Frequently Asked Questions
The Dominguez Firm provides the following answers to questions frequently
encountered by our attorneys as we help people throughout Southern California
with their personal injury or worker’s compensation claims. If you
have other questions or require advice and representation in a particular
legal matter, please
contact The Dominguez Firm for a free consultation.
Q. What kind of compensation can I receive in my personal injury claim?
A. Generally speaking, you can recover for both economic and non-economic
damages. Economic damages include losses such as property damage, present
and future medical expenses, and lost wages due to time missed from work
or if your injury causes you to have a diminished earning capacity for
the future. Non-economic damages are those which may not have an objective
price tag attached to them, but are nonetheless very real losses. These
damages include things like your pain and suffering, emotional distress,
and mental anguish. In some cases, depending upon the defendant’s
conduct, you may also be able to recover punitive damages, which are designed
to punish the defendant for particularly bad behavior and serve as an
example to others that such conduct is not condoned by the courts.
Q. What if I am struck by a driver who does not have insurance?
A. California state law requires all drivers to carry liability insurance
or proof of financial responsibility sufficient to cover at least $5,000
worth of property damage and $15,000 for personal injury or death to one
person or $30,000 for personal injury or death to more than one person.
Despite this law, however, nearly 20% of the drivers on Los Angeles roads
at any given time may be driving without liability insurance. What happens
if you are hit by an uninsured driver?
If you carry uninsured motorist (UM) coverage yourself, then your own insurance
company should compensate you for your losses up to the amount of your
policy. UM coverage is not required by law, although all insurance companies
are required to offer it to you. Given the number of uninsured drivers
on the road, it is certainly wise to carry as much UM insurance as you
can reasonably afford – at least as much as the amount of liability
insurance you are carrying.
If no insurance is involved, you may need to sue the driver directly. If
successful, you may collect on your judgment through various means, such
as attaching the negligent driver’s property or instituting a wage
Q. How much can I receive in Workers’ Compensation?
A. Total Disability (TD) payments are generally figured at two-third of your
gross wages at the time of your injury. Gross wages are your wages before
taxes are taken out, and include income from all sources. There are also
statutory minimum amounts and maximum amounts that you can make.
Q. What other benefits can I receive besides Total Disability payments?
A. You may be compensated for your medical expenses, as well as vocational
rehabilitation in some cases or money for job training in others. When
a person dies on the job or due to job-related condition or disease, certain
dependants may be eligible for death benefits. There may be other compensation
available in certain circumstances, such as if the employer willfully
endangered the safety of employees, lacked workers’ compensation
insurance, retaliated against you for filing a claim, or failed to deliver
benefits in a timely manner.
Q. How long can I receive Total Disability payments?
A. TD benefits are available if your injury requires you to miss more than
three days of work or be subjected to an overnight hospital stay. You
may continue to receive payments every two weeks until you return to work,
receive a release from the doctor, or your injury has reached the point
where it has improved as much as it is going to. In most cases, you may
be eligible to receive payments for up to 104 weeks (two years), or up
to 240 weeks for certain severe or chronic conditions.