California Personal Injury
"There is no ghost so difficult to lay as the ghost of an injury." - Alexander Smith
What is personal injury in California?
Personal Injury refers to injury to the body or emotional injuries come as opposed to injury to property.
When an individual is physically injured, the injured person (and sometimes affected family members) can bring civil lawsuits to recover substantial money damages. Trials of civil lawsuits, at their core, can be broken down into two parts: liability and damages.
Who can I sue for my personal injury?
Generally, an injured person can recover from the person who is found to be legally responsible for his injuries.
Liability (who is responsible?): An injured person can seek to recover damages only from liable parties. The injured individual has the obligation to prove liability in a civil lawsuit seeking to recover damages. Liability can arise under various legal theories, such as negligence (probably the most common theory of liability). Negligence is the failure to exercise reasonable care to prevent injury or harm to others to whom a duty is owed. In car accident cases, if a driver runs a stop sign and hits a pedestrian, he may be liable for the injuries that the pedestrian suffered. To prove negligence, the injured person will have to show: (1) the defendant had a duty to act with reasonable care with respect to the injured person, (2) the defendant breached that duty, (3) the defendant's breach caused plaintiff's injuries, (4) the plaintiff suffered damages.
How much is my personal injury case worth?
The value of a personal injury case comes down to damages.
Damages (money recovery): Once liability is established, the next question will be determining what the injured party will recover. An injured person in California may seek compensation for medical bills (past and future), lost income (past and future), pain and suffering damages (the less quantifiable emotional injury), as well as other damages.
Filing A Personal Injury Lawsuit
Assuming the injured person has suffered damages and there is liability, the injured person will typically file a suit in California Superior Court (exactly which court will depend on variables not discussed here). A vast majority of lawsuits settle before they get to trial. Cases can settle as early as a few months into the litigation. However, in the rare situations where the opposing parties value the case very differently and are unable to come to a resolution, the matter may go to trial.
It is of utmost importance that lawsuits be timely filed! Statutes of limitations (which are essentially deadlines for filing) can be as short as a matter of months after the incident. This is why it is crucial to immediately seek the advice of an experienced attorney as soon as the injury occurs. For the parties accused of causing injury, it is equally important to be mindful of any filing deadlines and aware of potential defenses.
The Attorneys Of Theta Law Firm, LLP Care About Every Client
Our firm's attorneys have experience working on both the defense and the plaintiff's side in personal injury lawsuits. In other words, we're in the rare position to understand the tactics and tricks employed by both sides.
We are also passionate about our clients' cases. We work hard to vigorously represent our clients. There is no greater success for us than a satisfied client.