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What You Should Know About Personal Injury – Protecting Your Rights

What You Should Know About Personal Injury – Protecting Your RightsWhether you’ve recently gotten into an accident or you’re worried that you might one day, you’ll need to know about the ins and outs of personal injury cases. Some things might even surprise you. By doing your research and finding out what you should know about personal injury, you can protect yourself in your time of need and increase your chances of getting a proper settlement.

Riverside, California personal injury lawyers Heiting & Irwin have over four decades of experience assisting clients with personal injury. We have retrieved more than $400 million for our clients, and we’ll work hard to get you the settlement you deserve.

What Is Personal Injury?

First, it’s important to learn the definition of personal injury. It includes not only a physical injury you suffer from after an accident, but emotional injury and other damages, as well. Personal injury claims that involve physical harm include car accidents, big-rig accidents, common carrier accidents with planes, trains, buses, uber, lyft, slip and falls, medical malpractice, workplace accidents, construction accidents, product-related accidents, assault and a wide variety of other types of personal injuries.

Determining Who Is Responsible for a Personal Injury

In a personal injury case, there could be one, or more than one, responsible party. If you get into a car accident because of another driver’s negligence – they were speeding or texting while behind the wheel, for example – then that driver is at fault. However, if a product injured you because it wasn’t made or maintained properly and one component or part was defective, you could potentially sue the entity responsible for the component parts, the product manufacturer, and the person that exposed you to the product.

In some cases, you might be partly responsible for an accident. For instance, let’s say you were going above the speed limit when a driver who was texting crashed into you. Both of you could potentially be responsible, to some degree. However, you might still be entitled to compensation for your injuries.

What Are the Grounds for Personal Injury Claims?

You can bring about a personal injury claim on three different grounds: negligence, intentional wrongs, and strict liability.

Typically, personal injury claims come about as a result of negligence. This means that one party did not exercise reasonable care, and that breach of their duty of care led to you becoming injured. For example, a storeowner might have mopped their store without putting up signs that the floor was wet. You subsequently slipped and fell and were injured. The storeowner might be held responsible for failing to notify customers that the floor was slippery or take steps to protect their customers.

Intentional wrongs from a defendant’s intentional act come out of claims involving assault, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, trespassing on land, false imprisonment, and similar acts.  Crimes may be involved.

Strict liability is to protect society from dangerous activities and products.  It means that a defendant is liable for committing a certain action, no matter what their mental state or intent was at the time. This would apply, for example, in a case where a manufacturer put out a defective product, or certain very dangerous products, even though they didn’t mean to cause any harm to you, the customer.

How Are Personal Injury Cases Settled?

You may imagine that if you get into an accident and need to file a personal injury claim, you’re going to have to go to court, even though most of them get resolved outside of the trial courtroom. All parties have to spend time and money going to court. If you have a strong case against them, and if you have a lawyer with a good reputation, the case may well settle short of trial. If your personal injury lawyer believes that taking your case to court could be a good thing, then they may recommend that you go that route instead.

Is There a Statute of Limitations?

Yes, there is a time limit on all personal injury cases.  It may be as short as six (6) months; and it may extend many, many years, depending on the type of case and the circumstances.  Consulting a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible is always a good idea.

It’s best not to wait too long after your accident in any event, because you might not remember the details clearly, or evidence may be lost or become unavailable,  and it’ll be harder for you and your lawyer to collect evidence for your claim. For example, if you got into a car accident, a nearby surveillance camera may have caught what happened. If you go to the business that owns that camera right away, you could collect the footage. But if you wait weeks, or even days, they may erase that footage.

What to Do After an Accident

Following any type of incident that results in a personal injury, you should collect evidence to prove your case. This includes taking photographs of the scene and things involved, and insurance information if you were in a car accident. For any type of accident, take a picture of the scene of the incident. If there were witnesses around, collect their identifying and contact information.  Statements from them may prove very important so you can show what happened. If you were involved in a car accident, call the police so they can take down a record of what occurred. If there are cameras nearby, note their locations so you can ask for the footage. And if you slipped and fell on someone’s property, contact the store manager/property owner and file a written report with them. Make sure you get a copy of your report.

Go to the hospital for evaluation and treatment right away. Ask for a full check-up and X-rays and report any pain you’re feeling, even if it’s minor. You never know if it will get worse down the line. Follow your doctor’s orders and go to appointments and take medicine as needed.

Contact an experienced personal injury attorney with a good reputation among courts, clients, and other lawyers.  If the other party reaches out to you or their insurance calls you to offer a settlement, do not discuss it.  Instead, call an experienced personal injury lawyer to assist you with starting your case. They will help you collect the evidence you need, counsel you as to what you need to do, and negotiate with the defendant to get you the settlement that’s rightfully yours. The best part is that a personal injury lawyer won’t charge you anything unless they win a settlement for you, so you don’t have to worry about sky-high legal expenses.

Contact Heiting & Irwin for Personal Injury Help

If you suffered from a personal injury and wish to seek out compensation for your damages, then it’s time to find a personal injury lawyer to represent you. Heiting & Irwin are here for you. We have dealt with many personal injury cases and will work hard to get you the settlement that you deserve. Contact us online or call us at 951-682-6400 to start your case now. We look forward to hearing from you.

Mr. Serrano has been admitted to practice before California State and Federal Courts. He was named to the Super Lawyers’ 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 Southern California Rising Stars List, an honor awarded to no more than 2.5% of attorneys in Southern California each year. View Attorney Jean-Simon Serrano's Attorney Bio Here.

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