handled on a case-by-case basis. That being said, the general rule of thumb is that “income” is taxable, and other sources of revenue often are not. This means that a portion of a settlement designated as lost wages – i.e. compensation for income that you lost due to an injury – is likely taxable as income. However, settlement funds meant to compensate for pain and suffering, or compensate for the costs of medical care are usually not. However, it is important that you get specific advice from either your tax preparer or the an experienced personal injury attorney to better understand the tax consequences of a personal injury settlement.

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Why do I need car insurance in order to drive?

In every state in America, the law requires that you have automobile insurance if you own and operate a vehicle on public roadways. California is no exception. California Vehicle Code § 16020 et seq. requires that any owner/operator of a vehicle have the bare minimum of insurance – usually called “liability” coverage – and keep proof of the same in the vehicle at all times. Liability insurance must provide at least the following basic coverage: (1) at least $15,000 in coverage for personal injury to another person; (2) at least $30,000 in total coverage for an accident involving two or more injured parties; and (3) at least $5,000 in coverage for property damage (California Insurance Code § 11580.1; California Vehicle Code § 16056(a)). These minimum requirements are based on the public policy that – in general – all drivers benefit from being insured. This protects the at-fault driver from declaring bankruptcy or otherwise losing their entire savings due to an accident. It also protects safe drivers who are injured by a negligent driver without assets, insuring there will be some insurance coverage to compensate for their injuries.

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Why do personal injury attorneys have such a bad reputation?

Much like doctors and other professionals, personal injury attorneys are often associated with unpleasant feelings and painful experiences because most people do not work with a personal injury attorney until they are in a terrible accident and need help. This sometimes creates a negative association even though personal injury attorneys – like all attorneys – took an oath to work zealously on behalf of their clients. Unfortunately, insurance companies and corporate entities often spend huge sums of money lobbying state and federal lawmakers to change laws regarding liability and damages to be more favorable to them. These lobbying efforts do not just target changes in the law – for example, California’s MICRA statute, limiting general damages in medical malpractice cases to $250,000 regardless of the injuries caused by a doctor’s negligence – but also work to change public perception of personal injury attorneys. Here at Windsor Troy we understand that an attorney is only as good as their reputation and the results they can achieve for their clients. That is why we take a personal approach to every case and fight for the best outcome for each and every client.

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How does homeowner’s insurance work?

Homeowner’s insurance exists to protect a homeowner from costs that come from maintaining a residence. Most people think about damage to their home due to an accident or an act of God that damages their property – such as an earthquake or broken pipes. However, this type of insurance can also provide coverage if a person is seriously injured on your property. To better understand how homeowner’s insurance can apply to a recent accident or injury, it is important to consult with an experienced attorney right away.

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What is the difference between lawsuit and tort claim?

A lawsuit is a formal case that has been filed in the appropriate court of law, while a tort claim is usually an informal notice of claim that may trigger an informal resolution without the cost of litigation. Depending on the type of accident or injury, an experienced attorney may resolve claims without the need to initiate a formal lawsuit. For example, most automobile accident claims are resolved prior to a lawsuit by contacting and negotiating with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. In other circumstances, a tort claim is a necessary first step before filing a lawsuit. For example, suing a government agency will almost always require submitting an informal tort claim first. In California, a person must submit a tort claim within six months in order to preserve their right to sue a government agency – even if their claims are based on a car accident rather than, say, a civil rights claim. Claims against federal employees or agencies also require timely compliance with the Federal Tort Claims Act (“FTCA”) in order to proceed with a lawsuit. In order to better understand whether a tort claim is appropriate or necessary in your case, it is important that you consult with an experienced civil litigation attorney right away.  There may be deadlines or procedural requirements that need to be handled at the outset of your case to make sure that your rights are protected.

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Is tort and personal injury law the same thing?

Torts are a formal legal term that covers all personal injury claims, as well as other types of claims for injury. Personal injury usually (but doesn’t always) refer to unintentional torts– i.e. accidents or injuries caused by someone not paying enough attention or otherwise accidentally causing harm; these are usually claims where the at-fault party is accused of negligence. Torts also include intentional torts, though, such as assault and battery, violations of civil rights, and other claims that require evidence of a bad or purposeful intent by the at-fault party. To better understand which type of case you may have and assess your full options under the law, contact an experience personal injury attorney right away and discuss your options.

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How much time do I have to file a claim after an injury?

In California, the statute of limitations for personal injury – i.e. the limit on how long someone can wait to file a lawsuit before it is too late – is generally two years (California Code of Civil Procedure § 335.1). However, that time period can be much shorter or longer depending on the circumstances. For example, if the injury was caused by a government employee or occurred at a location owned or maintained by a government entity, then most claims must be submitted within six months before filing any lawsuit. If the victim of an accident was a minor, the statute of limitations may be tolled – essentially paused – until they turn 18. Even though you may have a great deal of time to file a lawsuit, a successful personal injury claim will usually require taking immediate steps to get appropriate treatment and preserve evidence immediately after the accident. However, each circumstance is unique and it is important that you consult with an experienced personal injury attorney to better understand how important deadlines can affect your rights.

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Under what circumstances are statutes of limitation extended?

Statutes of limitation – the time limit that a person has to file a lawsuit before it is too late – can be extended in certain rare circumstances. In California, a child who is injured in an accident will usually have the statute of limitations extended (or “tolled”) until they turn 18 years of age. However, this does not apply to all claims – claims made against government employees or claims involving toxic exposure are not necessarily tolled solely because the victim was a minor. The statute of limitations may also be tolled if a person did not know, or have reason to know, that they were injured by a particular person or entity. For example, you may quickly realize that you have been seriously injured but may not know the true source of your injury. Generally speaking, California law may toll the statute of limitations until you become aware of information or evidence that points to the responsible party. However, this is not a good reason to delay a claim. The statute of limitations will not be tolled if you knew or had reason to know that another person or entity is liable for your harm. This is why it is crucial that you consult with an experienced attorney so you understand the time limits that may apply and take steps to protect your rights.

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When should I sue after a car accident?

Filing a lawsuit is a big step that carries with it many consequences. While the statute of limitations in California for such lawsuits is generally two years, experienced attorneys should get to work on your case right away by giving written notice of your accident claim to the at-fault driver’s insurance. Most auto accident claims are resolved through negotiation with insurance providers before resorting to expensive and time-consuming lawsuits. If you have questions about the timing of a lawsuit and how to protect your rights, please contact one of our experienced attorneys today to discuss your options.

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What happens after a car accident with no police report?

Police officers are sometimes called to the scene of an accident only to discover that the parties have left or that there is not enough information to make a full police report. This unfortunately will make it harder for the innocent driver to create a paper trail that shows exactly what happened and who is at fault. For this reason, it is important to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney right away if you have been injured in a car accident. They will assist you in preserving evidence (including pictures of your damaged vehicle and taking witness statements) as well as getting appropriate medical treatment right away.  If you were recently injured in a car accident, contact one of our experienced attorneys immediately for a free consultation and to discuss your options.

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