Personal Injury

Personal Injury and Auto Accident Lawyers in Orange, Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside County 

When you are injured because of a car accident, dog bite, slip and fall or other circumstances you need representation by attorneys who are experienced, and caring.  You need attorneys who have significant experience handling personal injury cases.  Insurance companies always try to settle cases as cheaply and as quickly as possible.  So you need representation by a law firm who pushes as long and as hard as possible until you get the compensation that is just and fair.  This requires diligence and preparation.  Mazarei Law Group will work as hard to get you compensated that you deserve.

AUTOMOBILE ACCIDENTS

If you have lived in Southern California, whether Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino or Riverside County, either you or someone you know or are related to you has been involved in a car accident.  You know when a car accident happens, it is a time of stress.  You need to worry about properly fixing the damage to your car.  More importantly, if you physically hurt and suffered injuries, you need to make sure you take care of yourself.  This is especially true because sometimes the injuries and pain from an accident do not manifest themselves right away.  Sometimes, it takes a few days after the accident where you feel pain and discomfort.

Below is a list of the different types of compensatory damages we seek for our clients in personal injury cases.

Medical treatment.    In every personal injury case, one of the first items of damage that Mazarei Law Group seeks is the cost of medical care for the cost of medical care you have received and you will need in the future because of the accident.

Loss of Income.   If you have lost income (salary or wage) because you were involved in a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation.  If you expect to lose income in the future because of an accident, then you may be entitled to additional compensation known as “loss of earning capacity.”

Property loss.    Property damage is reimbursement for damage to your property that was involved in the accident.  Property damage usually includes damage to your vehicle or any other item that was involved in the accident.  The law entitles you to the fair market value of the property that was damaged or lost because of the accident.

Pain and suffering.  Typically pain and suffering is the largest aspect of compensatory damages an injured persona can get.  Pain and suffering is essentially the value of the pain and serious discomfort you suffered during the accident and in its immediate aftermath.

Loss of enjoyment. When injuries caused by an accident keep you from enjoying day-to-day pursuits like hobbies, exercise, and other recreational activities, you could potentially be entitled to damages for “loss of enjoyment.”

Loss of consortium.   “Loss of consortium” damages usually relate to the impact the injuries have on an injured person’s relationship with their spouse.  Loss of consortium is essentially  for the loss of companionship or the inability to maintain a sexual relationship, for example.

Punitive Damages.   In certain rare cases where the defendant’s conduct is particularly egregious or outrageously careless, a personal injury plaintiff may receive punitive damages on top of any compensatory damages award. The reason for punitive damages is to punish the defendant for its conduct — to “hit them in the pocketbook,” so to speak — and to act as a deterrent. Since it isn’t unusual for punitive damage awards to top tens of millions of dollars, most states have set some type of cap on punitive damage awards in personal injury cases.

 It is extremely important for everyone to know what to do in the event of an auto accident or motor vehicle accident.

 WHAT TO DO IF YOU WERE INVOLVED IN A CAR ACCIDENT? 

1. Remain at the scene of the accident

If you have been in an auto accident, you must always remain at the scene of the accident.  You must immediately stop your vehicle at the scene and contact the police.  You must also provide the other party with your proof of insurance as well as your driver’s license.  Make sure you obtain the same information from the other drivers involved in the accident.

If you fail to stop your vehicle at the scene and do not provide the other party or parties involved in the accident with your proof of insurance and driver’s license you may be punished by imprisonment in the state prison, or in a county jail for not more than one year, or by a fine of not less than one thousand dollars ($1,000) nor more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or both.

2. Call the Police or Highway Patrol

As soon as you stop the vehicle, you need to contact the police and report the accident so help is dispatched to the scene.  This is especially important, if anyone involved in the the accident has sustained serious injuries.  If any party involved in the accident is injured and you are trained in providing first aid, you may administer first aid to the injured party.  It is also important that you must never move an injured person because moving an injured person may result in further injuries.  When initially contacting the police, the police must be notified that the accident involved injuries.  The police must also be told the number of injured individuals and the extent of the injuries.

3. Exchange Information

It is also important to provide your information as well as get information from the other party involved in the accident.  The information that you provide will be important when filing an insurance claim.  The following information that you should obtain and may provide is:

  • Name, address, driver’s license number, insurance information, and license plate number.
  • If there are witnesses, get their names, addresses, and telephone numbers.
  • Ask for a business card from the police officer who investigated the traffic scene. Also get the “incident number” so that you can obtain an accident report. Most officers will provide you with the information even if you don’t ask.
  • Take note of the location—the road conditions, speed limits, traffic control devices, the weather, and the lighting.
  • Take note of how the accident occurred—the direction of travel of the vehicles involved, and what the cars are doing at the time of the accident. It is significant to note that you will be asked to share your notes with the person you are suing or the person who is suing you if the accident may lead to litigation.
  • If you carry a camera take pictures of the scenes as well as the property damage to both your vehicle as well as the other party’s vehicle.  Additionally, take pictures of the individuals involved in the accident.   These pictures are very important in proving or disproving a party’s accounts of the accident.

4. Liability of the accident (Who is at fault)

Many times when you are involved in an auto accident all parties may be distraught and emotional.  Especially, if the accident was high-impact and serious, the parties are usually very shook up and even sometimes disoriented.  You should always remember that even if you believe that you are at fault for the accident, you should not admit liability for the accident.  There may be other factors which you are not aware of that may determine or affect who is at fault for the accident.  You should not make any statements on video, tape recordings, or on paper to anybody at the accident scene except for the police.  When speaking to the police you should only provide them with facts about how the accident occurred.  Allow the police to make their own conclusions from the facts and make the determination of how the accident occurred.

5. Notify your insurance carrier

It is also important that you immediately notify your insurance carrier.  You must provide your insurance carrier with the following:

  1. The date of the accident
  2. The parties involved in the accident
  3. The name, driver’s license number, license plate and make and model of the other party’s vehicle.
  4. The insurance company’s address and phone number for the other driver involved in the accident.
  5. The police report number.
  6. Any injuries sustained as a result of the accident.
  7. Any property damage to your vehicle as well as the other party’s vehicle.
  8. Facts about how the accident occurred.

If you are ever asked to make a formal statement, you should seek the assistance of an attorney. Attorneys at Mazarei Law Group will assist you in preparing your statement and be present at the time the statement is taken to ensure that appropriate questions are asked and that you are not asked to admit to any liability.

You should never provide a statement to the other’s driver’s insurance company.  You should immediately seek the assistance of an attorney and your attorney will advise you when you may give your statement.  Although the person you are talking to may seem pleasant and helpful that person and the company to which they work for is not on your side.

 6. Seek Medical care

Immediately after an accident you must immediately seek medical attention and see a doctor.  If you do not immediately see a doctor, the insurance company may argue that your injuries were not as substantial as you state or the insurance company may argue that the injuries were not related to the accident.  Failure to immediately seek medical care may result in a lesser settlement claim.

It is also important to seek medical attention because you may not immediately experience any pain and a physical examination may reveal injuries that you do not immediately know about.  It is also important to tell your doctor of all of your symptoms such as pain to your neck, headaches, dizziness, pain to your back or limbs, nausea, confusion and any other unusual physical or mental symptoms you may have.

Click here for Frequently Asked Questions About Medical Care

 7. Seek legal advice

If you are involved in an accident that involves serious personal injuries to any parties, you must also immediately seek legal advice from an attorney.  An attorney may assist you in the process of communicating with both your insurance company as well as the other party’s insurance company.  An attorney may also assist you in the handling of your claim against the other party’s insurance company.

Hiring an experienced and caring personal injury attorney to handle your automobile accident claim may result in a much higher settlement.

Click here for Frequently Asked Questions about Seeking Legal Advice

Premises Libility/Slip and Fall

Slip and fall accidents usually involve a person who is injured because they have slipped, tripped or fell due to a dangerous and careless condition that may have been avoided.

Many of these dangerous and careless conditions can take place inside or outside and can be a result of any of the following:

  • Wet floors
  • Poor lighting
  • Bad flooring
  • Raise concrete
  • Raised carpet
  • Holes

Any of these conditions can take place from a department store, grocery store, parking lot, apartment complex, etc.  It is the responsibility of the company and the managing owners and representatives to ensure that these above conditions are prevented.

A company and its representatives who are aware of the dangerous and careless conditions and fail to properly make the condition safe are liable for any damages should those conditions result in any type of injury or death.

Slip and fall injuries can involve any person but may be common more common in the elderly.  Slip and fall injuries can lead to serious injuries such as broken bones, fractures, brain injuries, neck and back injuries, and soft tissue pain.

Both the property owner and injured person may be held responsible for the injury.  Several factors are taken into consideration when determining how the slip and fall occurred and who is at fault.

If you are involved in a slip and fall accident, you must immediately ask for assistance from the nearest store associate.  You should not attempt to get up and walk around, by doing so may result in additional injuries.

If you are injured as a result of the slip and fall, you must request that the paramedics be notified to assess your injuries.  An incident report must also be immediately prepared by the property owner.

Our injury and accident practice includes:

Serious automobile, motorcycle and pedestrian accidents: 

If you have suffered personal injury in a serious automobile, motorcycle or pedestrian accident, you need to know that you have rights.   Legally, you are entitled to both compensatory and special damages.  General or compensatory damages are  intended to compensate the injured person for what they lost because of the accident or injury.   The purpose of compensatory damages award is  to make the injured person “whole”. This entails putting a dollar figure on the injuries that a person has suffered.  There are aspects of the compensatory damages (such as reimbursement for medical costs or damage to your vehicle) is easy to quantify.   What is harder is to place a monetary value on the injured person’s pain and suffering or the inability to enjoy life because of physical limitations caused by accident-related injuries.

WRONGFUL DEATH

A cause of action for wrongful death arises if the death of a person is caused by the wrongful act or neglect of another. Wrongful act means a tortious act, including theories of recovery based on negligence, intentional wrongful conduct, and strict products liability

A cause of action for the death of a person caused by the wrongful act or neglect of another may be asserted by the following persons, or by the decedent’s personal representative on their behalf:

  • The decedent’s surviving spouse, children, and issue of deceased children. If there are no surviving decedents, any person who may be entitled to the property of the decedent by intestate succession.
  • The putative spouse, children of the putative spouse, stepchildren, or parents, if dependent on the decedent.
  • A minor, if at the time of the decedent’s death, the minor resided for the previous 180 days in the decedent’s household and was dependent on the decedent for one-half or more of the minor’s support.

What type of damages can be asserted?

Damages in a wrongful death may include such items as funeral and burial expenses, and pecuniary loss resulting from loss of society, comfort, attention, services, and support of decedent’s spouse.

Is there a time limit to file a lawsuit for wrongful death?

Yes, the statue limitations period for death caused by the wrongful act or neglect of another is two years.  For example the death occurred in January 1, 2013, you have until January 1, 2015 to file a lawsuit for wrongful death.

DOG BITES AND ATTACK

If you or a loved one has recently been bitten or attacked by a dog, your first concern should be receiving adequate medical care.  If the injuries are serious, they should be treated immediately at an emergency facility.  Even small injuries may involve lacerated tendons, vessels, or nerves and infections may invade joints.

In most, the dog owner has homeowner’s insurance that covers the bite.  Depending on where the bite occurred and the circumstances, sometimes the dog owner’s business or general liability policy may potentially cover the bite.  If there is an insurance policy that covers the bite, we will ask the insurance company to pay the medical bills, any out of pocket expenses, future scar revision surgery (if applicable), pain and suffering, and emotional distress.  If the matter settles without a lawsuit, the dog owner may not have a lot of involve in the claim.  

Even when a dog exhibited vicious or aggressive behavior, an owner may still claim they were unaware of the dog’s propensity to cause harm.  Fortunately, California law does not necessarily require the dog owner to be aware of the dog’s viciousness to be liable. 

How much time do I have to file a claim for a dog bite?

Generally, you have two years to sue on claims under a dog bite statute, which makes the owner of a dog strictly liable for injuries suffered by someone who is bitten by the dog while in a public place or lawfully in a private place.

Mazarei Law Group helps clients who have suffered Personal Injury and Accidents (an automobile accident, dog bites, slip and fall and others causes) in Orange County, Los Angeles County, San Bernardino County and Riverside, California.

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