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What Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Do?

Published June 14, 2023 by Harker Injury Law

What Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Do?Personal injury law protects victims who are injured or suffering property damage due to someone else’s negligence. Lawyers can help you use these laws to get compensation for your losses after a car accident, another injury, or wrongful death.

How exactly do lawyers help? As you consider the following information about what personal injury lawyers do, you might wonder how it applies to your case. Your questions — no matter how big or small — deserve answers.

Our experienced attorneys at Harker Injury Law meet our clients’ needs while treating them like family. Schedule a free personalized case review at your earliest convenience. After we hear from you, we will contact you soon to discuss your legal options.

Personal Injury Lawyers Explain Legal Rights

A legal right is a power or privilege accorded to you by law. When you experience a preventable injury, a legal professional can help you take legal action to recover compensation from the at-fault party.

When you are in an accident

The following are examples of personal injury incidents:

  • Car and truck accidents: Many motor vehicle accidents happen because of reckless driving behaviors. Negligent motorists drive while distracted, tired, or intoxicated. A car accident lawyer can use a personal injury claim to help victims repair or replace damaged vehicles and cover healthcare bills.
  • Pedestrian, cyclist, motorcycle accidents, or recreational vehicle accidents: Without the protection of a vehicle, these injury victims often suffer catastrophic injuries. A personal injury settlement can help them receive maximum compensation for their life-changing accidents.
  • Slip-and-fall accidentsUnder premises liability laws, businesses and homeowners are responsible for keeping their properties safe. California personal injury attorneys can help you recover damages when you get injured in slip-and-fall accidents.
  • Work injuriesWorkers’ compensation benefits can cover treatment and lost wages if you are hurt on the job. Unlike a personal injury case, these claims do not cover pain and suffering or punitive damages.
  • Medical malpractice: Although medical professionals should help their patients, they occasionally make mistakes or neglect their duties. A personal injury attorney can file a claim with the medical practitioner’s or institution’s insurer on a client’s behalf.
  • Dog bites: A personal injury lawyer can explain the regulations that apply in your county. Generally, the dog owner is liable for damages caused by his or her pets in any public place or private space where the personal injury victims were lawfully present.

Personal injury accidents occur unintentionally, and some people do not understand their legal obligations or the harmful consequences of failing to fulfill them. Yet, you can likely attest to how hurtful accidental actions can be.

A personal injury attorney can help you understand your rights and financial recovery options. After being in an accident in California, contact us for a free consultation.

When someone intentionally harms you

Personal injury law can also apply when someone hurts you on purpose. A compassionate lawyer can defend your rights if you have been the victim of a malicious, intentional act, such as:

  • Assault and battery: Physical attacks or the unlawful use of direct or indirect force on an individual
  • Defamation: Damaging someone’s reputation
  • Conversion: Theft of chattel, which includes movable goods like leases, animals, or money
  • False imprisonment: Being held or prevented from leaving without legal authority
  • Fraud: Providing incorrect or misleading information intentionally to injure someone or steal something

Criminal charges aim to punish the wrongdoer. On the other hand, personal injury lawsuits are civil actions that seek compensation for the losses caused by intentional wrongful acts. Therefore, criminal charges are independent of personal injury cases based on intentional harm.

When defective products cause injury

Some products are unreasonably dangerous due to a design flaw or another mistake. How do such defective items get into the hands of consumers?

Designers have to take many factors into account when making a product. They have to make the product function well in a way that will not cause injury.

The following are examples of product design flaws:

  • Structural instability: Inability to maintain an appropriate center of gravity, resulting in a tendency to topple, explode, or leak toxic substances
  • Choking hazards: Small or detachable parts that pose a danger to small children
  • Unsuitable materials: Materials that are dangerous given the function of the item, such as highly flammable or meltable heater cases
  • Inefficient safety features: Safety designs or features that do not prevent injuries
  • Electricity problems: Producing electric shock when in use

Sometimes, manufacturers use improper, unsafe, or defective materials. Human errors might affect items, or faulty machinery might cause manufacturing defects. A personal injury attorney can help you if a perfectly designed object is hazardous because of manufacturing issues.

Some products are inherently dangerous, regardless of how well they are designed or manufactured. Chemicals, drugs, and machinery with sharp moving parts could carry the potential of injury even when in good condition.

The manufacturer must warn the user of the risks if a product is intrinsically dangerous. The warning should be written in easy-to-understand language and appear where the consumer will see it. The instructions should also clearly explain how to use the product safely.

Design flaws, manufacturing issues, and missing or insufficient warning labels can lead to dangerous products that cause harm.

A California personal injury lawyer can help you file a legal claim against the at-fault party if you experienced physical injuries, emotional distress, property damage, or financial loss due to the following:

  • Defective products
  • Intentional acts (or lack of action)
  • Accidents

Personal injury lawyers can explain your rights, determine fault, and pursue damages from the negligent party.

Personal Injury Attorneys Pursue Justice for You

An insurance company — either of the liable party or the accident victim — usually pays personal injury damages. Yet, personal injury incidents are often the result of more than one factor.

The parties involved might not admit their fault even when liability is clear. How do insurance companies know who is responsible? To determine liability, an investigation is required.

A personal injury lawyer can help determine fault and provide proof for insurers. To accomplish this goal, one of the most important parts of a personal injury attorney’s job is gathering evidence of serious injury.

Some examples of evidence are:

  • The location of the personal injury incident
  • The date and time of the incident
  • The identity of the injury victims and any other party involved
  • The medical report or a statement from a medical professional
  • The police and car accident reports
  • The statements of any witnesses

Insurance companies limit the time you have to submit a claim. They can also be quite strict about mistakes. A personal injury lawyer can relieve you of the burden of collecting and submitting insurance claims punctually and accurately on your own.

During the stressful days after an accident, the last thing you need is a needlessly denied claim. So why not get the help of an experienced lawyer? Request your free consultation at our personal injury law firm to learn more about our services by filling out the form at the bottom of the page.

When insurance companies offer settlements

Sometimes, insurance companies seem to delay in answering your demand letter for a claim. However, California law does require that they give you an answer.

At first, those injured in an accident might be thrilled to receive any settlement offer from an insurance provider. However, joy can become despair later when they realize they need further aftercare, surgeries, or rehabilitation.

Insurance adjusters’ estimates can fall far short of the needs of accident victims when they don’t include funds for future medical expenses. Insurance companies are not required to give you maximum compensation. Their desire for profit is often enough to offer you lowball settlements.

Our California personal injury lawyers can calculate what your claim is really worth. We can help determine how much you deserve based on these factors:

  • The severity of your injuries
  • You experience temporary or permanent disability
  • Your current and past medical expenses
  • Your anticipated future medical costs
  • You lost wages during recovery and treatment
  • Your insurance policy’s maximum payout allowed

One tactic insurers use is telling you you must accept their offer within a brief time frame. Is their offer the best you can expect for your personal injury claim? Consulting a personal injury attorney is an excellent way to ensure you are getting a fair settlement.

You can stop in for legal counsel at our Escondido, Riverside, or San Diego office locations. An experienced personal injury attorney can prepare a counteroffer if your settlement is unfair.

A second opinion can give you peace of mind or let you know you deserve better. Please contact us for a free case evaluation as soon as possible.

When an insurance company refuses to pay a claim

Although policyholders expect insurance companies to pay all valid claims promptly, reality does not always live up to expectations.

Claim denials occur for a variety of reasons, such as:

  • Unpaid or expired policies: The insurance company will not cover personal injury claims on invalid policies.
  • Policy limitations: The fine print of insurance policies details the type and extent of coverage your plan covers. If the cost of medical treatment for personal injuries exceeds the payout limits, the insurer will not pay for additional expenses. In other personal injury cases, the customer does not carry the right type of coverage for the situation.
  • Late or missing documentation: Losing track of a document can result in delayed payments or denied personal injury claims.
  • Clerical errors: When you seek medical care, the medical bills are coded for the insurance company. If there is a mistake, it could appear that your medical records do not match your injury or what the policy covers. In other cases, errors in your paperwork can result in suspended or invalid claims.
  • Illegal acts: Some policies deny personal injury claims if the at-fault driver broke state law, such as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Misrepresented injuries: A personal injury attorney can assist you if an insurer claims that you are exaggerating your personal injury or claiming an injury unrelated to the covered event.
  • Car accident locations: In an at-fault insurance state like California, the legal obligation of car accident expenses falls on the drivers who cause them. In no-fault states like Massachusetts, each motorist’s insurance policy covers specific costs associated with car accidents, regardless of fault.

If you were wrongly denied or inadequately compensated, you deserve justice. You don’t have to fight an unfair system alone. A California personal injury attorney can guide you through the appeals process to resolve your claims dispute.

File a Personal Injury Lawsuit

A personal injury lawyer can help you determine whether a personal injury lawsuit is your best option. These formal legal claims enable you to recover financial compensation for accident losses.

Personal injury attorneys can gather evidence to show that someone else’s negligence caused your serious injuries. Courts and juries determine a fair settlement value for your personal injury claim.

Examples of compensable losses are:

  • Property damage
  • Medical bills
  • Lost earnings
  • Pain and suffering

The outcome of a personal injury case is too important to leave to chance. California personal injury lawyers can help you maximize compensation for your losses.

Personal Injury Lawyers Can Act on Behalf of Your Loved One

If you believe your loved one died due to negligence or wrongdoing, you should consider filing a wrongful death lawsuit. This can bring financial closure for the victim’s family.

Assembling an appropriate team of legal professionals is often necessary when filing a lawsuit. Since your loved one cannot speak for his or herself, a California personal injury attorney can take the steps needed for the personal injury claim.

Not everyone is eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit. According to California law, damages can be distributed to the following parties:

  • Surviving spouses or domestic partners
  • Children or grandchildren
  • Parents
  • Others entitled to inherit assets and property, including if your loved one died without a will or other legally binding document (e.g. former spouses, dependent stepchildren, or dependent minors)

Like most personal injury cases, beneficiaries of a wrongful death lawsuit might receive healthcare-related expenses incurred by the deceased before death.

Qualified family members can also receive reasonable funeral and burial expenses. Family members may recover compensation based on the income the deceased would have earned in his or her lifetime. Families can also receive damages for loss of companionship and affection.

Taking care of personal injury matters for your family member can be difficult during grief. The personal injury attorneys of Harker Injury Law are ready to stand by you when you need us.

The time limit for filing a wrongful death suit is relatively short. Prompt action is essential if you believe that your loved one died as a result of negligence or wrongdoing.

When you decide to file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of your loved one, an experienced personal injury lawyer can help you complete the process on time.

Personal Injury Lawyers Meet the Statute of Limitations

The California statute of limitations is a deadline for filing personal injury lawsuits. In general, you have 2 years from the date of the injury to take legal action.

There are some exceptions to the 2-year statute of limitations, but these are rare and require specific conditions. For instance, what if the injury was not discovered right away? When a doctor misdiagnoses your medical condition, you might only realize the extent of your injuries after some time has passed.

For unique circumstances like these, the statute of limitations expires 1 year from the date the injury was discovered.

A personal injury lawyer can help you understand how much time you have left to file if you have been injured because of somebody else’s negligence. Don’t wait too long. You might lose the opportunity to sue the at-fault party.

Resolve Your Personal Injury Claim on a Contingency Fee Basis

Law firms differ in how they charge for personal injury claims. At Harker Injury Law, our lawyers do not require any upfront payment. Because we believe that a personal injury lawyer should pursue justice for everyone, regardless of his or her financial standing.

Our California personal injury attorneys get paid only when your case is won. This arrangement is sometimes called a contingency fee.

We are committed to the following:

  • Obtaining the best possible outcome for our clients
  • Working efficiently and effectively to resolve your case as quickly as possible
  • Building strong cases
  • Negotiating fair settlements
  • Providing quality legal representation in court

Clients who may not have the means to pay for legal representation upfront can still receive quality legal services. This opportunity is vital for personal injury cases where the injured party faces significant medical issues and the effects of lost wages.

When a client hires a personal injury attorney on a contingency fee basis, the law firm covers costs and expenses associated with the case while it is pending.

Harker Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help You

If you or a loved one experienced a traumatic event in California, our attorneys feel your pain.

The team at Harker Injury Law has seen our own family members and friends suffer after devastating personal injury accidents, and our personal injury attorneys know from experience that accident victims have to deal with tedious insurance paperwork and creditors.

We want to help. Your physical and emotional health is our priority. Why not let our experienced team deal with the difficult and stressful legal tasks so you can focus on your recovery?

Please don’t hesitate. There is no obligation or upfront fee. You won’t pay unless we get money for your claim.

We are ready to start lifting your legal burdens today. To learn what a California personal injury lawyer can do for you, contact us as soon as you can. A representative will reach out to you shortly to schedule your free consultation.

Associations & Awards

  • Million Dollar Advocates Forum
  • State Bar of California
  • University of California San Diego
  • BYU Law
  • J Reuben Clark Law Society
  • Earl Warren College
  • State Bar of Nevada
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