FAQS

Personal Injury

What is a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

A personal injury lawsuit is a legal action, brought in court, by someone who has been injured (either physically or emotionally) by another person, usually by way of an accident, slip and fall, or a defective product. Personal injury can occur anywhere: at work, in your car, in the hospital, at a restaurant, on the sports field or simply walking down the street. Illness is also classified as personal injury in work-related and industrial diseases, from stress and anxiety to asbestosis and pulmonary disease.

Personal injury lawsuits are designed to redeem compensation for past and future medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering. The most common personal injury lawsuits involve car/truck accidents, sports injuries, work-related injuries, defective products, negligence and malpractice. These injuries can severely damage a person’s future with disabling head and brain injury, spinal cord injury, back and neck injury, birth injury, knee injury, paralysis. Even dog bites can cause serious injury.

Injuries at work can also be extremely disabling; employees can sue for damages incurred from exposure to toxic chemicals or harmful materials, safety hazards, accidents due to poor equipment or negligence, wrist injury and carpel tunnel.

 

What to do if you are Injured?

After the initial shock and any immediate medical treatment required, start to collect evidence about the accident. Were there any witnesses? If so, get their names and contact information. If applicable, take photos of the accident scene. Get copies of all your medical reports. If your accident happened at work, tell your employer immediately and fill out the necessary forms—you will need these for insurance purposes and/or worker’s compensation.

Next, you will want to talk to an experienced personal injury lawyer and your insurance company and figure out how much your claim is worth. (If you think you are not being treated fairly or believe you are entitled to more compensation from your insurance company it is particularly important that you seek legal help.) There are a lot of variables to take into account, particularly if your injury is ongoing and medical attention will be needed down the road.

A person or organization that is liable (to blame) for your accident usually has liability insurance from their insurance company. A personal injury claim should cover the following: medical care and related expenses lost income. “Lost” because of time spent unable to work or undergoing treatment for injuries, permanent physical disability or disfigurement loss of family, social, and educational experiences, including missed school or training, vacation, recreation, or special event emotional damages, such as stress, embarrassment, depression, or strains on family relationships. These may include the inability to care for children to psychological sexual dysfunction to damaged property. Once liability has been proven, an insurance company will determine the amount of compensation.

Generally, an insurance adjuster negotiates a claim by a “damages formula” that includes medical expenses as well as pain and suffering and other non-monetary losses, referred to as “general damages”.

What is my Personal Injury case Worth?

Since every personal injury case is vastly different, it would be impossible to give an exact answer without knowing the details of your case. When awarding compensation to personal injury victims, the severity of the injury will be taken into consideration as well as any medical and physical therapy bills (past and future), rehabilitation costs, lost wages (past and future), pain and suffering and much more. It will be the duty of your attorney to calculate all the costs and estimate the total possible recovery that you are legally entitled to.

To calculate how much your injury is worth, go to this personal injury calculator.

http://www.alllaw.com/articles/nolo/personal-injury/calculator.html

It’s hard to be truly compensated for the pain and suffering you experienced when injured, but Gor & Associates will fight hard to maximize your award.

Keep in mind that all accidents and claims are unique. All estimates are just that. Estimates.

Do I have the right to take Legal Action and File a Personal Injury Claim?

Many people are injured on a daily basis in all types of accidents from car crashes, slips and falls, construction accidents, burn injuries, animal attacks, swimming pool accidents, medical malpractice and much more. Sometimes it is difficult to tell when you have a valid legal claim, but the main objective is to determine who is at fault for the incident and hold them accountable for paying the damages. If someone else was partially or fully responsible for causing your injuries, speak with a qualified injury attorney.

Should I accept the settlement that the Insurance Company offers Me?

Insurance companies make major company profits off of injury cases because they always offer to pay the victim the lowest possible amount. Their end goal is to pay as little as possible. You should never settle for less than you deserve. Once you accept their offer, you give up your right to seek additional compensation for future expenses. With an attorney working on your side, you can better ensure that you will get the total injury settlement that you are entitled to.

It’s important to remember that insurance representatives work for the insurance companies. No matter how nice they are, they are not necessarily looking out for your best interests. It’s always good to have an attorney to represent your interests.

What can I tell the Insurance Adjusters?

Before speaking with any insurance adjusters, it is always wise to consult with a qualified injury lawyer. There are certain pitfalls that you can fall into because insurance adjusters are always looking for ways to deny or underpay injury claims. It is always wise to refrain from giving your recorded statement to the insurance adjusters. You should also speak with your lawyer before signing any medical releases or authorizations.

How long do I have to file my Personal Injury Lawsuit?

In California, the Statute of Limitations for personal injury cases for an adult is usually two years. This means that you have two years from the date the accident occurred to file a lawsuit. Keep in mind that the Statute of Limitations can change depending on the type of claim or the negligent party involved. For example, medical malpractice lawsuits must be filed within three years from the date of the injury.

Here’s a partial list of statutes of limitation in California:

  • For personal injuries, you have two years from the date of the injury to file a claim
  • For a breach of a written contract you have four years from the date the contract was broken.
  • For a breach of an oral contract you have two years from the date the contract was broken.
  • To file a claim for property damage you have three years from the date the damage occurred.
  • Claims against government agencies are a little different: You must file a claim with the agency within 6 months (for some cases, 1 year) of the incident. If the claim is denied, you can still file your lawsuit in court but there are strict limits to process. You need an experienced attorney like Gor & Associates, to handle your claim with speed and knowledge.
How long could my Personal Injury case take from Start to Finish?

This also depends on the specifics of your injury case. If you sustain a minor injury and there are only two parties involved, your case could conclude in a matter of months. However, if there were serious injuries sustained and/or litigation is initiated, it is not uncommon for cases to last from 1-2 years.

What do I do if the negligent party does not have Insurance?

Don’t lose hope! There are still ways to seek compensation even if the party at fault does not have automobile insurance coverage. You can file an injury claim with your own insurance carrier pursuant to your uninsured motorist coverage.

Contract Law

Will Your Contract Be Enforced Under the Law?

A contract will be enforced if it fulfills some basic rules regarding the formation of a legally binding contract. There are a number of common defenses to the enforcement of a contract that include:

  • Lack of Capacity – A person must, at the time of the formation of the contract, have the ability to understand the agreement they are entering into. Someone with a mental disability, a minor, or someone drugged without their knowledge may be relieved of their obligations under an otherwise valid contract because they lacked capacity.
  • Undue Influence, Duress, Misrepresentation – Where a contracting party would not have entered into an agreement except for the undue influence of another, due to duress, or had they been aware of the other party’s misrepresentations they may have a defense against the enforcement of a contract. Undue influence is when a person is convinced to act against their best interests by nature of their relationship with the other party. Duress occurs when one party agrees because of the unlawful or wrongful threats of the other person. Misrepresentation occurs when one party deliberately misrepresents facts to the other party.
  • Unconscionability – When enforcing a contract would result in an outcome considered oppressive or shocking to the conscience the court can choose not to enforce the contract. This typically occurs when there is a gross imbalance in the strength and sophistication of the parties.
  • Public Policy and Illegality – If a contract includes terms that require a party to break a law the court will refuse to enforce the contract.
  • Mistake – If both parties made a mistake as to a basic assumption on which the contract is based the court may refuse to enforce its terms. This mistake must relate to facts at the time the contract was made. Failing to read a contract does not create a defense to enforcement, however.

Lemon Law

Does my used car qualify under the California lemon law?

Yes. Used cars can qualify under the California lemon law as long as your sale came with a written warranty. If your vehicle was sold “as is,” then the lemon law will not likely apply. There are other laws that may apply to your situation, including consumer fraud laws that could offer assistance to you.

How long does the lemon law apply in California?

The California lemon law applies for as long as the vehicle is covered by any warranty sold with the vehicle. In some instances, where a consumer has taken his vehicle in for warranty repairs toward the tail end of their express warranty, and the defect is not actually repaired, the warranty by law continues to cover that portion of the vehicle until the defect is actually repaired, notwithstanding expiration of the warranty.

How many times must I take my car back for repairs before it is considered a "lemon?"

The manufacturer is allowed a “reasonable” number of attempts to repair the vehicle. Although the law does not specify what a reasonable number of attempts is, three or four repairs are often considered reasonable. What is reasonable may well depend upon the seriousness of the particular problem. Another factor that must be considered is the number of miles in-between repair attempts.

What action should I take if I believe my vehicle is a safety defect?

If the consumer is under the impression that there is a safety problem or defect with his or her vehicle, it should be brought to the attention of the dealer for a second opinion. Another option is to contact the manufacturer directly.

If I purchased my vehicle in another state, but live in California, which state's lemon laws apply?

According to the California Department of Consumer Affairs, the California Lemon Laws only apply to vehicles sold or leased in the state of California. If you live in California, but purchased your vehicle in another state, you may still be entitled to protections under that state’s lemon laws.

Do all states in the U.S. have lemon laws?

Every state has at least some version of auto warranty laws that resemble the federal Magnuson–Moss Warranty Act, an act that protects consumers against breach of warranty committed by the manufacturer. California’s auto-specific warranty laws or “lemon laws” are found in the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act.

I want to purchase a vehicle, but was told it's a "lemon law buyback vehicle." What does this mean?

Lemon law buyback vehicles are certain vehicles that were reacquired by the manufacturer due to a warranty defect. To know for sure whether a vehicle is a lemon law buyback, check the title and registration certificate. It should be listed there. Read more information on Lemon Law Buyback Vehicles.

What is the Better Business Bureau Auto Line?

The BBB Auto Line is a free program of the California Department of Consumer Affairs. Consumers with automobile warranty disputes can file with the BBB Auto Line as long as their vehicle’s manufacturer is one of the participating manufacturers. Currently, there are 15 manufacturers on the list. Resolving your case this way is different than going the lemon law route. Many consumers find that the BBB Auto Line process takes an inordinate amount of time and doesn’t produce desirable results, which is why many choose to hire a lemon law attorney.

What damages may I be entitled to under the California lemon law?

You may be entitled to receive a replacement or a refund. In addition, you can recover registration fees, rental car expenses, and charges for towing. As the consumer, you may elect to have a repurchase instead of a replacement. In some circumstances the manufacturer is entitled to a mileage offset for the value of the miles you drove the vehicle prior to the first attempt at repair. Our firm can help you fight for just compensation for damages under California’s lemon law. We encourage you to take immediate action to ensure that your rights are protected.

Pharmacy Law

Is it legal for patients to have their prescriptions filled by a foreign pharmacy?

Consumers who buy prescription drugs from foreign countries are at risk of suffering adverse events, some of which can be life threatening. These risks include potential side effects from inappropriately prescribed medications, dangerous drug interactions or side effects due to drug contamination. Patients are also at risk because there is no certainty about what they are getting when they purchase some of these drugs. Although some patients may receive genuine product, others may unknowingly buy counterfeit copies that contain inert ingredients, legitimate drugs that are outdated and have been diverted to illegitimate resellers, or dangerous sub-potent or super-potent products that were improperly manufactured. Moreover, consumers who are desperately seeking a cure for a serious medical problem may be more willing to accept a product of unknown origin. In the case of foreign-based sources, if a consumer has an adverse drug reaction or any other problem, they have little or no recourse either because the physical location or operator of the pharmacy often is not known or the seller is beyond the consumer’s reach. it is also important to point out that it is illegal, under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic (FD&C) Act, to import unapproved, misbranded, and adulterated drugs into the U.S. This includes foreign versions of U.S.-approved medications. It is also illegal for anyone other than the drug’s manufacturer to re-import a prescription drug that was originally manufactured in the U.S.

Can a pharmacist be criminally liable for making a medication error?

Every pharmacist makes mistakes, and all too often, medication errors occur. Sometimes the system does not catch a medication error and it reaches a patient. Sometimes, thankfully not often, an error injures a patient. Negligence charges are common in civil cases involving professional malpractice. In civil cases, negligence means deviation from professional standards of practice or failure to exercise due care. In criminal cases, negligence means something more. A person is [criminally] negligent when, because of a substantial slip from the standard of care [the person] fails to take steps to evade a risk that his conduct may cause a certain result. … It defines a higher degree of negligence than ordinary negligence. For one to be [criminally] negligent … he must be guilty of a substantial departure from due care, whereas ordinary negligence merely requires a failure to exercise due care.

Product Liability

Wrongful Death

What is wrongful death?

When a person’s death is caused by the wrongful act or negligence of another person or corporation, the death is described as “wrongful death”.

What damages are obtained in a wrongful death case?

In the state of California, the law for wrongful death lawsuits, provide the damages recovered to be economic and non-economic losses. The economical loss damages are for past and future loss of financial support by the deceased, funeral and burial costs and the loss of household services. These damages are often dependent on the testimony of expert economists. The non-economic damages are based on the loss of a loved one’s companionship, care, affection, moral support, love, guidance, society and mentoring. The non-economic damages have no fixed standard in determining the amount of damages. Since the facts are different in every wrongful death case, the amount of recovery will also be different.

What is the wrongful death statute of limitations?

In the state of California, the statutes of limitations can vary, it will depend upon the nature of the action, the general statute of limitations for an injury death is two years from the date of the death, however in a medical malpractice case the time limit can be as short as one year from the date of death. It may also depend on the status of the plaintiff and defendants. When the case is against a government entity, prior to filing a lawsuit, a government tort must be filed and this has a 180-day time period, in which it must be filed. There are special circumstances, when the statute of limitations may be extended, and this is if the injured person has a mental disability or is a minor.

Who can file a wrongful death lawsuit?

The California, Code of Civil Procedure §377.60 outlines, who may bring a wrongful death claim. These parties include the surviving spouse of the decedent, domestic partner, children and children of pre-deceased children. Stepchildren and parents may also have the right to bring a wrongful death claim, if they were financially dependent on the deceased, if they died without a will. It is possible in some cases, for a minor, who is not a natural child or step-child, but who resided in the home of the deceased for six months prior to the death and was dependent upon the decedent for at least one half or more of their financial support, has the right to bring a wrongful death claim. In this type of lawsuit, “domestic partner” means a person in a registered domestic partner relationship that was established within the requirements of the California Family Code, in order to bring a wrongful death lawsuit.

When a wrongful death lawsuit is settled, does it become public?

The answer is no, there is no requirement to make the settlement in a wrongful death case public, in the event that both parties agree that it will remain confidential. In many cases the defendants will request that one of the conditions in the settlement is that it involves a contractual pledge that the plaintiff keeps the terms of the settlement and the amount of recovery confidential.

What are the rules about where my wrongful death lawsuit will be filed?

In California the wrongful death claim, which is a civil action seeking damages must be filed where any of the defendants live or in the county where the fatal injury occurred. Generally, in the State Court, where the victim’s survivors, who are plaintiffs reside is not considered. When the liable party is a government entity, the case may be required to be filed in the county of the government entity is located.

Should I lose, will I have to pay for the defenses costs and fees?

In the state of California, there is a law known as no “losers pay,” which means that whether the case involves a settlement or a verdict, the plaintiff and defendant are responsible for their own attorney’s fees.

Do special rules apply in medical cases, in which a wrongful death is claimed?

California has special statutes, which govern the prosecution of medical malpractice cases. The surviving heirs are limited to a non-economical maximum of $250,000. This means damages, for loss of comfort, care, affection, society and support. The heirs are permitted to seek economic damages for loss of financial support, the value of household services, and other damages. There are specific procedural rules when prosecuting a medical malpractice wrongful death case. One of these requirements is that the defendant must be notified, by sending special notification letters, which are pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure §364. This letter of notification must be provided to the defendants at least 90 days, prior to filing the action, which the plaintiff’s intention is to initiate a claim. Medical malpractice cases, involving a wrongful death are complicated, expensive, and take extraordinary amounts of time and legal expertise.

When the death occurred in the workplace, is there someone that can be liable in a wrongful death claim?

When a workplace accident occurs, which results in a wrongful death, usually the only recourse the heirs will have against the employer is through worker’s compensation laws. In the event that the death was due to the wrongdoing of someone other than the employer, the heirs have the right to bring a claim against them. This can be a subcontractor, a co-worker, another person or a defective product manufacturer.

Are there special rules or regulations when filing a lawsuit against the city or state?

In the state of California there are special rules, when you have a case against a government entity, which are pursuant to the provisions of the California Government Code. This code requires any individual bringing a lawsuit, whether it is against the city, state, school district, water district or any other government entity to file a California government tort claim. The prosecution of wrongful death cases against a government entity is complex. If you feel you have a claim against a government entity, political individual or party, the legal expert you consult will need to be a government wrongful death specialist, in order to properly evaluate your claim and determine if a government claim should be filed.

Do I need to have a lawyer, when filing a wrongful death case?

Wrongful death law is complex and the potential plaintiffs should consult an attorney, who will be able to protect the rights of those survivors entitled to a recovery. Legal representation is beneficial and the legal wrongful death specialist will have an extensive knowledge of the statute of limitations and government tort law.

When should I contact a lawyer?

It is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible, following the fatal incident. Evidence needs to be collected and the event investigated, which can deteriorate over time. Witness’s memories can fade and early investigation permits witnesses to be interviewed, photographs to be taken and evidence gathered. There is also the statute of limitations, which begins running on the date of the fatal event. The lawsuit will be denied, if filed after time runs out.

Can the party’s filing a wrongful death lawsuit have separate attorneys?

It is possible for the heirs to have separate lawyers, and in some cases this is necessary, if the heirs are unfriendly toward each other. When this occurs, the heirs should attempt to remain on speaking terms and try to get along, because it can sometimes affect the value of the case.

Is it possible for the heirs to sue for pain and suffering, in a wrongful death lawsuit?

Pain and suffering is normally awarded in a personal injury case and California law does not permit the recovery of it in a wrongful death case. Instead the survivors are awarded compensation for the loss of a loved one.

Is it possible for a brother or sister to file a wrongful death claim?

In most cases it is not possible, the plaintiffs are defined by statute and in most cases these are the surviving spouse, and the decedent’s children. There are some circumstances in the event of financial dependency or the absence of a surviving spouse that the parents of an adult child may be the plaintiffs in a wrongful death case.

Is it possible for a surviving heir to file a wrongful death claim, if the deceased spouse had no earnings?

In the event that a loved one did not provide financial support, California law recognizes that the loss of life is more important than the loss of income. The survivors will suffer the loss of the victim’s love, comfort, care, emotional support, consortium, and society. The family may also be compensated for the services the deceased may have provided and would have continued providing, which includes housekeeping, childbearing and other activities.

What happens if a person dies prior to bringing a personal injury lawsuit?

In a case where a person dies from the injuries that would have been involved in an injury lawsuit, in the state of California, then the legal heirs may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Typically, the pain and suffering, which would have been pre-death and a part of the original personal injury lawsuit are not generally recoverable and die with the victim.

Have you been injured in a car accident or otherwise suffered an injury at the fault of another?
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