Accidents can result in significant injuries that require time off from work to heal and involve extensive medical care. Certain injuries may be permanently disabling, such as catastrophic brain injuries or paralysis. A victim may need to obtain assistance for certain household tasks and to make changes to their home. If you were harmed in an accident caused by someone else, you should consult an Orange County personal injury lawyer with a strong reputation. At Krolikowski Law, we have represented accident victims in complex cases for over two decades.Personal Injury Claims
Most personal injury lawsuits in Southern California must be pursued under a theory of negligence. As a plaintiff, an accident victim will need to establish that the defendant owed them a duty of reasonable care, a breach of the duty occurred, and the breach resulted in the accident. These cases are very fact-specific, and the circumstances will define the duty of reasonable care. In the context of a car accident, for example, a driver might breach the duty of reasonable care by running a red light, speeding, weaving, tailgating, or texting while driving.
Certain types of claims involve proving more specific elements. If you are injured on somebody else’s property due to a dangerous condition, for example, you may be able to recover damages by bringing a premises liability lawsuit. You will need to show that the defendant knew or should have known about the dangerous condition that caused your harm. If a defendant created a dangerous condition, actual notice is assumed. If a dangerous condition existed for a long time, such that a reasonable property owner would have noticed the problem, constructive notice may be inferred. A personal injury attorney in Orange County can help you gather critical evidence to prove notice.
California follows the doctrine of pure comparative negligence. Under this rule, a victim’s damages can be reduced by an amount equal to their percentage of fault. For example, if the total damages are $100,000, and you are found 30% at fault and the defendant is found 70% at fault, you can recover $70,000 from the defendant. Defendants often try to reduce their liability by asserting comparative negligence, which is an important reason to retain an attorney soon after an accident.Damages
If you can establish liability for your injuries, you should be able to recover compensatory damages, which can be both economic and non-economic. Economic damages may include medical bills, rehabilitation, therapy, lost wages, and replacement services. Non-economic damages may include pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of consortium, and loss of enjoyment of life. In rare circumstances, when a defendant’s conduct is egregious, a victim may be able to obtain punitive damages. For example, if you were injured because a truck driver was driving under the influence of alcohol and plowed into your car when you had the right of way, an Orange County personal injury attorney can explore whether you should pursue punitive damages.Joint and Several Liability
In some accidents, multiple parties may have been at fault. Your attorney may need to retain an accident reconstruction expert to determine all the contributing causes of the accident. Under the doctrine of modified joint and several liability in California, more than one party can be jointly liable for the full amount of your economic damages. In other words, two or more parties can each be held fully responsible for financial losses like medical bills and lost wages, regardless of each party’s percentage of fault. However, each party will be responsible only for an amount equivalent to their percentage of fault for non-economic damages like pain and suffering.Consult a Knowledgeable Attorney in Orange County
If you were injured because someone else failed to take appropriate precautions, you may be able to recover damages in a personal injury lawsuit. At Krolikowski Law, we represent accident victims who have suffered serious injuries in motor vehicle collisions, slip and falls, and other accidents. We also assist people who have been injured on the job in workers’ compensation claims. Call us at (949) 269-1869 or use our online form to contact a personal injury lawyer in Orange County.