Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer

Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer
Douglas D. Shaffer - Personal Injury Lawyer - Manhattan Beach, CA

Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney

Every day, people across the country suffer all types of unexpected injuries, sometimes because of the actions of others. Every state has different laws for resolving these “personal injuries,” which often lead to civil claims for damages. If you or someone you love has recently suffered injuries because of any other party’s actions in Los Angeles, a personal injury attorney can assist you in holding them accountable.

Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer

Compassionate and Experienced Personal Injury Representation in Los Angeles, CA

Shaffer Law provides robust and responsive personal injury representation for a wide range of cases in the Los Angeles area. Our team has helped many past clients through all types of personal injury claims, including substantial economic losses, painful physical injuries, and extensive long-term damage. When you are unsure how you can recover from the effects of another party’s negligence or misconduct in the Los Angeles area, the team at Shaffer Law is prepared to help you navigate all your recovery efforts with peace of mind.

Understanding California Personal Injury Law

When a personal injury occurs in California, state law dictates that the party or parties responsible for causing the injury are liable for the victim’s damages. State law permits the victim to seek full compensation for all their economic losses. They can also claim pain and suffering compensation based on the severity of their personal injuries and whether they incurred permanent harm. There are additional state provisions for specific types of personal injury claims, important rules regarding negligence, liability, and intentional misconduct, and a slew of additional legal issues you must be prepared to address in your personal injury claim.

Ultimately, every personal injury case is unique, and any civil claim for damages can potentially pose very complex questions regarding liability and compensation for damages. It’s easy for anyone to feel lost and uncertain in this situation, and they are also likely to feel tremendous pressure to resolve their case as swiftly as possible in the face of their mounting economic losses. Due to the inherent complexity of most personal injury claims filed in Los Angeles, the average person would be unlikely to reach favorable results in their case without legal counsel advising them.

The right attorney can make a tremendous difference in the outcome of any personal injury claim. The team at Shaffer Law offers extensive professional legal experience with a wide range of civil cases, including those that involve extraordinary economic losses, catastrophic permanent disability, and many other substantial variables. As a result, we’re confident in our firm’s ability to address the unique aspects of your case as effectively as possible and to maximize your recovery to the extent that California law allows.

Benefits of Hiring a Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney

While it may be technically possible to file and even win a personal injury case on your own, it is crucial for you to understand the value of having legal representation you trust for your impending personal injury case. The right attorney representing you will make every aspect of your personal injury case easier to manage and more likely to generate the results you hope to see. When you choose Shaffer Law to represent you in a personal injury claim, you can rely on our team for a wide range of valuable legal services:

  • Success with your personal injury claim requires accurate identification of the defendant who caused your injury. However, if you were seriously hurt and do not recall the details of your accident, or if you were hurt by a hit-and-run driver or another defendant who took steps to conceal their actions, you will need an experienced Los Angeles personal injury attorney’s help to identify and locate the defendant responsible for your damages.
  • Your personal injury attorney can help gather the evidence needed to firmly establish fault for your personal injury. For example, if your claim pertains to damages suffered in a car accident, your attorney can potentially secure traffic camera footage, cell phone records, and other valuable evidence that will assist you in proving responsibility for your damages.
  • Many personal injury claimants can calculate immediately recognizable losses but struggle to assess the full long-term or permanent impact a personal injury can have on their life. When you have an experienced Los Angeles personal injury attorney representing you, you are far more likely to uncover every available channel of compensation that may enhance your recovery.
  • Some personal injuries leave victims incapacitated, unresponsive, or unable to pursue compensation on their behalf. If you need to take legal action on behalf of a loved one who is unresponsive or who did not survive their personal injury, a Los Angeles personal injury attorney will be an invaluable asset for determining the finest legal strategies available in this challenging situation.

These are only a few examples of the various ways an experienced Los Angeles personal injury attorney can be an invaluable asset, no matter what your claim entails. Depending on the type of personal injury you suffered, your recovery process may entail multiple phases, such as an insurance claim followed by a civil suit against the party who caused your accident. Working with an experienced legal team helps you to streamline all your recovery efforts after an accident and maximize the results you reach with all these recovery efforts.

Filing an Insurance Claim After a Car Accident in Los Angeles

If your personal injury resulted from a car accident, your recovery process would probably begin with an insurance claim against the at-fault driver. Distracted driving, speeding, and driving under the influence (DUI) are just a few of the most common causes of car accidents in the Los Angeles area. The state enforces a fault rule for resolving car accidents, so you must be prepared to establish liability for your accident if you hope to succeed with your insurance claim and a subsequent personal injury action against the at-fault driver.

California law requires every driver to carry auto insurance that provides at least $15,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per person in a single accident and a minimum of $30,000 total accident bodily liability coverage. Policies must also provide at least $15,000 in property damage liability coverage. Unfortunately, while these coverage requirements may seem like they should be sufficient to cover the cost of the average car accident, many accidents result in damages that exceed responsible drivers’ insurance policies. California also has one of the highest uninsured driver rates in the country, so there is no guarantee the driver who caused your accident will have insurance.

Having an experienced Los Angeles personal injury attorney assist you with your auto insurance claim after an accident can significantly improve the quality of your experience with the insurance claim process. Most insurance companies do everything they can to avoid paying out on claims, sometimes going so far as to attempt unethical or bad faith tactics to avoid liability for legitimate claims. By hiring an experienced attorney to help you draft your demand letter to the insurance company, you inherently reduce the chance of the insurer attempting any unethical handling of your claim.

When you choose Shaffer Law to represent you after a car accident, we can assist you with filing your insurance claim and negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf if necessary. If an insurer delivers an unacceptable settlement offer or unfairly denies your claim, we can appeal their decision for you and challenge the basis for their actions. Then, once we have helped you exhaust all your recovery options through available insurance, we can build you a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver seeking compensation for any damages their insurance won’t cover.

California Dog Bite Statutes

Dogs are popular pets in California and are widely considered to be “man’s most loyal friend.” Unfortunately, dogs can easily cause unexpected traumatic injuries, sometimes resulting in catastrophic or fatal injuries. For example, a dog attack may entail painful bites and secondary injuries from the victim falling to the ground. No matter what type of injuries you suffer from a dog attack, state law dictates that the dog’s owner is strictly liable for all your damages.

Proving fault in a dog bite claim is relatively straightforward. A dog owner is fully liable for any damages their pet causes, and the strict liability statute requires a dog owner to exercise control over their dog at all times, even if the dog has no prior history of attacking people. As long as the victim didn’t attack the dog or otherwise provoke the attack, and as long as the victim was legally present at the location of the attack, strict liability applies. It’s important to note that a dog owner will not face liability for any damage their pet causes to an intruder or trespasser on their property.

Premises Liability in Los Angeles

Property owners throughout California have various legal duties when preventing injuries to lawful visitors to their properties. A private property owner has a duty of care to address foreseeable safety hazards on their property as soon as they notice them or warn visitors about them if they might encounter them on the property. Slip and fall injuries, electrocutions, back and spine injuries, and many other types of injuries may occur if a property owner fails to uphold these responsibilities.

Success with this type of personal injury case requires proving the safety hazard that caused your injury was a foreseeable problem the property owner should have addressed. Your attorney can assist you in proving the property owner failed to meet this responsibility and establish causation between their failure to exercise reasonable care and your damages.

Catastrophic Injury Claims

Unfortunately, some personal injury victims cannot make full recoveries from their injuries. A “catastrophic” injury is any personal injury that causes permanent harm, such as chronic pain, disability, or diminished quality of life. If you believe your personal injury qualifies as catastrophic, it is essential to have an attorney you can trust to help you navigate your claim. The plaintiff in a devastating injury claim could be a seriously injured victim or the family member of an unresponsive victim. In either case, Shaffer Law will give you the compassionate, responsive legal counsel you need for this type of challenging civil case.

The victim of a devastating injury has likely incurred substantial immediate medical expenses, and they are very likely to face ongoing medical treatment costs to help them reach maximum medical improvement. Under California law, the defendant is liable for the cost of any medical care the victim requires to fully heal from their injury and manage their symptoms in recovery.

State law permits a personal injury plaintiff to seek recompense for the pain and suffering a defendant has caused. In a devastating injury claim, this will likely form the bulk of the plaintiff’s total recovery. There is no limit to how much pain and suffering compensation you can seek in a personal injury claim unless you are filing a medical malpractice claim. State law limits non-economic damages to $250,000 in medical malpractice cases.

An experienced Los Angeles personal injury attorney will be a valuable asset when it comes to proving exactly how your injury occurred and establishing the full breadth of damages the defendant has caused. For the high chances of maximizing the results of a devastating injury claim, it is essential to have legal representation that you trust from an experienced attorney.

California Wrongful Death Statutes

In the event a personal injury causes fatal harm, the victim’s surviving relatives will need to file a wrongful death claim against the defendant, functionally replacing the personal injury claim the victim could have filed if they had survived. State law dictates who may file a wrongful death claim, and eligibility typically falls to the deceased’s surviving spouse, their immediate family, or the representative of their estate.

While a personal injury case seeks compensation for the victim’s damages, a wrongful death claim seeks compensation for the losses the victim’s family suffered. If the victim didn’t immediately die from the injuries caused by the defendant’s actions, the victim thereby incurred losses; their family may also have grounds to file a survival action, seeking the personal injury damages the victim could have sought on their own if they survived. Otherwise, a wrongful death claim can potentially yield compensation for funeral expenses, the family’s economic losses, as well as the pain and suffering caused by the loss of the victim.

Proving Fault for a Personal Injury in California

Most of the personal injury cases filed in Los Angeles stem from acts of negligence or failures to use care and caution in specific situations. Negligence can also pertain to a failure to uphold a specific duty of care, such as your responsibility to refrain from driving your vehicle while distracted by a cell phone. Some personal injury cases pertain to acts of intentional misconduct, some of which are criminal in nature. For example, if a drunk driver hit your car and caused a severe injury, you can file a civil claim against them to seek recompense for your losses, but they would also face a criminal case filed by the state.

Regardless of whether your personal injury resulted from an act of negligence or intentional misconduct, you must be prepared to identify the person or party that injured you and prove the full scope of the losses you suffered. In addition, you are allowed to seek full repayment of all the economic damage the defendant caused and the right to compensation for the pain and suffering you experienced.

Proving fault in your personal injury claim will entail different variables depending on the type of injury you suffered and who is responsible for it. You may require physical evidence that could come from the site where the incident occurred, eyewitness statements from people who saw the incident in question, or even testimony from witnesses with expertise who can clarify the complex details of your case. For example, your attorney could arrange for an accident reconstruction expert to help you prove exactly how a multi-vehicle collision happened and identify the driver or drivers responsible for causing it.

California’s Pure Comparative Negligence Law

Identifying the party responsible for causing your personal injury is just the first step toward winning compensation with your case. You must also establish a definitive causal link between the defendant’s misconduct or negligence and your claimed damages. In other words, you must prove the defendant caused these losses, meaning that the losses did not result from something else. One tactic that many defendants will attempt to use to deflect liability for civil damages is asserting comparative fault.

California upholds a pure comparative fault rule. Under this law, when multiple parties share liability for causing civil damages, the judge overseeing the case must assign a fault percentage to each liable party. For example, if a judge determines that two defendants share fault for a plaintiff’s personal injury, but one is slightly more at fault than the other, the judge may assign 40% and 60% or equivalent fault percentages to each of the defendants.

Under the pure comparative negligence statute, it is also possible for a plaintiff to incur a fault percentage. If an investigation of your personal injury claim determines that you bear any level of partial liability for causing your claimed damages, the judge overseeing your case will assign you a fault percentage alongside the defendant or defendants in the case.

Unlike some states that bar plaintiff recovery at 50% fault, California plaintiffs have no such limitation. The plaintiff can still recover compensation for their damages regardless of their fault percentage, but that percentage is taken from their case award. Bearing just 10% fault in a $500,000 personal injury case would amount to $50,000 lost from your case award, so it is always worth fighting any and all allegations of comparative negligence you encounter in your case.

Claimable Compensation for a Personal Injury in L.A.

Many personal injury victims in California are initially unaware of the full breadth of compensation they can claim for their injuries. State law enables the plaintiff in a personal injury case to seek full repayment of all the economic losses they can prove directly resulted from the defendant’s negligence or misconduct. Economic losses are generally straightforward and easily proven with the appropriate documentation. Your Los Angeles personal injury attorney will be invaluable for proving the economic impact of damages such as:

  • Medical expenses. Whenever a defendant has caused physical harm to a victim, they are liable for any and all costs the victim incurs to reach maximum medical improvement. In addition, if the victim faces long-term medical treatment costs for managing symptoms and reaching full recovery, the defendant is also liable for these damages.
  • Lost income. Your personal injury may have left you too injured to work. If you lose income during your recovery or are forced to use accrued vacation time through your employer, the defendant is liable for these losses.
  • Lost earning power. Some personal injuries cause permanent damage, inhibiting victims’ ability to work and earn income. In the event you cannot return to work because of your injury, the defendant is liable for the future income you could have earned if they hadn’t injured you.
  • Property loss. If the defendant damaged or destroyed your personal property, they are liable for repair or replacement costs. Your attorney can assist you in securing whatever documentation may be necessary to establish the full scope of your claimable property damage.

Once you calculate your immediate and future economic losses with an attorney’s assistance, you may be surprised to discover your claim is worth more than you initially expected. However, state law allows you to seek further compensation for the pain and suffering you experienced.

Concepts like physical pain, emotional distress, and trauma from a personal injury may seem impossible to quantify with numerical values, but an experienced attorney will know how to maximize their client’s pain and suffering compensation. As long as your personal injury claim does not fall within the purview of medical malpractice, there is no limit to the amount of pain and suffering compensation you can seek from a defendant. For some plaintiffs who suffered permanent harm from their personal injuries, the pain and suffering compensation they obtain is more than the total of all their economic losses.

How to Resolve Your Personal Injury Claim in Los Angeles

Most personal injury claims filed in Los Angeles County end with private settlement negotiations. During the private settlement process, both the plaintiff and the defendant have the opportunity to resolve the issue at hand more quickly than they could expect in litigation. As long as the defendant accepts responsibility for their actions and agrees to attend private settlement negotiations, it’s possible to resolve your personal injury claim more quickly than you may have initially expected.

During private settlement, the plaintiff and defendant negotiate a mutually acceptable solution to the personal injury in question. If the defendant’s liability is clear, they are likely to be willing to negotiate a swift settlement as soon as possible to put the issue behind them, but there is always a chance for a defendant to deny liability or dispute the validity of the damages the plaintiff has claimed. In the event that the parties cannot negotiate a settlement, or if a defendant refuses to settle for any reason, a trial will ensue, and the parties must prepare for a long and difficult litigation process.

When you choose Shaffer Law to represent you in a personal injury case, our goal is to settle the case as quickly as possible for as much compensation as possible. Our goal is your full recovery, and we are prepared to guide you through difficult settlement negotiations or represent you in court if necessary. We have extensive experience handling a wide range of civil claims for clients in Los Angeles and surrounding communities of California. We’re ready to answer your most pressing legal questions and can aid you in making the most of the unique aspects of your case.

Shaffer Law offers years of California personal injury experience to clients throughout the Los Angeles area. We know the challenges you are likely to face in the aftermath of another party’s negligence or misconduct, and we know you probably have many valid concerns about what you can expect in the civil court proceedings ahead of you. Our team’s goal in every personal injury case we accept is to help our clients understand the legal mechanisms in motion in their case, help them make informed decisions about the direction of their case, and guide them to the positive results.

Personal Injury Lawyer FAQs

Q: How Long Do I Have to File My Personal Injury Case in Los Angeles?

A: California upholds a two-year statute of limitations for most personal injury claims, and this time limit begins on the date an injury occurs. The statute of limitations may toll or pause for a personal injury if the victim cannot immediately identify the cause of the injury and/or if the defendant took steps to conceal their liability. Therefore, it is always a good practice to start building your claim as soon as possible after a personal injury occurs.

Q: Will the Defendant Go to Jail for Causing My Personal Injury?

A: Most personal injury cases pertain to acts of negligence, and defendants can face substantial civil liabilities for their failure to exercise reasonable care. However, it is rare for a defendant to face jail time for causing a personal injury. There are exceptions to this, such as intentional acts of harm, causing personal injuries through other criminal behavior, or any evidence that indicates a clear disregard for the safety of others. If a defendant caused permanent or fatal harm through an act of intentional misconduct or sought to harm the victim in any way, they could potentially face prosecution for criminal negligence and/or homicide.

Q: How Much Compensation Can I Obtain for My Personal Injury in Los Angeles?

A: The exact value of a personal injury claim hinges on the specific details of the case, the extent of the economic harm you experienced, and whether you face long-term or permanent damage due to the defendant’s actions. Your Los Angeles personal injury attorney is indeed a great resource to consult when it comes to accurately calculating your immediate and future claimable losses in your personal injury case.

Q: Do I Really Need to Hire a Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney?

A: Legally, there is no obligation for you to hire an attorney to file a personal injury claim. If you try to handle your case alone, you will contend with your medical needs, your personal and professional obligations, and the procedural requirements of your case all at once. Even if you succeed with your claim, an experienced Los Angeles personal injury attorney would likely reach much better results and more efficiently. It is always worth investing in legal representation that you trust when you are faced with any type of personal injury claim in California.

Q: How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney?

A: The team at Shaffer Law knows that the average person does not have the financial flexibility to pay expensive hourly attorneys’ rates after suffering a serious personal injury. Our team exclusively accepts personal injury clients on a contingency basis. You pay nothing up front and nothing during your case proceedings. There are no hidden costs or charges, and you only part with a percentage of your final case award after we win your case on your behalf. There is no risk, and you pay nothing if our team fails to secure compensation for your damages.

Shaffer Law has a solid record of successful personal injury actions behind our team because we develop individualized legal strategies for every client we represent. We know that no two cases are exactly alike, and every client has unique concerns in civil court. If you’re ready to discuss your options for legal recourse with a Los Angeles personal injury attorney you can trust, contact us today and schedule your consultation with our team.

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