Most personal injury cases in Oceanside involve motor vehicle accidents. Those include car, motorcycle, truck, bicycle and pedestrian accidents. Just about all of those cases are governed by the law of negligence.
What is negligence?
Negligence might be defined as an act or failure to act in a way that a reasonable and ordinary prudent person would act under the same or similar circumstances. When you need to prove negligence, you’ll be required to prove certain elements. Those are that:
- The person alleged to have injured the claimant owed the claimant a duty of care
- There was a breach of that duty
- The breach of that duty caused injuries to the claimant
- The claimant suffered legally recognized damages
After the victim of an accident has proved negligence, he or she must prove their damages. Damages that are ordinarily recoverable in a California personal injury case include:
- Past and future medical bills
- Past and future lost earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Any permanent disfigurement
- Any permanent disability
- Loss of a normal life
- Funeral and burial costs in the event of a wrongful death
The person who you claim to be responsible for your injuries might allege that you were also negligent. Insurance defense attorneys raise that issue whenever possible in efforts to reduce the amount that the insurer might ultimately have to pay out. That’s called the law of comparative negligence. Under the law of comparative negligence, any percentage of negligence that is determined to be attributable to the claimant is deducted from the gross amount of a jury’s verdict in his or her favor. For example, if a person is determined to be 20 percent comparatively negligent in an accident, and he or she was awarded $100,000 by a jury, the verdict would be reduced to $80,000 on the 20 percent comparative negligence finding. California is what’s known as a pure comparative negligence state. A person might be 95 percent at fault for an accident, but he or she can still make a claim for personal injuries.
The statute of limitations
Every state has a period of time within which an injured person must file a lawsuit against the person or entity that they claim to be responsible for their injuries. That’s known as a statute of limitations. In California, the statute of limitations for a person who has been injured as a result of the negligence of somebody else is two years from the date of the accident. If you fail to file your lawsuit within that time, it’s highly likely that you’ll be forever barred from proceeding. Note that in medical malpractice cases, the statute of limitations is three years from the date of injury. Most people don’t realize it, but if you’re going to sue a governmental entity for personal injury, you’re required to serve an administrative claim with the governmental office that you intend to sue within six months of the date that you were injured. Failure to timely file that claim will likely bar you from proceeding further.
The law of personal injury is incredibly complex. The El Dabe Law Firm provides comprehensive and professional legal services to victims of accidents in Oceanside and throughout California. Our efforts are concentrated solely on the law of personal injury. Our clients obtain the benefits of our personal injury law experience and skills after they’ve suffered serious but preventable injuries through the carelessness and negligence of somebody else. Throughout the years, we’ve developed a highly respected reputation from thorough preparation of our cases and aggressive advocacy. We protect the families and futures of the victims of car, motorcycle, truck, bicycle and pedestrian accidents.
There’s no law that requires you to cooperate with the insurer of the person who turned your life and finances upside down. You don’t have to give a recorded statement that the insurance adjuster wants so he can use it against you in the future. Don’t give up your rights. Protect them, and call the El Dabe Law Firm at 888-544-2136 right after any accident. We’ll take every legal step to protect your rights and maximize the compensation that you receive for your injuries.