There are a lot of different situations that can be considered a personal injury because it is a broad umbrella term that covers a lot of different circumstances. The common denominator in personal injury cases is that a person was the victim of an accident that was caused by the negligent behavior of someone else. That someone else could be an individual person or even a company.
Since there are so many different types of personal injury cases, there are also many different types of injuries, many of which require medical treatment. Personal injury victims could also have to worry about damaged property and lost wages if they are unable to work while they recover. Fortunately, they do not have to worry about paying for those expenses out of pocket since they are entitled to receive compensation from the at-fault party’s insurance company.
However, they have the best chance of receiving that compensation if they get a personal injury attorney to help them. Many steps need to be taken in order to increase the chances of securing a fair settlement, and an attorney can guide the personal injury victim through all of them. At Timothy J. Ryan & Associates, we can help anyone in Irvine, CA, who has suffered a personal injury because we have almost four decades of experience, knowledge, and legal expertise that we can use to help our clients. We will give them the best possible chance of getting the compensation that they need to take care of their accident-related expenses. So, get in touch with us if you need legal help after experiencing a personal injury.
The Elements of a Personal Injury Case
It was stated in the introduction that all personal injury cases are a result of negligence on the part of someone else. That is an important aspect of personal injury cases, but it is not the only one. The following elements also need to be present before a case can be considered a personal injury:
- The defendant (the negligent party) owed the plaintiff (the personal injury victim) a duty of care. A duty of care means that a person is obliged to act in the way a reasonable person would under similar circumstances. For example, a driver owes a duty of care to everyone on the road by obeying the road rules and paying attention when they drive.
- The duty of care was violated. This simply means that the person was negligent in their actions. In the example with the driver, it could mean that they were texting while driving instead of paying attention to the road.
- The violation of the duty of care caused an accident. Even though a violation of the duty of care is always bad, it has to cause an accident before it can be called a personal injury case.
- The accident caused losses for the victim. Those losses could be anything from medical bills, damaged property, pain and suffering, or lost wages. This also means that if a person did not get hurt in the accident, then the case is not a personal injury.
Types of Personal Injury Cases
Since the elements of a personal injury case are so broad, that means a lot of different kinds of cases can qualify as personal injuries. The following are some of the most common kinds of personal injury cases:
Vehicle Accidents – Whether it is a car, truck, or motorcycle, vehicle accidents are very common, and many of them lead to injuries for the occupants of the vehicle. However, a vehicle accident is only a personal injury case if it was caused by the negligence of one of the drivers.
Slip and Fall Accidents – These count as personal injury cases if they occurred when the victim was legally on someone’s property and that property had a dangerous condition that caused them to slip, fall, and hurt themselves. A common example is a store owner that does not clean up a spill in time, causing a customer to get hurt, but a slip and fall can happen on both residential and commercial properties. Slip and fall accidents are also a subset of a broader category called premises liability.
Medical Malpractice – This is when a healthcare professional inadvertently hurts a patient because of negligent behavior. It could be because the patient was misdiagnosed, they were the victim of a surgical error, they were prescribed the wrong medication, they did not receive enough aftercare or any other number of errors. No matter the cause, medical malpractice could lead to health complications for the patient.
Defective Products – Some products have defects that can hurt the user even if they were using the product in an intended way. When that happens, the victim is entitled to receive compensation from the party responsible for the defect. Since the defect could occur in the design process, manufacturing process, or even during distribution, the victim will need an attorney to help them identify the responsible party.
Wrongful Death – This is when a person dies from the injuries they suffered in a personal injury. If that happens, then the victim’s family is entitled to receive compensation for the expenses caused by the loss of a family member.
How an Attorney Can Help You In a Personal Injury Case
There are quite a few steps that need to be taken if you want the best chance of getting the compensation you need in a personal injury case. There are some that you can take yourself, but for the most crucial ones, you will need the help of a personal injury attorney. You can start helping yourself as early as the accident scene, where you can take pictures of the scene. If you were in a car accident, then you should take pictures of the damage done to each vehicle as well. The reason is that pictures can help to establish who was at fault for the accident.
Another thing that you should do is to get a proper medical evaluation both from the paramedics on the scene and later from a healthcare professional. The main reason is to take care of your health, but it is also important to your case as well. That is because you need to show that the injuries you suffered were caused by the accident because the insurance company of the at-fault party will try to minimize your compensation by claiming that you did not receive the injuries at the accident. Of course, one of the most important steps that you should take is to call us at Timothy J. Ryan & Associates as soon as possible.
That is because we can help you with the other steps of a personal injury case that might be too difficult for you to handle alone. We can gather evidence that proves that the other party was responsible for the accident. That can include police reports, witness testimony, existing surveillance footage, and more. We can also find experts who can testify on your behalf, such as medical experts or accident reconstruction specialists. We can also help you to file your injury claim and calculate the total amount of your economic and non-economic expenses to find out how much compensation you need.
We will then notify the insurance company of the at-fault party about your settlement request and will negotiate with them if that becomes necessary. When they receive the settlement request, they can accept it or choose to renegotiate a reasonable amount. If they reject it or make an offer that is too low to cover your expenses, then you will have to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party. Should a lawsuit become necessary, we will be by your side for the duration of your case and will do all that we can to help you win. Though it should be noted that few personal injury cases ever go to trial because they tend to get resolved well before that becomes necessary.
Contact Us If You Suffered a Personal Injury in Irvine, CA
A personal injury can cause a lot of physical and financial devastation to the victim, from which they may have difficulty recovering. At Timothy J. Ryan & Associates, we can help any personal injury victims by giving them the best possible chance of recovering the compensation that they need so that the only thing that they have to worry about is their recovery. We will do all of the heavy lifting when it comes to the legal aspect of their case, from gathering evidence to calculating their losses to filing their injury claim to negotiating with the insurance company of the at-fault party.
We know that anyone who has suffered a personal injury is likely to have a wide variety of expenses such as medical bills, damaged property, lost wages, and more. We will fight to get our clients the compensation they need so that they do not have to pay for those expenses out of their own pocket. So if you have suffered a personal injury in Irvine, CA, then contact us to get a free examination of your case and to get the help that you need.