“Negligence” is the central legal concept at the heart of every personal injury case. This term describes a party’s failure to act with reasonable care in a given situation. To succeed with a personal injury claim in Riverside, California, the plaintiff and their legal team must establish four key facts:
- The defendant had a duty of care in the situation in question.
- The defendant breached this duty of care in some way, either intentionally or through carelessness.
- The plaintiff suffered actual harm from the defendant’s breached duty of care.
- The plaintiff’s claimed damages did not result from another cause.
Proving these four factors may seem straightforward at first, but the reality is that any personal injury claim has the potential to escalate into a complex legal affair. Additionally, California upholds a pure comparative negligence statute, meaning a plaintiff may face reduced compensation if the court determines they are partially at fault for causing their claimed damages. California does not bar recovery at any threshold, so a plaintiff found 99% at fault would still be legally entitled to recovery but would lose 99% of the case award to reflect their fault. Our team will help our client minimize any comparative negligence a defendant asserts to help them ensure maximum recovery.
Cases We Handle
Personal injury law is a broad area of civil law that applies to many different civil cases. The team at My SoCal Lawyers can be your Riverside, California personal injury attorneys in a wide range of personal injury cases, including:
- Car accident claims. If another driver injured you by causing a car accident, we could help you explore your options for recovery beyond insurance. Car accidents continue to be one of the most common causes of personal injury claims in the United States.
- Premises liability claims. If you or a loved one suffered an injury on another person’s property due to their failure to properly maintain the property, a premises liability claim could offer your best chance of securing a recovery.
- Dog bite claims. California is a strict liability state when it comes to dog bites. If another person’s dog bit or otherwise injured you while you were lawfully present at the location where the incident occurred, you would have the right to file a personal injury claim against the dog’s owner.
- Catastrophic injury cases. Some personal injuries pertain to severe injuries like amputation, burns that cause permanent scarring, spinal cord injuries, and brain injuries. Suppose a loved one suffered any injury likely to affect them for the rest of their life. In that case, we can help you secure the maximum possible recovery for your immediate and anticipated future losses.
- Wrongful death. When a personal injury victim dies from their injury, their family has the right to pursue a wrongful death claim instead of the personal injury claim the victim could have filed had they survived.
This is not an exhaustive list of the personal injury cases our team can handle. If you or a loved one recently experienced any type of personal injury due to the actions of another party, My SoCal Lawyers can help you hold them accountable for your losses with a personal injury claim.
Assisting Client Recovery in the Inland Empire
The personal injury statutes of California allow an injured victim to secure compensation for all losses resulting from a defendant’s negligence. As your Riverside, California personal injury attorneys, My SoCal Lawyers will help you recover damages such as:
- Medical expenses, both those immediately resulting from your injury and anticipated long-term medical expenses for treating you or your loved one’s injuries.
- Lost income, including wages lost during recovery and lost future earning capacity when a client develops a permanent medical condition or disability that prevents them from working in the future.
- Property damage, such as the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle in a car accident or other personal property destroyed by the defendant’s actions.
- Pain and suffering, which seeks to compensate you for your physical suffering and mental anguish.
The potential recovery from your personal injury claim could be far more substantial than you initially expected when you work with the right Riverside, California personal injury lawyer.
How Do I Calculate My Damages?
California state law does not limit the economic damages a plaintiff can seek in their personal injury claim. Therefore, if the defendant’s actions caused any measurable loss, you can prove it with the right documentation. Your attorney will help you gather all documentation you require to establish the full scope of your claimable damages.
When it comes to your medical expenses, you will need to provide invoices for the immediate treatment costs you incurred following your injury, as well as your doctor’s report regarding your treatment. This report will include details of your injuries and the treatments you require, your prognosis for future medical complications, and additional care you are likely to require. Your Riverside personal injury attorney can use your hospital bills and the medical report from your doctor to establish the full amount of medical expenses your personal injury has caused. This will enable you to pay for the cost of any future treatment you require and ensure you have the funds necessary to afford ongoing care for a serious injury.
Lost income can be more challenging to calculate. If you were unable to work for several days or weeks after your injury, your employer could provide your attorney with relevant documentation that proves how much income you lost during that time, whether you needed to use accrued sick leave or vacation days, and how your injury may impact your job duties. You have the right to recover any income lost during your initial recovery as well as lost future income. For example, if your injury leaves you permanently disabled, you cannot work at all in the future, and the defendant is liable for the income you would have reasonably expected to earn until retirement.
Your Riverside personal injury lawyer can help you calculate lost future wages and incorporate future inflation adjustments and cost of living increases to ensure appropriate compensation for your lost earning potential.
Pain and suffering can also be very difficult to calculate in a personal injury case. You may wonder how you can put a price on something intangible like physical pain or emotional distress, but personal injury lawyers in California typically use one of two methods for their clients.
When a plaintiff is expected to completely recover from their personal injury in a relatively short time, their attorney may seek a “per diem” pain and suffering compensation arrangement on their behalf. This would award a set amount of compensation every day until the plaintiff reaches maximum medical recovery from their injury.
When a plaintiff faces long-term or permanent medical complications from a catastrophic injury, their attorney would likely seek a larger lump sum settlement. Attorneys typically multiply their clients’ claimed economic damages by a factor of up to five to reflect the severity of the plaintiff’s condition or more in extreme cases. For example, if your personal injury caused a permanent disability that alters your quality of life, your attorney could seek five times or more than your total claimed economic damages in pain and suffering compensation.
It is common for personal injury plaintiffs in California to be surprised at the total potential values of their claims once they have the right attorneys handling their cases. An experienced Riverside personal injury attorney can potentially help you recover a substantial amount of compensation for your personal injury that allows you to recover with peace of mind.
What Happens If My Injury Occurred at Work?
Some people sustain personal injuries while working in California, and these victims face a very different recovery process. California’s workers’ compensation laws require almost every employer to carry workers’ compensation insurance coverage. This means that almost all employees working in California have the right to file workers’ compensation claims when they suffer injuries on the job. This applies whether they make a mistake and cause their own injury or if another party’s negligence causes their injury. As long as the injury occurred at work or while working, it is typically covered by the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance.
If you can file a claim for workers’ compensation, you cannot sue your employer for your personal injury. The only exceptions to this rule would be if the company that employs you doesn’t carry workers’ compensation insurance, or if the company deliberately caused your injury in some way. However, if a third party outside of your workplace caused your work injury, you would have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim as well as a claim against the party who caused your injury.
Workers’ compensation can cover your medical treatment costs and provide disability benefits when you cannot work, but you may not secure full compensation for all of your losses through the workers’ compensation system. When you can file a third-party personal injury claim in addition to your claim for workers’ compensation, it is essential to work with an attorney who has experience with both workers’ compensation cases and personal injury cases. Your personal injury case could help you recover the damages that your workers’ compensation claim can’t cover, chief among them your pain and suffering.
How Much Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Cost in Riverside, California?
When you are faced with the economic aftermath of an unexpected personal injury, it’s natural to be hesitant about the potential cost of legal fees if you intend to pursue a civil case against the party who injured you. However, most personal injury attorneys operating in California offer contingency fee billing to make their legal services accessible to those who need them most. They understand that the average person cannot afford the out-of-pocket costs for an attorney who charges by the hour.
With a contingency fee agreement, the client pays their attorney nothing upfront for legal representation. Additionally, the client pays nothing if the attorney fails to secure a settlement on their behalf. However, if the attorney wins the case, the contingency fee is a predetermined percentage of the final case award. This ensures the client has the legal counsel they need to secure the compensation they deserve, and they only pay for their legal representation after they win their case.
If you need legal representation for a personal injury case in California and an attorney offers a contingency fee agreement, this is a good sign that you are likely to win your case. The attorney would only be paid if you receive a settlement, so they would be unlikely to take on a case likely to fail. Before signing a contract for representation, make sure you fully understand the attorney’s billing policy so you know what to expect in terms of your legal fees.
How Long Do You Have to File a Personal Injury Claim in California?
Every state upholds unique laws, and it’s vital to know the statute of limitations that applies to the case before you. A statute of limitations is the time limit in which an injured party can file a civil lawsuit regarding their injury. In California, the statute of limitations is two years from the date an injury occurs. However, not all personal injuries are immediately noticeable. Some individuals do not recognize the results of a personal injury until months or even years after it has occurred. In these situations, the “discovery” rule may apply. California’s delayed discovery rule states that the statute of limitations for a personal injury claim does not begin until the victim realizes the harm done by the defendant’s actions.
Your Riverside personal injury lawyer can help ensure your claim meets the applicable statute of limitations. While two years may seem like more than enough time to file your claim, some personal injury claims require extensive research and document compilation before any complaint can be filed. Therefore, it is crucial to secure legal counsel as soon as possible after a personal injury occurs or after you discover a personal injury.
The sooner your Riverside personal injury attorney can begin working on your case, the more likely you are to succeed. Depending on your injury, your attorney may need to consult relevant experts like medical professionals or accident reconstruction experts to help you substantiate your case. Your case may also unfold in tandem with a criminal case filed by the state against the defendant if they caused your injury through an illegal act. Your attorney may also need time to accurately calculate the full range of damages you can include in your claim. You may face other statutory restrictions regarding your unique type of case. After you handle your immediate medical needs following a personal injury, you should consult an attorney as soon as possible.
What Are the Stages of a Personal Injury Claim?
A personal injury claim begins once the plaintiff files a formal complaint against the party they believe responsible for causing their personal injury. They must file their complaint with the Riverside civil court system, and the court will serve formal notice to the defendant named in the complaint. At this point, a personal injury claim can go in one of two possible directions. First, most personal injury claims will proceed to settlement negotiations. Almost all personal injury cases are resolved via settlement, and this process involves the plaintiff and the defendant meeting privately to negotiate a mutually acceptable resolution to the case.
The other possibility is litigation. If the defendant denies their liability for the damages listed in the complaint, or if they argue the amount of damages sought by the plaintiff, settlement may not be possible. However, if settlement fails or the defendant demands a trial, the case will proceed to litigation.
Personal injury litigation is very complex and time-consuming. The process begins with discovery, in which both sides of the case share their relevant evidence and documentation. At this point, the defendant’s legal counsel will have the chance to thoroughly review the medical records and other documentation regarding the plaintiff’s damages. They may encourage their client to agree to settlement once they see the strength of the plaintiff’s case. If not, the two parties complete a review process of each other’s evidence before depositions and courtroom appearances.
When a personal injury case is resolved in litigation, the judge overseeing the case has the final say regarding the outcome of the case and the plaintiff’s total recovery. Proceeding to litigation in any personal injury claim can potentially equate to gambling for both sides of the case. The defendant could potentially avoid liability if the judge rules in their favor or they could owe even more substantial damages than the plaintiff requested in a settlement. For the plaintiff, the judge could potentially award more than they sought in settlement or grant them a much smaller total recovery due to the judge’s interpretation of the case.
Your Riverside personal injury lawyer is likely to seek a swift settlement offer on your behalf. However, when you choose My SoCal Lawyers to represent you in a Riverside personal injury claim, we are not afraid to take your case to court if necessary. Our goal in every case we accept is to help our client recover as much as possible in the shortest time possible, and we will strive to secure an acceptable settlement offer on your behalf. If the case proceeds to litigation, we have the resources, experience, and skills necessary to guide you through your court proceedings with confidence.
Find Legal Counsel You Can Trust in Riverside
Regardless of your personal injury claim, you will be far more likely to succeed with your civil action and secure the recovery you deserve when you have an experienced Riverside personal injury attorney working on your case. Your legal team can handle your court proceedings and filing requirements on your behalf while you rest and recover from your injury with peace of mind.
My SoCal Lawyers have represented many Riverside, CA, personal injury clients in various cases. We understand the risks and uncertainties they face while struggling in the aftermath of their injuries. Our goal is to help every client we represent recover as fully as California state law allows. If you are ready to discuss your legal options with an attorney after any personal injury in the Inland Empire, contact My SoCal Lawyers today and schedule a case evaluation with our team.