If you or your loved one has suffered a personal injury (physical or psychological injury) as a result of another person’s or company’s wrongful conduct, including intentionally reckless conduct or simple negligence, you should contact a California personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
Your attorney will help you file a personal injury claim in court on your behalf, allowing you to seek monetary compensation for your injuries from the defendant. Below is some more information on this topic.
As the victim of a personal injury accident, you must prove that another person’s or a company’s wrongful conduct caused a breach of duty.
It is important to note that California personal injury law does not hold children to the same standard of reasonable actions as adults. Instead, when a child is responsible for a personal injury accident, the court compares the child’s actions to the reasonable actions of other children of similar age, education, and experiences. Consequently, the court can hold the child’s parents or guardian responsible for the accident.
In California, personal injury claims fall into three broad categories, including strict liability, negligence-based torts, and intentional torts. Most personal injury cases are handled in the California civil court system because they require a lower standard of proof (preponderance of evidence) compared to criminal cases, which require a higher standard of proof (beyond a reasonable doubt).
According to Sections 340 and 335.1 of California’s Code of Civil Procedure, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is two years.
This means that if you are a victim of a personal injury accident, you must file your claim within two years of sustaining your injuries. If you file a claim after the statute of limitations has expired, the court could easily award attorney’s fees to the defendant, causing you to incur unnecessary legal costs.
However, if you discover your injuries after the applicable statute of limitations has expired, you can still file your personal injury claim under a special rule called the “discovery of harm” rule. To benefit from this rule, your medical records have to prove that your doctor failed to identify your injury or determine the extent of the injury until a later date.
It is important to note that claims against a government agency have a six-month statute of limitations instead of two years. Moreover, in order to file a personal injury claim against a government agency, you would need to adhere to a strict set of procedural rules.
The main purpose of filing a personal injury lawsuit is to recover damages from the defendant. In California, you can seek three types of damages from the defendants. These include economic, non-economic and punitive damages.
Economic or special damages are basically the out-of-the-pocket expenses that you incur as a result of your injuries. These damages are easily identifiable and measurable, meaning that they are objective rather than subjective. Examples of special damages include loss of property, wage loss, and medical expenses.
Unlike economic damages, non-economic or general damages are more speculative and subjective. They account for the psychological or emotional effects of the injury. This includes the pain, suffering, and grief that results from the injury.
Punitive damages, on the other hand, are generally extremely high and are awarded for the public purpose of discouraging bad behavior in society as a whole.
At this point, it is important to note that California has damage caps. For instance, the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA) caps non-economic damages at $250,000.
If you or your loved one has been involved in a personal injury accident in California, you should contact a California injury attorney immediately. Your attorney help you understand California injury laws and, more importantly, file a personal injury claim on your behalf, allowing you to seek compensation for your injuries.