Personal Injury Lawyer San Francisco, CA
A personal injury accident can be devastating, and if you are the victim, you need the help of a San Francisco, CA personal injury lawyer from The Morales Law Firm. An accident can come entirely out of nowhere and not only ruin your day, but cause you physical injuries that can last months or even years. A personal injury lawyer knows that a personal injury can be difficult to deal with, which is why we are here for you every step of the way.
When someone else was irresponsible and negligent and they caused you to become injured, we want to help you get compensated for those injuries. To do this, we must prove that it was the defendant’s fault—not yours—that you got into this accident and that it caused your injuries. Below, we will discuss what we need to prove the other party is liable for your injuries and how this affects compensation. To set up an appointment with our personal injury lawyer, please call now.
How do you determine legal liability?
This may sound like a difficult task, but it boils down to one thing: we must show that someone else’s carelessness—their negligence—caused the accident to happen. When someone is not acting reasonably careful and they caused an accident that is responsible for your injuries, they are responsible for paying at least some portion of the damages that you have suffered. A personal injury lawyer knows there are a few ways that you can quickly determine liability once you have been injured.
If you are on someone else’s property (and you are legally allowed to be there) but the property is poorly maintained and has dangerous areas, the owner of said property would be liable for your injuries because they did not properly maintain the property.
If you were using a defective product, the seller or the manufacturer of the product would be liable if you became injured from using the product. Contacting our personal injury lawyer can help to determine liability for these often complex cases.
If you were being careless on someone else’s property and you were not supposed to be on that property, you may be held responsible for your own injuries instead of the property owner. The property owner would not have a “duty” of being careful if they did not know you were there.
If the owner of the property was careless and you were also careless, it is possible that you would only receive partial compensation for the injuries you sustained.
How does compensation work if you are partially responsible?
Our personal injury lawyer will tell you that compensation can vary based on the state that you live in. If you are partially responsible for the accident then it is likely you will receive part of the compensation. For example, if you are found to be 20% responsible for the accident and the other party is 80% responsible, you may find that out of 100% of the compensation, the total amount awarded to you is reduced by 20%.
Get Help From a Personal Injury Lawyer San Francisco Residents Rely On!
For more information on liability in a personal injury accident, please reach out to a personal injury lawyer from The Morales Law Firm now.
Common Questions About Personal Injury
Personal injury cases are common and come up in many different situations. Motor vehicle accidents are the most frequent cause of action for personal injury lawsuits, but they can arise from slip and fall accidents, workplace mishaps, medical malpractice, defective products and more.
Often, victims do not fully understand how personal injury law works. The best way to clear up confusion is to consult with a personal injury lawyer in San Francisco, CA; in the meantime, here are some frequently asked questions about the process.
How Do I Start a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
Your first step is to file the complaint with the court and pay the appropriate fee. The court clerk will provide you with a copy so that you can serve notice to the defendant. Note: legally, you cannot do this yourself; it is necessary to either hire a process server or have the county sheriff do the job.
An easier alternative is to consult with a personal injury lawyer in San Francisco, CA, and have them file the paperwork on your behalf.
How Can I Maximize My Chances of Winning a Settlement?
The case begins the moment you are injured. Steps to take include:
- getting photographic or video documentation of the accident
- write down the events to the best of your ability
- get names and contact information for any witnesses
- get examined by a medical professional
In addition, your attorney may give you specific instructions; be sure to follow them carefully.
Will I Have to Go to Court?
The good news is that very few personal injury cases go to trial. In most cases, it will not be the individual responsible for the accident who pays, but rather his or her insurance company. (Incidentally, this is why you do not want to sign any papers an insurance company representative may present to you, at least not before consulting with a personal injury lawyer in San Francisco, CA).
Most injury lawsuits are settled out of court. This can take a great deal of negotiation, so having an experienced injury attorney speaking on your behalf is practically a necessity.
How Much Can I Get?
There are two issues, here: economic losses and non-economic losses. The former is easily calculated from your medical bills, costs of recovery and wages lost as a result. Non-economic damages are more difficult to determine: usually, the jury will use a multiplier based on economic damages.
What Is a Personal Injury?
A personal injury is an injury that’s someone else’s fault. It can happen because of negligence, recklessness or malicious intent. In other words, you were injured because of someone else’s lack of reasonable care. A personal injury lawyer in San Francisco, CA, can help you determine if you have a personal injury.
What Should You Expect From Your Lawyer?
You should expect your lawyer to provide several services on your behalf. The first is to send notice to all the insurance companies involved that he is representing you now, so they should stop calling you. Next, he should be able to refer you to the best doctors for your particular injuries. Once your medical care is complete or you know how much your future medical costs will be, your lawyer will gather all your records and send a demand to the insurance companies. At that point, he’ll open negotiations to get you a fair settlement for your injuries.
What Type of Damages Could You Receive?
There are two basic types of damages: economic and non-economic. Economic damages are those that have concrete numbers attached. Medical bills, lost wages, future medical care and future lost wages are all types of economic damages. Non-economic damages include pain and suffering, loss of companionship, loss of service and loss of enjoyment of life. The Morales Law Firm can help you put numbers to non-economic damages.
Is Filing a Lawsuit Always Necessary?
A lawsuit isn’t usually necessary. Many claims are settled between your personal injury lawyer in San Francisco, CA, and the other party’s insurance company. If a settlement can’t be reached, only then would you need to file a lawsuit and take it to court.
How Do You Know if Your Personal Injury Case Is Worthwhile?
When you speak with an attorney from The Morales Law Firm, he should be able to tell you, based on his experience, if your personal injury case is worthwhile. Factors he may consider include how much evidence you have, whether the other party admitted fault and the severity of your injuries.
What Will You Be Responsible for Paying if You Lose Your Case?
It’s standard practice in personal injury cases for attorneys to be paid by a contingent fee. That means that if you don’t win, your personal injury lawyer in San Francisco, CA, doesn’t get paid. Some attorneys will ask you to pay for any costs incurred during investigation of your case, such as court filing fees and pay for expert witnesses. Other attorneys simply don’t charge you for anything.
What You Need to Know About Personal Injury Claims
Being the victim of personal injury can be complicated. In many situations, the person who is the victim may be embarrassed over how they got their injuries (perhaps because of a slip and fall) and they may think they are undeserving of any compensation from the accident. However, our personal injury lawyers at The Morales Law Firm know that when you are the victim in a personal injury accident you deserve compensation. This can provide you with the opportunity to fully recover from the incident.
Although it can seem complicated, we want to make the claim process as smooth as possible for you, which is why we have answered many of the most frequently asked questions we receive from our clients. If you have more urgent questions or would like to set up a consultation with our personal injury lawyers, please call our office now.
What types of personal injury cases are there?
Believe it or not, there are many types of personal injury incidents that can occur. Our law firm located in San Francisco has represented a number of personal injury cases. Types of personal injury cases include:
Intentional Acts: If someone intentionally tries to harm someone else (such as in the case of an assault or assault and battery), this is an intentional act that you can file a personal injury claim with a personal injury lawyer.
Defective Products: Even if the product manufacturer was not intentionally trying to harm anyone with their product, they can still be found liable if their defective product caused someone’s injuries.
Accidents: These are some of the most common types of personal injury incidents to happen and it happens when someone else’s negligence causes another person to be harmed. This could be from a slip and fall accident or a car accident.
What are the steps of a personal injury claim?
When you are filing a personal injury claim, our San Francisco, CA based personal injury lawyer will tell you that there are usually a few things that must happen for a claim to be successful. First, the defendant must have done something to injure you (the plaintiff). They might have injured you in a car accident or hit you in the arm with a baseball bat. Next, you will need to show that the defendant breached their duty of care. If you slipped and fell in a restaurant, you must show that it was the restaurant owner’s job to make sure their premises were safe for you to be in. If you and your personal injury lawyer can prove that the defendant is responsible for your injuries, then it is possible to settle outside of court. They may wish to make you an offer of compensation instead of you pursuing a lawsuit. However, if that compensation is not satisfactory, you and your lawyer can take them to court. If, on the other hand, you do agree to the settlement offer, then the case ends there.
If you are considering filing a personal injury claim or lawsuit against someone who causes you to suffer an injury, you should understand what damages are. This is a simple concept that exists in nearly all civil lawsuits. While this guide will go over what damages are and the different types of damages, you should speak with a personal injury lawyer to have all of your questions answered.
What Are Damages?
Damages refer to any sort of loss that an individual suffers as a result of another person’s actions. In the context of a claim or lawsuit, damages are a compensatory amount of money that is meant to make up the financial losses incurred from the incident. For example, if you sustained a head injury in a slip and fall and had a total of $20,000 in medical bills, as well as $10,000 in lost wages, and $5,000 in non-economic damages, your personal injury lawyer might seek $35,000 in damages.
The Three Types of Damages
There are three kinds of damages. In general, what you would likely be compensated for by the defendant would fall into one of these three categories. The types of damages are:
- Special Compensatory Damages
- General Compensatory Damages
- Punitive Damages
Special compensatory damages refer to damages that have a specific monetary value. If your hospital bill is $20,000, then it is a special compensatory damage because it has an objective value of $20,000. Other examples of special compensatory damages may include missed paychecks and the purchase of medicine.
General compensatory damages are any damages without an objective value. If you had to endure a very painful medical procedure, that may qualify as general compensatory damages and you may be compensated for that unpleasant experience. A personal injury lawyer can help you to determine what you are owed in terms of general damages – which are subjective (more or less). The amount to be awarded will be decided upon through negotiations with your personal injury lawyer or a judge – in the event your case goes to trial.
Punitive damages are assigned exclusively to punish the defendant and deter them from making the same mistake again. Punitive damages are very rare in personal injury cases. Usually, the defendant must have acted especially irresponsibly to be assigned punitive damages, such as driving while drunk or ignoring many explicit safety warnings.
Personal Injury Law: Statute of Limitations
After you’ve been in an accident that’s left you injured, you may hear the term “statute of limitations” when referring to your insurance claim and accident report. If you don’t know what that means or how it affects your situation, you could miss a crucial deadline for getting compensation for your injuries. Here’s how to understand the statute of limitations and why it is so important for your case.
Defining Statute of Limitations
A statute of limitations refers to a legal deadline set by the state. This deadline is specifically for certain situations, such as a personal injury or car accident claim. Basically, the statute of limitations tells you when you must file your claim to receive compensation. If you fail to file a claim before then, you can be barred from reaching a settlement. This is mainly to keep the facts of your accident fresh and to let the negligent party know how much time must pass before they don’t need to worry about a claim.
Limitations by State
States control the statute of limitations, so you need to know the deadline for your specific state. You can find whole lists of limitations by state online, or you can search for your state in particular to find out exactly how much time you have to file a claim. The countdown starts from the moment your injury occurs.
Deadlines for Claims
The average deadline to file a claim in most states is two years. However, this can vary widely. Some states give you only one year to file. Others may give you up to six. If you have a short statute, you need to jump on filing a claim as soon as possible. Time can fly when you are trying to recover from an injury, and you don’t want to miss out on much needed compensation.
Deadlines for Reporting Injuries
Some states dictate how long you have to report an injury to insurance. Ask your insurance company directly on their policies for reporting. You may only have a month to report an injury, and earlier is always better. The sooner you report, the quicker they can get the ball rolling on starting the claims process.
If you have questions about the statute of limitations for your state or if your injury qualifies for a personal injury claim, contact a lawyer. Our professional aid can get you on the right track to recovery.
What Does Social Media Have to Do with Personal Injury Cases?
Recent research indicates that roughly half of Earth’s population can be accurately classified as daily users of social media platforms. Social media influences the ways in which families and friends stay connected, employers seek out applicants (and vice versa), entertainment is shared, and political and social discussions are engaged. For these reasons and many more, chances are good that you are a regular social media user. Although it can be tough, you may want to think about hitting “pause” on your social media accounts until your personal injury case is resolved. If you choose to continue using social media during this time, you’ll need to be very, very careful about what you say and/or do on any given platform. Engaging with social media without first thinking through your approach could significantly impact the ultimate outcome of your case.
Increasingly, attorneys and insurance companies are using social media to determine whether claims that have been filed are legitimate or not. They evaluate an injury victim’s social media activity in an attempt to discern whether the victim in question is being truthful about the extent of their injuries. Even if you adjust your privacy settings to strictly limit who can view your activity (and you should do this for the life of your case), these interested parties may be able to see some or all of what you do on these platforms. The primary problem with this approach is that social media activity is subject to interpretation. If you have suffered a severe back injury and post a picture of yourself holding your new baby nephew up, others may interpret your activity as evidence that you aren’t really as hurt as you are – they have no way of knowing that you took this picture after a massage and taking pain killers. Don’t give anyone interested in the outcome of your case an excuse to devalue or dismiss it as a result of your social media activity.
Do You Need to Hire a Lawyer?
It is always important to retain legal representation if you are injured in an accident that occured due to someone else’s negligent actions. Not only should you be compensated for any medical bills that you incurred due to the accident, but you should also be compensated for any damages to property, and possibly even for the pain and suffering you have had to deal with following the accident. There are so many different components of personal injury law, which is why it is crucial that you hire someone who knows what they are doing in court. You will have a much greater chance of gaining compensation if you use the right techniques in court or with insurance agents.
How Do You Pay for Legal Assistance?
The thing that makes personal injury cases sometimes easier than others is that they are paid for on a contingency fee basis. This means that if you do not win your case, you owe nothing to the lawyer for their efforts.If you do win your case, instead of paying out of your own pocket, you will give a percentage of the winnings to the law firm. We will agree on this before the case so you know exactly what to expect. You have a much greater chance of not only winning your case with an experienced personal injury lawyer in California on your side, but you also may end up getting more out of it as well. A skilled personal injury lawyer will know what kind of damages to file for — including some of which you may incur in the future. Finally, we offer free consultations for personal injury cases, so there is no harm in reaching out and finding out whether or not someone at our law firm would be a good fit for you. Don’t worry as much about paying for a lawyer if you are planning on filing a personal injury lawsuit. You will likely be paying much more if you do not file for a case because you may end up having more in damages and future medical bills than you would have paid for legal representation.
What to Look for in a Personal Injury Lawyer
If you suffered an injury in an accident that was someone else’s fault, one of the next things you should do is consult a personal injury lawyer in San Francisco, CA. A lawyer can help you pursue a timely claim against the negligent party and protect your legal rights. However, with so many different lawyers out there, selecting the right one can be tricky. Here are a few important qualities to look for in a personal injury lawyer.
- Specific experience. Before you decide to work with a personal injury lawyer, make sure that he or she has the right experience. Ideally, a lawyer should have experience handling personal injury cases similar to yours. For example, if you were injured in a car accident, you will want to hire someone who has extensive experience with car accident claims. Lawyers who primarily handle slip and fall or dog bite cases may not have the specific experience you’re looking for.
- Honest. It is also important to choose a personal injury lawyer who is completely truthful with you. He or she should not just make big promises or tell you what you want to hear to get you as a client. A lawyer should give you an honest assessment of your case and inform you about what you should expect. If a lawyer believes that you don’t have a good chance of winning your case, he or she should tell you that.
- Available. The most experienced and skilled personal injury lawyer won’t be much of a use to you if he or she is too busy. Avoid working with a lawyer who already has a heavy caseload, as he or she might not be able to give your case the attention it deserves.
- Compassionate. Suffering an injury due to someone else’s negligence can be very traumatic. Your life has changed in many ways and you may have trouble coping some days. That’s why it’s important to hire a personal injury lawyer who has compassion for your situation. He or she should understand that you’re having a difficult time and offer words of encouragement.
- Detail oriented. There are many details involved in a personal injury case, so it is essential to find a lawyer who is detail oriented. He or she should always double-check paperwork to avoid missing something important.
5 Common Types of Personal Injury Cases
If you have been injured and another party is at fault, a personal injury lawyer in San Francisco, CA can help you determine if you are owed compensation. Here are some common types of personal injury cases that occur in California and across the U.S. every year.
1. Car Accident Injury
Car accidents are a leading cause of personal injury cases. A reckless driver can cause you pain and suffering not only on the day of the accident, but perhaps for weeks, months or years afterward. If another driver is at fault for your injuries, The Morales Law Firm works diligently to prove it so that you might receive compensation for your medical expenses.
2. Dog Bite Injury
Dog owners are financially liable for injuries when their dogs bite and cause injuries in many cases. The laws for dog bite injuries are specific to each state, varying from “one bite” to “strict” liability rules. California utilizes the strict liability rule, meaning that dog owners are liable for any bite injuries regardless of their dogs’ previous history.
3. Medical Malpractice Injury
Patients must place a high level of trust in medical practictioners, but unfortunately this trust is not always rewarded. Hospitals, doctors, nurses and other practictioners are legally responsible for providing competent and complete care to patients. However, if you are injured due to a medical mistake, negligence or misdiagnosis, you should contact a personal injury lawyer in San Francisco, CA right away who is experienced in these often complex cases.
4. Slip and Fall Injury
When you enter another party’s property such as a grocery store, you are entitled to basic safety measures while you are on the premises. If the location’s owner has not fulfilled their legal duty to provide this safety and injuries are sustained as a result, you may be eligible to receive compensation. In fact, slip and fall injuries lead to over one million emergency room visits each year. This type of injury case falls under what is known as premises liability.
5. Product Injury
When used according to their instructions, all products are legally mandated to be safe for users. Manufacturers, marketers and other responsible parties may be financially liable for injuries caused by dangerous and defective products, such as children’s toys or medical devices.
A personal injury can be devastating to you and your loved ones. A knowledgeable personal injury lawyer in San Francisco, CA such as at The Morales Law Firm can assist you with navigating this challenging life event and recovery.
What are the benefits of hiring a personal injury lawyer?
If you suffered an injury in an accident, your medical bills may be piling up and you might not know when you can return to work. You deserve to be compensated for that. A skilled personal injury lawyer will know the true value of your case and will fight to get you the compensation you deserve.
A personal injury lawyer will handle all communication with the negligent party’s insurance company. Insurance companies are notorious for offering accident victims as little compensation as they can. An experienced lawyer won’t let them take advantage of you.
Pursuing a personal injury lawsuit can also be very time-consuming. When you’re trying to recover from an injury, the added stress of handling a lawsuit can be too much. A lawyer can handle all the legwork so that you can focus on getting better.
How much does a personal injury lawyer cost?
Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee. This means that they take a percentage of their clients’ winnings at the end of the case. If you don’t win your case, you won’t have to worry about owing your lawyer money.
What qualities should you look for in a personal injury lawyer?
Not all personal injury lawyers are created equal. Some may be better equipped to handle your case than others. Ideally, the lawyer you hire should have extensive experience with cases similar to yours. For example, if you were hurt in a vehicle collision, you’ll want to work with a lawyer who has specific experience with car accident lawsuits.
The lawyer you hire should also be passionate about the field. The more passionate a lawyer is, the harder he or she will fight for you. If the lawyer you speak to seems uninterested and is just going through the motions, you may want to look elsewhere.
Compassion is another important quality to look for in a lawyer. Suffering an injury due to someone else’s carelessness can be traumatic, so it’s helpful to have a lawyer who sympathizes with what you’re going through and offers words of encouragement.
Legal Assistance Is Available
If you have been injured as a result of another’s negligence, intentionally dangerous conduct, or recklessness, it is critically important that you connect with an experienced San Francisco, CA personal injury lawyer as soon as you possibly can. If you are feeling overwhelmed by your injury-related recovery and do not yet feel “up to the task” of exploring your legal options at this time, that is certainly understandable. However, investing an hour or two of your time now could save you significant time, money, and stress down the road. The experienced team at The Morales Law Firm will do our utmost to make the process of exploring your legal options as low-stress as possible. Once you’ve spoken with our firm, you’ll be empowered to make informed decisions about your options, whenever you’re feeling ready to act upon them. We look forward to assisting you with your legal needs during this challenging time.
“I wish I hired Chris for my case. Good attorney’s are hard to find and Chris advised me and was honest about best next steps in my challenging situation.”