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How Can Insurance Impact My Personal Injury Case?

Perhaps you have been injured in a car accident. Maybe you slipped and fell because of an uneven walkway that wasn’t maintained by a property owner.

No matter what kind of injury you sustain, you may have the right to seek monetary compensation. If your accident was the result of another person’s negligence or carelessness, you may be owed financial recovery.

But how does insurance affect a personal injury case? Read on to find out. Below, we will examine some of the ways that insurance companies can influence financial recovery in an injury case. 

California Injury Claim Filing Deadlines 

Every state has a specified limit for how long you can wait before filing a civil lawsuit after an accident or injury. This legal time limit is known as the “statute of limitations.”

Under California state law, the statute of limitations for injury cases is typically two years from the date of the accident. Victims who fail to file a lawsuit within the two-year statute of limitations will be refused by the court. 

There are some exceptions to the two-year limit. Speak with a skilled legal professional as soon as possible to discuss the specifics of your injury case.

Most cases do not escalate to the litigation phase until after settlement negotiations. Usually, an attorney will negotiate with the relevant insurance provider on behalf of the client. 

A personal injury attorney will ensure that negotiations proceed quickly enough that you can file a lawsuit if necessary. 

Shared Fault in California 

In California, the liable party’s insurance provider is responsible for all of the damages that their insured caused.

However, California also operates under a “shared fault” approach to injury cases. This also means that if you sue someone for negligence, they can argue that you were responsible for your own accident.

Their insurance company may also make this claim. They may also argue that you are only partially responsible. If you are partially liable for your injuries, it will affect the amount of financial recovery that you can secure.

California’s “pure comparative negligence” rule means that the amount of recovery that you are owed will be reduced by the percentage of the fault that is yours. Consider the following example.

Suppose that you sustained a head injury in a traffic collision because another driver ran a stop sign. But at the time of the crash, you were driving faster than the speed limit. 

If you bear 10% of the fault and the other driver bears 90% of the blame, your recovery will be reduced by 10%. If your damages added up to $20,000, you could only recover $18,000. This “pure comparative negligence standard” is only applicable in California courtrooms.

But insurance providers may cite this rule when attempting to offer you a lower settlement. This is one way that insurance can affect your personal injury case. 

Make sure to contact a legal professional to negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf.  

Negotiating with Insurance Companies 

Most personal injury cases are settled before they go to court. This means that negotiating with insurance providers will be one of the most impactful elements of your accident or injury case.

Insurance adjusters are not working in the best interests of injury victims. Their job is to minimize the amount of payment on each claim that is filed. 

When an adjuster makes an offer on a personal injury claim, they consider the following:

  • The claimant’s chances of winning at trial
  • The amount of damages a jury is likely to award

To determine these two factors, insurance companies usually request extensive information and documentation about the claim. This can include:

  • Medical bills
  • Accident reports
  • Proof of property damage
  • Proof of earnings 
  • Tax returns
  • And more

Adjusters will work hard to offer the lowest settlement possible. Attempting to negotiate with an insurance provider without legal counsel can negatively impact your financial recovery.

A skilled legal representative will negotiate on your behalf. Accomplished injury lawyers know the negotiation tactics that adjusters use to devalue accident claims.

Insurance can affect your personal injury case in many ways. Hiring a trusted attorney will give you the best chance of recovering the compensation that you are owed.

A Free Consultation with Lalezary Law Brothers 

At Law Brothers, we handle every case from start to finish. You focus on recovering from your accident, and we’ll take care of the rest. We understand that this may be a difficult time for you, so we will meet you where you are at. We offer both virtual consultations and in-person consultations throughout all of California. And if we take on your case, you won’t pay unless you win. Call The Law Brothers today.

Call us today at (888) 778-8888 for a free consultation or Contact US online to get started.

5 Steps to Having a Safer Rideshare Experience

Many Californians use rideshare services like Lyft and Uber every day. Most of these rides occur without incident. 

But for some people, a rideshare experience can result in harm or damages. There are many types of dangerous situations and accidents that take place in the context of rideshare services.

Because of this, it is crucial to know how you can ensure the safest ride possible. Below, we will examine five crucial steps to make sure that your rideshare experience is safe.

If you have been hurt during a rideshare trip, do not hesitate. Contact a skilled legal professional to pursue the damages that you are owed.  

Note the License Plate 

One of the most reliable ways to ensure that you are entering the right vehicle is to check the license plate. Rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft provide customers with the license plate number of their driver’s car. 

Before you get into a vehicle, make sure that the license matches the information in the rideshare app. Check that the make and model of the car match details provided by the app, as well.

You should never ride in a vehicle that is missing a license plate. Never accept a ride from a car without the license plate of your assigned driver.

Uber also provides customers with their driver’s image and name. Do not enter a vehicle with anyone except the appointed rideshare employee. If something goes wrong, it is vital that you can accurately identify your driver. 

Ask the Right Questions 

Many people enjoy a quiet ride, especially when the driver is a stranger. However, it is important to know what kinds of information you should exchange with your driver before accepting the ride.

Rideshare employees are required to know the names and destinations of their passengers. Make sure that your driver knows who you are and where you are going before you enter the vehicle. 

If a driver cannot tell you your name or the address of your destination, something is wrong. In the same way that you should have basic information about your driver, the app should provide them with the necessary information about you. 

Be Cautious When Drinking

One of the greatest benefits of the rideshare model is that it provides a safe and convenient transportation option. This is especially true if you are coming home from a night of drinking.

With rideshare availability, there is never an excuse to drive while under the influence of alcohol. But drinking can cause you to forget routine safety practices after you request a rideshare.

Be very careful anytime that you are alone with a stranger, especially if you are under the influence of alcohol. Being intoxicated can increase the risk of something going wrong.

Most rideshare drivers are required to undergo a background check. Still, you should not assume that your rideshare driver is a trustworthy person. Keep your wits about you, especially if you have been drinking. 

Sit in the Back 

You should always sit in the backseat of a rideshare vehicle. This is true unless you are sharing a ride with a group of people that you know. If this is the case, the front seat is fine.

But if you are traveling alone and your driver asks you to sit in the front, reconsider the ride. It is best to sit in the back on the passenger side of the vehicle.

This allows you and the driver to see one another. Sitting in the back passenger seat is the most comfortable and safest option. 

Choose Smart Locations to Begin and End Your Ride

Although the journey is important, it is also crucial to choose safe pick-up and drop-off points. Make sure to request a ride when you are in a public space, preferably with other people around. 

You should not request a ride when you are in a huge crowd, however. This can make it unsafe for your driver to stop. It may also be difficult for them to identify you.

It is not advisable to set your destination location as your home address. While most rideshare drivers are trustworthy and helpful, it is important to avoid giving out your home address.

If you are able to do so, set the destination address for a block or two from your home and walk the remainder of the way.

By keeping these tips in mind, you can ensure the safest rideshare experience possible.

Schedule a Free Consultation with The Law Brothers 

At The Law Brothers, we handle every case from start to finish. You focus on recovering from your accident, and we’ll take care of the rest. We understand that this may be a difficult time for you, so we will meet you where you are at. We offer both virtual consultations and in-person consultations throughout all of California. And if we take on your case, you won’t pay unless you win. Call The Law Brothers today.

Call us today at (888) 778-8888 for a free consultation or Contact US online to get started.

What Kinds of Compensation Can I Seek After a Brain Injury?

Traumatic brain injuries can occur as the result of many kinds of accidents and injuries. Whether you have been involved in a traffic collision or have been hurt in a falling accident, brain injuries are a possible outcome.

There are many different types of brain injuries. The severity of a brain injury will depend on the type of trauma that the victim experienced.

If you have sustained a brain injury as the result of another person’s negligence in California, you have the legal right to pursue compensation. 

Victims of traumatic brain injuries usually face emotional, physical, and economic difficulties. Contacting a personal injury attorney will give you the best chance of recovering the money that you need.

Even if you have a valid brain injury claim, you may wonder what types of compensation you can seek following your accident. Here, we will examine the various types of financial recovery that brain injury victims can pursue. 

Categories of Damages in Brain Injury Cases 

In a single year, approximately 32,900 Californians were hospitalized after sustaining non-fatal brain injuries. Another 251,000 suffered from brain injuries and were released without hospitalization. 

If you have sustained a brain injury, you are not alone. Injury victims can legally seek financial recovery from the responsible party. 

“Damages” are the payments that injury victims can claim. Damages are provided by the person or entity that is liable for causing harm to the victim.

As with other types of personal injury cases, there are two primary categories of damages in brain injury claims:  Economic and non-economic damages.

Economic Damages

These types of damages are intended to compensate the brain injury victim for their direct monetary losses. Calculating economic damages involves finding the sum of various financial costs that the victim has had to pay.

Common examples of economic damages in brain injury cases include:

  • Medical bills and expenses
  • Anticipated future medical costs
  • Lost wages and income from missed work
  • Decreased earning capacity in the long-term
  • Repair and replacement costs for damaged property

Some head injuries are fatal. In these cases, the decedent’s family may be entitled to the economic damages that the victim would be owed if they had survived. The family of wrongful death victims can also claim burial and funeral expenses.

Non-Economic Damages

Not every negative consequence from a head injury comes with a monetary loss. Many of the most challenging outcomes for head injury victims do not involve the loss of money.

For instance, how much should a victim be paid to compensate for being unable to engage in their favorite hobbies? If a brain injury results in memory loss, how much is that worth?

These questions are incredibly difficult to answer. Payments for these types of negative outcomes are known as non-economic damages. 

Typical examples of non-economic damages include:

  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress and trauma
  • Inability to enjoy life
  • Mental anguish like stress, panic, and anxiety
  • Loss of consortium in wrongful death cases

Many claimants do not consider seeking compensation for non-economic damages before they speak with a lawyer. 

Consulting with a qualified California personal injury attorney will help you recover compensation for both economic and non-economic damages. 

Which Factors Influence the Value of a Brain Injury Claim?

Each personal injury case is unique. Many different factors will affect the amount of compensation that you can secure.

Some of the most impactful elements of a brain injury case include:

Liability

Proving that the opposing party is fully liable for your injury typically results in a higher recovery amount.

Insurance Negotiations

In many cases, the claimant will need to negotiate with an insurance provider to resolve the claim. It is crucial that you hire an accomplished legal professional to effectively negotiate on your behalf.

Characteristics of the Claimant

The age, vocation, and prior medical history of the plaintiff will each impact a personal injury claim. 

No matter what the circumstances of your case, speaking with a brain injury lawyer is the best course of action. You should not bear the financial burdens from your accident on your own. 

Call Lalezary Law Brothers for a Free Consultation 

At Law Brothers, we handle every case from start to finish. You focus on recovering from your accident, and we’ll take care of the rest. We understand that this may be a difficult time for you, so we will meet you where you are at. We offer both virtual consultations and in-person consultations throughout all of California. And if we take on your case, you won’t pay unless you win. Call The Law Brothers today.

Call us today at (888) 778-8888 for a free consultation or Contact Us online to get started.

Top Safety Tips for Cyclists

California offers many beautiful and scenic bicycle routes. Bicycles are an excellent way to get exercise. They also offer a profound sense of freedom and autonomy.

Whether you are a casual cyclist or a dedicated enthusiast, bicycles provide a sense of adventure. 

However, bicycles can also be dangerous. Bicycle accidents result in injuries for many Californians each year. 

If you have been hurt because of another person’s negligence or carelessness, you have the right to pursue compensation. Speak with a trusted attorney as soon as possible following a bicycle accident. 

Below, we will examine some of the most useful safety tips for cyclists.

Choose the Right Bike 

Staying safe while bicycling is impossible without appropriate equipment. Be sure that your bike is well maintained, so that you can be as safe as possible.

Choosing a bike that fits your body is crucial. If your bicycle is too big or too small, it will be difficult to control. This will make accidents and collisions more likely. 

The top tube on your bike should be around 3 centimeters above your inseam. This measurement is called the “standover height” of the bike.

There is a recommended method for finding a bicycle with an appropriate length. Take the sum of your torso and arms, divide the number by two, and subtract fifteen centimeters.

These are only recommendations. The most important factor to consider is your own comfort and your ability to maneuver the bike. 

Choose the Right Safety Equipment

Obviously, protective equipment is incredibly important for safe rides. The following types of equipment are essential for staying as safe as possible: 

Helmet

A bicycle helmet is the most standard and important piece of safety gear. Helmets can prevent some injuries and decrease the severity of others.

Some research suggests that wearing a bicycle helmet decreases the risk of a head injury by nearly half. Helmets save the lives of many cyclists each year.

Light-Colored and Reflective Clothing

It is crucial to make yourself as visible as possible when bicycling. Many accidents and injuries are the result of drivers being unaware of the cyclists with whom they are sharing the road. 

Do your best to make yourself noticeable to the surrounding traffic by wearing bright clothing. You should also wear reflective materials to alert vehicles to your presence.

Reflective Tape

While reflective clothing is helpful, it is also useful to put reflective tape on your bicycle. Reflective tape can be placed on your bike’s top tube and pedals. 

The more reflective surfaces you have on your bicycle, the better. Many motorists are not accustomed to looking for cyclists. Using reflective surfaces in the bright California sun will ensure that you are as visible as possible.

Practice Defensive Riding

Bicyclists are very vulnerable on the busy roads in California. Bicycles do not offer the array of safety features found in passenger vehicles.

This is why bicycle accidents have the potential to result in life-changing and catastrophic injuries. It is vital for riders to practice defensive cycling when they are sharing roadways with other kinds of traffic. 

Take the following steps:

  • Always remain alert and aware of your surroundings 
  • Do not assume that a vehicle will yield to you
  • Be ready to change course or stop quickly, if necessary

These defensive biking strategies will help you to avoid danger and prevent accidents.  

Be Prepared for Emergencies 

No one can prepare for every circumstance. Still, it is essential to plan for emergencies as much as possible.

Before you begin traveling on your bicycle, take the following basic precautions:

Charge Your Phone

A cell phone is indispensable for cyclists. If an emergency occurs, you may need to call for assistance. If you become disoriented, your phone can help you find your way.

Keep Cash and Identification

Many situations require you to have your ID. In the same way that you should not drive without some form of identification, you should take your ID when you ride. 

Carry a small amount of cash on bicycle trips. There are many emergency situations in which cash can be useful. 

Carry Water

The California heat can be challenging, especially if you are biking a long distance. Make sure to carry plenty of water. This will help you to avoid dehydration.

Keep these safety tips in mind to ensure that you have the best bicycle rides possible.

Premier Legal Services from Lalezary Law Brothers 

At Law Brothers, we handle every case from start to finish. You focus on recovering from your accident, and we’ll take care of the rest. We understand that this may be a difficult time for you, so we will meet you where you are at. We offer both virtual consultations and in-person consultations throughout all of California. And if we take on your case, you won’t pay unless you win. Call The Law Brothers today.

Call us today at (888) 778-8888 for a free consultation or Contact US online to get started.

Parent’s Guide: Top Things to Teach Your Teen When They’re Learning to Drive

For teenagers, learning to drive is an exciting adventure. Many teens look forward to the day when they are free to go wherever they please.

Driving offers a sense of autonomy that most teens have not had before they start sitting behind the wheel. As a parent, you might be looking forward to letting your teenager handle their own transportation, too. 

However, the day that your teen sets off on their own can also be a bit daunting. Understandably, most parents are concerned about their teen’s safety while driving.

It can be challenging to ensure that you have given them all the information that they need to stay safe. Here, we will discuss several important things to teach your teenager when they are learning to drive. 

Before Anything Else, Buckle Up 

The most essential thing to teach your teen when they are learning to drive is the importance of seatbelt use. It is crucial that your teen driver develops the habit of putting on their seatbelt before they do anything else.

Every time a teen sits in a vehicle, it should be an automatic response. Seatbelts are the most effective defense against injuries and death from car accidents. 

Help your teen driver to understand the importance of seatbelts when they are driving — or riding in — a motor vehicle.

Never Text or Call While Driving

This one is crucial. The rise of smartphones has resulted in increased screen time for many people. Vehicle passengers use smartphones and tablets often. But it is crucial to teach your teen that texting or calling while driving is incredibly dangerous. 

Your teen may be under the impression that they can handle multiple tasks at once. That is a dangerous misconception. 

Car accidents can happen in the blink of an eye. Because of this, checking your phone for a text or call can result in life-changing accidents. 

Before they sit behind the wheel, make sure that your teen driver understands that they should put their phone away while they are operating a vehicle.  

Follow the Speed Limit 

Some teenagers think about driving automobiles primarily in terms of enjoyment. While it can be fun to drive, their bodily safety should take priority. 

There is no good reason to drive faster than the speed limit. Driving too fast puts everyone in the vehicle in danger.

Speeding can also lead to injuries and death for others. Be sure that your teen fully understands the potential negative outcomes that can occur from speeding.

Additionally, speeding is illegal. Following the speed limit means that your teen driver will not have to worry about an expensive ticket or a frightening encounter with a police officer. 

Do Not Drive with Passengers Until You Are Comfortable Driving

Almost every teen looks forward to having their driver’s license. One of the most common reasons is that they want to drive their friends around. 

It can be incredibly fun to take a trip with friends. But it is vital that teen drivers understand the ways that passengers can cause distractions. 

Even if your teen is careful and responsible, their friends may not be. Passengers may try to talk at inopportune times, play music at a distracting volume, or engage in other kinds of dangerous behavior.

Because of this, your teen driver should practice driving alone before traveling with passengers. This is especially true when it comes to teen passengers. 

Driving alone will help your teen to build good safety habits before they deal with the potential distraction of passengers.

Do Not Use Cruise Control in Rain 

Many modern passenger vehicles are equipped with a cruise control feature. This is an excellent option, especially for traveling on a long stretch of the interstate. Cruise control even has the potential to increase your fuel efficiency. 

But if it begins to rain, cruise control is not a good idea. Make sure that your teen understands the appropriate steps to take when driving on wet roads.

This includes turning off the vehicle’s cruise control option. Cruise control is designed to maintain a steady speed for the vehicle. On wet roads, this can cause the vehicle to hydroplane and potentially lead to a crash.

It is vital to teach your teenager about the strengths and weaknesses of the cruise control feature.

By teaching your teen good driving habits, you can ensure that they have the safest experience possible. 

Contact the Premier California Personal Injury Lawyers

At Law Brothers, we handle every case from start to finish. You focus on recovering from your accident, and we’ll take care of the rest. We understand that this may be a difficult time for you, so we will meet you where you are at. We offer both virtual consultations and in-person consultations throughout all of California. And if we take on your case, you won’t pay unless you win. Call The Law Brothers today.

Call us today at (888) 778-8888 for a free consultation or Contact US online to get started.

Riders Beware: Leading Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in California

Motorcycles offer a feeling of autonomy and freedom. This is especially true in the sunny state of California. 

California offers riders many beautiful roads and plenty of sunshine. Motorcycles provide a sense of fun and adventure that other passenger vehicles do not. 

Unfortunately, that sense of fun and adventure comes with certain risks. Motorcycles do not provide the standard safety features of other motor vehicles. 

In a car or truck, drivers are surrounded by a substantial steel frame. But on a motorcycle, there is nothing between the rider and the surrounding environment.

That is why many motorcycle accidents result in life-changing and catastrophic injuries. 

If you have been hurt in a motorcycle collision because of another person’s negligence, do not wait. Contact a qualified personal injury attorney in California to recover the money that is rightfully yours.

In this article, we will discuss some of the leading causes of motorcycle accidents and injuries in California. 

California Motorcycle Accident Rates and Statistics 

Motorcycle accidents can be devastating. Sadly, these incidents are not as uncommon as they should be. 

According to recent data, several thousand victims suffer fatal injuries in motorcycle collisions each year. In the United States, up to 50,000 people sustain injuries in motorcycle accidents annually.

The deadliest motorcycle collisions involve other passenger vehicles. Only 45% of fatal motorcycle injuries result from single-vehicle accidents.

It is vital to ride defensively when you are on a motorcycle. Colliding with another vehicle or losing control can result in severe negative consequences. 

Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

Every collision is the result of a unique set of circumstances. But some road and traffic conditions make motorcycle accidents more likely.

Many motorcycle mishaps are caused by negligent drivers of other types of passenger vehicles. Motorists have a duty of care to others on the road, including motorcycle riders. 

When a driver’s negligence causes an accident, they can be held liable for the damages that they caused.

The leading causes of motorcycle accident and injuries include:

Speeding

Driving too fast is always dangerous. Motorists who drive faster than they should need an average distance of sixteen car lengths to stop completely. 

The distance needed to stop or slow down is much further if the roads are wet or icy. When drivers go too fast, motorcycle riders can suffer injuries if something goes wrong.

Speeding is one of the leading causes of motorcycle accidents in California.

Dangerous Maneuvers

When a driver fails to signal before making a turn or changing lanes, it can have deadly consequences. 

Before changing lanes on a multilane highway, drivers should signal and check their blind spots for other vehicles. Failing to do so can cause them to collide with others.

Oftentimes, drivers are not accustomed to thoroughly checking their blind spots for motorcyclists. When you are riding a motorcycle, do your best to stay outside of other driver’s blind spots. 

This type of dangerous maneuver can cause motorcyclists who are lane-splitting to collide with one another, as well. Lane-splitting is legally permitted in California.

Driving Under the Influence

Besides being illegal, driving while intoxicated is incredibly hazardous. Drivers who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs are much more likely to be involved in an accident.

The following driving functions are impaired by drugs and alcohol:

  • Judgment 
  • Vision
  • Attention
  • Reaction time

When a motorist drives while impaired, they are a danger to others on the road. Many motorcycle accidents result from the dangerous behavior of intoxicated drivers.

Road and Traffic Hazards

Even without the involvement of other negligent drivers, motorcycle accidents can happen. When a California road or highway needs repair or is under construction, motorcycle riders face many hazards.

Common road hazards include:

  • Potholes
  • Cracked asphalt
  • Debris
  • Traffic cones
  • Construction signage
  • And more

In some cases, the person or agency that is responsible for these road hazards can be held liable for any accidents that they cause. If you have experienced an accident as the result of one of these road hazards, speak with an attorney as soon as possible.

Motorcyclists should always drive defensively. An accident can result in severe and life-long consequences.  

Contact the Lalezary Law Brothers 

At Law Brothers, we handle every case from start to finish. You focus on recovering from your accident, and we’ll take care of the rest. We understand that this may be a difficult time for you, so we will meet you where you are at. We offer both virtual consultations and in-person consultations throughout all of California. And if we take on your case, you won’t pay unless you win. Call The Law Brothers today.

Call us today at (888) 778-8888 for a free consultation or Contact US online to get started.

What Are the Steps to Filing a Wrongful Death Suit?

If you lost a loved one due to the actions of a person or business, you may have a claim for wrongful death. California’s laws allow claims for wrongful death that result from wrongful acts or the negligence of another party.

Families use wrongful death claims for many purposes, including:

  • Replacing their economic loss
  • Compensating for the loss of family relations
  • Obtaining closure for the death

Here are things that you should know when it comes to the steps for filing a wrongful death lawsuit.

What is Wrongful Death?

The law has two theories for wrongful death claims. Some states allow wrongful death claims on the theory that an estate can pursue claims that the deceased individual could have pursued if they had not died.

Suppose that your loved one dies in a car accident caused by a drunk driver. They could have sued the drunk driver for negligence if they had survived. The drunk driver should not escape from liability because your loved one died. The estate can bring a wrongful death claim by essentially stepping into your loved one’s position in the lawsuit.

Other states allow wrongful death claims on the theory that the family has a claim against someone for taking their loved one away. In these states, the claim belongs to the survivors, rather than the deceased person’s estate. This difference is important because the family will have different damages than their loved one had.

California law allows both types of claims.

Steps to Filing a Wrongful Death Claim

Filing a wrongful death claim is similar to filing any other lawsuit. You must have the right parties, a cause of action, and proof of damages.

Include the Right Parties in the Lawsuit

California allows wrongful death lawsuits to be filed by the deceased person’s:

  • Personal representative for their estate
  • Spouse or domestic partner
  • Children, stepchildren, or grandchildren
  • Parents or legal guardians

If none of these relatives are alive, an heir who is entitled to inherit from the deceased person can bring the claim.

Identify the Cause of Action for the Claim

To file a wrongful death claim, you must establish that a person or business caused the death by wrongful acts or negligence. This provides a basis for filing a lawsuit for:

  • Criminal acts
  • Negligence
  • Defective products
  • Toxic exposure
  • Medical malpractice

In some cases, the cause of action will be apparent. If your loved one died in a car accident, the basis of the wrongful death lawsuit will consist of a negligence claim against the driver who caused the accident.

In other situations, the cause of action may require some investigation. For example, if your loved one died from cancer, it may take some work to identify that a pesticide was the cause of their cancer. You could then use product liability as the basis for the wrongful death claim.

Determine Your Damages

Damages in a wrongful death claim fall into two categories:

Economic Damages

Economic damages include expenses and losses with a financial value. Almost any reasonable expense or loss caused by the death can be included in economic damages. Some examples of economic damages you can claim in a wrongful death lawsuit include:

Funeral Costs

The costs associated with the funeral and burial can be recovered through economic damages. If the deceased person was cremated, economic damages include the cremation costs.

Lost Income

Economic damages also include the income that your loved one would have earned over the remainder of their life. Some of the factors that go into lost income include the deceased person’s:

  • Age
  • Health
  • Wage or salary
  • Education and training
  • Prospects for promotion

Even for someone without a high-paying job, lifetime earnings can be substantial.

Household Contributions

Household contribution includes the tasks performed around the home by the deceased person. As a result of the death, you need to pay someone or forego your earning opportunities to complete them. Some common examples include:

  • Childcare
  • Cooking
  • Cleaning

For example, suppose that you relied on your loved one to watch the kids so you could work on weekends. If you need to hire a babysitter or forego your overtime pay so you can stay with the kids, you can include those losses in your economic damages.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are those losses you suffered that have no financial cost. Non-economic damages encompass the ways that your life has diminished as a result of the death. Some examples of non-economic damages include:

  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of mentorship of a parent
  • Loss of consortium with a partner or spouse

Even though they have no fixed value, a jury must quantify non-economic losses. You will typically need an expert witness to testify about the ways in which a jury can calculate non-economic damages.

Excluded Damages

Under California law, you cannot seek some forms of damages in a wrongful death claim. Instead, the estate needs to bring a survival claim.

Economic damages excluded from a wrongful death claim include medical expenses for treatment after the wrongful act or negligence. Non-economic damages excluded from a wrongful death claim include the pain and suffering of the victim due to the injuries and the mental anguish of the family over the death.

Fighting for Closure with a Wrongful Death Claim

Although nothing can bring your loved one back, many families find that a wrongful death claim can be helpful for getting closure. A wrongful death claim can place liability on the person or business responsible for the death. It also imposes a monetary punishment on them.

Contact the Law Brothers to schedule a free consultation. Our friendly and experienced personal injury attorneys can guide you through the steps of filing a wrongful death claim. We Fight. You Win. They Pay.

5 Statements to Avoid Making After a Car Accident

California uses an at-fault insurance system. This means that the driver who caused a car accident has financial responsibility for the damages resulting from the accident.

Unfortunately, this creates an incentive for the other driver and their insurance company to twist your words to place responsibility for the accident on your shoulders.

Here are five statements to avoid making after a car accident.

Statements About the Accident

After a car accident, you might not be able to think straight. You may even suffer from emotional shock. You might have physical injuries and experience pain.

Despite all of this, insurers will pick through your post-accident statements to find the most damaging things you said so that they can deny or reduce your claims. Some of the most damaging statements you can make after an accident include:

It Was My Fault

When you say that the accident was your fault, you admit liability. The facts might show that you did not cause the accident. But by making this statement, you jeopardize the compensation you could recover. You may even cause all of the other drivers to seek compensation from you and your insurer.

The police tasked with responding to the accident scene can investigate the accident to determine causation without your admission. When you talk to the police, you should stick to the facts and refrain from giving your opinion, such as “It was my fault.”

I’m Sorry

Most people were taught as children to apologize when something goes wrong. If you see someone injured, your empathy might kick in and you might feel the urge to apologize. But drivers and insurers can twist this into an admission of liability.

Instead of apologizing, try to provide support and express empathy by helping them through their situation. Let them know that you understand that they are hurting and that you have called an ambulance. Ask if there is anything you can do to help. But avoid a vague statement like “I’m sorry.”

I Don’t Think We Need to Call the Police

Under California law, you are required to report a car accident that results in injury or death. If you fail to report the accident, California could suspend your driver’s license.

Suggesting that an accident should not be reported can be construed as an attempt to hide something. For example, an insurer might question whether you were intoxicated and tried to avoid a drug or alcohol test by not reporting the accident.

If an accident only causes property damage, you are not required to call the police. But failure to report an accident because you think no one was injured creates a different problem. An insurer will interpret the lack of a call to the police as an admission that you were not injured in the accident.

In either case, “I don’t think we need to call the police” is a very dangerous statement to make after a car accident.

Statements About Your Injuries

Insurance fraud happens. But it happens much less frequently than insurers believe. Insurance claims adjusters act like every injury was pre-existing, faked, or exaggerated.

As a result, anything you say that supports this view could jeopardize an injury claim. Some of the statements you should avoid making include:

I Feel Fine

When you have been in an accident, everyone will ask you how you feel, including the other drivers, police, EMTs, and insurers. If you put on a brave face and struggle through your pain, you will risk being accused of faking or exaggerating your injuries.

Instead of saying “I feel fine” after a car accident, be honest and consistent. If your shoulder hurts, say so. If you feel dizzy or nauseous, tell the EMTs. Even if you have medical experience, let the EMTs and doctors diagnose your injuries.

Remember that those seemingly minor injuries could be major problems. A sore back might be caused by a herniated disc. A sprained wrist might be a fracture.

Even if you feel fine immediately after the accident, some injuries take time to develop. Concussion symptoms might take days or even weeks to emerge.

Don’t Worry About It

Similar to “I feel fine” is “Don’t worry about it.” Being dismissive about your injuries after an accident might not have the same impact as “I feel fine.” But it can cause an insurer to question whether your injuries are exaggerated or may have existed before the accident.

For example, suppose that you limp after an accident and an EMT asks if you need help. If you say, “Don’t worry about it,” the insurer will say that your limp existed before the accident or that your limp was minor and you exaggerated your injuries for your insurance claim.

The Right Statements to Make After an Accident

If you made the wrong statements after an accident, you might need legal representation to fix the damage. You might also need a lawyer to advise you to make the right statements if you need to give a deposition or testify in court.

Contact The Law Brothers to schedule a free initial consultation with a friendly and experienced personal injury attorney so that you can discuss the statements you made after your injury. We Fight. You Win. They Pay.

Injured on the Job: 6 Steps to a Worker’s Comp Claim

Filing a worker’s comp claim in California can be a confusing process. It also comes with many deadlines that could prematurely end your claim. If you have never dealt with the worker’s compensation system, you might miss out on benefits to which you were entitled.

Your employer should inform you about your rights and provide some limited assistance in filing your claim. You can also get assistance from a personal injury attorney who can guide you through the claim process.

Here are six steps to filing a worker’s comp claim.

Report Your Injury to Your Employer

You must report your injury to your employer to start the worker’s compensation claim process. If you do not report your injury, your employer has no obligation to try to find employees that may have been injured.

Worker’s comp covers work-related injuries that occur due to a single event or long-term exposure to workplace conditions.

Single Event

Some examples of workplace accidents that produce injuries that are covered by worker’s comp include:

  • Auto accidents
  • Construction accidents
  • Falls
  • Falling objects
  • Machinery accidents

When you suffer in one of these accidents, you should report the accident as soon as possible. If you wait more than 30 days after your accident to report it to your employer, you may jeopardize your right to worker’s comp benefits.

Long-Term Exposure

Some workplace injuries occur over time. Some examples of injuries caused by repeated or continuous exposure to unhealthy conditions include:

  • Hearing loss
  • Toxic exposure
  • Repetitive stress injuries

When you suffer from one of these injuries, you should report the injury within 30 days of discovery. Waiting longer than that might risk denial of a worker’s comp claim.

Fill Out the Worker’s Comp Form

Your employer must provide you with the worker’s comp form within one day of hearing about the injury. If you are still coming to work, your employer might deliver the form in person. If you are unable to work, your employer is only required to mail the form within one day of hearing about the accident. The form is also available online if your employer fails to provide a copy to you.

The form asks for identifying information, such as your name, address, and Social Security number. It also asks for information about the injury. Specifically, you must describe:

  • The injury date
  • Where the injury happened
  • Which body part was injured

Even though the form asks for a Social Security number, undocumented workers can receive worker’s comp benefits.

Return the Form to Your Employer

Once you complete the injury form, you need to return it to your employer. The employer must forward the form to their worker’s comp claims administrator. The employer must also provide you with a copy of the form after the employer fills out its section. All of this must happen within one day of receiving the completed form from you.

Get Medical Treatment

Within one day after receiving your completed worker’s comp form, your employer will authorize up to $10,000 in medical treatment for your injury. You are entitled to use this benefit for your injuries, even if your claim is eventually denied.

Getting medical treatment will help your claim in several respects:

Diagnosing Your Injury

When you seek medical treatment, a doctor can diagnose your injury. This may help you as the worker’s comp insurer investigates the claim because it could link your injury to your work.

Developing a Treatment Plan

Worker’s comp pays for all reasonable treatment. By beginning treatment, you and your doctor stake out the treatment you think you reasonably need.

Documenting the Reasons for Missed Work

The doctor can provide you with a note excusing you from work. You may need this evidence if the insurer questions the amount of work you missed.

Cooperate with the Insurer’s Investigation

The worker’s comp insurer has 90 days to review and investigate your claim. During this time, the insurer might request copies of your medical records and other documents relating to your injuries.

The insurer might also schedule a deposition to question you under oath. You should consider hiring a lawyer before attending a deposition to help you understand and respond to the insurer’s questions.

The insurer can ask that you undergo an independent medical examination by a doctor that is selected by the insurance company. Again, you should consider talking to a lawyer before going to the exam so you know what you should or should not do during the exam.

You should cooperate with this investigation so that the insurer can process your claim. But you should also remain aware of any attempts to twist the information you provide so that the insurer can deny your claim.

Pursue a Hearing if Your Claim is Denied

If the insurer denies your claim, you can request a hearing before a worker’s compensation administrative law judge (ALJ). The ALJ has experience in worker’s comp cases and has the power to review claim decisions. Before attending a worker’s comp trial, you should consider hiring an injury attorney to present your case at the hearing.

Getting Help with Worker’s Comp Claims

California designed its worker’s comp claims to be simple. But your employer and its insurer have a financial incentive to deny your claim. Hiring an injury attorney to help with your worker’s comp claim can provide someone to fight for your right to worker’s comp benefits.

Contact the Law Brothers to schedule a free initial consultation with a friendly and experienced personal injury lawyer. Our firm has successfully helped many workers with their worker’s comp claims. We will bring the same results-driven work ethic to your case. We Fight. You Win. They Pay.

5 Questions to Ask During a Consultation with a Personal Injury Attorney

Many people will go through life without ever hiring a lawyer. Even those who have hired lawyers in the past might not know what to expect when they are hiring a personal injury lawyer. But when you have been injured due to the negligence or intentional acts of a person or business, you will probably need an attorney with experience in injury cases.

Most injury lawyers offer a free initial consultation. Here are some questions you should ask during an initial consultation with an injury attorney.

Questions About the Lawyer and Law Firm

The initial consultation is your opportunity to screen a lawyer and their law firm to determine your ability to work with them. Here are some of the issues you should discuss.

How Much Are Your Fees?

California allows lawyers to have a lot of discretion in setting their fees. Make sure that you talk about fees at the initial consultation. No one benefits from misunderstandings about how the lawyer charges or what the charges will include.

Most injury lawyers charge a contingent fee. A contingent fee has a few characteristics:

  • No fee unless you win or settle
  • No fee upfront
  • The fee is a percentage of your compensation

Discuss how the lawyer calculates their fee and what costs might be added on. If you feel comfortable with the lawyer, ask for a copy of the lawyer’s contingent fee agreement.

How Should We Communicate?

Talk to the lawyer about their availability to talk to you about your case. California requires that a lawyer keep you reasonably informed about your case. But “reasonably informed” is subject to interpretation. Understand when you should expect to receive updates on your case.

Discuss how you should reach out to the law firm if you have questions about your case. Ask if you can get the email or phone numbers of the lawyer and the lawyer’s staff.

Lack of communication is one of the most common client complaints. Make sure the lawyer understands your expectations for updates and other information about your case so that you can avoid any misunderstandings.

What Kind of Experience Do You Have?

You should ask about the lawyer’s experience in cases that are similar to your case. Although every case differs, a lawyer who has handled similar cases will understand:

  • The laws that govern your case
  • Insurance company practices that are relevant to your case
  • The potential value of your case

Keep in mind that the lawyer might not have handled a case with identical facts to yours. But a lawyer who has experience in similar cases can apply that prior experience to your case.

Questions About Your Case

You should also discuss your case with the lawyer. This allows the lawyer to understand whether the case fits their practice. The lawyer can ensure that the firm will have the time and personnel required to handle the case properly.

This also gives you the chance to tell the lawyer your story and ask questions about the merits of your case. The lawyer might prefer not to discuss your case in detail until they can review all of the evidence in the case. But you can ask about the outcomes the lawyer has obtained in similar cases.

Some specific issues to discuss with the lawyer might include:

What is the Value of My Case?

The value of any case can be difficult to pinpoint. Whether a case settles or goes to a jury, reasonable minds can differ about fair compensation for an injury.

But you should discuss the factors that go into the value of the case, including:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Past and future lost income
  • Pain and suffering

A lawyer might be reluctant to comment on the merits of your case until they have a chance to review all of the facts. But a lawyer might be able to explain generally what you will need to have a good chance at a settlement or damage award.

The lawyer should also discuss any problems with your case, including the defenses that the at-fault party might raise. For example, California employs the doctrine of pure comparative negligence. This allows a jury or claims adjuster to reduce compensation if the victim bears a share of the fault for the injury.

What Do You Suggest for a Legal Strategy?

Based on your discussion, the lawyer may set out a proposed legal strategy. Under California’s Rules of Professional Responsibility, you have the final say in the legal strategy. Thus, the lawyer must explain the risks and benefits of the possible strategies so that you can make an informed decision.

You will probably not need to decide which strategy to use at the initial consultation unless the statute of limitations is impending. But discussing strategy will give you time to think about your goals and whether the lawyer’s strategy meets them.

Hiring an Injury Attorney

The decision to hire a personal injury lawyer is consequential. You should use the initial consultation to ensure that you can have a comfortable working relationship with a lawyer. You should also make sure that your values align. For a free consultation with a friendly and experienced injury lawyer that will provide trusted counsel, contact The Law Brothers firm. We give your legal issues the personal attention they deserve. We Fight. You Win. They Pay.