For more than 25 years, attorney Douglas Easton has earned Martindale-Hubbell’s highest AV Preeminent* peer review rating for ethical standards and legal ability.
What Qualifies as a Personal Injury in California?
“Personal injury” is a broad legal term that applies to any situation in which one party bears responsibility for harming another party. Easton & Easton has years of experience helping our clients in Costa Mesa, CA, and surrounding areas with a wide range of personal injury claims, including:
- Car accident claims. Car accidents are some of the most commonly reported causes of personal injuries throughout the United States. For example, suppose another driver hit your vehicle and caused injuries and economic losses. In that case, California state law allows you to file a personal injury claim to recover all damages their actions caused. A Costa Mesa personal injury attorney can not only help you navigate an auto insurance claim after a car accident but also assist you in exploring further legal action against the at-fault driver to ensure a complete recovery.
- Commercial truck accident lawsuits. While large trucks can have accidents for many of the same reasons that passenger vehicle accidents occur, truck accidents are typically far more damaging. Victims of truck accidents in Costa Mesa, CA, are more likely to sustain severe injuries from these incidents and often face more difficulties in establishing liability for their damages. An experienced attorney is the best asset you can have when you need to sort through complex issues of vicarious liability for substantial damages.
- Product liability claims. Product manufacturers that release unreasonably dangerous or defective products are liable for any injuries their products cause to consumers. If you believe your recent personal injury occurred due to a defective consumer product, our team can help you determine your best legal options for holding the manufacturer accountable.
- Premises liability claims. All property owners must ensure their properties are free from any safety hazards that could foreseeably cause injuries to lawful guests and visitors. For example, suppose you sustained an injury on someone else’s property due to their failure to properly maintain the premises. In that case, you likely have grounds for a personal injury claim against them under California’s premises liability laws.
- Dog attack lawsuits. Dogs are popular pets throughout California, but they are also capable of causing painful and sometimes life-threatening injuries. California upholds a strict liability statute for dog bites, meaning a dog’s owner is liable for any damages their pet causes to others. If you recently suffered a dog bite or any other injury from a dog in Costa Mesa, Easton & Easton can represent you in a personal injury claim against the dog owner.
- Catastrophic injury claims. Some personal injuries will eventually heal, but serious injuries can result in long-term medical complications, disabilities, and substantial pain and suffering. A “catastrophic” injury is any injury resulting in permanent harm. If you or a loved one suffered a personal injury that resulted in permanent disability or disfigurement, your claim could be worth substantially more than you initially anticipated.
This isn’t an exhaustive list of all the types of personal injury claims our firm handles. Suppose you believe another party is responsible for your recent personal injury. In that case, it is vital to consult an experienced Costa Mesa personal injury attorney as soon as possible to discuss your options for legal recourse.
Proving Fault in a Personal Injury Case
Success with any personal injury claim requires identifying the party responsible for causing the injury. Once the plaintiff and their Costa Mesa personal injury attorney have accurately identified the defendant or defendants responsible for the plaintiff’s claimed damages, they must prove the full extent of those damages. Additionally, the plaintiff and their attorney must provide clear proof that the claimed damages directly resulted from the defendant’s negligence, failure to exercise reasonable care, or intentional misconduct in the situation in question.
Your Costa Mesa personal injury lawyer can help you determine what evidence you need to establish liability for your damages. Suppose you secure legal representation as soon as possible after a personal injury. In that case, your legal team will have an easier time securing physical evidence and verifying witness statements that may support your case. When a personal injury claim involves very technical or complex details, your attorney may consult with expert witnesses who can provide understandable insights into the matter, such as engineers, medical professionals, accident reconstruction experts, and more.
Damages and Compensation Available in Successful Personal Injury Claims
It’s crucial for the plaintiff in any personal injury claim to provide a complete, detailed, and accurate accounting of all the damages they intend to claim in their lawsuit. In addition, California’s personal injury statutes are generally quite flexible regarding the damages an injured plaintiff can claim. Therefore, when you hire an experienced Costa Mesa personal injury lawyer to represent you, you are more likely to maximize your compensation for economic damages, including:
- Medical expenses. When one party causes physical harm to another and the victim requires medical treatment, California law states that the at-fault party is liable for all medical expenses the victim incurs. You can hold a defendant accountable for immediate medical expenses like your hospital bills, and your attorney can help you secure compensation for anticipated future medical costs when your injury poses long-term medical complications.
- Lost income. Your personal injury could prevent you from working for an extended time, during which your household will struggle because of your lost income. If you are left unable to work due to a defendant’s actions, the defendant is responsible for your lost wages. In addition, when a personal injury causes permanent disability that prevents you from returning to work at all in the future, the defendant is liable for your lost future earning potential as well.
- Property damage. Suppose the defendant’s actions also involved damage to your property, such as a car accident claim or product liability claim for an incident that damaged your home. In that case, you can also claim these losses. Again, your attorney can help you add repair or replacement costs for property the defendant damaged or destroyed.
Depending on the nature of your personal injury, these economic damages may not form the bulk of your recovery. California state law allows personal injury plaintiffs to recover financial compensation for physical pain, emotional distress, and psychological anguish caused by a defendant’s actions. There is no limit to the amount a plaintiff can claim in non-economic damages except for medical malpractice claims, which California state law limits to $250,000.
Suppose you intend to seek compensation for your pain and suffering. In that case, your Costa Mesa personal injury lawyer will help you determine a reasonable amount to include to reflect the severity of your injuries. For example, suppose you suffered a permanently disabling injury that incurred $300,000 in immediate medical costs and are expected to face long-term diminished ability to live independently. In that case, your attorney could seek several times the amount of your medical expenses in pain and suffering compensation to reflect the severity of your condition.
Personal Injury FAQs
Q: Is It Worth Hiring a Costa Mesa Personal Injury Attorney?
A: You are not only more likely to succeed with your personal injury case when you have an experienced attorney handling it but also more likely to maximize your recovery. Ultimately, plaintiffs in personal injury cases can manage these legal proceedings more easily when they have experienced legal representation on their side.
Q: How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?
A: Most personal injury attorneys will offer their clients contingency fee billing, a billing arrangement that requires no upfront legal fees from the client. The client only pays legal fees once their attorney wins their case, paying the attorney a predetermined percentage of the case award. Before agreeing to their representation, make sure you fully understand a potential attorney’s billing policy.
Q: How Long Will My Personal Injury Case Take to Conclude?
A: Most personal injury claims filed in California settle relatively quickly outside of court. As long as the defendant’s liability is clear and the plaintiff secures legal representation as soon as possible, it’s possible for a case to only require several weeks or a few months to complete. However, when a defendant contests liability and a trial ensues or settlement negotiations are complex due to the nature of the damages in play, a personal injury claim can take several months to complete.
Q: What Happens If I’m Partially Responsible for My Accident?
A: California enforces a pure comparative negligence statute. This law ensures a plaintiff can still recover damages even if they are partially responsible for causing those damages. However, the plaintiff loses a percentage of their case award equal to their fault for causing their damages. For example, if a plaintiff is 10% at fault in a million-dollar personal injury claim, they lose $100,000 of their case award.
What to Expect From Your Costa Mesa Personal Injury Attorney
The attorneys at Easton & Easton understand the distress and apprehension of personal injury victims when securing legal counsel for their civil claims in Costa Mesa. When you choose our firm to represent you in any personal injury claim, you can expect compassionate, individualized legal counsel through every phase of your case. We’ll help you gather evidence and testimony to establish liability, assist you in proving the full scope of your damages, and guide you through every stage of the personal injury claim process.
If you are ready to discuss a recent personal injury with us, contact Easton & Easton today to schedule a consultation with an experienced and reliable Costa Mesa personal injury attorney.