Accidents can happen in the blink of an eye, and just because they are unexpected does not mean they are without serious, life-changing, even deadly consequences for those involved. More than 30 million people in the United States are hurt in accidents each year, and nearly 10 percent of these unexpected injuries require treatment at a hospital. Unfortunately, accidents often result because someone was behaving in a way they should not – as a result of this negligent conduct, nearly 400,000 claims to recover from personal injuries are filed each year seeking damages for injuries victims shouldn’t have suffered. Lake Elsinore, with a growing population of more than 60,000 and a large tourism industry, has a high population density over 1,746 residents per square mile – making it more likely than average injury-causing accidents will occur as more people are packed together in close proximity. If you were injured in an accident, you should contact an experienced Lake Elsinore Personal Injury lawyer today to see if you may be entitled to compensation for your damages.
What Constitutes a Personal Injury?
A person who sustains an injury due to another’s wrongful actions may have reason to seek compensation from a personal injury claim. Personal injuries can arise in any number of ways, for example:
- Motor vehicle, motorcycle, bicycle, and truck accidents;
- Slip and falls;
- Construction accidents;
- Brain injuries;
- Premises liability;
- Wrongful death;
- Survival actions;
- Elder abuse in a nursing home; and
- Dog bites.
It is best to speak to a Personal Injury lawyer serving residents of Lake Elsinore and the surrounding areas to understand if your situation may have given rise to a claim for damages.
How Do I Recover in a Personal Injury Case?
Most commonly, personal injury claims seek damages for harms a victim suffered by arguing another party was negligent. To prove someone acted negligently in Lake Elsinore, making them liable for injuries, victims must show:
- The defendant had a legal duty of care to the victim,
- The defendant breached that duty through either an affirmative action or a failure to act (omission), and
- The breach of legal duty caused the victim harm.
If these are shown, the defendant is legally presumed to be negligent and, unless they have a valid defense, becomes liable for the victim’s harms.
In other circumstances, however, different legal theories may be used to recover. Dog bites, for instance, are generally considered strict liability and require less proof to establish liability for an owner. It is best to consult with a Lake Elsinore Personal Injury attorney to understand what applies in your particular case to avoid making what could be a costly strategic mistake.
What Can I Recover for My Personal Injuries?
A victim, after proving liability, may recover compensation for harms they can demonstrate. Compensatory damage awards are designed to redress a victim’s injuries. A judge or jury will decide the amount of any award, and they awards may be designed to compensation for a number of harms. Some damages are for concrete, provable harms such as medical expenses. Others may be for less certain injuries to a victim’s emotions or psychological state such as pain and suffering or loss of consortium.
Some victims could also be able to recover punitive damages if they can show a defendant acted reprehensibly by proving fraud, malice, or oppression. Victims have to satisfy a stricter burden of proof than mere negligence, and such damages are entirely up to a judge or jury. These complex matters and the numerous pitfalls an inexperienced individual may face in proving damages make it is advisable to with a seasoned Lake Elsinore Person Injury lawyer.
What If I am Partly Responsible for the Accident?
Lake Elsinore, like the rest of California, has adopted the theory of comparative negligence, so even if you were party at fault for the injury-causing accident you may still recover. The court will review the particular facts of your case and decide each party’s percentage of responsibility for the accident. Any subsequent damage award is then changed in proportion to the percentage of fault the receiving party holds. A victim held 50 percent responsible for their accident would still be able to recover $50,000 of what would have been a $100,000 compensatory damage award.
What Should I Do if I am Injured?
If you were hurt in an accident in Lake Elsinore, you should take a few actions to care for your health and the health of any potential personal injury claim you may file.
Seek Medical Treatment
Your health is valuable, so you should seek medical treatment immediately after an accident – even if you believe you’re not injured. Some injuries have symptoms that may not show for several days or weeks after they occur, so not knowing they exist could cause you to unintentionally make your injuries worse by going about normal daily life. Document the accident, any medical treatment you receive, and whatever incurred expenses you have because of your injuries. Also, be certain to follow all medical advice, abide by treatment plans, take all your prescribed medication, and attend all medical appointments.
Though it may seem daunting to act after you’ve been injured, you shouldn’t delay. California has a 2-year statute of limitations for bringing personal injury claims from the date of your injuries – so time is not only your side. Bringing a claim after the 2-year deadline results in dismissal of your case and you will permanently lose your ability to receive compensation for your harm.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
If you were injured in an accident, speak to the skilled Personal Injury Lawyers at Walton Law serving Lake Elsinore and the surrounding area without delay. Our experienced attorneys have spent years providing personalized, aggressive representation for victims like you and have recovered millions of dollars in compensation for their injuries. Contact us 24 hours a day, 7 days by calling (866) 338-7079 or completing our Contact Us page to schedule your confidential, no-risk case review. There is no obligation. The consultation is free, and you do not pay until we win your case. Let our experienced attorneys evaluate your unique situation and help develop a personalized plan to secure the best possible outcome for you to get your life back on track.