The Law Offices of Steers and Associates serves Whittier and the surrounding communities. If you or a loved one has sustained a serious injury, contact us for a free, confidential consultation and case evaluation today by calling (562) 320-8684.
We enjoy making a personal difference for our clients that we represent in Whittier and throughout southern California. You’re not just a case number out of many like at the large firms. We believe in the kind of legal support service that is caring and personal to you as an individual, while also being aggressive and effective in getting results for you.
What is a Personal Injury?
In the eyes of the law, when a person suffers a personal injury, he or she has suffered physical damage to their body as a result of the intentional act or the carelessness and negligence of somebody else. On occasion, a person claiming personal injury might also suffer psychological damage.
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What is “Negligence”?
To prove negligence, the claimant must prove all of the following elements:
- That the opposing party owed the claimant a duty of care.
- The opposing party breached that duty.
- The breach of that duty caused the accident and the claimant’s injuries.
- The accident was the proximate cause of the claimant’s injuries.
- The claimant suffered legally recognized damages.
If the claimant fails to prove any single one of those elements, his or her case fails in its entirety.
What are “Damages” in a Personal Injury Case?
Should a claimant be able to prove all of the elements of negligence, he or she is allowed to seek an award of damages. Some of the damages that California law allows to be awarded include the following:
- Past and future medical bills and lost earnings in connection with the accident.
- Any permanent disfigurement.
- Any permanent disability.
- Pain and suffering.
- Loss of a normal life.
- Other substantial damages in the event of a wrongful death.
Types of Accidents:
A wide variety of accidents can result in severe injuries or even death. The most common personal injury cases seen in the courts involve motor vehicle accidents. They involve cars, motorcycles, scooters, bicycles and pedestrians. It’s estimated that there will be about 60,000 reported motor vehicle accidents in Los Angeles County in 2018, with more than 80,000 people being injured in them.
Here are some other examples of personal injury cases that we see:
Large Truck Crashes
A fully loaded tractor-trailer can be more than 70 feet long and weigh up to 80,000 pounds. At highway speeds these gigantic pieces of machinery can literally crush a 3,500 pound passenger vehicle. Severe and permanent injuries along with wrongful deaths are far more likely to occur in large truck accidents as opposed to passenger car accidents. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, only about 16 percent of all injuries and fatalities in large truck crashes are suffered by truck drivers. About 67 percent are suffered by drivers and occupants of passenger cars. The balance are suffered by motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians.
Aside from maybe a helmet, motorcyclists are unprotected and highly vulnerable to severe injuries and death in crashes, even when impacts occur at relatively low speeds. Recent studies show that when the driver of another vehicle was responsible for an accident with a motorcycle, that vehicle violated the motorcycle’s right-of-way 66 percent of the time. The most common scenario was when the driver of a passenger vehicle made a left turn in front of an oncoming motorcycle. Motorcyclists had an average of less than two seconds to avoid an impact with the turning vehicle.
Los Angeles leads California in accidents involving pedestrians and motor vehicles. These accidents can occur in intersections, on sidewalks, crosswalks and parking lots. Pedestrians are completely unprotected. According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Protection, pedestrians are 50 percent more likely to be killed in an accident than a driver or occupant of a motor vehicle. Alcohol, drugs or a combination of the two are involved in 48 percent of all accidents involving motor vehicles striking pedestrians.
Bicycles are a popular way of getting around town, but in a city that’s dominated by motor vehicles with distracted and impaired drivers, it just doesn’t seem as if enough attention is being paid to the safety of bicyclists. Given their narrow and low profiles, motorists just don’t see bicyclists, or they don’t see them until it’s too late to avoid a collision. Like motorcyclists, aside from maybe a helmet, bicyclists are also unprotected and exposed to the same serious injuries that motorcyclists can suffer. More than 4,000 bicyclists are injured or killed in Los Angeles accidents every year.
The law of premises liability involves dangerously defective conditions in homes or businesses that are under the control of others. Cases might involve loose or rotten porch steps at a private home, falling merchandise, slip-and-falls or-trip-and-falls or inadequate security at a commercial property. Premises liability cases are the second most frequently filed personal injury claims and lawsuits behind motor vehicle accidents.
The Statute of Limitations
In Whittier, and the entire State of California, when a person has been injured as a result of the carelessness and negligence of somebody else, that victim has two years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit. This statute of limitations is strictly construed. There are very few exceptions to it. Failure to file an appropriate lawsuit within two years will be cause for permanent dismissal. If the contemplated lawsuit is against a state or municipal entity, a notice of claim must be filed within six months of the date of injury. Failure to file a proper notice of claim within that six month period can also be cause for dismissal of a lawsuit.
Contact a Whittier Personal Injury Lawyer
Personal injury cases involve complicated litigation strategies. Insurance companies defend these cases vigorously. We’re established Whittier personal injury lawyers with a wide range of successful personal injury litigation experience. Contact us right away after being injured or losing a family member in an accident in or around Whittier. Consultations are always free, just call us at (562) 320-8684.