Aggressive and Capable Legal Representation in Mission Valley and Throughout Southern California
An auto accident, dog bite, or slip and fall incident can all result in serious injuries with devastating financial and quality-of-life repercussions. When your injuries are the result of someone else’s negligence, you may be able to recover damages to cover medical expenses, lost income, property damage, and more.
As a San Diego personal injury lawyer with over 40 years of legal experience, I can work to help you recover damages when you have been harmed as a result of another party’s negligence. I handle personal injury claims on a contingent fee basis, meaning you owe me nothing until I win your case. I am deeply familiar with how the state of California adjudicates many types of personal injury cases and can leverage that knowledge to deliver the favorable results you need and deserve.
Any type of injury-causing accident is inherently traumatic, but you should do everything possible to protect yourself in the immediate aftermath of an incident. By taking several proactive steps to file the appropriate reports and document the scene, you can strengthen your personal injury case and preserve your potential ability to recover compensation.
Whether you have been injured in an automobile collision or a premises liability incident, you should make every effort to:
- Make sure everyone is safe. Before doing anything else, ensure the immediate safety of everyone involved in the incident. Immediately call 9-1-1 and seek emergency medical assistance if anyone’s injuries require immediate attention.
- Gather contact information of all involved parties and witnesses. Regardless of what type of injury occurred, you will need the names, phone numbers, and addresses of everyone involved in the incident. If an injury occurred on commercial property, you should obtain the contact information of the manager-on-duty as well as the property owner and any employees working at the time. You should also obtain contact information for any witnesses, as their testimony could become important later on.
- File and request a copy of an incident report (if appropriate). If you are injured in an automobile accident that results in injury, you are required in the state of California to contact law enforcement. Doing so can also be advantageous, as the officer dispatched to the incident site will complete an official report that documents what happened. You should request a copy of this report. In other types of injuries, you may still want to register and receive a copy of an incident report. If you slip and fall at a store, for example, you should request an incident report be filed via the manager-on-duty. This filing should establish the indisputable facts of the incident.
- Document the incident site. If possible, you should take steps to document what happened. Take pictures of conditions that may have contributed to the incident, your injuries, and any property damage. If you notice that the incident area is under surveillance, request (in writing) a copy of the security footage.
- Seek medical attention. Once you have left the incident site and if you have not already done so, immediately schedule a thorough medical examination. You should do this even if you do not believe you have suffered any serious injuries. Some types of injuries, including concussions, are not easily detectable, but it is important that you get the opinion of a medical professional – and a corresponding official report – as soon as possible after the incident.
- Contact your insurance provider (if necessary). Insurance providers may become involved with certain types of personal injury cases, including automobile accidents. You are generally required to promptly inform your insurance carrier of any qualifying event. Failing to do so in a timely manner can jeopardize your ability to recover compensation.
- Speak to a qualified legal professional. As an experienced San Diego personal injury attorney, I can help you understand your legal options for recovering damages in the wake of an incident.
You will have up to 2 years from the date of an incident to file a personal injury claim against a negligent party. Wrongful death lawsuits resulting from negligence can generally be filed up to 2 years after the deceased individual’s death.
Depending on the nature and severity of the injuries, claimants in a personal injury lawsuit can potentially recover economic, non-economic damages, and punitive damages. Economic damages refer to calculable costs that directly resulted from the incident, including medical bills, missed income, and property damage. Non-economic damages refer to indirect costs like physical and emotional pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and loss of quality of life.
Economic and non-economic damages are considered “compensatory” in that they are intended to reimburse you for expenses incurred as a result of an accident. Punitive damages, conversely, are only awarded to punish – or make an example of – a negligent party. They can be awarded in situations where the court agrees a negligent party’s conduct was especially careless or egregious.
The types of compensation available to you will depend on the specifics of your case. I can help you understand what types of damages you may be able to recover in a personal injury claim.
Personal injury claims are adjudicated under comparative negligence rules in the state of California. This means that the court and jury will attempt to determine each party’s “comparative fault” in causing the incident. The more a party is at fault, the less they stand to recover.
Under comparative negligence rules, damage awards will be reduced by the injured party’s percentage of fault in contributing to the incident. Unlike some states, however, an injured claimant in California is entitled to potentially recover damages no matter their share of the fault.
For example, say you are seriously injured after another car collides with yours. In the personal injury lawsuit, the judge and jury find that you were 20% at fault for the accident but agree that you suffered $50,000 in damages. Because you were found to be 20% at fault, your total damage award will be commensurately reduced by 20%. Thus, you will only ultimately receive $40,000 in damages.
In another version of this example, the court might find that you were in fact 80% at fault. However, you can still potentially recover compensation for the damages you suffered minus the percentage of shared fault. Consequently, you would receive only $10,000 in damages.
As a San Diego personal injury lawyer, I am committed to helping you secure the maximum possible compensation. I will work directly with you throughout your case and provide the knowledgeable and comprehensive legal guidance you need to secure a favorable outcome. As a reminder, I take all personal injury cases on a contingent fee basis, so there will be no cost to you until I win your case.