People in La Jolla may be injured in many different types of accidents. When these accidents are caused by the negligence of other people or entities, the injured victims may be entitled to recover compensation for their losses. An experienced La Jolla personal injury attorney assists injured victims and advocates for them to recover the maximum compensation that fairly compensates them.
What is personal injury law?
Personal injury is a legal term that is used to describe injuries that are caused by the intentional or negligent actions of others. Personal injury law is also known as tort law, and the claims are civil actions. Civil lawsuits have a lower standard of proof than criminal cases. In a personal injury civil lawsuit, the plaintiffs have the burden of proving the defendants’ liability and their damages by a preponderance of the evidence, which means that it is more likely than not. By contrast, criminal prosecutors must prove the guilt of defendants beyond a reasonable doubt before they may be found guilty.
Since personal injury claims and criminal cases fall under two different bodies of law, a personal injury lawsuit may be filed in addition to any criminal case that might be pending against the defendant. Because of the lower burden of proof, it may be possible for a personal injury plaintiff to hold the defendant liable even if the defendant is not charged criminally or if the defendant wins his or her criminal case for the same actions. Not all personal injury claims will also form the basis of criminal actions, however.
Frequency of personal injury claims in La Jolla
Motor vehicle accidents make up the biggest category of personal injury cases. The California Office of Traffic Safetyreports that 3,124 people were killed in California traffic accidents in 2014, and an additional 230,904 people were injured. In San Diego during 2014, 78 people were killed and 8,615 people were injured in motor vehicle collisions. In addition to car accidents, people in La Jolla also suffer other types of personal injury accidents every year.
Common types of personal injury claims
The most common types of personal injury claims include the following:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Workplace accidents
- Construction accidents
- Slip-and-fall accidents
- Other premises liability accidents
- Dog bites
- Medical malpractice
- Defective products
Common settlements from personal injury cases
Every personal injury case is unique, meaning that it is not possible to provide an average expected settlement for personal injury claims in general. The amount of your settlement will depend on multiple factors, including the egregiousness of the defendant’s conduct, the extent and the severity of your injuries, your likelihood of recovery and the amount of your losses. An experienced La Jolla personal injury lawyer will analyze the facts and circumstances of what happened in your case in order to determine a range of values for your claim. You should expect a fair settlement offer to fall within this range.
Damages are divided into two primary categories, including special and general damages. Special damages are also called economic damages and are the pecuniary losses that you have suffered. These damages include such things as your medical bills, your future expected medical costs, your past income losses and your future expected income losses. They also include your property losses. General damages are the losses that you have suffered that are noneconomic in nature. These are more intangible and include such things as the following:
- Past and future pain and suffering
- Emotional anguish
- Loss of consortium
- Reduction in the ability to enjoy life
In rare cases, punitive damages, which are meant to punish the defendant, may also be available. However, they are normally only ordered in cases in which the defendants’ conduct was particularly egregious in nature and shouldn’t be expected in most cases.
What to do when you have suffered a personal injury from someone else’s negligence
If you have suffered a personal injury because of the negligence of someone else, it is important for you to seek prompt medical attention. Report what happened to the police, and try to get the names and contact information of any witnesses. At the scene, take photographs if you can to document it. After you have received medical care, you should avoid giving statements to insurance adjusters or signing anything that is sent to you by an insurance company. Instead, politely refuse and let the insurance representative know that you want to consult with a La Jolla personal injury attorney first.
Why it is important to contact a La Jolla personal injury attorney
Insurance companies try to reduce the amounts that they have to pay out in personal injury claims. They often are aggressive in their defense against claims. An experienced La Jolla personal injury lawyer understands the tactics that are commonly used by defendants in personal injury cases and may be able to secure a much higher settlement amount than you might be able to negotiate on your own. Contact our experienced La Jolla personal injury attorneys today to schedule your consultation.
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