Encino Personal Injury Lawyer

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Encino Personal Injury Attorney

Things happen in life where people make honest mistakes, are unaware of their errors, or become distracted. Sometimes, they simply don’t know any better or just assume nothing will go wrong. Any of these behaviors, though, depending on the circumstance, could lead to someone being injured, sometimes seriously.

When that happens, an Encino personal injury lawyer can work to secure compensation for the victims.

A distracted driver could cause a significant car accident. An inexperienced security guard could fail to properly protect a locale. These kinds of incidents happen, but that doesn’t absolve those who cause them. Instead, the costs that others suffer are the responsibility of those whose negligence brought about or allowed the injuries to occur.

Freeman & Freeman, LLP: Your Encino Personal Injury Lawyers

In most cases, insurance companies are going to be responsible for paying out what is owed. However, they are often resistant to doing so. Fortunately, the law has allowed for civil claims, the threat of which can be an effective method of getting a more willing negotiator to make a reasonable settlement offer.

If needed, a personal injury claim can also give an injured party the opportunity to make their case for compensation in court. At Freeman & Freeman, LLP, we represent those who’ve been injured. We work tirelessly to put forth a formidable case for their restitution.

What Does a Personal Injury Claim Compensate?

Personal injury claims compensate for the costs that are directly associated with the injury that you suffered as a result of someone else’s negligence.

One of the tasks your lawyer must be able to do is demonstrate the link between your injury and the costs that you are seeking compensation for. The name for compensation in a personal injury claim is damages, and they are paid in three different forms.

Economic Damages

One form of damages, economic damages, addresses everything associated with the injury that has a clear financial component involved. All your medical bills related to the injury should be covered, including:

  • Doctors’ visits
  • Testing
  • Medication
  • Surgeries
  • Physical therapy
  • Any other treatment involved in your injury

If there was property damage involved, such as a car or a motorcycle, the cost of repair or replacement is also included in economic damages. Serious injuries often force sufferers to miss some work time. If that’s the case, then any lost wages are also included.

More serious injuries could often have consequences that extend beyond the point when a case is settled or finalized in court. This is often the case with the most serious injuries, such as brain injuries.

These future expenses, such as ongoing medical costs, could be included as well. Additionally, if the injured person is unable to return to work in the same way that they did prior to the injuries, then that lost earning capacity will also be compensated under economic damages.

Non-Economic Damages

The costs of a personal injury, though, aren’t limited to injuries that are addressed with a financial component. There are also less tangible injuries that are more psychological and emotional, including:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment in life
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of the use of a body part

Non-economic damages address these costs and others. Of course, the value paid on these isn’t meant to be a solution to the situation. Hopefully, though, it will ease challenges elsewhere in life, leaving the injured better able to focus on managing the lasting issues from their injury.

Punitive Damages

A third category of damages doesn’t compensate for the costs that you have faced. Instead, it serves as a deterrent and punishment. Since these punitive damages are only awarded for egregious behavior on the part of the defendant, they aren’t assigned in most cases.

However, if there was something malicious or overly reckless about the defendant’s behavior, such as a motorist swerving to hit a bicyclist, they could be awarded.

How Is Liability Proven in a Personal Injury Claim?

Proving liability in a personal injury claim is a process that relies on using whatever evidence, eyewitness testimony, and expert witness testimony can be helpful in showing that the defendant’s actions are the reason why the injury occurred.

In other words, it needs to be shown that, without the defendant’s actions, the plaintiff’s injuries could have been avoided or at least diminished. Proving this kind of negligence by the defendant is typically a three-part process.

The Defendant Had a Duty to Care

Proving negligence in a personal injury claim starts with showing that the defendant had a duty to care. What a duty to care is will vary depending on the situation, but it generally means that they have a responsibility to take reasonable precautions, thereby preventing their activity from putting others at undue risk of injury.

There is a reasonable level of caution that we owe to those around us, and that idea is encapsulated in a duty to care. For instance, when driving a vehicle, we owe it to others to follow the rules of the road and not drive intoxicated, distracted, or recklessly.

Another example would be property owners having a duty to take care of anything that could lead to a slip and fall. The exact nature of what this duty was in your case will depend on the specifics of your situation.

The Defendant Breached Their Duty to Care

If someone is meeting their duty to care, then they won’t be seen as liable for any injuries that may have occurred. Therefore, the next element that needs to be proven is that there was a breach of the duty to care.

What this means is that there was something about the behavior of the defendant that failed to meet their duty in a given situation. To demonstrate this, the plaintiff’s team will first need to show what exactly the defendant did in the situation.

The method for proving that the defendant’s behavior was a breach of duty will differ, depending on the circumstances of the injury. In some cases, this may be fairly straightforward. For instance, there’s not a lot of explanation necessary to describe why drunk driving is a breach of duty.

However, for more unfamiliar circumstances, it can be more complex to make that case. For instance, most of us aren’t familiar with what would or wouldn’t be a breach of duty when someone leads a guided tour of a remote cave system.

In these cases, it may be necessary to call on the help of an expert witness. This would be someone who is either a peer of the defendant or familiar with these kinds of situations. They would be qualified to describe to the court why the defendant’s behavior was a breach.

The Defendant’s Breach of Their Duty to Care Led to the Injuries

Finally, the last element of negligence is to show that the breach was responsible for the injuries that the plaintiff suffered. This could mean proving a direct link between the defendant’s negligence and the accident that caused the injuries.

First, a link from breach to accident must be proven, and then a link from accident to injury. It’s important to note that there are situations where a breach may occur but not be the cause of an accident. Someone who is on their phone may technically be committing a breach by being distracted. However, if they are stopped at a red light and get rear-ended, their breach is not the cause of that accident.

The accident must have a direct link to the injury that was suffered. There are times when this could be up for dispute. People have attempted to pass off injuries that happened after an accident, or even pre-existing conditions, as being a result of the accident.

Therefore, the plaintiff’s lawyer must prove the direct connection. There are also some situations where the severity of the injuries has been exaggerated, so the exact nature of the injuries must be demonstrated as well.

Once all these elements are proven, then the defendant can be held liable for any costs that can be shown to be a direct result of the injury. A full causal chain is then demonstrated that establishes liability.

What Is Comparative Negligence?

Comparative negligence is a potentially limiting factor in the damages that you could be awarded in a personal injury claim.

Under these rules, the defendant in a case is given the chance to argue that the plaintiff is at least partially responsible for the injuries that they have suffered. The burden of proof will be on them to prove the components of negligence with regard to the plaintiff’s actions.

If the defendant’s lawyers are successfully able to persuade the court that the plaintiff is partially responsible for their injuries, then both parties will, by the court, be assigned a percentage that reflects their share of the fault.

How Can Comparative Negligence Affect My Damages?

In many states, a share of 50% or greater of fault for the plaintiff will bar them from collecting any damages. Fortunately, California operates on a system of pure comparative negligence, which will allow anyone not 100% at fault to collect at least some damages from the other party.

The damages that are awarded in a case will be reduced by whatever share of fault that the plaintiff holds. If something about the plaintiff’s actions caused them to be seen as 30% liable on a damage award of $100,000, then they will be paid out $70,000.

What Does an Encino Personal Injury Lawyer Do?

An Encino personal injury lawyer is responsible for representing you and seeking fair restitution for the injuries that you’ve suffered. There are several ways they can do this:

Investigate Your Case

This process will usually begin with a thorough investigation of the situation and circumstances surrounding your injury. We look for evidence that could be helpful in proving the negligence of the party or parties that might be liable.

We also consider the possible ways that the defendant may attempt to argue that you’re at fault, so we also look for evidence that can help defend against those claims.

Attempt Settlement Negotiation

Before a claim goes to court, there is often an attempt to see if both sides might come to an agreement on a negotiated settlement, rather than taking the case to court. Allowing a lawyer to handle this can often lead to better negotiations.

The insurance company is less likely to try for a lowball offer, as they know it will get rejected. Additionally, a lawyer makes the threat of going to court particularly credible, and that can lead to a more willing negotiating partner.

Represent You in a Civil Claim

If a settlement can’t be found, it’s our job to represent you in court and make the case for liability and the compensation that you deserve.

When you’re injured because of someone else’s negligence, it can be an especially frustrating experience. Of course, the pain, suffering, and other psychological effects of the injury are impactful.

However, the bills for medical and property damage are daunting and leave you wondering how you’re going to pay them. The prospect of paying may even seem all the more intimidating if your injuries resulted in you having to miss any substantial portion of work time. On top of all that, there’s something about the whole situation that feels incredibly unjust.

The law recognizes this dynamic as well. Civil law, and personal injury law, in particular, exists to address the personal injustices that occur. The penalties in criminal law are meant to make society safer, but they rarely ever do much to address the personal costs of the victims.

Civil law does address the costs of the harm that people do to each other. It goes further than criminal law, too, in that it addresses actions that are honest mistakes and don’t rise to the level of criminal behavior, even though they can still cause significant harm.

An Encino Personal Injury Lawyer Who Can Help You Seek the Restitution You’re Owed

Personal injury law can help those who are injured. When you work with an Encino personal injury lawyer, you have the opportunity to make this law work for you. With the aid of a personal injury lawyer, you can file a formidable claim to seek restitution under the principles of these laws.

At Freeman & Freeman, LLP, we make the case that our clients are owed compensation for what they’ve had to suffer. If you’ve been injured because of someone else’s negligence, we are ready to put our knowledge and experience to work for you. Contact us today.