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What Are My Rights After Suffering a Personal Injury in California?

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Posted on July 5, 2023

Injuries happen every day, and not all injuries are preventable. But when you’ve suffered a serious injury resulting from someone else’s negligence, reckless behavior, or intentional wrongdoing, you shouldn’t be left to suffer the financial consequences at the same time that you’re dealing with your physical injuries. Serious injuries require expensive medical care, often at the same time that you’re unable to return to work due to medical procedures and long recovery times. If the injury was very serious and left you with a disability, you may not be able to return to work in your previous capacity or at all.

When you’ve been harmed due to someone else’s failure to take reasonable measures to prevent injury, you have the right to file a claim for compensation in California. 

Common Personal Injury Claims in California

When a painful injury causes financial damages, the victim shouldn’t be left holding the bag if the accident was preventable if only another person or business entity had taken proper care to prevent it. A successful personal injury claim can’t erase the injury, but it can bring compensation for the damages. Common personal injury claims in California result from negligence-related injuries from the following:

  • Car accidents
  • Truck accidents
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Bicycle accidents
  • Medical malpractice
  • Slip-and-fall accidents
  • Defective product injuries

Most personal injury claims settle out of court through negotiations between the injury victim’s lawyer and the appropriate insurance company such as the at-fault party’s car insurance or property insurance.

Injury Victims Have the Right to Seek Redress for Damages in Civil Court in California

While criminal court functions to punish wrongdoers, California’s civil courts serve as a means of achieving redress in the form of financial compensation. Not only does this allow injury victims to recover their financial losses associated with the injury, but also to gain compensation for their physical pain and suffering and other non-economic damages. Common damages recovered in California personal injury claims include:

  • Medical expenses and future medical expenses related to the injury
  • Lost income and future income loss 
  • Diminished earning capacity if the injury caused a disability
  • Pain and suffering
  • Other applicable non-economic damages such as diminished life quality, loss of pleasure in life, disfigurement, loss of limb, or PTSD and emotional trauma

While financial compensation can’t undo an injury or erase pain and suffering, it is the court’s only means of compensating a victim for harm done to them due to someone else’s careless behavior or recklessness.

Proving Liability in California Personal Injury Claims

Most injury victims seek legal representation through an experienced personal injury attorney in California. An attorney will diligently gather and examine evidence to prove the party at fault for the injury liable for damages and protect the victim’s rights and best interests throughout the legal claims process. Proving liability in California requires demonstrating the following:

  • That the party at fault had a duty of care to take reasonable actions to prevent injury
  • That they breached this duty by acting negligently, recklessly, or with intentional wrongdoing
  • That the breach of duty directly caused injury
  • That the injury victim suffered significant damages due to the injury

Once the evidence clearly shows liability, the injury victim has a right to compensation for the damages associated with the injury. An experienced San Diego personal injury attorney can identify all the damages associated with the injury in order to maximize your recovery.