How an Expert Witness Can Help Your Personal Injury Lawsuit

March 21, 2018 Personal Injury Lawsuits

Expert witnesses are people with specialized knowledge, training, experience or skill. It is this specialized experience that makes them helpful,

Witness swearing on the bible telling the truth in the court roomExpert witnesses are people with specialized knowledge, training, experience or skill. It is this specialized experience that makes them helpful, and often crucial, in a personal injury lawsuit.

Ways expert witnesses can help your case

There are a couple of ways that expert witnesses can help a personal injury victim prove a case. The testimony of some experts is used to help jurors understand complex concepts. Other experts are offered because they are necessary to establish some standard of care (that is, what actions a reasonably skilled and competent professional in a given industry would take under the circumstances in question).

In practice, here is what this can look like.

  • A woman brings a claim against a nursing home for bed sores and other injuries that her mother has suffered in its care. She must work with an expert witness who can testify what actions a reasonable and competent nursing home would have taken to avoid those injuries.
  • A man injured in a traffic accident files a lawsuit against the driver of a truck who struck his car. The man will have a stronger case if he hires an expert in biomechanics to explain to the jury how the impact of the vehicles transferred energy to his body inside the vehicle to cause the precise injuries alleged.

Types of expert witnesses

Experts can come from all sorts of backgrounds. A trained legal eye can evaluate a case and determine what topics would be especially helpful if supported by the testimony of an expert witness. Some types of experts and the topics of potential testimony include:

  • Accident reconstructionist to explain how the accident happened
  • Biomechanic to explain how the injuries occurred
  • Traffic pattern expert to determine factors affecting the flow of traffic
  • Expert in human factors to explain how people perceive and interact with items and environments
  • Technical experts like mechanics and engineers to determine whether factors like improper equipment maintenance is at fault
  • Doctors to discuss the extent of injuries
  • Economists to establish the long-term financial impact of the accident
  • Vocational rehabilitators to help jury understand the plaintiff’s loss in earning capacity

Putting together your winning California legal team

Maximizing a personal injury claim requires skill, experience, and collaboration. Los Angeles personal injury lawyer Sean Salamati has litigated personal injury claims in state and federal courts throughout California and knows how to present a solid case.

Our team prides itself on our firm commitment to meeting clients’ needs. We communicate early and often so our clients always know what is going on in their case. We also work with a skilled team of experts carefully chosen to effectively convey complex issues to judges and juries.

Call 1-888-259-4060 today to schedule a consultation. Remember, we never collect a fee unless we win money on your behalf.

Additional Expert Witness Resources:

  1. Justia, 2009 California Evidence Code Section 720-723: Article 1. Expert Witnesses Generally, https://law.justia.com/codes/california/2009/evid/720-723.html
  2. American Bar Association Journal, Choosing Expert Witnesses, http://www.abajournal.com/magazine/article/choosing_expert_witness
  3. American Bar Association, A Pragmatic Approach to Retaining and Presenting Expert Witnesses: Picking All-Stars and Avoiding Busts, https://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/administrative/litigation/materials/sac_2012/45-1_a_pragmatic_approach_to_presenting_expert_witnesses.authcheckdam.pdf
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Bump Stock Manufacturer Target of Lawsuits After Las Vegas Shooting

November 12, 2017 Personal Injury Lawsuits

In early October, Stephen Paddock killed 58 people and injured hundreds more when he opened fire from a hotel window

Assault rifleIn early October, Stephen Paddock killed 58 people and injured hundreds more when he opened fire from a hotel window in Las Vegas, Nevada. Recently, lawsuits began to be filed against multiple parties, among them the manufacturer of the bump stock that made his AK-47 semiautomatic gun into a weapon that acted like an automatic rifle, and thus capable of firing more rounds of ammunition more rapidly.

At least one of Paddock’s guns was fitted with a bump stock manufactured by Slide Fire Solutions, which is based in Texas.

Slide Fire One of Several Defendants Named in Suits

The first lawsuits have been filed by victims in the shooting incident, which targeted attendees at a country music festival across from the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. The owners of the hotel are also named as defendants in the suits, as are the promotors of the Route 91 Harvest music festival and Paddock’s estate.

One was filed by Paige Gasper, a 21-year-old Californian who is enrolled at Sonoma State University. Gasper was treated for broken ribs and lacerations of the liver.

It was filed in Nevada’s Clark County District Court. Regarding Slide Fire, the suit says the company did not provide sufficient instructions regarding how to operate bumpstock devices and failed to warn of the dangers bump stocks can represent.

A class-action suit against Slide Fire was also filed by The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, a gun control organization.

Hundreds more personal injury and wrongful death suits are possible as a result of the shooting.

Personal injury suits can allege liability if a reasonable person would conclude that a responsible party knew or should have known that something was dangerous, had sufficient time to rectify the danger, and did nothing about it.

Past Lawsuits Against Gun Manufacturers Largely Unsuccessful

In the past, however, suits filed against gun manufacturers have not been successful. Why? Federal laws often protect manufacturers from liability. The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, for example, has been law since 2005 and protects manufacturers and sellers of guns from civil claims.

Family members of those killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting brought suits against the gun manufacturer, Remington Arms. The lawsuits were dismissed because of the Act.

Lawsuits against venues are more common. The early suits against Mandalay Bay allege that they should have noticed the many pieces of luggage and other items Paddock brought into the hotel, among other factors in the shooting. The items he brought in over several days contained multiple guns.

Victims of the Orlando mass shooting have also brought suits against the victim’s employers. Those suits are currently pending.

Shooting Victims Can Contact Southern California Personal Injury Lawyer Sean Salamati

The Salamati Law Firm has years of experience litigating personal injury and wrongful death cases. If you were injured in the Las Vegas shooting in October, or if a loved one was injured or killed, don’t delay in contacting Sean Salamati, a dedicated, compassionate Los Angeles personal injury lawyer.

Your initial consultation comes at no cost and no obligation to you. Our firm charges you no fee unless we win your case. Call today and take the first step toward justice for the victims of this terrible tragedy.

Additional “Las Vegas shooting lawsuit” Resources:

  1. Castro, Karen. “Third Lawsuit Filed by Victim of 1 Oct. Mass Shooting.” LasVegasnow.com. October 13, 2017. http://www.lasvegasnow.com/news/third-lawsuit-filed-by-victim-of-1-oct-mass-shooting/835131378.
  2. Lee, Kurtis and Jaweed Kaleem. “Las Vegas Survivors Take Aim At ‘Bump Stock’ Maker as Lawsuits Begin.” Los Angeles Times. October 12, 2017. http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-las-vegas-lawsuits-20171012-story.html.
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“Bump Stock” Controversy Sparks Debate and Lawsuits

November 2, 2017 Personal Injury Lawsuits

In the aftermath of the October 1, 2017 mass shooting at a country music festival in Las Vegas, the term

Group of people holding candle vigilIn the aftermath of the October 1, 2017 mass shooting at a country music festival in Las Vegas, the term “bump stock” became a household word and national point of contention. As legislators scramble to find ways to regulate the use of the firearm device, the manufacturer of the bump stock used in the Las Vegas massacre, Slide Fire Solutions, is facing a growing number of personal injury lawsuits filed by victims and the families of the deceased.

Were you or a loved one among the hundreds of unsuspecting victims of the Las Vegas mass shooting on October 1? Here at The Salamati Law Firm, our hearts go out to you at this terribly difficult time. No one should have to experience a tragedy such as this, but here in its aftermath our firm is dedicated to pursuing justice for those whose lives have been irreversibly altered by this terrible event.

Our personal injury lawyers are providing free legal consultations to victims of the Las Vegas shooting and their families. We’ll help you sort through your legal options so that you can make an informed decision about the best course of action for you and your family.

If you choose to file a lawsuit, liable parties may include the hotel owner, the concert organizers, the estate of Stephen Paddock — and the bump stock manufacturer. Please contact our dedicated, compassionate attorneys today to learn more about how we can help.

Las Vegas shooter relied on bump stock firearm device

On October 1, 2017, an unassuming man named Stephen Paddock of Mesquite, Nevada, checked into the Mandalay Bay hotel with an arsenal of firearms. From a window of his suite, the 64 year old opened fire on the crowd attending the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival. In the few minutes between 10:05 and 10:15 PM (PDT), Paddock fired hundreds of rounds. Almost 550 concertgoers were injured. Fifty-eight were killed.

Paddock – who killed himself – has reignited the gun law debate that has held us captive for decades. But this time there has been a focus on bump stocks.

What is a bump stock?

A bump stock is a device one attaches to an existing semi-automatic rifle. Replacing the weapon’s built-in stock, it adds a spring to the firearm. Pressed into the shooter’s shoulder the bump stock literally bounces, or jerks, the rifle forward with each release of ammunition. This means the shooter does not have to pull the trigger as the trigger will move in his hand. The resultant rapid release of ammunition is akin to that of a machine gun.

Legislators try to address regulation of bump stocks

Before the shooting, bump stocks were known mostly in the firearm community. Now, the device is on everyone’s lips, from Congress to the NRA and anti-gun factions, right down to the couple standing behind you at Starbucks.

Everyone is wondering why a bump stock would be legal and easily acquired. According to special agent Jill Synder at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, “The classification of these devices depends on whether they mechanically alter the function of the firearm to fire fully automatic. Bump-fire stocks, while simulating automatic fire, do not actually alter the firearm to fire automatically, making them legal under current federal law.”

What we have here is a thin line of legality. While Washington has stated they are reviewing the bump stock classification, the fact is that the ATF did so in 2010 and decided the bump stock was a part, not a weapon, and ineligible for enforcement by the National Firearms Act or the Gun Control Act.

Legislative director of the Violence Policy Center, Kristen Rand says, “The ATF can’t do anything about bump stocks without a change to the statute. Basically, all they can determine is whether or not a device causes a gun to fire in fully automatic mode, and it’s banned, or it does not, in which case it can’t be regulated.”

Salamati Law Is a Resource for Victims and Families

Salamati Law will continue to zealously advocate on behalf of all victims of gun violence. If you or a loved one were a victim of the Las Vegas shooting in October, or any other instance of gun violence, please contact our dedicated wrongful death lawyers in Los Angeles for a free and confidential consultation about your case.

Additional “Bump Stock Lawsuit” Resources:

  1. CDC, Firearm Mortality by State, https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/pressroom/sosmap/firearm_mortality/firearm.htm
  2. Huffington Post, Here’s A List Of All The Gun Control Laws Congress Has Passed Since Newtown,  https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/gun-control-congress_us_566ec8dce4b011b83a6bc0cd
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Do Mass Shooting Victims Have Legal Recourse?

October 24, 2017 Personal Injury Lawsuits

It has become a regrettable sign of the times that mass shootings occur frequently around the country. From this summer’s

A fire engine races to the scene of an emergency.It has become a regrettable sign of the times that mass shootings occur frequently around the country. From this summer’s shootings in a San Francisco UPS facility to the October 1 rampage in Las Vegas, which targeted a concert attended by many Californians, armed shooters take the lives of innocent bystanders, injure many more, and cause widespread trauma.

Often the shooters are killed in the incidents, so they cannot be brought to justice at a criminal trial.

But do the victims of shootings have legal recourse even if the perpetrator is dead? After all, the injured were hurt and families have lost loved ones due to another party’s callous acts.

After a Mass Shooting, Civil Suits for Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Are Possible

Victims of shootings do have legal recourse for gun crime. They can bring civil suits for personal injury or wrongful death. Civil suits can compensate the injured for medical care, suffering, and lost wages. They can also compensate families of the deceased for pain and suffering and related losses.

A personal injury claim in southern California can be brought against a party deemed negligent. Negligence means that the party knew or should have known that conditions were potentially harmful and did not rectify the situation within a reasonable period of time. Wrongful death claims can be brought against parties deemed negligent if death occurred.

In many shootings, victims have brought legal claims against parties that failed to provide proper security or enabled shooters to go forward with their crimes.

Victims of this summer’s UPS shootings in San Francisco, for example, have brought lawsuits against the company that provided security guards, United Parcel Service, and the landlord of the building where the shootings took place.

Victims of the Las Vegas shooting have begun to bring suits against the owner of the hotel where the gunman stayed, alleging that it was negligent to not have noticed the large packages he brought in, which were later determined to have concealed multiple weapons.

Lawsuits have also been brought against the makers of bump stocks, a device that allows guns to let out more bullets rapidly, and the promoter of the music festival, whose attendees constituted the majority of victims.

Call a Wrongful Death Lawyer Los Angeles Trusts

If you need a Southern California wrongful death lawyer, we can help. We have years of experience litigating personal injury and wrongful death cases. We will fight to see that justice is done.

Call the Salamati Law Firm for a free consultation today.

Additional resources on lawsuits filed by mass shooting victims and their families:

  1. Castro, Karen. “Third Lawsuit Filed by Victim of 1 Oct. Mass Shooting.” LasVegasnow.com. October 13, 2017. http://www.lasvegasnow.com/news/third-lawsuit-filed-by-victim-of-1-oct-mass-shooting/835131378.
  2. Sernoffsky, Evan. “Victims in Mass Shooting at UPS Facility in SF File Lawsuits.” SFGate. September 13, 2017. http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Victims-in-mass-shooting-at-UPS-facility-in-SF-12192098.php.
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How to Appeal a Personal Injury Case

September 13, 2017 Personal Injury Lawsuits

Most people associate the appeals process with criminal law matters. In criminal trials, it is only the defendant who has

Judge gavel, scales of justice and law books in courtMost people associate the appeals process with criminal law matters. In criminal trials, it is only the defendant who has grounds to appeal a judgement, but in civil lawsuits, both parties have the right to appeal a personal injury verdict.

In California, as in all states, an appeal must be predicated upon a reversible error in law. It is not enough that the plaintiff disagrees with the jurors’ decision or believes they are entitled to a larger damage award. Instead, they must provide a specific infraction or misinterpretation of the law that prejudiced the appellant (the person filing the appeal) in some way. For instance, your attorney may file an appeal if jurors disregarded courtroom instructions, or an expert witness was unjustly barred from offering crucial testimony. In California, it is not uncommon for appellants to list multiple grounds for appealing a personal injury decision.

An appeal is a legal process in which a higher court examines perceived mistakes or misconduct during the trial proceedings. If the appellate court finds that the law was misapplied or evidence of procedural errors, it has the authority to overturn the verdict or mandate a new trial. 

How does the appeals process work?

In a personal injury trial, jurors are tasked with examining facts and evidence to determine which party is liable for damages. The appeals process does not involve a jury, but rather a panel of judges who review an appellate brief provided by your legal counsel.

It is up to your personal injury lawyer to submit a thorough, compelling appellate brief that details which laws were incorrectly interpreted or other errors committed. The defendant’s counsel will provide their own appellate brief that demonstrates the law was applied correctly and the lower court’s decision was indeed correct. After both sides present oral arguments to the judges, the court renders a decision. Usually, this process takes at least a couple of months but more complex cases may last upwards of a year.

It is left to the appellate judges to determine whether procedural steps were strictly followed and if the verdict will be upheld.

If the appeal is granted, there are several possible outcomes. The court may vacate the personal injury verdict entirely, remand the case back to lower court for a new trial, or the damage award may be revised.

Grounds for appealing a personal injury case

According to California’s Code of Civil Procedure, a new trial may be granted under a number of circumstances:

    • Error in law, occurring at the trial (§ 657(7)
    • Misconduct of the jury (§ 657(2)
    • Excessive or inadequate damages (§ 657(5)
    • Irregularity in the proceedings of the court, jury or adverse party, or any order of the court or abuse of — discretion by which either party was prevented from having a fair trial (§ 657(1))
  • Lack of evidence to justify the damage of the verdict and that such verdict is against the law (§ 657(6)

Personal injury lawyers in Los Angeles

Partnering with a talented personal injury attorney is imperative for pursuing justice to fullest extent of California law. Whether you are interested in filing a claim or believe that the verdict in your personal injury trial was unfounded, The Salamati Law Firm is poised to help.

Contact us online or call our office today to schedule a complimentary case review with a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer who is committed to client success.

Additional Resources on “Appealing a Personal Injury Case in California”:

    1. California Courts, Courts of Appeal, http://www.courts.ca.gov/courtsofappeal.htm
  1. American Bar Association, Steps in a Trial – Appeals, http://www.americanbar.org/groups/public_education/resources/law_related_education_network/how_courts_work/appeals.html
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California Enacts Expanded Youth Sports Concussion Law

September 1, 2017 Personal Injury Lawsuits

Nationwide reports continue to demonstrate that many serious head injuries including concussions are a direct consequence of injured athletes returning

kids playing football; concussion risksNationwide reports continue to demonstrate that many serious head injuries including concussions are a direct consequence of injured athletes returning to play too soon. In an attempt to make sports safer and reduce the number of concussion injuries, California broadened its existing “return to play” legislation, effective January 1, 2017.

The amended law will apply to all athletes under the age of 18 who are participating in youth sports organizations that defined as clubs, competitions or camps. “This bill places California at the forefront of improving concussion management at the youth sports level” offered Mike Chisar of the CA Athletic Trainers’ Association. Chisar added that the youth concussion law, known as AB 2007, will help ensure that coaches, athletes and their families have proper education on the signs and early symptoms of concussion, helping minimize risk of injury.

Under AB 2007, all coaches, athletes and their families must be provided with comprehensive education materials regarding the potential consequences of head injuries, concussion symptoms and recommended practices for removing an athlete after head trauma, as well as measures for their return to sports following a suspected concussion.

Youth sports concussion law expanded in California

The revised youth concussion law entails a number of changes that will affect the operations of youth sports organizations.

  • Athletes who are suspected of suffering from a concussion or head injury must immediately be removed from play
  • Athletes may only return to play after they have received written clearance from a licensed medical provider trained in concussion management.
  • Athletes who have been diagnosed with a concussion must adhere to a gradual return-to-play protocol over a span of 7 days
  • Coaches and sports administrators must complete concussion training before supervising athletes in a sporting activity
  • After an athlete is suspected of suffering a head injury or concussion, their parent or guardian must be notified of the date of injury, symptoms and treatment provided

Amended law affects sports injury liability issues

Given the expanded provisions of AB 2007, youth sports organizations will be held to higher standards of care and duty owed to the safety of young athletes. Any California sports organization or club that fails to offer the required educational information to coaches, athletes and their parents prior to play may face liability in the event a participant is gravely injured or suffers a concussion. If graduated return-to-play protocols are not followed or coaches are not adequately trained to supervise participants, injured athletes could theoretically sue on the basis of negligence.

The Salamati Law Firm applauds any efforts aimed at concussion education and prevention. In recent years, more focus has been put on the severe, long-term health impacts of repeated sports-related concussions and head injuries, which can affect coordination, speech, memory, personality, and cognitive abilities.

Our California injury attorneys are experienced handling all types of claims involving traumatic brain injury and concussion stemming from recreational sports. To schedule a free case evaluation with a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer who is committed to protecting your rights, call the Salamati Law Firm today.

Resources on California’s Youth Sports Concussion Law: 

  1. American Youth Soccer Organization, Important: New California State Law on Concussions in Affect http://www.ayso.org/aboutayso/AYSO_News/Important__New_California_State_Law_on_Concussions_in_Affect_s2_p3660.htm#.WabPsciGNPZ
  2. California Interscholastic Federation, Concussions http://www.cifstate.org/sports-medicine/concussions/index
  3. Complete Sports Performance and Rehab, New California Concussion Laws for 2017 http://www.competesportsperformance.com/content/new-california-concussion-laws-2017
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What Are the Steps in a Personal Injury Case?

August 19, 2017 Personal Injury Lawsuits

Once you have decided to meet with an attorney to discuss the possibility of a personal injury lawsuit, one of

Judge gavel, scales of justice and law books in courtOnce you have decided to meet with an attorney to discuss the possibility of a personal injury lawsuit, one of your first questions is likely to be: “How long will this process take?” Understanding the steps in a personal injury case can help you get a feel for what is to come. When you contact a Los Angeles personal injury attorney at The Salamati Firm, you can expect the highest degree of communication every step of the way, so you always feel like a priority and never just a number!

Step 1: Meet with an LA personal injury lawyer.

California allows up to two years to file a personal injury lawsuit. Most of the time, the law is meant to be interpreted as “two years from the date the injury occurred,” but in some cases, the extent of the injuries take time to manifest, or the negligent acts / parties are initially unknown. It is free to speak with a personal injury attorney in Los Angeles, so the sooner the better! You will need to sign a release form that allows the lawyer access to your medical records, police reports, and other information related to the case.

Step 2: File a lawsuit.

If the Salamati Firm’s personal injury lawyers feel you have a substantial case, we’ll agree to represent you and you’ll have the option to sign a contract with us that spells out what legal fees are owed if we secure a successful settlement or jury verdict on your behalf. We formally submit a complaint on your behalf and the judge will issue a summons to inform the other party of the litigation proceedings. The defendants have up to 30 days to respond to your complaint. They may admit to negligence, deny any wrongdoing, or argue there is insufficient evidence. Nearly a third of defendants never respond. In rare instances, a counterclaim may be filed against the plaintiff. All of this must be sorted out by the judge.

Step 3: Begin fact-finding and discovery.

Discovery may include written interrogations, sworn statements, requests for information, and the assembly of medical records, police reports, and other documents pertaining to the case. Through more than a decade of fighting on behalf of injured plaintiffs, we know the right questions to ask to get the information we need and poke holes in any possible defense.

Step 4: Hear motions to resolve before trial.

Summary judgments dismissing the case can come from the bench in the earliest stages of litigation if there is:

  • Lack of subject matter
  • Lack of jurisdiction
  • Improper venue
  • Insufficient service of process
  • Failure to state a proper claim

Step 5: Negotiate a settlement.

Here is a shocking statistic: Only 4-5 percent of personal injury cases in the United States go to trial. In other words, 95-96 percent of personal injury lawsuits are settled prior to trial. The majority of defendants prefer to settle before enduring the expense and public humiliation of a court trial. The Salamati Firm will never settle just to get another win. We only agree to the settlement terms when they are good for you and in line with what we think your case is truly worth.

Step 6: Go to trial.

In most cases, a jury is selected and three to five days of court hearings are necessary. In rare cases, a trial may take longer, from several weeks to months.

Step 7: Collect money following a successful judgment.

Winning is not always a slam-dunk. Collecting the money can be particularly tricky if the defendant does not have a lot of money or plans to appeal. Experienced LA attorneys come in handy in ironing out wage garnishment, assets liquidation, bankruptcy filings, or collection proceedings when you are not promptly paid what is owed to you. Many states allow up to 10 years for a defendant to pay on a judgment.

Step 8: Appeal an unsatisfactory decision or judgment.

The losing side always has the option to file an appeal. A panel of judges review the trial documents to determine if sufficient justice was served. If an appeal is lost in state or federal court, there is still an option to file an appeal with the Supreme Court if a federal or constitutional right may have been violated.

Contact the Salamati Firm to start your personal injury claim in California.

Every case is unique, but the Court Statistics Project found that 13.7 months is the median lawsuit processing time. Nearly half of all personal injury lawsuits are disposed within one year. By two years, three quarters of the cases get resolved. Sometimes cases take longer if the facts surrounding the case are complex and disputed, if the amount of money you seek is extremely large, or if you are still in a state of recovery, where it’s particularly challenging to estimate the extent of your losses. Product liability, medical malpractice, and toxic substance cases tend to take longer (two years).

The Salamati Firm’s Los Angeles personal injury lawyers are standing by to take your call, should you wish to learn more about filing a lawsuit in California.

More resources for “personal injury lawsuit timeline”:

  1. Bureau of Justice Statistics, Tort Cases in Large Counties, https://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/ascii/TCILC.TXT
  2. The Law Dictionary – Pre-trial Settlement Percentage: Statistics on Personal Injury Settlements, http://thelawdictionary.org/article/pre-trial-settlement-percentage-statistics-on-personal-injury-settlements/
  3. NY Times, The Longest Trial – A Post-Mortem; Collapse of Child-Abuse Case: So Much Agony for So Little, http://www.nytimes.com/1990/01/24/us/longest-trial-post-mortem-collapse-child-abuse-case-so-much-agony-for-so-little.html
  4. NY Times – Study Finds That Settling Is Better Than Going To Trial, http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/08/business/08law.html
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Personal Injury Checklist – Meeting With a Lawyer For The First Time

August 18, 2017 Personal Injury Lawsuits

If you are considering filing a personal injury claim in Los Angeles, CA, it is likely because you or a

Symbol of law and justice in the empty courtroom, law and justice concept, blue tone

If you are considering filing a personal injury claim in Los Angeles, CA, it is likely because you or a loved one has suffered an accident that has caused a bit of chaos in your life. The truth is the entire litigation or insurance claim process can seem like a whirlwind but you need to be able to present your claims in an organized way in order to receive compensation. Follow this checklist to be sure you bring the information your attorney will need to evaluate your claim.

Information to bring to your lawyer

Your attorney will have a much clearer picture of your injury and strength of your case if you bring detailed information about your accident and treatment. Helpful information includes:

  • Details of the incident itself, including date, address, and any photos
  • Names and contact information of first responders, including investigating officers
  • Names and addresses of other people involved in the accident
  • Names and addresses of witnesses
  • Names and contact information of insurance adjusters with whom you spoke about the accident
  • Name and other identifying information of the ambulance if you were transported
  • Identifying information of the hospital where you received treatment, along with dates of admission
  • Names and contact information of any medical professionals who examined or treated you, including physicians at the hospital or chiropractors seen after the accident
  • Dates of any missed days of work
  • Names and contact information of anyone with whom you discussed your injury

Documents to gather before meeting with your lawyer

Personal injury claims are paper-intensive. You can simplify the process by assembling these helpful documents before your first appointment:

  • Formal reports, including any police report or, if the injury occurred on a company’s property, a business incident report
  • Copies of any discharge papers from the hospital or evaluation summaries from any medical professionals seen
  • Any written statements related to the accident
  • Copies of any correspondence with your insurance company related to the accident
  • Any relevant insurance policies, including auto insurance in the case of an auto accident and homeowner’s or renter’s policy if the accident happened at home
  • Documentation of medical insurance or disability coverage
  • Receipts for treatment including bills for ambulance, emergency room, rehabilitation, medical equipment, and medications
  • Proof of lost income
  • Receipts or estimates to repair property damaged by the incident

Scheduled a free consultation with a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer

Many lawyers offer a free initial consultation. When you schedule an introductory appointment with a Los Angeles personal injury attorney, you have the opportunity to make sure the lawyer is a good fit for you. This is the time for you to ask questions and request references from former clients.

If you or someone you love was injured in an accident in the Los Angeles, CA area, call the Salamati Law Firm for a no-cost consultation. For over a decade, we have advocated for the rights of personal injury victims in Southern California and established a successful track record.

Additional “Personal Injury Checklist” Resources:

  1. Justia, California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI)) 400. Negligence-Essential Factual Elements, https://www.justia.com/trials-litigation/docs/caci/400/400.html
  2. Justia, California Civil Jury Instruction (CACI) 425. “Gross Negligence” Explained, https://www.justia.com/trials-litigation/docs/caci/400/425.html
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Expenses for Serious Accident-Related Injuries

May 20, 2017 Personal Injury Lawsuits

Recent data from the National Safety Council (NSC) underscores the severe economic impact of auto accident injuries in our nation.

Policeman at road accident sceneRecent data from the National Safety Council (NSC) underscores the severe economic impact of auto accident injuries in our nation. Every year, millions of Americans suffer serious physical harm in motor vehicle accidents. In 2016, this figure included more than 4.6 million people.  The NSC estimates that the total cost of motor vehicle injuries, property damage and deaths was a staggering $432 billion in 2016. This figure includes hospital and medical expenses, wage and productivity loss, employer costs, as well as property damage.

Whether caused by alcohol impairment, cell phone distractions or just plain negligence, motor vehicle accidents can leave victims with catastrophic injuries that require costly, long-term medical treatment.  According to NSC data, the average economic cost of a non-fatal, yet incapacitating injury was $80,700, while the median cost of a non-disabling injury was $24,000.

Let’s take a closer look at the average costs and expenses associated with catastrophic accident injuries that can overwhelm victims and their families. In some of these accidents, litigation is the most effective means to recover compensation from negligent parties needed to pay costs of treatment.

Traumatic Brain Injury

An estimated two million Americans are living with the lasting effects of a traumatic brain injury (TBI), which often causes cognitive impairment, loss of motor function, memory problems and losses in emotional stability. Minor to moderate traumatic brain injuries entail hospitalization, diagnostic tests, medication, and doctor’s visits, which can easily rack up bills of more than $20,000. Depending on the severity and nature of the brain trauma, the median lifetime cost of care for a TBI victim can range from $80,000 to over $2 million. Statistics show that TBI patients requiring rehabilitation will incur nearly $200,000 in medical expenses in the first year alone.  Those who suffer moderate to severe traumatic brain injury will typically incur expenses for: hospital stays, surgery, neurologist fees, acute care, in-home modifications, prescription medications, vocational and psychiatric therapy to address emotional changes, as well as assistive medical devices. The CDC reports that direct and indirect medical costs for patients with severe traumatic brain injury can exceed more than $1,875,000 over the course of a lifetime.

Spinal Cord Injury

Falls and motor vehicle collisions are two of the leading causes of spinal cord injuries, which may result in partial or complete paralysis of the limbs. Figures gathered by the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation highlight the enormous costs of living with a spinal cord injury. Even minor injuries that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical treatment. The estimated lifetime cost for a 25-year old spinal cord injury victim with incomplete motor function is $1,578,274. Those who suffer high tetraplegia will likely face a staggering $1,064,716 for medical expenses in the first year alone, and nearly $200,000 in medical care expenses each following year. Some patients who suffer spinal cord injuries never fully recover, and the vast majority are saddled with astronomical hospital bills and financial burdens that can place entire families on the brink of bankruptcy.

Severe burn injuries

Fiery car accidents can leave motorists with life-threatening burns over large portions of their bodies. Third or fourth degree burn require lengthy recoveries and, oftentimes painful skin graft surgeries. Victims may suffer from skin loss, nerve damage, injury to the soft tissues, as well as chronic pain. Treatment costs will vary on the severity of the burn, the type of scarring and disfigurement suffered and the number of skin grafting and reconstructive surgeries needed, but can easily exceed more than $200,000.

Car accident attorney in Los Angeles

If you or someone you love suffered serious car accident injuries in California, contact The Salamati Law Firm for a free case evaluation. Our highly skilled Los Angeles personal injury attorneys can determine if you have a viable claim for compensation, and will help you secure monetary damages for related medical expenses, rehabilitation as well as lost wages and future loss of earnings. Call our law firm today to discuss your claim with a veteran car accident lawyer in Los Angeles.

Additional Accident Injury Cost Resources:

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Fair Payment for Pain: Calculating Value in California Injury Lawsuits

April 11, 2017 Personal Injury Lawsuits

California victims of accidents caused by someone else’s negligent acts or omissions are afforded the opportunity to seek monetary compensation for,

California victims of accidents caused by someone else’s negligent acts or omissions are afforded the opportunity to seek monetary compensation for, amongst other damages, the physical pain and emotional suffering experienced as a result of the event. While damages for lost wages, medical expenses already incurred, and property damage may be easier to quantify, those related to “pain & suffering” can be assessed and maximized with the help of a skilled personal injury attorney.

Typical categories of pain and suffering damages in California injury cases

Damages related to pain and suffering may be awarded in personal injury cases for:

  • Actual physical pain and discomfort
  • Mental anguish
  • Emotional distress
  • Personal and familial inconvenience
  • Embarrassment
  • Damage to personal reputation
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of marital relationship
  • Loss of enjoyment of previous activity levels
  • Disfigurement
  • Aggravation of existing physical injury or impairment

Relevant factors in pain and suffering valuations

Assigning a dollar figure to a serious injury is rarely straightforward. Variables to be considered when calculating the value of damages include the victim’s age at the time of the accident, his or her family and marital situation, his or her educational background, employment record, health history, estimated recovery time and information gleaned from medical and psychological experts who can testify to the nature of the pain likely experienced under the circumstances.

Important caveats for prospective injury claimants

There are situations in which an injury victim in California will be barred from obtaining compensation for pain and suffering. Anyone convicted of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the event in question will be unable to recover for losses of this type, as will an auto accident plaintiff whose vehicle was underinsured or uninsured at the time, unless the at-fault driver was found guilty of DUI.

California’s doctrine of pure comparative fault

In addition to the above limitations on pain and suffering claims, courts in California operate under a doctrine of pure comparative fault when it comes to assigning liability for damages of this type. Though this does not serve to bar plaintiffs from recovering payment from a responsible party, it does mean that any financial award will be reduced in proportion to the percentage of fault borne by the plaintiff themselves for what occurred.

Aggressive, timely advocacy for Southern California’s injured

Because the time to pursue damages for pain and suffering or wrongful death is strictly limited by California statute, it is critical for victims to reach out to an experienced injury attorney as soon as possible after sustaining serious harm. Los Angeles personal injury attorney Sean Salamati will waste no time in exploring the facts, enlisting reputable experts and tenaciously pursuing the maximum damages allowed by the law. Assert your legal rights by calling The Law Offices of Sean Salamati today.

Additional resources on California pain and suffering damages

  1. California Legislative Information, Cal. Civ. Proc. §335.1, http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displayText.xhtml?lawCode=CCP&division=&title=2.&part=2.&chapter=3.&article=
  2. Judicial Council of California – Civil Jury Instructions, No. 405: Comparative Fault of Plaintiff, http://www.courts.ca.gov/partners/documents/CACI_2017_Edition.pdf
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