Personal Injury in California (Duty, Breach & Cause)
Each year, more than 30 million Americans are hospitalized for injuries. Many of these are simple household injuries and situations in which no one, in particular, is to blame. However, many of these injuries are the result of someone’s careless or even reckless behavior. In California, when someone is responsible for causing your injuries, they are also responsible for paying for the harm that they have caused.
At The Law Offices Of Jake D.Finkel, we work hard to see to it our clients are fully and fairly compensated for their injuries when someone else is to blame. Call today to speak with someone about your injuries.
What do You Have to Prove to be Compensated for an Injury in California?
To recover compensation for an injury, you must prove each of the following specific elements:
Duty: You have to first show that the defendant owed you some duty. This could be as simple as showing that a driver owed you a duty of using caution while driving or as complicated as showing the specific level of care a doctor should have used in performing a procedure.
Breach: Next you have to show that the defendant violated a duty to you. This could be failing to stop for a red light, speeding, or missing a diagnosis. It all depends on the type of injury and type of case.
Causation: Of course, it is not enough to show someone was negligent; you have to also show that their negligent conduct was the direct cause of your injury.
Damages: Finally, you must show that you suffered a specific loss or harm. This can be lost income, medical expenses, or just physical pain.
How Much is Your Case Worth?
It is always difficult to know what a person’s case is worth until all the factors are known. Some injuries are fairly minor, such as a back strain or muscle injury. Others are catastrophic and life-changing, such as a spinal cord injury, paralysis, or broken bones.
In general, the more severe the injury, the greater the potential recovery. Of course, many other factors are relevant, such as whether the defendant is capable of paying a judgment, whether there is insurance available, and whether there is clear evidence of negligence. The best way to assess the value of your case is to speak with an attorney early in the process.
What Happens if You are Partly to Blame for Your Injuries?
Ever since the court ruling in Li v. Yellow Cab Co., California has followed a “pure comparative fault” rule, which just means that each party is responsible for his or her own share of liability. In other words, if you can prove the other person was 80% to blame, but you are found 20% to blame, then you can recover 80% of whatever the jury awards for your injuries.
In some jurisdictions throughout the country, there are rules that bar recovery if a plaintiff is equally to blame or more to blame than the defendant. However, California does not set such a limitation. As a practical matter, however, if you are mostly to blame, the chances of a successful verdict are slim. After all, insurance companies will likely defend their insured, and a jury may not feel sympathetic. Therefore, it is important to work with an attorney who can build a strong case against the defendant.
How a Lawyer Can Help
At The Law Offices Of Jake D.Finkel, we can meet with you free of charge and review the facts of your injuries. Often, we can provide practical advice to help you cope with the situation early on. We will work to gather evidence and put together a strong case against the responsible parties. Finally, if necessary, we can work to negotiate a fair settlement or take your case to trial.
Call The Law Offices Of Jake D.Finkel to schedule a free consultation today.