Personal injury law in California is intended to compensate persons who are injured by the actions of another, whether those actions are negligent or intentional. Accidents and injuries are an everyday occurrence and in most instances, someone is legally responsible. A broad range of claims are included in personal injury actions, such as motor vehicle accidents, slips and falls, defective products, animal bites, dangerous conditions on someone’s property (premises liability), assault and battery, wrongful death, among others. A personal injury action can be a complex and frustrating experience and it is best to contact an attorney as soon as possible.
At the Law Offices of Steven J. Horn our seasoned personal injury attorneys will aggressively fight to protect your rights to hold the responsible party accountable for your injuries.
What should you do After an Injury?
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, it is very important to protect your rights to any possible future legal action against a responsible party. The following things should be done after sustaining an injury:
- Get immediate medical attention: The most important thing to do is to seek prompt medical attention for your injuries. Tell the attending physician as many details as possible about the accident in order to document important medical information.
- Preserve evidence: Try to write down the names, addresses and phone numbers of any witnesses to the accident, including license numbers and insurance information if a motor vehicle is involved. Take photographs of the accident scene and surroundings from different angles (for example the street and other cars, the floor that you slipped on, etc.). If a defective product was involved, keep it in a safe place and in the same condition as it was at the time of the accident.
- Document your injuries and treatment: Take photographs of all visible injuries. Keep accurate records of all medical appointments, treatment, medication, time off from work, changes or limitations in lifestyle, pain and suffering you experience, and all related expenses.
Contact an attorney: It is essential that you consult an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible after sustaining an injury, and do not speak with an insurance company representative before contacting an attorney. Insurance companies may use your statements against you to deny or limit the value of your claim.
Who is Liable for your Injuries?
In order to determine who is responsible for your injuries, the basis for the claim must first be established. There are three basic types of personal injury claims:
- Negligence claims: Claims based on negligence are the most common. Someone is liable for your injuries if his or her negligent action caused your injury. A person who acts negligently does not intend to cause injury. Their liability is a result of careless or thoughtless action (or a failure to act) as compared to how a reasonable person would act in the same situation. Negligent claims can be made against individuals or companies when it involves:
◦ Automobile Accidents
◦ Bus Accidents
◦ Truck Accidents
◦ Bicycle Accidents
◦ Motorcycle Accidents
◦ Slip and Falls
◦ Dog Bites
◦ Burn Accidents
◦ Defective Products
◦ Construction Site Accidents
◦ Boating Accidents
◦ Police Excessive Force Cases
◦ Elder Abuse
◦ Wrongful Death
- Strict liability claims: These claims have nothing to do with fault and negligence does not have to be shown. Also called “liability without fault,” strict liability is usually applied to 1) injuries from animals (for example animal bites), where the owner or handler of the animal can be liable, 2) abnormally dangerous activities (such as storage of explosives or maintaining a hazardous waste site) where the property owner can be liable, or 3) products liability (unsafe products due to defective manufacturing, defective design, or improper / inadequate instructions or warnings). When a defective product causes injury there are several potential responsible parties, including: the product manufacturer (or the manufacturer of a component part of the product), the wholesaler, the retail store that sold the product to the customer, and anyone who assembled or installed the product.
- Intentional wrongs: These claims require the intent by someone to act in a way which results in harm to someone else, such as assault and battery. In many instances of intentional wrongs, the victim may pursue a civil personal injury lawsuit in addition to filing criminal charges. For example victims of domestic or sexual abuse may pursue both a civil lawsuit and criminal charges.
There are many other potential liable parties depending upon the circumstances surrounding the accident. A local or state government entity may be liable if the accident occurred on public property (for example a child injured on unsafe playground equipment in a public park). An employer may be liable for the actions of an employee that caused injury. A property owner could be liable for being careless in maintaining the property, even if the owner did not create the dangerous condition. In California a land owner owes a duty of reasonable care to anyone who enters the property, whether a social guest, a business customer, or even a trespasser.
California Personal Injury Attorney
If you or a loved one has been injured by a defective product or by the negligent or intentional actions of another person, you should contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible. At the Law Office of Steven J. Horn, we will diligently pursue your claim to help secure the compensation that you deserve. You may be entitled to receive damages for such things as past and future medical costs, lost wages, lost earning capacity, pain and suffering, loss of consortium (a spouse’s claim of lost companionship), and other related damages.