John M. O'Brien & Associates is a leading personal injury law firm in the Sacramento area. Known for providing injured claimants with excellent, skilled legal assistance, John M. O'Brien is a highly sought after attorney in the area. He and his staff have a proven record of success in a complete range of personal injury claims.
Personal Injury: The Method
Filing a personal injury complaint begins by consulting with an attorney to find out if you have a legitimate case. An important thing to remember is that there is a time limit for filing a personal injury lawsuit in California.
You should contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible so you don't miss your window. Also, the sooner an attorney starts investigating your case, the better. Over time, witnesses' memories can become foggy and valuable evidence can be damaged or lost.
If you or a loved one is injured in an auto accident, there are some things you can do to help with the claims process. Try to take comprehensive notes after the accident. Over time, you might forget certain details, so it is important to take notes while the incident is fresh in your memory.
Specific details of the accident will be helpful during the litigation process. If you can, keep a log about your injuries and how you felt each day following the accident. It is also helpful to keep a file that includes the police report, medical reports, hospital bills, and any other paperwork pertaining to the accident.What to Bring for Your Consult?
The Stages of a California Personal Injury Lawsuit
As stated, Mr O'Brien has the experience to handle a number of different types of Sacramento personal injury lawsuits, including auto accidents, boating accidents, product liability cases, dog bite injuries, and wrongful death. We have helped people and families affected by serious injuries including traumatic brain injuries, burn injuries, and spinal cord injuries to recover the money necessary to benefit from the best medical therapy accessible.
Steps after injury due to another person's negligence
If a severe personal injury occurred due to another person, company, or other entity's fault, negligence, or carelessness, victims have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit and to pursue monetary compensation. To do so there are several steps that need to be completed, including:
- Verifying the validity of the claim. After receiving necessary medical treatment, victims should gather all the evidence about their case from the police report to pictures, contact details of potential witnesses, medical report and bills, and other damages sustained. All this evidence should be presented to a personal injury attorney for the case evaluation. Most personal injury attorneys offer free initial case evaluations and are able to explain accurately the validity of the claim and predict the outcome.
- Filing the complaint. Once an attorney has been hired, he will file a legal document named the Complaint. The Complaint is the document that details the plaintiff's allegations and the injury's circumstances. It needs to be delivered personally to the defendant who has to provide the answer, usually, within 30 days. In this document, the defendant admits or denies the allegations.
- Discovery phase. According to federal law, all relevant facts and documents need to be disclosed to both parties before trial. The discovery includes written discovery, document production, and depositions. Plaintiffs need to be ready to participate to interrogatories and make depositions or sworn statements. During these interrogatories, attorneys will be present and can advise their clients on how to behave or what to say. At a certain point during this phase, expert witnesses will be hired and they will make their depositions as well.
- Resolutions before trial. Defendants can file motions during or after the discovery phase requiring the court to dismiss a claim or the entire case.
- Settlement. During the discovery phase, settlement discussions can begin. At some point, the court orders the case to mediation. The mediation is conducted by a retired judge or a neutral third party with the purpose of trying to solve the issue without going to trial. If mediation is successful, and a settlement is reached, the case is closed. When an agreement is not attained, the case will go to trial.
- Trial phase. Personal injury trials take anywhere from four days to three weeks. If the trial is a jury trial, the jury might also require several days to reach a verdict. Jury trials consist of six phases: jury selection, opening assertions, eyewitness statement, and cross-examination, concluding arguments, jury instruction, jury deliberation, and verdict.
- Appeal. If one of the participants is not contended with the result of the lawsuit, an appeal can be filed. During this phase an appeal court reviews the proceedings, looking for potential errors of law. If they find an error that could have influenced the outcome of the lawsuit, the verdict will be turned around.
- Securing money after the trial. Even after a case is won, it can still take time to obtain the monetary award. Although individuals or businesses that are financially stable usually pay judgments that are entered against them, in the case of an insolvent debtor collecting is quite difficult. In most states, post-judgment discovery is allowed to identify an individual's source of income. Bank accounts can be garnished or victims can garnish 25% of the debtor's paycheck for up to ten years.
There are many elements that are difficult to predict in a personal injury lawsuit, but the basic steps are common in all legal proceedings. To be properly prepared it is necessary for plaintiffs to understand accurately these stages before even filing the claim. Personal injury lawyers should explain to their clients the major steps of the process and what to expect in each one of them.
Personal Injury Process: Verdicts and Settlements
Committed to obtaining maximum recoveries, Mr O'Brien has recovered millions of dollars in personal injury compensation for people and families who have been hurt by others. Some recent verdicts and settlements are:
- Verdict in excess of $7 million for a client who was rendered quadriplegic in a shooting
- $4,500,000 settlement in a complex product liability case
- $2 million settlement (insurance policy limit) for a client severely injured at a work site in Modesto
- $2.3 million jury verdict against an obstetrician for the wrongful death of a 33-year-old mother of three who died during childbirth
- $1.4 million jury verdict in federal court against Wal-Mart in a falling merchandise case
Only a qualified lawyer who understands California personal injury law can help you recover the full amount of compensation you are entitled to.
Consult Personal Injury Lawyer - John O'Brien
If you or a loved one has been injured by another's negligence or recklessness, you should contact the personal injury lawyers at John M. O'Brien & Associates for skilled and dedicated legal representation in your case. Our personal injury law firm located in the Sacramento and Elk Grove areas was founded with a commitment to assure the finest legal representation available.