If You Have Suffered an Injury Caused by an Accident You May Have A Legal Claim For CompensationIf you have suffered physical injury, emotional distress or financial loss through an accident in the state of California you may well be entitled to compensation from the person, persons or corporation who caused the accident. Contact Johnson Attorneys Group today for a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in California. Give us a call at 1-800-208-3538. Get the help you deserve.
What Kinds of Injury Can You Claim For?The types of injury for which you may be able to claim include, but are not limited to, those caused by –
- car and other transport related accidents
- electric shock
- faulty or dangerous products
- environmental and other pollutants
- dangerous or poorly maintained buildings, stairs and sidewalks
- dogs or other animals
But it’s important to understand that not all such incidents give rise to a legal right to compensation. Under California personal injury law it is normally necessary to demonstrate that the injury in question was caused by the negligence of one or more people or a corporation.
(H2) What Is Negligence? “Negligence”, under California law, has a specific legal meaning which is different from the everyday English “carelessness”.
To show negligence you must demonstrate that your injury was caused by someone who had a duty of care towards you, and that the person concerned was in breach of that duty.
In general terms, California courts have followed the traditional approach of the English common law and held that you are owed a duty of care by anyone whose action it is reasonably foreseeable might cause injury to another. So, for example, someone driving a motor vehicle clearly owes a duty of care to other road users and pedestrians.
As to breach of duty: the rule is that the person owing the duty must take reasonable care to avoid causing injury. So for example a driver using excess speed for the traffic conditions (even if complying with any statutory limitations), or failing to pay proper attention to the road, would be in breach of their duty.
If a breach of duty of care is established it is still necessary to establish that the incident concerned was a significant cause of the injuries suffered. In California law this is known as the “substantial factor” test. It does not have to be the only cause, but it must be something that a reasonable observer would regard as having contributed to the injury.
You should also be aware that your damages may be reduced if the court determines that your own conduct was a partial cause of the injuries you sustained; for example, because you were not wearing a car seat belt.
In addition to the case law of negligence, many other duties of care are imposed by statute; and some incidents are covered by what is known as strict liability, meaning that no negligence or fault need be shown.
These complexities make it very advisable that you seek qualified legal advice before pursuing any personal injury claim.
The Compensation You May Be Entitled ToCompensation for personal injury may include specific amounts to cover the cost of immediate and long-term medical care, associated expenses such as necessary home or vehicle modifications, and the loss of current and future income.
Courts may also award additional sums in respect of the less tangible effects of an accident such as physical and emotional pain, bereavement and reduced enjoyment of life.
In rarer cases, exemplary or punitive damages may be awarded if the court decides that injury has been caused by gross negligence or deliberate malpractice.
Preparing Your CasePersonal injury cases are often determinedly opposed by large insurance companies, their attorneys and other experts they hire to represent them, so to ensure the best chance of success it is important to seek independent advice, and to begin gathering and preserving all the relevant evidence immediately.
You should also bear in mind that under the provisions of California’s statutes of limitations, claims for negligent injury must usually be filed within 6 months to a year depending on who the at fault party is.
It is therefore vital that you start the process as soon as possible.