Personal Injury & Insurance disputes
Personal injury is a legal term for an injury to the body (as well as the mind or emotions), as opposed to an injury to property, and is a subset of civil law that generally consists of auto accidents, “trip & fall” accidents, assault & battery, as well as medical negligence and malpractice.
Generally, the goal of a personal injury lawsuit is to recover monetary damages—a money award that compensates the victim for the injury. Generally, these money awards consist of “compensatory” damages (or actual damages), but sometimes also include “punitive” damages (particularly when the injuries were caused by intentional misconduct or malice). The goal of compensatory damages is to make the victim “whole”—to compensate the victim for their losses. Generally, compensatory damages consist of “economic” damages—the monetary losses sustained as a result of the injuries (e.g. lost wages or earnings, medical bills and expenses, property damage, etc.)—and “non- economic” damages, often called “pain & suffering”—the emotional/psychological impact resulting from the injuries. Often, the value of these non-economic damages is hotly contested, as the amount of money necessary to compensate an individual for the pain and suffering resulting from their injuries is highly subjective, and can be quite substantial. Depending on the severity of the injuries, pain and suffering may be valued at two to ten times economic damages! For example, in a case involving particularly egregious injuries where actual out-of-pocket damages are $100,000, damages for pain & suffering may be as high as $1,000,000, making the total case worth $1,100,000.
In contrast to compensatory damages, punitive damages are sometimes available when compensatory damages are deemed an inadequate remedy, and the goal of punitive damages is to punish the defendant. In California, punitive damages are governed by Civil Code section 3294, which provides that an award of such damages is available when the defendant is guilty of “malice, oppression, or fraud.” When available, punitive damages are usually calculated as a multiple of actual damages (for example, 3X actual damages). When punitive damages are available, the value of the case can increase substantially. For example, in the hypothetical above where compensatory damages were valued at $1,100,000, punitive damages could be valued at $3,300,000 (i.e. 3x actual damages), making the total value of the case $4,400,000!
At E. Johnson Law, we provide special attention to those who have been involved in accidents and/or sustained serious personal injuries. Due to a nearly fatal accident ultimately resulting in the amputation of his right leg, attorney Erik Johnson is uniquely positioned to represent personal injury victims in a way few others can offer. Ironically, this tragic accident has given our firm a unique tactical advantage by providing us with instant and indisputable credibility—which obviously provides us with a great deal of leverage, whether in speaking to a jury, or negotiating with an insurance carrier or opposing counsel.
Additionally, being the son of a Registered Nurse (RN) and exposed to the health care industry at a young age allowed Erik to acquire a unique insider’s perspective of the industry. This perspective, combined with his first-hand experience of dealing with insurance providers in the wake of his own life-changing accident, has provided him with a very in-depth and personal understanding of the health insurance industry and the labyrinthine process of obtaining health insurance benefits.
In light of this personal experience, we are uniquely positioned to provide counseling and guidance to those who have suffered personal injuries, and particularly those who are having difficulties dealing with insurance companies in the midst of their personal losses. We are personally invested in assisting those who have suffered, and serve as fervent and vigilant advocates in dealing with insurance companies bent on denying coverage or making it difficult to obtain the health care needed to address your needs.
So whether you have been involved in a car accident, or were injured due to someone else’s negligence, or simply need assistance obtaining insurance benefits, we are genuinely interested in addressing your needs and helping you obtain the necessary relief. Please give us a call!