Serious injuries can lead to major setbacks for victims. Not only can an injury cause temporary or permanent disabilities, but victims and their families often incur tremendous medical and out-of-pocket expenses. At Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger, we are here to help when you need a Santa Rosa personal injury attorney. If another person has caused your injuries, contact us to investigate your claim and secure the compensation you deserve.
Why choose Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger?
After sustaining an injury caused by another person’s actions, seek assistance from one of the most reputable personal injury firms in the US. Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger is ready to help.
- We are one of the most successful personal injury firms in the country and have recovered more than one billion dollars on behalf of our wrongfully injured clients.
- We have a success rate of more than 98% for the personal injury cases we have handled.
- We have a full-time physician on staff to help us understand your injuries and prove your case in court.
Our team understands that many victims of personal injuries lack the resources necessary to afford an attorney, which is why we take Santa Rosa personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that we do not collect any legal fees until after we secure the compensation you deserve.
Santa Rosa Personal Injury-Related Questions
Why do you need a Santa Rosa personal injury lawyer?
Many people struggle to understand why they may need an attorney to help with their personal injury case in Santa Rosa. Unfortunately, even the most seemingly straightforward personal injury cases can become complicated very quickly. An attorney is going to have the resources and legal experience necessary to conduct a full investigation into the incident in order to recover the compensation you are entitled to. An attorney is going to be necessary to:
- Obtain every piece of evidence needed to prove liability in the case. This can include statements from eyewitnesses, video or photo surveillance, accident reports, internal company documents, and more.
- Work to ensure their client receives quality medical care to treat their injuries.
- Use medical and economic experts to properly calculate their client’s total expected losses.
- Work with everybody involved to obtain a fair settlement on behalf of the client.
How Much Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Charge?
Affording an attorney may seem like a daunting prospect, but you may be surprised to learn that you will not have to pay for your attorney right away. At Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger, our Santa Rosa personal injury lawyers understand that victims in these cases are often put into difficult financial spots. With incoming medical bills and the possibility of not being able to work, most of our clients do not have extra resources to pay for an attorney.
That is why we take Santa Rosa personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that our clients will never have to pay upfront or out-of-pocket costs for their case. Our attorneys will only recover their legal fees after they secure the compensation that their client is entitled to. Simply put, if we do not win your case, you will not pay any legal fees. This type of fee arrangement allows for those who experience financial difficulty to hold at-fault parties and insurance carriers responsible.
Understanding personal injuries in Santa Rosa
Personal injury law encompasses a wide range of ways that someone could be hurt due to the negligence of another person, company, or entity. At Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger, we have extensive experience handling personal injury claims that arise in various ways, including:
- Car accidents
- Semi-truck or other large truck crashes
- Motorcycle accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Dog bite incidents
- Nursing home abuse and neglect
- Medical negligence
- Premises liability/property owner negligence
- Birth injuries and cerebral palsy cases
Injuries that arise from these incidents are often severe. Our Santa Rosa personal injury lawyers regularly help clients who have suffered from spinal cord trauma, traumatic brain injuries, broken and dislocated bones, amputation injuries, internal organ damage, and more. Aside from these traumatic injuries, we regularly help victims who have sustained significant psychological and emotional damage as well.
Can a victim file a lawsuit in these cases?
While many personal injury cases will be resolved through settlements with insurance carriers, it may be necessary for victims to file personal injury claims against an alleged negligent party. According to the California Code of Civil Procedure section 335.1, there is a two-year statute of limitations in place in these cases. This means the victims have a two-year window from the date their injury occurs with which to file claims against the at-fault party, or they could lose the ability to recover any compensation for their losses.
We want to point out that filing an insurance claim is not the same thing as filing a personal injury lawsuit. In general, insurance claims must be made within a very short amount of time after the incident occurs. The two-year statute of limitations does not apply to insurance claims, though the carriers do have their own deadlines that need to be adhered to. If the insurance carrier fails to offer a fair settlement or denies a claim, then a personal injury lawsuit may be required.
What Evidence Is Collected in an Injury Case?
In the aftermath of sustaining a personal injury, victims may be required to obtain various types of evidence to prove what really happened in the incident. Evidence is typically what insurance carriers or juries will need to see in order to agree to pay compensation to the injury victim. There needs to be proof that the other party caused the incident.
No two personal injury cases are alike, and the evidence gathered in one type of case is going to look different than the evidence gathered in a different case. For example, the evidence necessary to prove liability in a motorcycle accident will inevitably be different than the evidence needed to prove a workplace elevator slip and fall accident. However, some common types of evidence that are gathered in personal injury cases include the following:
- Accident reports or police reports
- Statements from eyewitnesses to the incident
- Photographs taken in the aftermath of the incident
- Any video surveillance of the incident
Again, each personal injury case is different. Vehicle accidents may require evidence such as cell phone data records and vehicle “black box” data. If criminal charges have been filed against the person responsible for the injury, then the evidence presented in the criminal case will likely also be used in the personal injury claim. For example, if a person is injured by an alcohol-impaired driver, the criminal case will likely involve field sobriety tests, blood alcohol content tests, and statements from the police officer. This evidence will also be a part of the personal injury case.
At Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger, our Santa Rosa personal injury attorneys work quickly to obtain and preserve evidence when we start with your case. We understand how important evidence is to prove liability and secure compensation for your losses. Injury victims may have trouble gathering certain types of evidence on their own, as court orders may be needed. That is why working with an attorney is the best route to take in these situations.
Are You Required to Go to Court?
The answer as to whether or not you would be required to go to court for a personal injury claim is “Maybe.” The vast majority of personal injury claims are resolved through settlements with insurance carriers before a lawsuit has even been filed. In these cases, personal injury victims will not be required to go to court. However, if the insurance carrier or at-fault party refuses to offer you a fair settlement or denies your claim, it will be necessary to file a personal injury lawsuit in civil court.
Even after a lawsuit is filed, most personal injury cases are still settled before anyone is required to go in front of a jury. Attorneys for the plaintiff and defendant will continue negotiations even as they are investigating the case, going through the discovery process, and taking depositions. Only if a settlement cannot be reached will a jury trial need to be scheduled, and the victim need to go to court.
What is the Timeline of a Personal Injury Case?
There is no specific timeline for a personal injury case. Rather, the total length of time it takes to resolve a personal injury matter depends on the factors related to each particular situation.
For claims that are resolved through insurance settlements, it may only take a few weeks or maybe a few months to complete. However, if it becomes necessary to file a personal injury lawsuit in Santa Rosa, this timeframe may stretch to several months to even a year or more.
Even though most personal injury lawsuits are settled before they go to trial, there are still various steps that could take months or even years to complete. This includes the following:
- Full investigations into the incidents by all parties
- The “discovery” phase of the personal injury process where both sides exchange evidence
- Depositions taken when both parties have a chance to question witnesses in the case
- Continued negotiations between the plaintiff and defendant in an effort to reach a fair settlement
If it seems like a settlement will not be reached, the case will ultimately be put on the court’s docket. Often, the docket is very crowded, and it could take some time for a case to finally be heard in front of a jury. As the court date approaches and the jury trial begins, the trial itself will likely only last one or two days.
Can You File an Injury Claim Without an Attorney?
Yes, you are certainly allowed to pursue a personal injury lawsuit without the assistance of an attorney. At Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger, we certainly do not pressure anybody into working with a lawyer if they do not want to. However, we do want to stress that these cases can become incredibly complicated. For personal injury claims that have moved beyond insurance negotiations and settlements, it is very difficult for the injury victim to recover any substantial compensation without legal representation on their side.
An attorney will understand the complexities of these cases as well as the proper paperwork and procedures necessary to get the case filed and to request evidence. It is almost certain that the defendant in the case will have their own lawyer (or the insurance carrier will have a lawyer). Trying to go up against other attorneys without legal expertise could leave an injury victim obtaining absolutely no compensation at all.
What Kind of Compensation Can You Recover?
If you or a loved one have been injured due to the careless or negligent actions of another individual, business, or entity in Santa Rosa, you may be entitled to various types of compensation for your losses. This can include coverage of calculable losses as well as various types of harder to calculate losses.
When a person sustains an injury, they will typically incur various types of expenses that can be calculated by gathering medical bills, proof of loss to earnings, and receipts of other expenses paid out-of-pocket. Some of the most common economic damages personal injury victims receive include the following :
- Medical bill payments
- Coverage of physical therapy or rehabilitation costs
- Any household out-of-pocket expenses
- Lost income if a victim is unable to work
Not all types of losses a person experiences after sustaining an injury are easy to calculate. Injury victims can receive non-economic damages as well, though these are a bit harder to calculate. An injury victim, or their attorney, will typically use a “multiplier” when working to determine the total amount of non-economic compensation they should receive. This method works by adding up the total economic losses and multiplying that amount by a set number (usually 1.5 to 5) to arrive at a fair amount for non-economic losses. Some of the most common types of non-economic damages awarded in personal injury cases include the following:
- Physical and mental pain and suffering
- Loss of quality of life damages
- Compensation for scarring and disfigurement
- Emotional and psychological distress damages
- Loss of consortium for a spouse
- Loss of future earnings of the victim
Punitive damages can be awarded to a victim if the defendant in the case was found to be grossly negligent or if their actions were particularly egregious or even intentional. These damages are meant to punish the wrongdoer and send a signal to others that the type of behavior displayed in this situation is not acceptable. Punitive damages are not awarded in most personal injury cases.
At Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger, we have an extensive track record of success in these cases including a $1 million settlement for a bicyclist who sustained a spinal cord injury in a crash with a taxi and another $1 million settlement for a visitor to a public park who was killed by a falling tree that authorities did not properly take care of.
Handling a situation in which you were partially at fault
Unfortunately, many injury victims in Santa Rosa think that they will not be able to recover compensation if they were at fault in any way for the incident. This is not the case. California operates under a “pure comparative negligence” system. This means that a personal injury victim in Santa Rosa can still recover compensation regardless of whether or not they were in any way at fault for the incident (up to 99% at fault). However, the total amount of compensation they receive will be reduced based on their percentage of responsibility.
For example, if somebody runs a stoplight and ends up getting T-boned, then the person who disobeyed the traffic signal will generally be considered at fault. However, if the person who struck them was looking at their phone and text messaging at the time of the crash, a jury may also find the victim partially responsible for the incident. Suppose, in this case, a jury awards $100,000 to the person injured due to the driver running the stop sign while also finding the injury victim 30% at fault for the incident because they were text messaging. In this case, the injury victim will receive $70,000 in damages.
At Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger, our experienced team will work diligently to prove an injury victim’s potential liability in an incident. This will involve uncovering all evidence needed to determine the liability of the at-fault party and counter any arguments from the insurance carrier or at-fault party that the victim caused their own injuries.
Contact Our Santa Rosa Personal Injury Lawyers Today
Our attorneys will conduct a full investigation into your claim in order to recover compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering damages, and more. When you need a Santa Rosa personal injury attorney, you can contact us for a free consultation of your case by clicking here or calling (415) 981-7210.