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Murrieta Personal Injury Lawyer

Murrieta Personal Injury Lawyer

Murrieta Personal Injury Attorney

Personal injury covers a broad range of civil incidents. Everything from car accidents, truck accidents, construction accidents, or even medical malpractice where someone is injured because of the negligence of another is addressed under personal injury law. These injuries have costs, both financial and psychological, that need to be addressed and are the responsibility of those who caused the injury. A Murrieta personal injury lawyer can help hold the party accountable.

Personal injury law is the mechanism by which these costs can be recovered. At Karlin & Karlin, we help our clients navigate this process and represent them in the fight to get what they deserve.

Best Murrieta Personal Injury Lawyer

Proving Negligence

The central element of a personal injury case in Murrieta, CA is proving fault. The primary element your lawyer’s investigation will be focused on is gathering enough evidence to prove that the defendant was negligent in a way that led to the injuries that you suffered. This involves proving three components:

  • A Duty to Care – Your lawyer must be able to show that the defendant had a duty to care. This means that they had a responsibility to take reasonable precautions to preserve the safety of those around them. There is a limit, of course, to the precautions, as we aren’t all required to walk around in bubble wrap. The standard is a reasonable level of carefulness and caution.
  • A Breach of Duty – Once a level of duty is established, it becomes your lawyer’s responsibility to show that the duty wasn’t lived up to in some way. This is a breach of duty. This means showing both what the defendant did in the circumstance and how that action or inaction is a breach of duty.
  • Cause of the Injury – The injury must be directly caused by the breach on the part of the plaintiff. There are situations where someone may have failed to live up to their duty but wasn’t the cause of the accident. The lawyer must show the causal chain between breach and injury.

Damages Awarded

The financial award that covers the costs associated with an injury is known as damages. Part of receiving an award of damages is showing that the costs are a direct result of the injury. This connects the breach of duty to the costs incurred by the victim. There are three kinds of damages that can be awarded in a personal injury claim:

  • Economic Damages – These are damages that cover costs that have clear financial components and are thus easily calculable. Things like medical bills, the costs of property repair or replacement, and the loss of wages from missed work due to the injuries. Future costs for more serious injuries are also addressed. For instance, future medical expenses and loss of earning capacity are paid through economic damages.
  • Non-economic Damages – There are costs associated with an injury that are less straightforward. They are more psychological or emotional in nature. While not as easy to calculate as those things with a bill, they are no less real and sometimes even more impactful than those things covered by economic damages.
    Mental anguish, pain, and suffering are given value and paid through non-economic damages. The money, of course, doesn’t solve these problems but may make them easier to manage.
  • Punitive Damages – Most cases will not see punitive damages awarded as they are a kind of punishment and deterrent. For them to be awarded, your lawyer must be able to show that the behavior of the defendant was particularly egregious or malicious.

FAQs About Murrieta, CA Personal Injury Laws

What Could Reduce the Amount of Damages I Receive?

Generally, a damages award in California is not going to be subject to any damage caps. The exception to this is medical malpractice, where there is a cap on non-economic damages. However, caps aren’t the only way that damages may be limited.

California operates under a system of comparative negligence. This means that the defendant in a personal injury claim is given the opportunity to try to prove that the defendant also shares some liability for the injuries. If they are successful, both parties will be assessed as having a particular percentage of blame. The plaintiff, then, will have their damages award reduced proportionate to their share of blame. For instance, a plaintiff who is 10% at fault with a damages award of $10,000 will receive $9,000.

California’s system is “pure” contributory negligence, which means that the defendant, even if they are 99% at fault, could still collect 1% of damages from the other party in the accident.

Should I Settle My Personal Injury Claim or go to Trial?

There are inverse advantages and disadvantages to either settling a claim or taking it to trial. The advantages of one are the disadvantages of the other. One significant advantage of going to trial is that it probably offers the chance to maximize your potential financial award, whereas settling a claim could result in a slightly smaller payout. However, that’s not always the case as the defendant still could pay the maximum because they wish to avoid the expense of the trial.

The expense of the trial can be disadvantageous for both parties. Arguing a personal injury claim in court can be expensive and take quite a bit of time. The advantage of a settlement is that it can mean getting your money months and sometimes years sooner than you would if the case goes to trial. The most significant advantage of a settlement is that it removes the element of risk from the situation. A settlement is guaranteed, but in a trial, there’s always the risk of a judgment that doesn’t work out in your favor.

How Long do I Have to File a Personal Injury Claim?

The time limit to make a personal injury claim is set by what is known as the statute of limitations. In most personal injury cases, the standard statute of limitations of two years will apply. However, there are several possible exceptions, some of which shrink the time to file and some which extend the deadline to file a claim.

These exceptions can be dependent upon a variety of factors, including the type of claim, who the defendant is, when the injuries were discovered, and whether or not the injured party was a minor.

A personal injury lawyer can help you understand what limitation applies in your situation, but it is generally a good idea to get in contact with a lawyer as soon as you think you may have a claim so they can begin to investigate and prepare your case.

What Should I Do if I’ve Been Injured in an Accident Someone Else Caused?

If you’ve been injured what you can do is going to be limited by the extent of your injuries. However, there are some general principles regarding the handling of your injury that are helpful in preparing and protecting your claim. These things include:

  • Get Medically Evaluated – It’s important to have a good record of the extent and impact of your injuries. This means getting checked out by paramedics at the scene if applicable. It’s also important to visit a doctor relatively soon after the incident to get a full medical workup in case anything was missed by paramedics, who tend to focus on traumatic injuries, not something more mundane.
  • Say Little – It’s important to realize that the defendant’s lawyers will be looking for anything they can use to demonstrate fault on your part and reduce the damages paid out through comparative negligence. Anything you say that sounds like taking blame could be used against you, so it’s important that you be careful when discussing the incident.
    In particular, use caution when talking with insurance agents who may identify innocent comments as sounding like an acceptance of fault. Generally, it’s better to rely on your lawyer to communicate on your behalf.
  • Document What’s Relevant – Documentation is the foundation of the case your lawyer will make on your behalf. If it is possible for you or someone you trust, it can be helpful to document the scene of an injury with photos or video. Continuing forward, it’s critical that you document any diagnosis or anything related to the bills and other costs you experience as a result of the accident.

Let Us Represent You in Seeking the Damages You Deserve

Personal injuries are often paid out by insurance companies. They will usually resist paying out the entirety of what they should and offer less or nothing at all. The legal process of a civil claim, though, exists to hold them accountable for paying what they should. Sometimes, even the legitimate threat of a claim is enough to bring them around to negotiating an offer that more accurately reflects the costs the victim has endured.

When you work with the team at Karlin & Karlin, you are working with attorneys experienced at handling insurance companies and fighting to get what their clients deserve. Contact us to discuss your personal injury claim today.

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