The San Diego personal injury lawyer handles all kinds of cases involving injuries that arise from other people’s negligence or intentional acts. Most personal injuries result from accidents caused by negligence, in one way or another, which means that, if you are injured, there may be a case to be answered.
Personal injuries also occur from deliberate acts that may result, in which case the penalty will be significantly higher. Whether the person who is at fault causes your injury by their actions or by their in actions, you can file a personal injury claim to get compensation for your damages.
One of the first questions clients often ask during their initial consultation with a personal injury attorney is “what is my personal injury case worth”? The answer depends on the physical, mental, and financial damages the accident has already cost you and how much it will cost you in the future.
Personal injury claims fall under the heading of tort claims. A tort refers to the action or omission by a person or entity that causes an injury or illness to another person. The purpose of a personal injury claim is to recover compensation for the victim. The money received is intended to help this person to regain, as closely as possible, the quality of life they enjoyed before the incident.
The damages sought in a personal injury case include economic and non-economic damages. These damages are separate from property damages. They only relate to the physical injuries caused to the person.
Even minor accidents and short-term injuries are sometimes expensive to put right or to treat. Sometimes the injured person doesn’t realize the severity of their injury until days, or even weeks after the accident occurs. More serious injuries may involve hospital stays, surgeries, and ongoing therapy.
In the case of debilitating injuries, the results can include long-term or permanent disability, which makes working difficult. If your injuries prevent you from working, you can also seek compensation for lost wages. The job of the San Diego personal injury lawyer is to obtain enough compensation to cover your past medical expenses as well as any future ones which are directly related to the incident in question.
Non-economic damages are those that impact your quality of life, but cannot be quantified with a direct monetary sum. However, legal proceedings can decide on a fair sum of compensation. Such damages include mental anguish, pain and suffering, and loss of consortium.
- Pain and Suffering – From a legal perspective, pain and suffering includes both physical and psychological pain symptoms resulting from your injury. It not only includes what you have endured to date, but also the potential effects of the injury in the future.
- Mental Anguish – Mental symptoms may occur as a result of the physical injuries you have received, including fear, anxiety, anger, general negative emotions, and generally reduced quality of life. Mental anguish can result from the physical pain and suffering as well as from the impact the injury has had on various aspects of their life. One example of mental anguish is the post-traumatic stress disorder caused by an auto accident. Some accident victims become afraid of riding in a car because the memory of the accident is too vivid.
- Loss of Consortium – These damages usually refer to the victim’s loss of companionship or an inability to maintain a sexual relationship with their partner. In some cases, it refers to the impact on a relationship between a parent and child. Sometimes a family member receives loss of consortium damages directly instead of the victim.
There is no scale for determining the amount of non-economic damages to compensate for your non-tangible injuries. Negotiating with the insurance company requires a high level of expertise. Only an experienced personal injury attorney can assess what a fair settlement should be.
Punitive damages serve as a punishment against the at-fault party than as an award for the victim. This is often a response to conduct that is especially careless or egregious. These damages aren’t permitted in most personal injury cases but are intended to work as a deterrent in cases where the authorities deem it necessary. Before you can receive punitive damages, you must prove that the other person is guilty of malice, fraud, or oppression.
How Your Actions or Inactions Can Affect Your Damages
California is a ‘Comparative Negligence’ state. Sometimes this law allows the at-fault party to place part of the blame on you and reduce their own culpability. If they can prove you are partly to blame for the accident, they can pay you less compensation.
One example of how comparative negligence works is if another vehicle crosses into your lane and strikes you while you are speeding. The court may determine that you were 10% negligent at the time of the accident, reducing the amount you can recover by 10%.
Another way that your damages may be reduced is if you fail to mitigate (make less severe) after the incident. It is your responsibility to get medical treatment and to follow all of your doctor’s advice. If it is found that you have not taken these steps, and your injuries can get worse as a result of your own inaction, the other party may end up paying less in compensation.
Your San Diego personal injury lawyer will advise you from the beginning of your case on which steps to take and on how to keep accurate records.
How Damages Occur from Personal Injury
Auto accidents are the most common cause of personal injury, along with those involving other vehicles such as motorcycles and buses. Personal injuries also occur from dog bites, slip and falls, and construction site accidents, such as falls from heights. While these incidents are the most common, a personal injuries can occur from any situation. Basically, if another person is at fault for your injury, you can seek damages.
It isn’t unusual these days to see Amtrak accidents, plane crashes, or bus wrecks involving large numbers of injuries and deaths. Accidents attributed to the negligence of the driver, pilot, or the company of ownership result in personal injuries for which the company is liable. Less expected occurrences might include a stairway collapse like the one at Barrio Logan that resulted in spinal and brain injuries. These injuries often require extensive, long-term medical treatment.
Another type of injury that requires a special level of care is burns. In addition to extensive medical treatment and long-term therapy, burns patients also require constant monitoring as there is a high risk of infection and secondary medical problems.
You could receive burns in an auto accident, working at a restaurant, or in a fire caused by a faulty product. Your San Diego personal injury lawyer will work with you to get recovery for your damages so you can focus on healing.
Not all personal injuries occur as the result of a single accident. Faulty products or repetitive strain may cause injuries over time. Your injury doesn’t have to be extremely severe or related to a traumatic accident for your claim to be successful.
When a product does not perform safely and causes injury, this is known as product liability. The reason for the product’s failure to meet the consumer’s expectations could be due to the design or the manufacturing process. If the retailer is aware of the product’s defects and sells it anyway, they are also liable for damages.
Some examples of product liability include:
- Seatbelts that malfunction in an automobile
- A dangerous chemical product with inadequate safety warnings
- Medications cross-contaminated during manufacturing
- Heaters that catch fire due to poor design
- Mass-produced food contaminated with salmonella or E. coli
Obviously, the damages for any personal injury case depend on the severity of the injury and the medical treatment required. The more extensive the economic damages are, the greater the potential value of the non-economic damages.
Your personal injury claim begins with an initial consultation with a San Diego personal injury lawyer to evaluate your case. Take all of your medical records, accident reports, or other documentation with you to this appointment. This will provide your attorney with a guideline for determining damages for your injuries now and in the future.
When personal injuries occur from auto accidents, the claim is usually negotiated with the insurance company of the driver who is at fault. Most of the time, they agree to a settlement before the case goes to trial. You should entrust your lawyer with the negotiations to ensure you get a fair and adequate recovery for all of your damages.
Other types of personal injury may differ. For example, if you receive a dog bite and require surgery as treatment, you can expect high medical bills for your treatment. Pain and suffering, along with lost wages, might apply in your case. Most of the time, the dog owner’s home insurance covers dog bites.
Every situation is different. One thing that remains the same is that you have the right to recover damages for an injury caused by another person.
If you have a personal injury, contact Batta Fulkerson today for a San Diego personal injury lawyer with a long track record of success. We offer a free consultation and you pay nothing until we win. We will protect your rights and get the most compensation possible for your personal injury damages.