What Is Personal Injury Law?
If you recently suffered harm or incurred injury resulting from another person’s negligence, you may be able to collect damages for those injuries in accordance with California personal injury law. Personal injury is a practice of civil law that involves injuries that arise from another party’s carelessness or misconduct. If you believe that someone else is responsible for injuries you incurred, contact the San Mateo personal injury attorneys at Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger to schedule a free review of your legal options.
The Main Types of Personal Injury Cases in San Mateo
Personal injury law involves many types of cases, but some are more common than others. Some of the types of personal injury cases include:
- Brain injuries. Traumatic brain injuries can result from car accidents, falls, even playing recreational sports. These unique injuries often require a lifetime of medical care and accommodation, so they require the assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney.
- Burn injuries. As with brain injuries, burn injuries require intensive medical care, which may include surgical procedures, grafting, and reconstruction. This specialized care can become expensive, and be winning compensation for future medical expenses requires an attorney’s guidance.
- Car accidents. To receive full compensation for your injuries following a San Mateo car accident, you must show that an at-fault driver’s negligence contributed to your injuries and property damage. A personal injury attorney protects your right to full compensation under the law.
- Motorcycle accidents. Since motorcycle accidents often involve extensive injuries, claims require the assistance of an experienced motorcycle accident attorney.
- Nursing home abuse. Our nation’s elderly and disabled are vulnerable to abuse, whether through negligence and abandonment or willful misconduct. An attorney can help hold the responsible party accountable for his or her despicable actions.
- Spinal cord injuries. Like brain injuries, spinal cord injuries often lead to devastating consequences and the need for lifelong medical care.
- Wrongful death. If you lost a loved one in an accident, you may be able to collect damages for your monetary and non-monetary losses as a survivor.
Do I Have a Personal Injury Claim?
Though there are many types of personal injury law, most claims follow a similar process for establishing fault and collecting damages. You may have a personal injury claim if all the following apply.
- Someone owed you a duty of care. We all have an implicit duty to exercise reasonable care around one another – drivers, for example, have a duty to be reasonably careful on the road by following all traffic laws.
- He or she breached his or her duty of care. In a legal sense, this refers to “committing negligence.” A party may commit negligence when he or she fails to act in a way that a reasonable person would act. In a car accident, for example, a motorist may commit negligence when he or she uses a phone while driving.
- The breach led to your injuries. It’s not enough for another party to simply commit negligence; those actions (or inaction) must contribute to your injuries in some manner.
- You suffered harm as a result. Lastly, you must have damages that are compensable. Examples of these damages may be monetary, like medical bills, or nonmonetary, like loss in life quality resulting from your injuries.
If all the preceding elements apply to your case, you may have legal grounds for a personal injury claim under California law. If you’re not sure, contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. The lawyers at Walkup, Melodia, Kelly, and Schoenberger have years of experience in navigating these types of cases and can help you understand your rights under the law. Contact us to schedule your free case evaluation with our firm today.
Citizens living in the San Mateo area enjoy the fantastic Bay Area climate and the bustle of Silicon Valley city living; but, they also need to deal with notorious traffic, a large and vastly growing population, and a generally high risk of injury from a variety of scenarios. When you suffer injuries or other damages due to the negligence of others, you need a reliable San Mateo personal injury lawyer to help secure compensation through a personal injury lawsuit.
The San Mateo injury attorneys at Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger are the best in the business- and we don’t just say that, we have the track record to prove it. We offer free consultations, work on a contingency fee basis (meaning no fees or payments ever if we don’t win your case), and have more multi-million dollar settlements and awards than any other Northern California firm.
Becoming a Plaintiff in a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Personal injury lawsuits are civil actions between private citizens or privately owned entities. All personal injury claims hinge on the concept of negligence. In the legal world, “negligence” is a catch-all term that describes one party’s failure to exercise appropriate care in a situation. For example, driving at 50 miles per hour in a 25 mile per hour speed limit zone is not only illegal, it is also negligent because it puts other drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians nearby at serious risk.
An injured plaintiff will need to consult with a reliable San Mateo personal injury attorney to start the claims process. California state law has two-year statute of limitations on personal injury claims. This means an injured plaintiff has two years from the date an injury-causing incident occurred to file a claim. It’s important to note that some injuries do not immediately display symptoms, or an injury may not manifest its full effects immediately. Some injuries like brain injuries, back injuries, and internal organ damage may not immediately display. In these cases, California law allows the statute of limitations to begin on the “date of discovery,” or the date the injury became noticeable to the plaintiff.
Proving Negligence is Key to Maximum Injury Compensation
Injured plaintiffs will need to prove that the defendants- persons responsible for causing an injury- in their cases were negligent to succeed in their personal injury claims. Proving negligence involves showing the court these facts about the incident:
- First, the plaintiff must show the court that the defendant had a duty to the plaintiff to act with reasonable care. For example, a driver has a duty of care to operate his or her vehicle responsibly, follow all posted traffic signs, and not exceed acceptable speeds while traveling to prevent injury and damage to others.
- Second, the plaintiff must show how the defendant breached this duty of care. This could be through a specific action, such as texting while driving or speeding through a red light, or inaction, such as a failure to address a known problem with the vehicle that could be potentially hazardous on the road.
- Next, the plaintiff must prove that his or her injuries and other damages were the direct result of the defendant’s breach of duty. This is known as proving “cause in fact,” and generally means the plaintiff must show that the defendant’s actions more likely than not caused his or her damages.
- Finally, the plaintiff must have suffered “actual harm,” or incurred some injury or loss. If the plaintiff did not suffer an injury or financial harm from property damage, lost income, or other losses, then the plaintiff has no claim.
The right personal injury lawyer can help injured plaintiffs in San Mateo recover damages including medical expenses, lost income, lost earning capacity, pain and suffering, property damage, and more in some cases.
The attorneys at Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger have secured more million-dollar settlements and case awards for clients than any other law firm in Northern California, and we are happy to provide professional legal representation to citizens of the San Mateo area. We take cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning clients pay nothing unless we win. Reach out to our office to schedule a free consultation about your personal injury claim in San Mateo