If you have suffered an injury caused by someone else’s recklessness or neglect, you may be able to recover compensation for your losses through an injury claim or lawsuit. The Fresno personal injury attorneys at OnderLaw have decades of experience and a long track record of securing positive outcomes for accident victims, whether they were injured in a car accident, a dog bite incident, or a slip and fall on someone’s property.

Every case begins with the fact that everyone’s story is unique. We’ll take the time to get to know you and understand the circumstances of your accident. We’ll develop a legal strategy and build a strong case that’s tailored to meet your goals.

Having an effective, compassionate personal injury lawyer by your side who cares about you and the results of your case can make all the difference in the compensation you receive. The attorneys at OnderLaw have served personal injury victims in Fresno and across the nation for nearly 20 years and have secured more than $3.5 billion in settlements and verdicts.

If you are thinking about contacting a personal injury attorney, you may be grappling with steep medical bills, lost wages, property damages, as well as pain and suffering. Let us help you get the financial recovery you need so you can focus on healing and getting back on your feet. Call us today or contact us for a free consultation to see how we can help.

Why Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?

If you are suffering from a serious injury caused by another party’s reckless actions, you may be struggling with pain, exhausted, and feeling a significant financial strain. Recovering physically and emotionally is hard enough. Attempting to build a strong injury claim, as well, is overwhelming at best. Claims require a significant amount of time and attention to detail in order to be highly effective. And if the opposing party chooses to dispute your claim, the claims process will be even more difficult.

An experienced personal injury attorney can take on all of the legal legwork for you and guide you through the legal process. A dedicated attorney will thoroughly investigate your accident and gather crucial evidence, enlist the help of expert witnesses who can support your claim, and negotiate assertively with the insurance companies on your behalf so you can put all of your energy into healing.

It is important to remember that insurance companies are businesses, and their priority is to protect their bottom line. Your recovery is not as important to them as the amount of money they can save. For example, they may encourage you to make a recorded statement. However, anything you say can potentially be used to discount or deny your claim. An attorney can handle all of the communication with the insurance adjusters and protect your rights. Trusting a personal injury attorney will give you and your family the best chance at a favorable outcome.

The Fresno personal injury attorneys of OnderLaw have significant experience serving clients who have been injured in a wide range of accidents that include:

Steps to Take After an Accident

Being involved in an accident is a traumatic experience, and it’s easy to find yourself feeling overwhelmed. In order to protect yourself, your health, and your case, we suggest taking a few simple steps:

  • If anyone at the accident scene is injured, call 911. Otherwise, call local law enforcement to bring police officers to the scene. The police officers will create a police accident report, which will be an important piece of evidence in your case.
  • If you were involved in a motor vehicle accident, collect the insurance and contact information from the other driver involved.
  • For accidents that occurred at a residence, place of business, or medical facility, report the incident to the owner and/or any available staff and get their insurance information.
  • If you’re able to, gather every person’s contact information at the scene and get any witness statements. This will be useful in strengthening your case.
  • Take photos that document any injuries you sustained, any property damage that occurred, and anything that may help indicate the cause of the accident.
  • Seek medical attention as soon as possible. Even if your injuries are minor, some injuries take hours, days, or even weeks to fully manifest. Seeing a doctor will help to get you on the mend faster and will create medical reports that will help to link your injury to the accident.
  • Listen and follow your doctor’s orders to the letter. Attend every appointment, therapy session, and do not miss a prescription dose. This will benefit your health, and it will also help prevent the other side from claiming that you are at all responsible for your injuries.
  • When speaking to anyone about the accident at the scene or otherwise, make sure to only speak to the facts of the accident. Do not apologize or blame anyone, especially when talking to insurance companies or lawyers. Anything you say will be used against you if there is a dispute.
  • Stay away from posting about your accident on social media. Information you post may be taken out of context and used against you.
  • Get in touch with a skilled Fresno personal injury attorney. They will review your case at no cost and help you determine your next steps.

What Does an Accident Investigation Look Like?

The main entities involved in investigating accidents are law enforcement, insurance companies, and law firm investigators. Your law firm will seek to gather as much information about an accident through the following steps:

  • Collecting statements – Investigators will work to gather statements from the parties involved in the accident and from any witnesses. This will help determine what events led to the accident and who was at fault. Attorneys may also hire expert witnesses, such as medical experts and economic experts who can speak to the extent of the victim’s injuries and losses.
  • Collecting evidence – Investigators will take photos and/or videos of the scene to document any dangerous conditions that may have caused the accident. They will also gather various information, such as the driving records of a driver involved in a car accident, the logbooks and training records of a truck driver involved in an accident, and property maintenance records of a property that was the scene of an accident.
  • Reconstructing the accident – Sometimes investigators employ accident reconstruction specialists to create visuals of the accident to show any overlooked dangers or contributing factors.
  • Determining if laws were broken – Attorneys will determine whether any local, state, and federal laws were violated in the accident.
  • Determining liability – Attorneys will review all of the evidence gathered to determine liability and to build the strongest case possible for their client.

What Compensation Is Available for Injuries?

A successful settlement will cover any losses you suffered or will suffer as a result of the accident. Compensation is generally divided into three categories. There is economic compensation, non-economic compensation, and punitive damages.

Economic compensation covers losses that have a documented financial value. These may include:

  • Medical expenses – This includes insurance copays, hospital stays, medical bills, prescription costs, and any other medical treatment expenses. These are best tracked by getting copies of your medical records and by keeping every bill and piece of documentation related to your treatment.
  • Lost wages – Any money you lost from missed work due to your injuries or appointments related to the accident and/or any future wages that you will lose as a result of the accident. You may need copies of check stubs, punch cards, appointment dates and times, and any potential disability paperwork to show how your future earning ability has been harmed.
  • Property damage – The costs related to repairing or replacing any damaged property in the accident.

Non-economic compensation covers damages stemming from non-monetary, subjective losses, such as:

  • Pain and suffering – The physical pain and mental anguish you must endure as a result of your injuries.
  • Loss of enjoyment of life – Any lost happiness or enjoyment that your injuries have cost you.
  • Emotional trauma – Anxiety, depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, and other types of emotional trauma that resulted from the accident.

These losses are less tangible than economic losses, but they are no less important. The best way to document your non-economic compensation is to keep a daily journal of how you are coping with your recovery.

Punitive damages are less common, but these may be rewarded when parties act with clear malicious intent or with extreme recklessness or negligence. Punitive damages aren’t intended as compensation for the victim but instead as a punishment for the at-fault party to deter others from engaging in similar behavior.

Common Causes of Fresno Accidents

Every accident is different, but there are several common causes of accidents that we frequently see at OnderLaw:

Automobile accidents:

  • Driving under the influence of alcohol
  • Driving under the influence of drugs
  • Distracted driving
  • Driving while overtired
  • Driving at unsafe speeds
  • Ignoring traffic signals like red lights and stop signs
  • Novice drivers
  • Faulty mechanical parts

Premises liability accidents:

  • Faulty stairs or handrails
  • Poor security
  • Unsecured carpeting
  • Wet/slippery flooring
  • Dangerous chemicals or materials
  • Off-leash dogs
  • Unsecured debris

Worker’s compensation accidents:

  • Repetitive motion
  • Overworking or using incorrect lifting form
  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Automobile accidents
  • Improper training
  • Incidents of violence
  • Exposure to hazardous materials, chemicals, or waste

Nursing home abuse accidents:

  • Inadequate staffing
  • Emotionally fatigued staff
  • Poorly trained staff
  • Poorly paid staff
  • Administrative negligence
  • Improper hiring practices

Common Types of Accidents in Fresno

Accidents come in a variety of forms, but there are a few common types of personal injury accidents that consistently reoccur:

Automobile accidents:

  • Single-car accidents
  • Multiple-car accidents
  • Rear-end crashes
  • Head-on crashes
  • T-bone accidents
  • Rollovers
  • Motorcycle crashes
  • Bicycle accidents
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Accidents involving rideshare services

Premises liability accidents:

  • Accidents involving construction sites
  • Accidents involving swimming pools
  • Accidents at school
  • Slips and falls
  • Poor security
  • Accidents involving escalators and elevators
  • Accidents involving amusement parks
  • Dog bites
  • Fires

Worker’s compensation:

  • Automobile accidents
  • Slip and fall
  • Falling objects/debris
  • Being struck by objects/debris
  • Accidents from operating machinery
  • Exposure to toxic chemicals
  • Workplace conflict/violence

Nursing home abuse accidents:

  • Misdiagnosis
  • Delayed diagnosis
  • Neglected illness
  • Poor hygiene
  • Poor nutrition
  • Dehydration
  • Slip and fall
  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Emotional abuse
  • Financial exploitation
  • Abandonment

Common Injuries Suffered in Fresno Accidents

The reality is that accidents often cause injuries. Sometimes they are minor, but oftentimes the injuries suffered are severe and life-changing. These are the injuries that we typically see in common accidents:

Automobile accident injuries:

  • Cuts and scrapes
  • Concussions
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal injuries
  • Paralysis
  • Internal injuries
  • Burn injuries
  • Whiplash

Premises liability accident injuries:

  • Head injuries
  • Neck injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Dislocated joints
  • Dog bites
  • Drowning
  • Injuries from hazardous chemical exposure/fumes

Worker’s compensation accident injuries:

  • Sprains/strains
  • Soft-tissue injuries
  • Burns
  • Concussions
  • Brain injuries
  • Fracture bones
  • Loss of limb/amputation
  • Slip and fall
  • Back injuries

Nursing home abuse injuries:

  • Choking
  • Bedsores
  • Head injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Infections
  • Slip and fall
  • Broken bones
  • Concussions
  • Dislocated joints
  • Overdose
  • Emotional trauma
  • Injuries from bed rails

What Is the Cost of a Personal Injury Attorney?

If the idea of speaking to a lawyer is intimidating in terms of cost, know that the attorneys at OnderLaw operate on what is called a contingency-fee-basis. This means that the only way we get paid is if you win compensation. We have just as much at stake as you do, which means you can count on our very best to protect your family and demand every penny you are owed.

California Accident Statistics

A look at personal injury statistics in California shows how prevalent accident-related injuries are in the Golden State:

  • In 2019, the Centers for Disease Control reported that accidents were the fifth leading cause of death, with 15,116 accident-related deaths in California that year. The California Department of public health reported 681 accident-related deaths in Fresno in 2019.
  • A recent report from the California Office of Traffic Safety documented traffic accident fatalities. The report noted that the following occurred in 2018:
    • 1,069 people were killed by drunk drivers
    • 42 percent of all traffic fatalities involved someone under the influence of drugs.
    • 488 motorcycle deaths
    • 893 pedestrian fatalities
    • 155 bicycle fatalities
  • According to another report from the Centers for Disease Control, in 2018, 40 people per 100,000 over the age of 65 died from falling-related accidents.
  • According to the State of California Department of Industrial Relations, 451 workers died on the job in 2019.
  • A separate California DIR report showed another 483 were injured on the job in 2019.
  • Dogsbite.org reports that there are
    • 5 million dog bites every year in the United States
    • Almost 27,000 dog bite victims required reconstructive surgery after a dog bite accident
  • San Luis Obispo Tribune reported California as having the most dog bite incidents of any state in 2017, with California accounting for 468 of 3,600 dog-related State Farm claims.

California Personal Injury Laws

Every state has laws on the books which could influence the outcome of a personal injury case. In California, some of the important laws to be aware of include the following:

Traffic laws:

  • Only hands-free electronic devices are permitted to be in use while driving.
  • All motorcycle drivers and passengers must wear a helmet at all times while riding.

Dog bite laws:

  • Regardless of breed, all California dog owners carry liability for damages if their dog is responsible for a dog bite accident.

California comparative negligence rules:

California’s comparative negligence rule states that if an injured person has any level of responsibility in the accident, their compensation will be reduced by the percentage of their responsibility.

California statute of limitations:

When dealing with an injury claim, you need to act as quickly as possible. The longer you wait, the greater the chance that crucial evidence will be lost or destroyed. In addition, there are statutes of limitations that you must abide by in order to proceed with your case:

  • California’s statute of limitations gives injured victims two years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit in court. In rare circumstances, a victim may have longer. An attorney can help you identify the deadlines that apply to your case.
  • Most medical malpractice claims must be filed within one year from the date the victim discovered or should have discovered their injury.
  • Claims against any branches of government are generally limited to six months after the date of the accident.

California personal injury damages caps

  • Uninsured drivers are not eligible to receive “pain and suffering” compensation, with the only exception being if the other driver is convicted of a DUI.
  • Non-economic damages are limited to $250,000 in medical malpractice claims.

Accident Claims Process

While every claim is unique, there is a general process that most injury claims follow, outlined below:

  • Your attorney will investigate your accident to gather evidence that supports your case and shows the full extent of the compensation you’re owed. This may include interviewing you, interviewing eyewitnesses, getting opinions from expert witnesses, gathering medical records, and more.
  • Your attorney will submit a demand letter on your behalf to the insurance company detailing the extent of your injuries and losses and what you are seeking in compensation.
  • Your legal team will negotiate assertively with the insurance adjusters for the full compensation you’re owed. This may entail several rounds of negotiation.
  • When negotiations have concluded, you and your lawyer will determine if the final offer is enough to cover your losses and damages.
  • If the final offer is agreeable, the process will end here, and you and your lawyer will collect the compensation. You will receive your settlement either in a lump sum or in small payments over time.
  • However, if the final offer is not agreeable, you have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit in court. Your experienced trial attorney will guide you through the process from start to finish.

Personal Injury Lawsuits in Fresno

If the at-fault party’s insurance company fails to offer you a fair settlement, and you decide to take the negligent party to court, the legal process will generally follow these steps:

  • First, you need to confirm where you will file the claim. If your claim is work-related, you are best served by filing with the Division of Workers’ Compensation. Otherwise, claims locations will be determined by their value. If the claim is under $10,000, it will qualify for small claims court. If the claim is over $10,000, it will qualify for filing in civil court.
  • After confirming where to file, your lawyer will help you with two important filings. They will help you draft something called a summons. The summons is a legal way to inform the at-fault party that you intend to sue. Then they will help you file your complaint with the court. Your complaint will state the facts of the case and the amount of compensation you feel you are owed.
  • With the paperwork filed, your case will enter the discovery phase. Each attorney will have the opportunity to collect evidence from the other side. Most of the time, this phase is where lawyers will choose to go to mediation outside of court in order to avoid trial.
  • If you are still unable to come to an agreement, your case will go to trial. At trial, your lawyer will argue your case before a judge and/or jury and fight aggressively for your rights.

The Dedicated Legal Representation You Need

If you or a family member have been injured in an accident, you may be in pain, scared, and frustrated. You need a caring, skilled, and effective personal injury attorney to take the weight of a legal claim off your shoulders and guide you through the legal process. The Fresno legal team at OnderLaw has the skills, knowledge, and resources to help you get the compensation you need, as well as help you recover and get back to your life.

We are standing by, ready to stand up for you and your family. Do not let those who caused your pain to take anything more from you. Call us today or reach us online here.