We’ve all heard the term ‘accidents happen’ – and they do. Sometimes, we’re responsible for an accident due to our own carelessness. In other situations, someone else’s carelessness, negligence or recklessness is the cause. When injuries occur, personal injury lawsuits exist for the latter category.
The term personal injury can mean many different things and be viewed at many different levels – from a distracted driver, an incompetent physician, a corporation who cut corners and manufactured a dangerous product or a medical institution we trusted to care for a loved one that did not provide the care. While any type of personal injury may be compensable if someone else is at fault, personal injury claims often arise in these situations:
- Car accidents. Car accidents are a common type of personal injury lawsuits. Auto accidents can be caused by drunk driving, speeding, driving too slow, failure to follow traffic signs and signals, bad weather or dangerous road conditions. Distracted driving is behind a growing number of accidents. It is illegal in California to use a hand-held cell phone or to text while driving, but many drivers continue to do so.
- Truck accidents. Truck accidents are less common than car accidents, but they cause greater damage and injuries. That’s due to the sheer size and weight of semi-trucks or tractor-trailers. Typical loaded 18 wheeler “big rig” trucks can weigh over 20,000 pounds. Truck accidents may be caused by speeding, overly tired truck drivers or faulty equipment.
- Motorcycle accidents. While smaller than cars and trucks, motorcycle accident injuries can also cause great damage to riders. Motorcyclists have less physical protection than motorists in cars or trucks. Many motorcycle accidents are caused by other drivers who fail to see the bike in time.
- Traumatic brain & spinal cord injuries. Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and spinal cord injuries (SCIs) may be caused by a blow to the head or back in a car accident, a slip and fall, or a sporting accident. TBIs and SCIs may require expensive medical care, cause lifelong injuries and permanent disability.
- Premises liability / slip and fall accidents. Accidents that happen on someone else’s property (a home or business) can range from slip and fall injuries to having heavy objects fall on victims. Liability in these cases will generally depend upon whether the injured person was a trespassee, invitee or licensee.
- Dog bites. Dog bites occur more often than people realize. They can have serious medical consequences – especially when dogs attack children. In California, a dog bite victim is protected by a special law that makes owners responsible for any injuries their pets cause.
- Elder abuse. Elder abuse and neglect occur in nursing homes and assisted living facilities every day. Abuse and neglect are caused by 1) untrained staff that don’t have the right background; 2) inadequate staffing and 3) general neglect that leads to bedsores, malnutrition, falls, and failure to receive medication.
- Defective products. Manufacturers can be held liable for personal injuries caused by a defective design or manufacture of a product or for failing to warn consumers about known defects. Defective products can include toys, vehicles, household items, pharmaceuticals and medical devices.
- Medical malpractice. Personal injuries from medical malpractice affect thousands of Americans every year. Medical mistakes are made when hospitals, doctors or nurses make critical mistakes during surgery, perform unnecessary procedures, perform procedures on the wrong person or prescribe the wrong anesthesia or medications.
Personal Injury Compensation
Personal injury compensation will vary depending upon the facts and circumstances surrounding the accident. Damages are affected by the type of injury suffered, the extent of the injury itself and the time it takes for the victim to recover. It’s easy to estimate how much your personal injury claim is worth. Common types of personal injury compensation can include:
- Medical bills / rehabilitation. Most personal injury damage awards include payment for medical bills and rehabilitation you’ve already incurred, as well as for medical bills and rehabilitation that are anticipated in the future due to the accident.
- Lost income. Being in the hospital, in rehabilitation or recuperating at home generally means not working – and not earning income without disability benefits. You may be entitled to compensation in form of salary or hourly wages you’ve already lost and for your “loss of earning capacity” – meaning the income you’ll likely lose to the accident.
- Physical pain and suffering. Personal injury damages generally include compensation for the physical pain and suffering you’ve endured due to someone else’s negligence. Like the categories above, you may be entitled to these damages for past and future physical suffering.
- Emotional distress. Unlike physical pain and suffering, emotional distress is meant to compensate victims due to the emotional injuries they may now suffer such as anxiety, fear, depression, nightmares and sleep issues. Again, these damages can be awarded for past and future suffering.
- Loss of consortium. Loss of consortium damages refer to the impact a victim’s injuries have on their relationship with their spouse such as the inability to engage or enjoy in sexual relations or a general loss of companionship.
- Loss of quality / enjoyment of life. These damages can be awarded when an injured victim can no longer engage in what used to be his or her hobby or passion due to the accident. It can include not being able to exercise, play sports, an instrument and more.
- Property loss. Damages for property loss can be awarded when property was damaged due to the accident, such as your vehicle, a computer that was destroyed in the back seat of the car involved in the accident or the clothes the victim was wearing at the time. They are generally awarded at their reasonable market value.
The outcomes of harm inflicted can be catastrophic in terms of the toll it takes on the health and well-being for you and your family, not to mention the likelihood of significant past and future medical costs that you may incur. The bottom line is that there is no need to take on the extra financial responsibility when someone else caused your injury.
The Law Is On Your Side
Fortunately, laws are on the side of the victim and negligent parties can be held responsible for their actions. However, personal injury cases are often complex and can be further complicated by insurance companies with deep pockets pressuring victims to settle quickly.
Depending on the circumstances, victims often find themselves in a state of grief, confusion and fear about the future. They may find it exhausting and overwhelming to deal with insurance companies or zealous attorneys representing the other party.
Competent representation may prove the difference between putting your life back together and a lifetime of financial struggle – especially in situations where you might not know the full extent of your injuries for weeks, months or even years. Never agree to an insurance settlement without contacting a highly qualified personal injury attorney to represent your best interests.
Contact an Experienced Orange Country Personal Injury Attorney
You need peace of mind to focus on healing, while your attorney focuses on all the details of the case on your behalf. With more than 30 years of combined experience and tens of millions of dollars recovered for injured clients, Avrek Law Firm, attorneys know what it takes to achieve top results.
If you’ve been injured, contact our aggressive, experienced and dedicated Irvine and Riverside personal injury attorneys at 1.888.333.5009 or contact us online. Avrek Law Firm, represents clients throughout Orange County and Riverside County. We will provide you with a free, no-obligation initial consultation and answer any questions you might have.