At Miller Wilmers APC., our Southern California personal injury lawyers are dedicated to helping accident victims secure compensation for any injuries they may have suffered due to the negligence of another party. Whether you are living in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, Riverside, Temecula, Bakersfield, Ventura, Santa Clarita or Valencia California our attorneys are available to you.
If you or a loved one has suffered a serious injury in an accident in California please contact us immediately to discuss your case. We are committed to fighting for your right to full and fair compensation.
TYPES OF PERSONAL INJURY CLAIMS WE HANDLE
Miller Wilmers APC is an Employment, Real Estate, and Personal Injury focused law firm that focuses solely on these types of cases. We have experience in litigating claims in:
- Car Accidents
- Construction Accident
- Workplace Injuries
- Premises Liability
- Trucking Accidents
This specialized focus on only personal injury, particularly in defense of big corporations and insurance companies for years has given us unique insights, knowledge of processes, and relationships that cannot be understood without this type of experience. We use this knowledge against these big corporations to get the best remedy for our clients.
California Personal Injury Basics
California's personal injury laws govern how and when a claim should be filed, depending on the type of accident and the injuries sustained. In general, to prove a personal injury claim, you must prove that you were injured because of the defendant's wrongful conduct. Although a personal injury attorney is in the best position to discuss the facts of your case and applicable laws, see below for some CA personal injury law basics.
Even if you were partially at fault for the accident that resulted in your injuries, you are still entitled to recover compensation from another at-fault party, depending on the circumstances of your case. See below for more information on California's comparative negligence law.
If you lost a loved one due to someone else's fault, you might have a wrongful death claim for some of the losses that you have suffered as a result. These cases are emotionally difficult for surviving family members, but recoverable compensation can provide financial stability that may help you and your family as you go through the grief and healing process.
If your deceased loved one experienced losses, such as pain and suffering, medical bills, and lost wages, the estate representative may bring a survival action on behalf of the decedent to compensate the estate for those losses.
Determining Negligence in Personal Injury Laws
Personal injury cases are typically based on a standard of negligence, and plaintiffs must prove that the defendants' conduct amounted to negligence in order to succeed in their personal injury claims. A finding of negligence involves proving the following four elements:
- That the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care. This is not typically a difficult standard to prove as everyone has a duty to act in a reasonable manner when performing any type of conduct or activity that could foreseeably harm another person. For example, if you are backing out of a driveway, you have a duty to look behind you and make sure that your path is clear so that you do not run into any person or vehicle that may be crossing your path.
- That the defendant breached his or her duty of care. In most cases, reasonableness is the standard when it comes to whether or not the defendant breached his or her duty of care. A plaintiff must provide evidence that shows that a reasonable person would not have engaged in the same conduct or behavior as the defendant in a similar situation. The standard may be different in some cases, such as a medical malpractice case where a plaintiff needs to demonstrate that the defendant's treatment and care fell below the medical standard of care.
- That the plaintiff was injured by the defendant's breach of care. A defendant will not be held accountable for breaching a duty of care unless the plaintiff demonstrates that he or she suffered actual injuries and damages.
- That the plaintiff's injuries were caused by the defendant's breach of duty. Finally, the plaintiff must prove that he or she would not have suffered the injuries if the defendant had not breached his or her duty of care. In other words, it was the defendant's actions, or inaction, that caused the plaintiff's injuries.
California is a Comparative Negligence State
California's comparative negligence law divides the fault and uses that ratio to determine the damages a plaintiff can receive (even if they are more than 50% at fault). In law cases involving comparative negligence, the defendant makes a claim that the plaintiff's negligence contributed to their injuries and the jury decides what percentage of fault to assign to each party. This law can potentially reduce the injury party's award.
According to the California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI) 405, if the defendant claims that the plaintiff was partially responsible for the accident, they must prove that the plaintiff was also negligent and that their negligence contributed to their injuries. If the defendant can convince the jury, the jury then determines how much fault to assign to the plaintiff and reduces their award by that amount. Additionally, the total responsibility assigned among all defendants and plaintiffs must equal 100%.
California uses this standard in determining negligence liability, as outlined in California Civil Code Section 1714. The following injury cases may be affected by this law:
- Car Accident
- Motorcycle accidents
- Truck Accidents
- Product liability accidents
- Slip and Fall Accident
- Other California personal injury cases
This progressive law allows a plaintiff to recover damages even if they are partially to blame for the accident. So theoretically, you could be 99% responsible for an accident and still receive 1% of the damages requested, according to California Civil Code Section 1714.
What is the Statute of Limitations of Personal Injury Matters in California
The statute of limitations for personal injury cases in California varies depending on the type and specific circumstances of your case. In general, injured parties have two years from the date of the injury to file a claim in California. There are also highly specialized notice deadlines if your case involves a government entity or medical malpractice claim. Because there are multiple circumstances and factors to consider in your claim, it is important to see an attorney as soon as possible after your accident. This ensures that you do not miss any applicable deadlines and ultimately lose your right to compensation from the responsible party.
What We Do For You
Personal injury laws are complicated, and cases can be difficult to prove without an experienced California personal injury attorney. As mentioned above, insurance companies are not on your side, trust us, we know. We have been on their side of the aisle and understand their playbook. We are done fighting for goliath and are here to do the right thing and represent the everyday person. Insurance Companies often purposely undervalue personal injury plaintiffs' claims to save money. Simply having an attorney correspond with insurance companies on your behalf is enough to prevent them from proposing any lowball offers. Our personal injury attorneys will help you calculate the true value of your case to help with insurance negotiations and case preparation.
Calculating the value of your claim may involve medical evaluations, expert opinions and recommendations, and discovering how your injuries will impact your future well-being and need for ongoing medical care. If your injuries will require future medical expenses and result in reduced earning capacity, those financial impacts need to be considered as part of your personal injury compensation.
They will also begin preparing your case for trial from day one because insurance negotiations are often much more productive and effective when they know you have a well prepared, trial-ready case. We know that most plaintiffs would prefer to settle their claims to avoid a trial, and our attorneys will work towards a settlement that fairly compensates you.
Potential Damages in a Personal Injury Case
Every personal injury case is unique, and many factors impact the amount of compensation you will recover in your case. Potential damages for personal injury include the following:
- Medical expenses
- Future medical expenses
- Rehabilitation and therapy costs
- Property damage
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
If the defendant's conduct was egregious, punitive damages may be awarded in California personal injury cases, as well. Punitive damages are meant to punish defendants for their conduct and deter similar behavior in the future.
There is no exact set amount you are entitled to in a personal injury claim. Compensation can vary widely, depending on factors such as:
- The type and severity of your injuries
- The total cost of your medical bills
- Any future medical costs incurred as a result of the injury, such as ongoing physical therapy and prescriptions
- Any pain or suffering that you have experienced
- The degree of negligence that contributed to your accident
- How your future will be impacted by those injuries.
Consulting an experienced personal injury attorney is often the best way to get an accurate estimate of the damages you may recover in your personal injury claim.
How Much Does a Personal Injury Attorney Cost You?
The cost of a personal injury lawyer can vary widely based on your case, your injuries, and your circumstances. At the Miller Wilmers APC, we represent clients strictly on a contingency fee arrangement.
Under this agreement, there are no initial costs to retain an attorney – and there are no ongoing costs throughout litigations. All legal fees are advanced, and clients only pay any associated costs if we secure compensation for your case. If we don't win, you don't pay any money.
This arrangement allows those who have been impacted financially by a serious accident to receive the high-quality legal representation they deserve. Additionally, this empowers us to give the very best representation possible without being restricted by payments or legal costs.