What is Personal Injury?
Personal Injury Law or Tort law is a branch of civil law that compensates victims for accidents, injuries or social wrongs. The injured person filing for a lawsuit is called the “plaintiff,” while the person who caused such injuries is the “defendant.” In cases where the accident resulted in wrongful death, the family of the deceased may file a case on his behalf.
The purpose of those who file for personal injury suits is generally to be compensated financially including the losses they may have incurred due to the accident. Some of the important personal injury laws that you may claim are:
How is Personal Injury Relevant to Motor Vehicle Accidents?
Some commonly associated laws that are linked to car accidents are:
- Pedestrian laws –where drivers must stop and let pedestrians cross the streets when the signal signifying “walk” is lit. Similar to cars, the pedestrians must give way to the vehicles when the “don’t walk” or “stop” sign is active.
- Driving laws – include the common rules in driving like overtaking a vehicle in the proper lane, not following a vehicle in very close manner, giving signals when turning, giving way to the driver on the right if two drivers approach an intersection at the same time, not using mobile devices while driving and other such rules known to the general public.
- Motorcycle laws – requiring all riders including passengers to wear helmets on roadways.
When is personal injury applicable?
Personal injury may arise out of any situation such as:
- Accidents – these are usually the source of personal injuries due to a person’s negligence which, as a result, causes harm to the victim. Such cases include slip and fall accidents, premises liability, dog bites, workers’ compensation, and other types of cases.
- Intentional Acts – are acts where a person deliberately decides to commit harm to another. Some examples include assault, battery and other intentional acts.
- Product Defects – these are situations where the defendant is made liable to the harm caused even without negligence or intentional fault. To make the defendant liable for such claim, the following must be established:
- That the product acquired was defective
- The product was defective when it left the defendant’s possession
- The product was used in a reasonable way
- The harm done was a result of the defect of the product
- Defamation– personal injury law applies when a person’s reputation is damaged due to another’s defamatory statement
Statute of Limitations
A time limit must be observed when filing personal injury since there are prescriptions or statutes of limitations which sets a time limit on bringing the lawsuit in court. The time limit in California is two years from the date of the accident and for most personal injury cases. However, if you have suffered from a hidden injury that you only knew of after the two-year period has elapsed, you will have one year from the discovery time to file for a lawsuit.
In order to make the defendant liable for being negligent, the plaintiff must prove:
- That a duty of care is owed by the defendant
- That the defendant failed to do such duty
- That the harm done was the result of failure to observe such duty
- Actual damages
Negligence is when a person fails to exercise the necessary caution in which a reasonable person would exercise in the same situation. In California, a pure comparative negligence rule is used in cases where more than one party is at fault. The amount of compensation one might receive is reduced based on the degree of fault one is guilty of.
Damages caps in California
California practices “damages cap” where the amount of maximum compensation an injured person may receive is limited by law for certain types of harm which includes:
- Uninsured drivers have no non-economic damages
Economic damages are compensation received as a result of monetary loss suffered because of the personal injury. These include medical bills, lost wages, property damage, loss of earning capacity, vocational rehabilitation, household services, and out-of-pocket costs.
Non-economic damages, on the other hand, are losses compensated you of your pain and suffering, discomfort, anxiety, disfigurement, emotional distress, loss of love, care, affection, companionship, and death.
- Cases of Medical Malpractice
Non-economic damages for medical malpractice is limited to $250,000
Got into an injury accident? Get yourself an injury lawyer!
If you believe to have suffered due to an accident in California, you need to consult a personal injury lawyer well-versed in handling injury cases, especially if you’re not certain of your specific situation. An experienced injury attorney will help you explore the legal action you may have, seek compensation, personal injury protection, and other legal services available to you, as well as represent you in court if the case goes to trial. Call us now at the Law Offices of Marc Grossman for a free consultation.