Santa Monica Personal Injury Attorney
If you or someone you love was injured in an accident that was no fault of your own, you may be able to file a personal injury claim against the negligent, or careless, party. Personal injury claims are governed by many laws, and they always have the potential to become complex. One small mistake could also forfeit your right to claim any compensation at all. A Santa Monica personal injury lawyer can ensure your claim is filed properly, so you obtain the full settlement to which you are entitled.
Areas of Personal Injury Law
An accident can happen in any number of ways. The laws that apply to your case will depend on the type of accident you were in. Our seasoned attorneys have the necessary experience in a number of different areas of personal injury law, including:
- Car accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Bus accidents
- Catastrophic injuries
- Commercial vehicle accidents
- Construction accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Train accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Product liability claims
- Motorcycle accidents
- Uber and Lyft accidents
- Wrongful death
- Trucking accidents
- Sports injury
- Cruise ship accidents
Common Injuries Sustained in Accidents
An accident will result in many different types of injuries, from minor to catastrophic. Some of the most common injuries caused by other people’s negligence are as follows:
- Back injuries
- Birth injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Broken bones
- Food poisoning
- Head injuries, including concussions
- Neck injuries
- Spinal injuries, including paralysis
The above injuries can impact your life for weeks, months, and even years. In addition to causing you stress and a great deal of pain, they will also impose a financial burden, as medical bills will accumulate, and you may not be able to return to work right away. A personal injury claim can compensate you for these losses and help make you whole again.
Damages Available in Personal Injury Claims
The vast majority of damages in personal injury claims are meant to compensate you for any loss you sustained due to an accident that was caused by someone else. In Santa Monica, as throughout the rest of California, the compensation awarded in personal injury claims is divided into specific damages, also known as economic damages, and general damages, referred to as non-economic damages.
Specific damages have an actual dollar value, making them easier to calculate. General damages, on the other hand, do not have a concrete dollar value, and so, they are harder to quantify. Some of the most common types of damages awarded in personal injury claims are as follows:
- Medical expenses
- Physical or occupational therapy
- Lost income
- Loss of earning capacity, if you cannot return to the same line of work in the future
- Pain and suffering
- Permanent scarring or disfigurement
- Injury to reputation
- Emotional distress
- Funeral and burial expenses, in the case of wrongful death
Punitive damages are also sometimes awarded in personal injury cases. Unlike the above types of damages, punitive damages are not intended to compensate you or make you whole again. Instead, they are meant to punish the negligent party and deter them from taking similar actions in the future. Punitive damages are rarely awarded, as they are only applicable in cases that involve gross negligence.
The Statute of Limitations in Personal Injury Cases
All personal injury cases in Santa Monica are governed by the statute of limitations as outlined in state law. The statute of limitations is the time limit you have to file your claim. In the vast majority of cases, you have only two years from the date of the accident to file your claim. If you do not file within this time, the insurance companies and the courts will throw out your case, and you will not be able to claim any compensation at all.
It is important to speak to a Santa Monica personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after an accident. There are certain exceptions to the statute of limitations that may extend or shorten the time limit. For example, if you did not discover your injuries right away, the statute of limitations begins on the day of discovery. Or, if you were injured by a defective product, the statute of repose to bring a strict liability claim could be as much as ten years. On the other hand, if you were injured by a government entity, you will likely have a much shorter amount of time to file a claim.
Proving a Personal Injury Claim
Unfortunately, stating that you were hurt and that someone else is to blame is not enough when filing a personal injury claim. The four elements you must prove are as follows:
- The defendant owed you a legal duty of care,
- The defendant breached that duty of care,
- The breach of care caused an accident, and
- You sustained injuries during the accident as a result of the breach
The burden of proof is not as high as it is in criminal cases. Instead of proving your case ‘beyond a reasonable doubt,’ you must only prove your case by a preponderance of the evidence. This means that you must show the defendant more likely than not caused your injuries.
Call Our Personal Injury Lawyers in Santa Monica Today
If you have been hurt in an accident, our Santa Monica personal injury lawyers at Personal Injury Legal Group can help. Call us now at 310-388-4306 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.