Personal injury law covers a wide variety of activities involving many different parties. In almost all personal injury cases, the common denominator is that a person was harmed by the negligence of another. The injured victim can recover monetary compensation from the negligent party if a San Jose personal injury attorney can establish four elements:
- Duty: Although a special relationship between the two parties may create a special duty, most often the duty owed is to act as a reasonable person would do under the circumstances.
- Breach of duty: This is a failure to uphold the duty; for example, the negligent party acted unreasonably.
- Causation: The actions of the negligent party were the actual cause of harm to the victim.
- Damages: The victim suffered a measurable loss.
Types of Damages
Depending on the nature of the incident, there can be many different losses associated with a personal injury case. Among the potential damages recoverable by the victim are:
- Past and future medical bills
- Past and future lost wages and earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of consortium/companionship
The most common type of personal injury case results from an auto crash. Thankfully, many are relatively minor and do not result in injury; some, however, result in severe injuries to the driver and passengers. Auto accidents inevitably involve insurance companies who actively seek to quickly and inexpensively settle the claim. It is almost never in the best interest of the accident victim to deal directly with an insurance company. Statistically, accident victims receive significantly higher settlements when represented by a San Jose lawyer, even when legal fees are factored in.
Slip and Falls/Trip and Falls
Two distinct fact patterns are involved in these cases: A slip and fall occurs due to some foreign matter on the walking surface, such as ice on a sidewalk, and a trip and fall occurs because of some issue with the surface itself, such as an uneven sidewalk. In either case, one of the primary issues is determining who is liable. It seems obvious to look to the property owner, but the possessor of the property, a tenant for example, may also be liable.
In many instances, more than one party may be liable. The victim may collect damages from any party at fault, but there are different rules for collecting economic damages versus non-economic damages. Additionally, the victim can also be held partially responsible for their own injuries; however, this is not necessarily a bar to recovery.
Contact a San Jose Personal Injury Attorney for Legal Advice
Personal injury cases are often complex. Be certain you fully understand your rights. Call Lori Costanzo at 408-993-8493.