If you or a loved one has been the victim of a personal injury in San Diego, California, understand you are not powerless. At Conger Law Injury Attorneys, our team is committed, knowledgeable, and prepared to guide you down the most beneficial path to the best physical, emotional, and financial recovery. If you feel Conger Law could help, do not hesitate to reach out. A personal injury lawyer from our San Diego firm could significantly impact the outcome of your claim.
Negligence is a legal term used to describe a failure to behave with the level of care an ordinary, prudent person would exercise under the same circumstances. It’s a situation where a person acts carelessly, harming or damaging another person or property.
Negligence refers to the omission of something a reasonable individual, guided by the norms of prudence and caution, would do under similar circumstances. It’s essentially the failure to exercise due care towards others, which a prudent or reasonable person would do in the same situation.
This can include causing an accident or injury due to the failure to exercise reasonable care. Most personal injury cases are based on this legal principle. The concept of negligence is established to protect society against unreasonable risk. It sets a standard of behavior individuals are expected to maintain to prevent causing harm to others.
If an injury has personally impacted you or a loved one, navigating the aftermath alone can feel overwhelming. Personal injuries are more common than you may think, and they can occur due to various circumstances, from negligence to intentional acts.
At Conger Law Injury Attorneys, we specialize in representing clients in some of the most common personal injury cases in San Diego. These include:
In personal injury law, various injuries could warrant a lawsuit. An injury’s severity and lasting impact usually determine if a case is worth pursuing. Here are some injuries commonly found in lawsuits:
Insurance companies are known for doing everything in their power to avoid paying the true value of an insured’s claim. They accomplish this by relying on the filer’s ignorance of the process and baiting the filer into sharing information to devalue their claim.
However, if you find an attorney you trust, you can outsource the burden of dealing with insurance company communications. With years of experience and education, your attorney can make the painful paperwork and tricky communications go much faster. This also reduces the possibility of you inadvertently saying something to devalue your claim.
Aside from avoiding insurance-related pitfalls, your attorney can use precedence to determine the approximate value of your claim – making it a lot easier to determine if the insurance company is lowballing you.
The first step to determining who is liable or responsible for your injuries is to prove negligence is involved. Without proof of negligence, your case likely won’t get very far.
Negligence refers to a person or party’s failure to behave with the caution and care deemed appropriate for an average person. As broad as it sounds, it can be identified more easily when looking at the individual components of negligence: duty of care, breach of duty, causation, and damages.
Duty of care is the concept when everyone in a given situation owes it to themselves and others to behave responsibly to keep everyone safe. For example, it falls under a doctor’s duty of care to arrive at work sober and well-rested.
Keeping with the above example, if a doctor were to arrive to work at the hospital drunk would be a breach of duty of care. It would be unsafe for everyone involved for an inebriated doctor to attempt to diagnose or treat patients. A doctor arriving to work drunk is not using the level of caution and care an average person is expected to use.
Causation is the harm occurs when someone breaches their duty of care. In our example, the causation of the doctor breaching duty of care could be making an obvious mistake, such as misdiagnosis, or prescribing a patient a medication their chart says they are allergic to.
The aftermath of negligence is called damages. The damages in our example could be severe, permanent health complications for the patient, resulting in medical debt and disability.
Negligence falls into different categories. The following are concepts of negligence:
Vicarious liability is arguably one of the most complex types of negligence. Vicarious liability is relevant in situations involving parents, guardians, and their children or dependents, as well as with companies and their employees. For example, if an employee driving a work truck gets into an accident, the company could be held vicariously liable.
Comparative negligence may apply when the fault is shared between more than one person or entity. In these situations, the percentage of fault becomes important, especially in California. For example, in a three-way car accident, one person might be found 30 percent at fault, another 20 percent, and another 50 percent. The consequences for each depend on the percentage of fault.
Gross negligence is the most extreme type of negligence. An example of gross negligence would be speeding through a marked school zone at the end of the school day. While it is always negligent to speed, choosing to do so knowing you are putting a huge number of people, specifically children, at risk is malice and negligent behavior.
Gathering evidence is crucial to help determine who is liable for your injury. It will be extremely challenging to get a bulk of evidence without the help of an attorney. However, you can take steps to help yourself and your case.
Copies or photographs of the scene of the accident are extremely valuable. Photographs of any injuries sustained are also worth taking. If it is possible to get witness statements from anyone who saw the accident, this can help your case.
Having an attorney when gathering evidence for your case can be extremely beneficial. Your attorney has contacts who can ultimately help provide necessary expert testimony and ease the process of gathering evidence.
Aside from simply having connections, your attorney can help to lift the emotional burden of stress from you so you can focus on your physical and mental recovery.
California is a pure comparative negligence state. Even if a claimant is 95 percent at fault for an accident, he/she can still recover damages.
The jury determines the percentage of fault. If the plaintiff is found partially responsible for their injury, the compensation the plaintiff can receive is reduced by whatever percentage they are found at fault for the situation.
As the jury divides up the fault, the total of the added percentages must equal 100 percent. For example, if one person is found to be 30 percent at fault, the other individuals involved must share the remaining 70 percent.
Your compensation or damages for your personal injury case depends on your situation. Without the details of your particular situation, it can be difficult to estimate the value of your case.
However, the compensation available to you will fall under one of the following categories: economic, non-economic, or punitive damages. Talk to your lawyer about calculating these damages, which we explain below, and what your claim may be worth.
Economic damages have a clear-cut value or price tag. If the resulting harm from your injury comes with a bill, receipt, or invoice, it is likely economic damage. Examples of economic damages include:
Any expenses you had to pay because of your personal injury case may qualify as economic damages.
If you sustained damage to your vehicle in a car accident, both the repairs to your vehicle and the temporary mode of transportation while it’s in the shop (for example, taking taxis to and from work) would count as economic damages. If you need accident-related physical, mental, or emotional therapy, the out-of-pocket cost would fall under economic damages.
While recovering, any work you’ve had to miss due to your injury would result in lost wages. If you fully recover and cannot return to your career path due to a disability or some other factor brought about by the circumstance of your injury, it qualifies as lost future wages. Both of these scenarios should result in financial compensation.
To receive the maximum value of economic damages, it can help if you keep a detailed record of all of your expenses following the incident that caused your injury. You may keep your receipts and invoices in a binder or have a special tab in your email to store everything together.
California does not have a limit on the value of economic damages a plaintiff can recover. This means you and your lawyer should seek out the full value of your compensation.
Non-economic damages can be more difficult to attach a price. Non-economic damages are often more conceptual. While these damages do not come with bills or invoices, they are legitimate and deserve consideration and compensation. Some examples of non-economic damages include:
While you cannot collect receipts for non-economic damages as you can with economic damages, you can still collect evidence to help support your case. You may journal about your experiences or request testimony from a doctor, therapist, or loved one.
If it’s difficult to estimate the economic compensation you might receive for your case without a law degree, it is nearly impossible to accurately estimate the potential sum of your non-economic damages without intricate knowledge of California law. This is one of the many ways it can be helpful to have an attorney on your side.
Punitive damages, sometimes exemplary ones, are less commonly pursued in personal injury cases. Punitive damages are an option when the guilty party has shown grossly negligent behavior.
In connection to punitive damages, malicious intent demonstrated by intentional harmful conduct or disregard for the safety of others justifies the imposition of punitive damages. This could also involve actions carried out with a deliberate and conscious indifference towards the rights or safety of others.
Punitive damages are commonly awarded in scenarios such as the following:
The above list is not exhaustive of all punitive damage scenarios. If the defendant has behaved with oppression, fraud, or malice, and there is clear evidence to support this, you likely can pursue punitive damages. California does not place a cap or limit on punitive damages.
Conger Law Injury Attorneys bring years of expertise and a deep understanding of personal injury law. Our team is passionate about advocating for victims, ensuring each individual secures the maximum compensation to which one is entitled. We handle every case with the utmost dedication, meticulously building strong arguments while providing compassionate support.
Remember, you’re not just getting legal representation when you choose us. You’re gaining allies committed to fighting for your rights and well-being. At Conger Law, we’re not just on your side; we’re on your team. Call us today at (619)-569-1919 or complete our online contact form below. Let us fight for you!
We understand and offer some of our most frequently asked questions about personal injury cases, answered for your convenience.
Personal injury attorneys don’t get paid unless you win your case. You don’t need to pay by the hour, as you may for other services. If you win your case, your attorney will charge a contingency fee. This simply means that a portion of your winnings will go to your attorney to pay for their labor. If your case isn’t a success, your attorney doesn’t get paid.
Liability can be tricky. In some cases, the person who caused your injury may not actually be the person liable for your injuries. Since every situation is unique, it is best to consult an attorney before you file. That can save you time and money pursuing litigation against the wrong party.
Speaking to your insurance company without the advice or presence of an experienced attorney is generally unwise. Insurance companies are known for doing everything in their power to take advantage of their insureds. This is unfortunate, given that insurance companies cannot exist without people to insure, but it’s an issue that has impacted many injury victims. If your insurance company does call you, you may request to reschedule the call to consult an attorney. Alternatively, if you find legal counsel you trust, you can request that the attorney handle all communication with the insurance company. This method is the most likely to result in success for your case. If you do decide to speak to your insurance company on your own, be sure to stick to the facts and avoid sharing any information that your insurance adjuster can use to devalue your claim.
In California, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim can vary depending on your specific situation. It is important to contact a personal injury attorney to help determine critical dates and deadlines.
If you’re able to gather the contact information of anyone who may have witnessed the cause of your injury, or the aftermath, it would be wise to do so. Ideally, you will pass this information along directly to your attorney so that they can handle things as efficiently as possible. Aside from gathering contact information, it is wise to avoid discussing the details of your case with anyone aside from your attorney.
Leaning on your support system, such as your close friends and family, is vital to get through a time of emotional, physical, and financial distress. However, do your best to avoid discussing the details of your case. It is best to avoid discussing the complexities of your personal injury case with anyone other than your legal counsel.
In many ways, yes, it would be faster and more painless to just accept your insurance company’s settlement. However, as previously mentioned, insurance companies are known for jumping through every possible hoop to avoid paying out the true value of an insurance claim. Whatever settlement you are being offered, especially if it’s the first offer, is highly unlikely to capture the full value of your claim.
Luckily, most personal injury claims are settled out of court. It is worth noting that every situation is different, but most cases do not have to go to trial. However, if it means getting you the compensation you’re due, your attorney is ready to take your case to trial and seek the best result. We’re here to pursue full compensation, not a fast and easy settlement.
Conger Law is here to help. Our dedicated team is here to guide you through the process, ensuring you take the right steps toward recovery.