Do I need a Personal Injury Attorney?
You might ask yourself this exact question if you have been recently injured in a car accident, or have been injured due to the negligence of another person. Orange County, California continues to see an increase in its population, and the roads continue to become more crowded, making it more likely that you or a loved one will experience an injury from a car accident, or other personal injury. No one ever plans on getting hurt. But it is helpful to have a reasonable understanding of different types of personal injury claims in the State of California.
In California, a personal injury claim uses laws to hold persons (an individual, or a business entity) accountable for injuries you have suffered.
Personal injury laws found the legal basis for establishing civil liability for injuries resulting from the negligence or intentional acts of another. To prevail on a claim of negligence, you must prove all of the following factors:
- That the defendant was negligent;
- That you were harmed; and
- That defendant’s negligence was a substantial factor in causing your harm.
In addition to these three elements of negligence, you must also show that you suffered damages, which are typically financial loss (property damage to your car, medical bills, lost wages) as well as non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life that result from being injured.
Personal Injuries and Law commonly associated with them.
Personal Injury is less commonly referred to as the law of “torts”. It takes several forms, ranging from motor accident to dog bites and liability for premises. However, some forms are more common than others. These more common forms also have more robust legal frameworks around them compared to the others.
Some of the most common personal injuries and the laws they are popular for in California are set out below:
- Motor vehicle Accidents: With the population of California and the number of people who rely on cars for their daily back and forth in Orange County, it remains a prime location for you to get involved in a car accident either as a driver, pedestrian, passerby or bystander. As a result, there is an in-depth legal framework to assist you to get closure whenever you suffer a personal injury as a result of motor vehicle accidents, irrespective of the category of road user that you fall into.
- As a Pedestrian, drivers are required to stop and yield the right of way to you when crossing the roadway in marked or unmarked crosswalks and vice versa in when crossing a roadway that is a marked or unmarked crosswalk. On your part, you are not to enter a crosswalk when it can lead to an immediate hazard as a result of nearby traffic.
As a driver, you must not follow another driver too closely than what is reasonable and cautious. In determining what is cautious, you must consider external factors like the speed of other drivers and traffic conditions. When you approach an intersection at the same time with another driver, you must yield the right of way for the driver on the right, if you are on the left. In the event that you get involved in a motor vehicle accident which causes injury or death, the laws mandate you to stop at the accident, assist the victims and provide their information. A report of such an accident must be made to the California Highway Patrol or local police department within 24 hours of the accident.
As a motorcyclist, it is mandatory for you and your passengers to wear crash helmets while riding on roadways and use your headlights during darkness.
- Dog Bites: When a neighbor’s dog tests the sharpness of its teeth on you be thankful you live in California. California holds dog owner strictly liable for dog bites even if it is the very first one.
- Negligence: Negligence occurs when a person who ought to, fails to use reasonable care to prevent harm to himself or others. In California, the majority of personal injury cases are brought under the theory of negligence. A judge or jury will determine what a reasonably prudent person would do under the same circumstance when determining the duty of care.
- Defective Products: There is a robust legal framework which protects a purchaser of defective goods in California. When you bring a claim for products defects, you must establish that; the defendant either manufactured, designed, sold or distributed the product, the product had a defect as at the time it left the defendant’s possession, you used the product in a reasonably foreseeable way, you suffered harm as a result of the defect. Manufacturers must factor in how an average reasonable consumer will use and misuse a product in determining whether or not a product was used in a reasonably foreseeable way. California has strict liability laws which, if applicable to your case, may allow you to hold a defendant strictly liable for your injuries in a product liability claim.
Filing Rules for Personal Injury Claims in Orange County, CA
When you are convinced you have suffered a wrong, you need to bring your action in line with the laid down rules, this includes being mindful of the statute of limitation.
Every state has time limits within which you have to file a lawsuit after you have suffered some type of harm. There are different deadlines depending on the nature of your action.
In California, the statutes of limitations for personal injury cases (which can be found in California Code of Civil Procedure section 335.1) is two (2) years from the date of the injury to bring an action in court against anyone who could be at fault. For claims against a city, county or California state government agency, there is a deadline of six (6) months to file your injury claim.
Certain circumstances and situations exist which might extend the deadline or alter when the statute of limitation starts to count. In filing your claims, you must also comply with a strict set of procedural rules. If you live in Orange County, and the accident occurred here, your case will most likely be filed in the Superior Court of California, County of Orange, and hearings will most likely be held at the Central Justice Center in Santa Ana, CA.
Why you need a Personal Injury Lawyer
Personal Injury is such a broad and technical field with a lot of information flying around. If you get to suffer a personal injury and want to make a claim for compensation, you need to understand your legal rights and options in exactitude. To do this, it is advisable to contact an experienced Orange County personal injury attorney who possesses the experience and is determined to represent you in your claim for adequate compensation.
Chudleigh Law P.C. accepts most personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis, which means that you do not pay any legal fees or costs unless Chudleigh Law P.C. recovers money for you through a settlement or judgment.