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What are personal injury lawsuits and claims?

Personal injury claims are legal cases opened by those who become victims of various accidents through no fault of their own. If you have suffered injuries as a result of someone else’s negligence or unlawfulness, you are entitled to demand financial compensation for medical and rehabilitation bills, reduced earning ability, lost wages and bonuses, but also the resulting physical and emotional pain and suffering.

California’s personal injury laws state that the alleged victim can file a lawsuit up to two years after the accident has occurred or up to one year after the damage was discovered. However, if the lawsuit is filed against a California state, county, or city agency, the statute of limitations is only six months to one year. Here are some of the most common types of personal injury claims.

Traffic Accident

Image via Flickr by Chris Yarzab

Car accidents are one of the most common types of personal injury claims. Their nature and severity range from minor collisions to major crashes involving several vehicles, therefore the potential injuries also vary significantly. An accident can cause a wide range of injuries, from minor cuts and bruises to major disabilities, paralysis, and even death. 

If you are injured in a traffic accident that was caused by another driver’s negligence, you are probably entitled to file a lawsuit and seek compensation for the injuries, emotional distress, and property damage on your car and any other belonging that was in the car at the time of the accident and was affected by the collision.

Property Injuries

If you get injured while being on someone else’s property, you may be eligible to receive compensation, providing you can prove that the property owner did not maintain a safe environment free of potential hazards on their property. This part of California’s personal injury law is known as premises liability and it applies to both residential and commercial properties.

The possible injuries covered by premises liability are slip & fall situations, injuries caused by animals on the property, insufficient area security, unsafe stairways and walkways, faulty equipment, such as air conditioning units or elevators, inadequate playground equipment, poor property maintenance and repair, and other similar situations. The most often-occurring property injuries are generally broken limbs, burns, back and neck injuries, electrocution, torn ligaments, skin punctures, bruising, and head injuries. 

Dog Bites and Attacks by Other Animals

Injuries caused by someone else’s animal are covered by the premises liability law if they occur on private property. However, in most situations, on both private and public property, California’s laws make animal owners directly liable for their animals, making it very likely that any dog bite or similar injury will entitle the victim to compensation.

The level of compensation generally depends on the extent of the injuries and the animal’s history. Victims are usually entitled to compensation even if the animal did not do harm to anyone up to that point. If, on the other hand, the animal has a proven history of dangerous behavior, the owner may have additional legal responsibility. If a dog doesn’t bite someone but still causes an injury, its owner will typically only be liable for the damages if the injured party can prove they engaged in negligent behavior. 

Medical Malpractice

Although anyone visiting a medical facility expects their health to be improved, in some situations the health professionals that are tasked with helping patients do not meet the required standards, causing injuries and even deaths as a result. Medical malpractice is a relatively common occurrence and can happen in any medical facility, such as hospitals, clinics, and nursing homes.

Because of the high standards that medical professionals must adhere to and the great severity of most injuries caused by medical malpractice, financial compensation is often a substantial one. Also, depending on the exact situation, you may be entitled to compensation from either the medical facility or the negligent medical professional.

Defective Products

All product and medication manufacturers are expected to make and sell products that act and work exactly as they are supposed to. Their goods must also come with thorough instructions, as well as warnings on potential hazards and risks.  When those who make, design, distribute, or sell a product or medication fail to ensure the safety of their products, those who get harmed as a result may be eligible for compensation. 

Workplace Accidents

People often get injured while on the job and for this reason all California-based businesses are required by law to offer their employees workers’ compensation insurance. This applies even to companies that only employ one person and, in the case of roofers, even if they are self-employed. The insurance compensation covers necessary medical care, benefits in case of temporary or permanent disability, a return-to-work benefit, and benefits for the worker’s family in case of death. There are, however, situations in which the injured party can have a viable injury claim against a third party that engaged in negligent behavior. 

Construction Accidents

Construction sites are often dangerous and full of potential hazards. This is why the companies responsible for the construction work are obliged by law to minimize any risk of harm and to properly alert everyone in the area of all potential hazards. However, construction accidents are still a common occurrence and victims of the constructor’s negligence are often eligible for personal injury claims. Those affected by construction accidents can be employees working on the construction site, supervisors, managers, or even bystanders. Being hit by a construction vehicle also qualifies as a construction accident.

Although we spend a lot of time and energy trying to prevent and avoid personal injuries, they are unfortunately a part of everyday life. Luckily, California law tends to help those who have been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, allowing victims to receive proper compensation to help them get their life back to normal as quickly as possible. So, if you or any of your loved ones are one of these victims, talk to a lawyer and find out what compensation you’re entitled to.