When someone is harmed or acquires and injury and another individual is at fault for the accident then it is known as personal injury. Being able to legally prove that the person at fault is responsible for the injury and accident can be a difficult task. Our Edelman attorneys will be by your side through every step of the legal process. Personal injury cases are built by civil court proceedings where the point is to find the opposing legal party at fault via a court judgement or a legal settlement. If these scenarios fail, then an actual trial may come forth.
To begin a personal injury claim, an individual would file a legal complaint the court against another person, small business, corporation, or government agency. The person injured will claim that the guilty party acted carelessly and was irresponsible with their actions or their withholding of actions and that they caused the accident or injury sustained. This is what is known as “filing a lawsuit”. Most of these lawsuits end up in a form of settlement. A settlement is where a negotiation ensues where both the plaintiff and the defendant must sign a final agreement that their dispute will end as stated in the settlement.
To simplify, personal injuries are physical injuries and harms caused by the careless, unreasonable acts of lack of action by someone else or a business. A legitimate personal injury claim will illustrate how the injury (physical or psychological) to the victim, and are not limited to personal property damages. Some common categories of personal injury claims are tripping accidents, assault claims, traffic accidents, dog bite accidents, and defective products (product liability). Personal injury is a wide term that also includes medical, dental, and nursing home neglect and abuse. All of these categories are all negligence claims. The intent of the responsible party and their negligence is examined and questioned in order to determine the correct settlement.
When a person acts, or fails to act when they are to owe a duty to another individual that is known as negligence. When a customer slips and falls after slipping on a water spill, breaking their leg, and the spill had been left and not cleaned promptly then the store owner could be at fault and found guilty of negligence. Most states view negligence claims in the same manner, and California negligence laws adhere to the legal doctrine of “comparative fault”. The victim is allowed to sue the defendant for the correct amount of damages attributed to the defendant. The plaintiff has to be able to prove that the guilty party had a duty to act or fail to act to maintain a safe environment. The plaintiff will need to prove that the defendant breached their duty to maintain a safe environment for those surrounding them and that they were negligent. This is not an easy thing to do. The breach of duty by the defendant has to be what directly caused the accident and injuries to the plaintiff. In other words, the at fault party should have acknowledged and foreseen the imminent dangers of their acts or their failure to act. If the defendant had been more responsible with his or her actions in the same situation elsewhere and result would have been prevented, then this helps to prove the negligence factor. The victim could very well be entitled to compensation from the guilty party if able to prove negligence. Negligence is one of the main types of personal injury disagreements in California courts.
Although negligence is the leading type of personal injury cases in California, there are a few more to discuss. The intention wrong doctrine is when an injury that was caused was by a deliberate act to intentionally hurt or injury another person occurs. Cases involving this doctrine usually have punitive damages to account for and traditional damages.
When a person can be held liable for harm or an injury caused regardless of if the guilty party intentionally or neglectfully caused the accident is known as the strict liability doctrine. When a claim such as this is filed, the plaintiff must show and prove their actual physical, mental or emotional harm done by the accident.
When the defendant establishes their argument and states that the victim is to blame or at least partially to blame for the accident and the injuries that took place is known as shared fault. Dealing with a shared fault scenario can be difficult, so having one of our experienced attorneys will aid you in this endeavor. These situations of shared liability can affect the total amount of compensation awarded. The California legal system uses a “pure comparative negligence” rule. Basically, the rule explains that the amount of compensation an individual is allowed to receive will be subtracted or reduced by their amount of fault involved in the accident. As example, if there is a car crash where the driver of one vehicle fails to stop at a red light and speeds into another car, all while the driver of the other car is speeding a little over the speed limit then both parties are partially at fault. The first driver is around 90% to blame due to not stopping, but the other driver is still 10% at fault because they were speeding. The settlement would most likely in this case award the speeding driver the larger compensation.
Dog bites are another important type personal injury. Dog bite laws can differ from state to state. However, most states will protect dog owners from liability for the first instance of injury, or at least they will to some extent. This usually is referred to as the “one bite” rule. In the state of California, dog owners are kept on a short leash, and are held “strictly liable” in which the owner can be held responsible in near all instances where their dog bites another individual. Most of the time no negligence or fault even has to be shown.
Compensation from personal injury claims can depend greatly on the severity of the injuries and accident. Injuries as severe like disfigurements, broken bones, and brain damage that take a great deal of suffering generally merit the largest settlements. Victims can receive compensation for long periods of time, sometimes spanning years into the future. This is the case when the victim’s injuries are so immense that their whole lives change and their enjoyment of life often changes too. This is referred to as loss of life or enjoyment. When someone is unable to go back to work regularly then loss of wages can be part of the settlement. General damages are not monetary damages. Having an experienced personal injury lawyer that has expertise in handling claims like yours will have much to do with how well your settlement goes. General damages are post-accident mental issues, public humiliation due to scars or other factors, emotional stresses, and social problems. Documentation from psychologists or other health and social experts are needed to prove these types of damages are legitimate and can be factored into the settlement.
The statute of limitations in the state of California are specific to the amount and types of damages that are able to be recovered in personal injury cases. California will not permit or award non-economic pain and suffering damages to motor vehicle drivers that are without insurance. Uninsured drivers are not able to recover any non-monetary damages after a motor vehicle accident, even if the other driver involved is completely at fault for the accident. Medical Injury Compensation Act or MICRA sets a $250,000 maximum on non-economic damages given in a malpractice case.
Always contact a lawyer following a personal injury incident immediately for if you wait you may run out of time to file a legal claim. The statute of limitations in the state of California for the amount of time one has to file a personal injury claim is within two years of the actual date of the incident. If you wait past the two-year mark, then the California court will more than likely disregard your claim and refuse to hear your case. Your chance at receiving any compensation will be lost. So please if you are in need of a personal injury lawyer, do not hesitate to call our Coachella Valley personal injury attorneys.