Thousands of people are injured every year. However, not all of these people understand that they have a right to seek damages in the event that the injury was caused as a result of another person or entity’s fault. If you have been injured in San Diego and are curious about your options for recovering damages, an experienced personal injury attorney can assist you. The following provides a look into what you need to know following a serious injury.
Your Right to File a Personal Injury Claim
In the event that your injury was caused by another’s fault—also known as negligence—you have the right to file a personal injury claim directly against that person/entity. In order to recover monetary compensation, you will have to prove that:
- The at-fault party owed you a duty of care;
- The at-fault party violated that duty of care (acted negligently);
- Your accident was caused a direct result of the at-fault party’s negligence; and
- You sustained damages as a result of the accident (i.e. medical expenses, lost wages, pain, etc.).
Examples of instances where you may be able to file a personal injury claim include: when a drunk driver hits you, causing injury; when a property owner fails to maintain a property in a safe condition, leading to a slip and fall (or other injury); or when a product that is defective causes you undue harm. This list is not inclusive; a consultation with an attorney can help you to learn more about whether or not your situation is grounds for a personal injury claim.
How Much Can I Recover?
The amount of damages that you can recover is based on the extent of damages that you have suffered, as well as the at-fault party’s percentage of negligence. The types of damages that you may be able to recover include damages for all financial losses, known as economic damages, as well as non-financial damages, referred to as noneconomic losses. Examples of economic damages are medical expenses, costs of therapy, lost wages, etc. Noneconomic damages typically include damages for pain and suffering.
Under California law, however, the amount of damages that you recover can be reduced in proportion to your degree of fault. Even if the other party was 90 percent to blame for your injury, if you were 10 percent at fault, then your recoverable amount will be reduced by 10 percent. This is known as the law of comparative negligence.
Filing a Claim within the Statute of Limitations
It is also important to note that in California, the statute of limitations for filing a claim is two years from the date of injury. In the event that the injury was not discovered within the two-year time limit, then the statute of limitations is within one year of the date of discovery. If you do not file your claim within the statute of limitations, you cannot recover damages.
Call a Personal Injury Attorney Immediately
One of the most important steps in filing a personal injury claim to recover damages is to consult with a skilled San Diego personal injury attorney as soon as possible following your accident. An attorney can guide you through the process of filing your claim, ensuring that you know what you need to prove and what you can expect. At Berman & Riedel, LLP, our attorneys are passionate about helping victims fight for the money they deserve. To learn more, call our law offices today for a free consultation at 858-350-8855.