Nobody ever expects to be injured – let alone at the hands of another person. However, the CDC has disclosed that nearly 31 million people are injured annually and at least 2 million of those injuries require hospitalization. It is unsurprising with this number of accidental injuries and fatalities that liability is often disputed, which can give rise to personal injury lawsuits. Close to 400,000 personal injury lawsuits are filed each year in the United States.
When you have suffered injury at the hands of someone’s negligent, reckless, or intentionally wrongful conduct, you may be entitled to compensation for the harm you suffer. You should contact an experienced Temecula personal injury attorney if you have been injured in order to understand your options and take steps to ensure you obtain the best outcome possible from an unfortunate situation.
Personal Injury Statistics in Temecula
Temecula is a growing, thriving part of Southern California with over 110,000 citizens and a population increasing almost 10 percent annually. Commuters, expanding neighborhoods, construction, a growing senior population (with health and long-term care issues of their own), and a bustling commercial environment are all part of the city’s lifeblood. Because of this, there are a number of scenarios that play out daily which can easily result in accidents, injuries, and ultimately lawsuits.
For example, traffic accidents are the most common source of personal injury claims in the United States and in California. Nearly 5,500,000 motor vehicle accidents occur annually, resulting in 3 million injuries and 40,000 deaths. Temecula, with 2 cars per household on average and over 50,200 people employed in its economy that commute by car each day, is a prime risk location for auto accidents that can result in injuries to a victim and give rise to a lawsuit.
What Constitutes a Personal Injury?
Any injury a victim suffers in California from the actions of a person or a company can give rise to a claim for personal injury. Almost any scenario can give rise to a cause of action, but some are more common than others and can include:
- Car accidents
- Trucking accidents
- Construction accidents
- Nursing home abuse or neglect
- Medical malpractice
- Premises liability
- Slips and falls
- Bicycle accidents
- Products liability
- Dog bites
- Incidents resulting in brain injuries.
If you are unsure whether your injuries can give rise to a claim for personal injury, consult with an experienced Temecula personal injury attorney today to discuss your situation and receive guidance.
How Do I Recover for Personal Injuries in Temecula?
Personal injury victims usually assert claims of negligence to recover for their injuries. To recover under a theory that the defendant was negligent and therefore liable for their injuries, you must prove:
- Duty – the defendant owed a legal duty of care to the victim.
- Breach – the defendant breached their duty of care through an affirmative action or omission and did not act as an ordinarily prudent person would if placed in their situation.
- Causation – defendant’s breach of duty was the cause of the victim’s injury.
- Harm – the victim actually suffered injuries as a result of the act or omission.
If the victim can establish these elements and the defendant cannot raise a valid defense, they will be held liable for injuries the victim can prove. A few personal injury claims such as dog bites and defective product design, will be held to a strict liability standard of negligence and not require proving all of these elements – however, this is the exception rather than the rule.
Victims can recover compensatory damages they can prove in court – these may be either economic or noneconomic in nature. Economic damages are concrete damages with determined monetary values that can be substantiated. Economic damages may include:
- Medical bills
- Lost Wages
- Diminished future earning capacity and
- Funeral expenses.
Noneconomic damages compensate victims for more abstract, non-quantifiable injuries such as:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Disfigurement and
- Emotional distress.
Once a victim has demonstrated their damages, the judge or jury will make a decision as to the final award owed to the victim.
If the victim can establish the defendant engaged in grossly reckless, reprehensible, egregious, or intentional acts then they may be entitled to an award of punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant’s extremely bad behavior and deter repetition of these and similar acts in the future. Punitive damages are not governed by any statutory limitations and can be quite severe to serve the purpose for which they were designed.
If you are injured in Temecula, you can still sue and recover damages even if you were partially at fault for the accident causing your injuries. California employs a comparative negligence doctrine in allocating responsibility and adjusting damage awards accordingly. Judges and juries decide the amount of responsibility each party to the accident bears and assigns each a percentage of the fault. After fault is apportioned, any recovery the victim is entitled to will be reduced by their fault percentage.
What Steps Should I Take?
Seek Immediate Medical Attention
If you have been physically injured, it is important to take steps to safeguard your health. Seek medical care as soon as possible following an injury. You should also document your injury and keep records of your treatment. For the purposes of personal injury claims, it is also important you comply exactly with the recommendations of your treatment provider, take medications as prescribed, and attend all medical appointments.
Do Not Delay
Even though you have been injured and pursuing legal action may seem daunting so soon after your accident, it is important to be proactive. Most personal injury claims in Temecula have a time limit. California’s statute of limitations requires you to file your claim within 2 years from the date of your injury – otherwise you will be barred from taking action in court and you will permanently lose the ability to recover for your damages.
Contact A Temecula Personal Injury Attorney
If you are injured, it is highly advisable to contact an experienced Temecula personal injury attorney at Walton Law to understand your options and determine the best way to proceed. Our skilled professionals have years of experience advocating for clients like you and securing millions of dollars in damages for injuries due to another’s negligent or intentional actions. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to speak with you, so call us today at (866) 338-7079 or Contact Us online to schedule your no obligation, risk-free initial consultation. Our knowledgeable attorneys will review your unique situation, and, following a case evaluation, help you achieve the best possible results.