Legal disputes that come about when one person suffers harm or sustains an injury, and someone else may be legally responsible for that accident and injury are known as personal injury cases. Personal injury cases are formalized through civil court proceedings where their goal is to find others legally at fault by a court judgement or a settlement made before any lawsuit transpires.
A formal personal injury cases will typically begin when an individual files a complaint in court against another person, corporation, small business or government agency. The individual will claim that the defendant was irresponsible and that they caused the harm done and the injury sustained. The is known as “filing a lawsuit”. Most of these disputes end in some form of settlement. A settlement usually takes the form of negotiation and then a written agreement in which both the defendant and the plaintiff must sign to assure the dispute be ended by said settlement.
Basically, personal injuries are physical harms caused by the acts or lack of acts of another individual or business. Proper claim of personal injury show actual injury to one’s person which can be physical or psychological and not simply damage to personal properties or valuables of another. Personal injury cases take on all types of forms. Common types of personal injury claims are assault claims, traffic accidents, tripping accidents, animal bite accidents, accidents while on a cruise, accidents on the job, slip and fall accidents, and defective products (product liability). Personal injury is a broad term and can also include dental, medical and nursing home abuse or neglect. These are mostly negligence claims. The negligence and intent of the responsible party is really what is in question.
Negligence is when a party acts or fails to act when they owe a duty to another individual. For example, if a customer falls and breaks their hip after slipping on a spill that was left and not promptly cleaned up may have a good claim for negligence against the store owner or business. Definitions of negligence do not vary too much from state to state. California laws of negligence follow the legal doctrine of “comparative negligence”. This allows the plaintiff to sue for the amount of damages attributable to the defendant. The plaintiff must be able to show that defendant had a responsibility to either act or refrain from action to maintain safety. Proving that the defendant breached his duty or was negligent while working or while they should have been being responsible. The defendant’s breach of duty caused the injuries sustained by the plaintiff. Also, that the defendant’s actions were the exact reason or cause of the injuries. Basically, the defendant should have realized and foreseen the dangers of his or her action or lack of action. In order to prove negligence, the victim must prove that the responsible party would have acted differently under the same circumstances, showing that they did not maintain the safety of the said individual. Also, had they acted differently and more responsibly in the same situation that the injured would not be in the predicament that they are now forced to be in. The injured party may be entitled to compensation from the responsible party if negligence can be proven. Proving one’s negligence in a personal injury case can be daunting especially following an injury. Our skilled lawyers at Legal Help Law Group have handle numerous cases and know what is needed to file a personal injury claim. Negligence is the number one type of personal injury disputes but there are a couple other scenarios.
The intentional wrong doctrine explains that the injury was caused by a deliberate act to cause harm to another individual. In these cases, punitive damages and traditional damages may be awarded.
The strict liability doctrine states that a party can be liable for an injury regardless of whether they intended to or negligently caused injury or harm. Once the personal injury claim has been made the victim must show the actual physical, emotional or mental harm that has been done.
Shared fault injury cases are where the defendant makes the argument that the plaintiff is actually to blame or at least partially to blame for the accident occurring and leading to the injury. If there is shared liability than it may affect the total amount of compensation that could be awarded. In shared fault injury cases the state of California follows a “pure comparative negligence” rule. In other words, the amount of compensation one is entitled to receive will be reduced by the amount that is equal to the percentage of fault on the plaintiff’s behalf. A good example of this is if there is a traffic accident where one driver obviously runs a spotlight but the other driver is driving a few miles over the speed limit, then ten percent of blame may be put on the speeding driver and the other ninety percentage may be attached to the driver that ran through the stoplight.
Dog bites are a common type of personal injury and depending on what state you are in the dog bite laws change. Most states protect dog owners to some degree from injury liability for the first time their dog injures someone. This is referred to the “one bite” rule. However, in California a specific statute makes the owner “strictly liable”, which means the dog owner is legally responsible in most instances where their dog bites someone and no amount of negligence or fault needs to be shown or proven.
The total amount of compensation from a personal injury claim will mainly depend on the severity of the injury sustained. Serious injuries like broken bones, loss of limbs, or brain damage that cause extensive pain and suffering receive the largest settlements. An injured individual may even get compensated for the rest of their life if their injuries will continue to cause or change their livelihood or ability to live a normal life. This is also called loss of enjoyment of life. To add to this, loss of earning capacity (future ability to earn) is another suffering that can be compensated for. This basically covers the future necessary medical expenses and the amount of money the injured will miss due to not being able to continue working. General damages are non-monetary damages. One’s general damages and the compensation rendered from them will mainly depend on your lawyer’s handling of the claim. General damages include those based on pain and suffering, mental issues post-accident, emotional stress, social problems and public humiliation. Documentation is needed to prove these damages and may include visits to therapists, career counselors or other relevant professionals. Our attorneys are familiar with these types of damages and will work to convince the necessary entities that you are entitled to such compensation.
In California, there are a few certain laws that set limitations on the amounts and kinds of damages that are actually recoverable in personal injury cases. California law will not award non-economic pain and suffering damages for drivers without insurance. Uninsured drivers are not allowed to recover non-economic damages after a car accident, even if the other driver were at complete fault. Non-economic damages include pain and suffering, physical impairment, inconvenience, and disfigurement. California law also places a limit on specific kinds of damages is the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA) which implements a $250,000 cap on non-economic damages awarded in medical malpractice cases.
Every state has their own limits to the amount of time an individual has to go to court and file a lawsuit after they have suffered some type of injury or harm. This is known as the statute of limitations. California’s statute of limitations for personal injury cases allows an injured person two years from the date of the accident to make it to court to file a lawsuit against the party that is responsible for that injury. The court will likely refuse to hear your case if it is not filed within two years of the accident, and the right to compensation will be lost.
Time is a precious thing to waste, so make sure to contact Legal Help Law Group to help you with your personal injury claim. Our experienced and professional staff of attorneys will help you every step of the way and help you through the legal processes. Let us do the heavy lifting and assist you in getting the compensation you may be entitled to.