Personal Injury Lawyers Serving Santa Barbara
Injuries happen every day. They occur when you least expect it and can uproot your life for the foreseeable future. If your injuries occurred due to another person’s negligence, it’s important to remember you have a right to recover financial relief. Speak to a Santa Barbara personal injury lawyer at Frederick Law Firm to learn how they can help you and your family move forward in a positive direction. Contact us today.
Common Causes of Personal Injury Cases
Personal injury law encompasses various areas, and attorneys often focus on specific cases. Our firm represents clients in the following areas:
- Medical malpractice,
- Slip and fall cases,
- Dog and animal bites,
- Car accidents,
- Truck accidents,
- Pedestrian accidents,
- Motorcycle accidents,
- Wrongful death,
- Product liability.
California personal injury cases are complex and require the assistance of a qualified injury attorney in Santa Barbara, CA. Even if you don’t see your type of personal injury case listed, we can still help you.
What Do I Need To Prove?
Most personal injury cases involve establishing the negligence of the liable party. Without the assistance of a qualified attorney, it’s difficult to prove the existence of four mandatory elements of a negligence claim.
- Duty. Your attorney must show that the defendant owed you a duty of care. This duty requires an individual to act toward others with the same attention and prudence as a reasonable person. For example, an individual driving a car must conduct themselves safely and follow traffic laws.
- Breach of Duty. You must show that the liable party breached this duty resulting in the accident causing injuries. An example of a breach may be a failure to clean up a spill in a grocery store or another hazardous condition.
- Causation. The breach must have caused the injured victim harm. Even though a person acts unreasonably, it does not follow that their conduct was the cause of injury.
- Damages. The injured victim must have incurred damages due to the liable party’s actions. For example, you may be a passenger in a car involved in a wreck caused by another driver, but you did not have any injuries. In this case, there would probably not be any damages to recover.
Although it appears straightforward, establishing the negligence of the potentially liable party is more complicated than it seems. Your attorney anticipates legal arguments the liable party may raise, including attempting to shift blame or liability onto you.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
California’s statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim is two years. The statute of limitations means that if you wish to file a claim, you must do so within two years, or else the court bars you from filing later. While there are some limited exceptions, these should not be relied on by injured victims. Exceptions to this statute may include:
- Delayed Discovery: If the injury wasn’t immediately apparent or discoverable, the statute of limitations might begin from the date the injury was discovered or should have been reasonably discovered. This is common in cases where injuries from medical malpractice or toxic exposure become evident only after a certain period of time.
- Minor or Incapacitated Plaintiff: If the injured person is a minor (under 18) or incapacitated (mentally incompetent), the statute of limitations may be tolled until they reach a certain age or their competency is restored.
- Fraud or Concealment: If the defendant’s fraudulent actions or intentional concealment of information prevented the injured party from discovering their injury or the cause of it, the statute of limitations might be extended.
- Military Service: If the injured party was on active military duty at the time of the injury, the statute of limitations might be extended.
- Criminal Proceedings: If the same incident resulted in criminal charges against the defendant, the statute of limitations for the civil case might be tolled until the criminal case is resolved.
The initial days and weeks after your injury are critical to gathering and retaining valuable evidence surrounding your claim. While you may think you will never forget the details surrounding an accident, most people are surprised at how quickly these vital memories fade. The sooner you provide relevant information about your accident, the stronger your case may be against the liable party.
What Can I Recover?
Under California law, you are entitled to recover damages for your losses in a personal injury case through economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages represent financial losses directly related to your injuries and describe the following:
- Medical expenses,
- Lost wages,
- Future loss of earnings,
- Property damage.
Tangible evidence like receipts, invoices, pay stubs, and other documentation supports your demand for economic damages.
Non-economic damages represent subjective losses stemming from your injuries. Based on their psychological or emotional nature, these damages are complicated to prove without the assistance of a Santa Barbara personal injury attorney Non-economic damages include the following:
- Pain and suffering,
- Emotional distress,
- Loss of consortium,
- Permanent injury,
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
Non-economic damages often compensate an injured victim more for injuries that initially feel impossible to quantify. For example, how does one value the inability to ride their bicycle anymore or the loss of independence due to a permanent injury? Your personal injury attorney assists you in calculating the value of these losses. Once your case’s value is determined, it’s easier to negotiate with the liable party.
How Can a Santa Barbara Injury Lawyer Help Me?
Hiring a Santa Barbara personal injury lawyer in Santa Barbara provides myriad benefits to an injured victim. As you struggle to recover from your injuries while coping with financial stresses and emotional upheaval due to your accident, an attorney is there to help. A personal injury lawyer provides their client with essential services, including:
- Legal advice. Most people don’t understand the process of filing a personal injury claim and what it entails. Your attorney provides valuable legal assistance every step of the way and answers any legal questions you may have so you can make intelligent decisions about your case.
- Filing paperwork. Filing a personal injury claim involves extensive paperwork and complex procedural rules with the court and various insurance companies. As you recover from your injuries, your attorney handles all aspects of this so you can focus on getting better.
- Calculating your case value. Through investigation and analysis, your attorney calculates the value of your case to aid in the negotiation process. Without understanding what your case is worth, it’s impossible to move forward with negotiations in any productive manner.
- Negotiation. The majority of personal injury cases settle before trial. A significant portion of an attorney’s work is negotiating with insurance companies and opposing counsel to reach a favorable settlement. Anyone unrepresented and dealing with these parties may be taken advantage of and convinced to take settlement offers far less than their case is worth.
- Litigation. If negotiations fail or the liable party won’t offer a fair settlement, your attorney prepares your case for trial. Your attorney attends all hearings, prepares all essential documents, and presents the details of your case to represent your best interests in court. Obtaining a favorable judgment on your behalf is your attorney’s priority.
If you were injured in an accident, contacting a personal injury attorney in Santa Barbara is your best path to getting the compensation you deserve.
Our skilled attorneys at the Frederick Law Firm are ready to assist injured victims in Santa Barbara and ensure your case receives the best possible result. We provide the high-quality representation typical of a large firm but with the personal care and attention that a smaller firm can only offer. We meet with our clients and communicate with them throughout their case. At the Frederick Law Firm, we provide dedicated and aggressive legal representation to injured victims in their time of need. Contact us today for a free consultation to learn how we can assist you.