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.
Personal Injury Claims for Motor Vehicle Accidents
Car accidents are a primary cause of accidental injuries and deaths in California each year. The state poses many risks to drivers, including notoriously bad traffic congestion in the metropolitan areas of southern California and a high percentage of uninsured drivers. When accidents happen, the state’s fault system requires the driver who caused the accident to assume responsibility for the other driver’s damages. Drivers are legally required to carry auto insurance for this reason, and it’s possible for an insurance claim to resolve a very minor car accident.
Whether you believe an insurance claim alone can settle your damages or you must take further legal action, dealing with insurance companies is never easy. Easton & Easton can assist you in filing an insurance claim and address any issues that arise with the insurance carrier. When further legal recourse is necessary to fully recover from an accident, our team will help you build a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver.
Premises Liability Claims
A property owner in California owes a duty of care to every legal visitor to their property. Whether they invite someone to their property for personal reasons, such as friends and relatives, or provide implied permission for others to enter for their own purposes, such as public utility workers and mail carriers, property owners must ensure their premises are safe for lawful visitors. If a property owner fails to fix a foreseeable safety hazard or at least warn visitors about it, they face liability for any resulting damages.
The plaintiff in a premises liability claim must be able to prove they were legally present on the property when their injury occurred. The state’s premises liability laws do not enforce any duty of care for property owners to intruders or trespassers. Slip and fall injuries from damaged stairs, wet floors, or other tripping hazards are some of California’s most commonly cited premises liability-related injuries.
Dog Bite Claims
California law requires all dog owners to maintain control over their pets at all times. Unfortunately, dogs are capable of inflicting severe bites and other injuries unexpectedly. Even dogs with no known history of aggression may suddenly lash out. California’s strict liability law for dog owners states that the owner is responsible for any damages their dog causes to another person if the victim did not provoke the attack and was legally present at the location of the attack.
Similar to the premises liability laws of California, a dog owner is not liable for injuries their pet causes to an intruder in their home or trespasser on their property. Additionally, the dog owner would not face liability if the dog acted in self-defense or defense of its owner, but they would need to prove the alleged victim was actually the aggressor in the situation. If a dog owner has a dog that is known to be dangerous and/or has already bitten someone, they can face penalties for criminal negligence if they fail to prevent their dog from injuring another victim in the future.
Defective Product Claims
It’s possible for a personal injury suit in Tustin, CA, to pertain to injuries caused by a consumer product. While some products are inherently dangerous and pose some risk through normal use, there is a difference between misuse of a reasonably dangerous consumer product, such as a lawnmower or kitchen knife, and an unreasonably dangerous or defective product that fails to function correctly and injures its user.
When a product is defective by design or has a flaw in the production process, the end user could sustain severe injuries if the product breaks or malfunctions during normal intended use. Success with this type of case requires proving the product failed to complete its intended purpose and/or failed to work as advertised and caused injury to the user. In addition, these cases can potentially escalate to class-action suits when many people suffer similar damages from the same products.
Catastrophic Injury Claims
A “catastrophic” injury is any injury that involves long-term or permanent damage to the victim. For example, a spinal cord injury could easily result in lifelong paralysis below the injury site, severely compromising the victim’s quality of life in the future. Whenever a personal injury plaintiff has sustained a catastrophic injury, the defendant who caused the injury faces liability for extensive immediate and long-term damages.
California’s personal injury statutes enable plaintiffs to seek whatever compensation will make them “whole” again after experiencing personal injuries. In a catastrophic injury claim, the plaintiff could face very expensive initial medical treatment for their injury, followed by years of ongoing medical care. In addition, they may need to undergo painful and challenging rehabilitation and face long-term psychological distress from their conditions.
Easton & Easton knows how devastating catastrophic injuries are for victims and their families. Our team will help you fully explore every avenue of recovery available to you that may help you maximize your final case award for this type of injury. If necessary, we can consult medical professionals to testify as expert witnesses, explaining to the court exactly how severe your condition is to ensure you receive appropriate compensation.
Proving Fault for a Personal Injury in Tustin, CA
Regardless of how your personal injury occurred or who you believe to be responsible for causing it, you must know how to prove liability for your damages to succeed with your claim. For example, if your personal injury happened because of negligence, you must be able to prove that the defendant failed to exercise reasonable care or failed to uphold a specific duty of care in a manner resulting in your damages. On the other hand, if the defendant caused your injury through intentional misconduct, your attorney could help you cite the public policies and California laws they broke, causing your damages. This ensures their behavior receives appropriate consideration from the court.
In complex cases, proving fault in a personal injury case is likely to require a combination of physical evidence, documentation, eyewitness testimony, and expert witness opinions. Therefore, Easton & Easton provides client-focused legal counsel for every personal injury claim we accept. This means we will take time to learn as much as we can about a client’s case before taking any formal legal steps through the civil court system. This ensures more communicative legal counsel and increases our clients’ chances of positive results.
It is important to remember that California upholds a pure comparative fault rule. This means that when a plaintiff bears partial liability for causing their claimed damages, they lose part of their case award to reflect their shared fault. For example, a plaintiff would lose $10,000 for bearing 10% fault in a $100,000 claim. Depending on the total value of the case and the plaintiff’s comparative fault, this could mean a substantial loss of compensation for the plaintiff. If you are worried about bearing any measure of partial liability for your claimed damages, your Tustin personal injury attorney will help you determine the best options for addressing these details and preserving your case’s final value.
Compensation Available in California Personal Injury Claims
California state law allows a plaintiff to claim compensation for any economic damages a defendant caused. Some of the most commonly cited economic damages in Tustin, CA, personal injury suits include:
- Medical expenses include emergency treatment costs incurred immediately after a personal injury and long-term medical treatment costs for severe injuries. Your attorney can assist you to gather any documentation needed to prove the full scope of the medical care you or your loved one will require because of the defendant’s actions.
- Lost income. Your injury could leave you unable to work or earn as much income until you recover. The defendant is responsible for any income you lose because of their negligence or misconduct. Additionally, you can hold them accountable for lost future earnings when they have left you permanently disabled and unable to resume your job.
- Property damage. You can claim repair and replacement costs for any property the defendant damaged or destroyed in the incident in question. For example, the defendant’s insurance policy could cover some of your repair costs if your personal injury happened in a car accident. A personal injury claim can ensure you receive full compensation for any property losses insurance can’t cover.
The attorneys at Easton & Easton have helped many past clients secure substantial recoveries for their personal injuries. Unfortunately, it’s common for victims of personal injuries to initially undervalue their claims, not realizing the full scope of damages they are legally permitted to claim. Our goal is to help you secure the entire range of immediate and future economic damages a defendant has caused.
Pain and Suffering for a California Personal Injury
While you could secure far more compensation for your economic damages than you expected with the help of an attorney, the pain and suffering compensation you receive could form the bulk of your final case award if you suffered a severe and debilitating injury. This is because California law recognizes that the physical pain, emotional distress, and psychological trauma a personal injury can inflict on a victim is worthy of compensation in a civil claim.
It may seem difficult to calculate appropriate pain and suffering compensation for your personal injury, and California places no caps or limits on the amount you may claim, with the single exception of medical malpractice suits. Non-economic damages in these cases are limited to no more than $250,000. If your personal injury suit does not fall within the purview of medical malpractice law, your attorney will help you calculate a reasonable amount that accurately reflects the severity of your experience.
Beyond pain and suffering compensation, some personal injury plaintiffs in California are eligible to receive punitive damages. Plaintiffs do not necessarily claim these damages directly; they are instead awarded at the discretion of the judge handling a personal injury suit. For example, if the judge determines the defendant’s actions to fall outside the scope of typical negligence, or if the personal injury resulted from deliberate misconduct of any kind, they may award the plaintiff punitive damages to punish the defendant’s actions.
It’s possible for a defendant to face criminal charges for their actions depending on how they caused a personal injury. For example, if you were injured during a violent armed robbery, the defendant is likely to face felony prosecution and liability for your civil damages. In addition, the judge handling their criminal case may include restitution to you as a part of the defendant’s sentence. Ultimately, there are many ways for a personal injury to escalate into an incredibly complex series of legal entanglements.
Resolving Your Personal Injury Suit in Tustin, CA
You could have an initial recovery phase of filing an insurance claim in response to your accident. However, whether you need to deal with an insurance claim or proceed directly with your personal injury suit, you should know how your case is likely to unfold. The majority of all personal injury claims filed in California end with privately negotiated settlements. The plaintiff and defendant meet privately with their respective legal counsel to discuss mutually acceptable terms for the dispute.
A swift settlement process benefits both parties. The plaintiff can obtain their compensation more quickly than they would through a trial, while the defendant can move past the situation more quickly and quietly than a trial would allow. Unfortunately, some personal injury claims cannot be resolved privately. When the parties involved cannot agree to terms, or if a defendant refuses to accept liability, the case may proceed to trial, and it will take much longer to resolve.
When you choose Easton & Easton as your Tustin personal injury attorneys, our goal is to help you reach a conclusion to your personal injury case as efficiently as possible. We will seek to settle your claim with the defendant if we can, but if settlement proves fruitless, we are more than capable of defending you through civil litigation. Our team develops individualized legal strategies for every client that seek maximum compensation in the most efficient manner possible. You can trust our team to answer your legal questions and help you make informed decisions about every aspect of your claim.
Q: How Much Is My Personal Injury Claim Worth in Tustin, CA?
A: California law enables the victim of a personal injury to seek full recovery from all their economic losses plus pain and suffering compensation. Every case is unique, and a plaintiff may not realize the full scope of their claimable losses until they secure legal counsel. Your Tustin personal injury attorney will provide an estimate of your case’s potential value.
Q: How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Tustin Personal Injury Attorney?
A: It’s natural to worry about the cost of filing a personal injury claim when you are already struggling with expensive medical bills and lost income from the inability to work. Easton & Easton accepts personal injury clients on a contingency fee basis. This ensures you pay nothing upfront for our representation, and our only legal fee will be a portion of the final case award after we win your case.
Q: How Long Do I Have to File My Personal Injury Claim?
A: California’s statute of limitations for personal injury claims is two years, starting on the date an injury happens. It’s possible that the victim of a personal injury may not be able to immediately recognize that another party bears fault for their condition. It is also possible for a defendant to conceal their liability through fraudulent means. Once the victim of a personal injury discovers the harm done by the defendant, they have one year to file their claim under the discovery rule.
Q: Is It Worth Filing a Personal Injury Suit?
A: You might worry that your case isn’t worth enough to justify the cost of bringing your action. However, if you are handling your legal costs with a contingency fee, then it effectively costs nothing to file your claim. A good attorney will explain the legal mechanisms likely to come into play in your case and help you determine the best methods of addressing them. You may be surprised to learn you have more recovery options available to you than you expected.
Q: Do I Need a Lawyer to Start a Personal Injury Suit?
A: There is no legal requirement to hire an attorney to start a personal injury claim in California. However, an experienced attorney handling your case significantly improves its chances of success. In addition, it will be much easier for you to address your medical concerns and other everyday obligations while your attorney handles your legal proceedings on your behalf. Therefore, choosing the right attorney to handle your case can significantly impact the final outcome.
Easton & Easton has years of professional experience representing personal injury clients throughout southern California. We know the challenges and uncertainties our clients face in their recovery efforts after suffering painful injuries and economic damages from the negligence and misconduct of others. Learn more about your options for legal recourse with the help of a Tustin personal injury attorney. Get in touch with Easton & Easton today to schedule your free case evaluation with us.