One very important step in most personal injury cases is the offer of settlement. California has a statute, Section 998 of the CCP, that can offer important benefits to you. If you make a settlement offer that complies with this law, the defense rejects it, and the jury award in your case exceeds the settlement amount you offered, you may be entitled to recover certain additional costs, like the expert witness fees owed to your experts. For advice about how this law and other rules can benefit you and your efforts to obtain fair compensation, contact a knowledgeable California truck accident attorney.
A real-life example of how Section 998 settlement offers can work was the lawsuit filed by Akiko, a singer and songwriter who was injured in a serious vehicle accident. Akiko, allegedly on a last-minute impulse, decided to travel late one night to Las Vegas. She was a passenger in a Toyota Prius when the Prius ran out of gas. The driver attempted to guide the fuel-less car off the freeway and onto the shoulder, but, as he did so, a fuel tanker truck rear-ended the car.
The injuries inflicted upon Akiko, the passenger, were substantial. She suffered several fractured vertebrae in her back and neck. The harm was significant enough that Akiko spent two months in the hospital.
Akiko sued for her injuries. In her lawsuit, she alleged that the driver of the tanker truck was solely to blame for the accident in which he rear-ended the Toyota carrying Akiko. She also alleged that the overall harm she suffered was widespread and massive. In a personal injury case, there can be a wide array of types of damages to which you may be entitled. Your injuries may allow you to recover compensation for past and future pain and suffering and past and future medical expenses. If your accident harmed your ability to work or to find work in your professional field, that may be another area in which you can receive compensation. In Akiko’s case, she claimed pain and suffering and medical expenses. She also claimed that her injuries had ended her once-promising career as a singer/songwriter.
Akiko made a settlement offer, which was compliant with Section 998 and was just under $2.5 million. The defense rejected it. At trial, Akiko achieved a much more beneficial result, since the jury awarded more than $6.2 million in pain and suffering damages alone. The total jury award, including pain and suffering, medical expenses, and lost earnings, exceeded $7.7 million. Akiko’s success at trial, and her submission of a qualifying 998 offer, meant that she was entitled to recover costs as allowed by Section 998.
There are many steps to achieving a full success in your injury case. In addition to knowing the facts of the case, it helps to have knowledge of the law, the options the law provides you, and how to use those options to your maximum benefit. In other words, it helps to have a skilled injury attorney on your side. The Oakland truck accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen M. Fuerch have been working diligently to provide zealous advocacy and personalized client attention to injured people throughout the Bay Area. To learn more about how we can help you, contact us through our website or call our office at (925) 463-1073 to schedule your confidential initial consultation today.
More Blog Posts:
Overly Broad Release Agreement Costs California Driver in Pedestrian Accident Case, Oakland Personal Injury Attorney Blog, Aug. 31, 2016
Failure to Word Statutory Settlement Offer Properly Costs Defendants in California Motorcycle Accident Case, Oakland Personal Injury Attorney Blog, May 16, 2016