Category Archives: Personal Injury

Who is Liable for a Self-Driving Vehicle Accident?

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Vehicle technology has quickly evolved over the past decade. However, with the advent of tech such as self-driving or driverless cars that allow passengers to sit back and relax instead of actively drive, accidents involving these vehicles have occurred across the country. In these situations, it can be difficult to determine who is liable for your injuries if you are in a collision with a self-driving vehicle — is it the passenger, the manufacturer, or the creator? A Bakersfield car accident attorney can help.

California Laws for Self-Driving Cars

Although the technology for these vehicles is becoming increasingly more sophisticated, the United States federal government has not effectively put regulations into place to control the manufacturing and testing of self-driving cars. As a result, many states are beginning to draft their own legislation and rules for these vehicles, including California.

Many self-driving vehicles are still in the testing phase, and the California Department of Motor Vehicles requires that all manufacturers who wish to test or deploy these vehicles must obtain a special permit and comply with its regulations.

According to these regulations, manufacturers will need to notify law enforcement, ensure their vehicles contain proper recording equipment, and submit various plans and reports before they test their vehicles. However, even with these regulations in place, collisions can still occur between driverless cars, pedestrians, and other vehicles on the road.

Determining Liability in Self-Driving Vehicle Accidents

When you are in a car accident with a regular vehicle operated by a human driver, the court or insurance company determines fault by looking at the question of negligence. Which driver failed to uphold his or her standard of care while driving his or her vehicle, leading to the accident?

In driverless car collisions, that human element changes significantly. The vehicle may suffer a malfunction internally due to a manufacturing error, the software may not accurately detect hazards on the road, the manufacturer may fail to comply with state regulations — and the list continues.

If you suffer an accident with a self-driving car, there are typically three separate parties you can hold liable in your insurance claim or lawsuit, depending on the cause of the accident.

  • You can file a claim against the owner of the vehicle, typically a company that is testing the technology on public roads.
  • You can file a claim against the manufacturer of the self-driving vehicle, in situations where a manufacturing defect led to the accident.
  • Finally, you can file a claim against the human operator inside of the vehicle at the time of your accident.

Proving Negligence in Driverless Car Collisions

While the laws surrounding self-driving car accidents are still vague, many attorneys and lawmakers continue to apply the standard of negligence when litigating these claims. As a result, you will need to determine the cause of the accident before you can file a claim against any of the three parties listed above, and you and your Bakersfield personal injury lawyer will need to gather the appropriate evidence to prove your claim.

For example, say a driverless car runs a red light and causes damage to the back of your vehicle. You find out that someone was operating the car remotely and failed to stop. In this situation, the operator of the vehicle may be liable. If the operator was a company employee, you can hold the company accountable too.

If the self-driving car had a remote operator, but suffered a manufacturing defect that caused it to run the red light and the operator was unable to override the issue, you would likely hold the manufacturer liable — which may also be the vehicle owner.

While determining liability in a self-driving vehicle accident can be complex, hiring a personal injury attorney with experience working with car accident cases can help you claim the compensation you need to recover. Your attorney will work closely with you to gather all pieces of evidence available, learn your side of the story, and craft a compelling case in your favor. If you have not contacted a lawyer to represent your claim, call today to schedule your free consultation.

Posted by highrank at 2:42 pm

How to Prove Lost Wages in a Personal Injury Case

Monday, February 17, 2020

If you suffer injuries in an accident that someone else’s negligence or recklessness caused, you can struggle with significant physical, financial, and emotional damages that you were not expecting. Under California state law, you have the right to claim compensation for these damages as long as you can prove that the at-fault party was liable — and you can receive funds for medical expenses, the development of mental health conditions, and lost wages during your recovery time. Proving lost wages can be complex, but a Bakersfield injury attorney can help guide you through this process.

What Are Lost Wages?

After an accident, you may suffer from significant injuries that prevent you from going back to work. You might spend weeks in the hospital or at home recovering from your injuries, and in some cases, the nature of the injuries you suffered could prevent you from returning to work altogether. In these situations, you and your family can experience serious financial hardship as your stream of income runs dry.

In a personal injury lawsuit, you can claim compensation for the wages you lose during recovery and, depending on the nature of your case, you may be able to claim funds for the loss of future earnings. Proving past wages is significantly easier than proving the loss of future wages,  but these funds are necessary for you and your family’s well-being.

How to Prove Lost Past Wages

To claim lost past wages in a personal injury case, you will need to prove that you were unable to work as a result of the injuries you sustained in the accident. You and your attorney will first need to establish that your injuries prevented you from returning to work — this will usually consist of testimony from a medical expert as well as a presentation of your medical records.

After you prove this point, you will need to provide evidence establishing that you were absent from work and lost your pay as a result. You will also need to provide documentation that calculates the amount of wages you would have earned had you been able to remain on the job. Your employer will usually provide this evidence, and may need to give testimony as well.

Proving Future Loss of Earnings

Establishing future loss of earnings in a personal injury case can be difficult, since you will likely recover partially from the injuries as time goes on, allowing you to return to work on a part or even full-time basis. However, returning to work may not occur for years to come — and you will need financial support up until that point.

First, the court will look at your injuries and determine how likely you are to return to your previous work, and if the injuries’ impacts harms your earning potential. You will need to supply medical evidence and testimony to discuss your recovery potential, when you could reasonably return to work, and the extent to which you will not be able to perform your current duties.

After you provide sufficient medical evidence, the court will look at the difference between your wages pre-accident and your earning potential after the accident. The court will also discuss how long you are likely to keep working; most courts will not award future lost earnings past retirement age.

Do You Need a Personal Injury Attorney?

Proving lost wages, especially loss of future wages or earning potential, can be very difficult without legal training and experience. Connecting with the medical experts who can provide testimony on your behalf alone is difficult, and when you factor in the other elements you have to establish to prove liability, filing a lawsuit can be daunting.

Hiring a personal injury attorney to assist you with your case can help relieve these pressures and provide you with the resources and knowledge necessary to prove your case. Your attorney will work closely with you to gather all necessary evidence, connect with medical experts and other expert witnesses, and advocate aggressively for your post-injury needs. If you have not hired an attorney already, contact one as soon as possible.

 

Posted by highrank at 9:33 pm

Can I Still File A Lawsuit After Accepting a Settlement?

Monday, February 10, 2020

The aftermath of a serious injury can be physically, emotionally, and financially difficult. You may suffer from chronic pain, lose significant amounts of wages during your recovery period, and struggle with expensive medical bills for necessary treatments. In these situations, it can be tempting to accept a settlement as soon as possible — but if the settlement is not sufficient enough to help you recover, can you still file a lawsuit?

Settlements versus Lawsuits: What’s the Difference?

Before discussing whether or not you can file a lawsuit after accepting a settlement, it is crucial to understand the difference between these types of agreements.

A settlement is a private agreement to pay you an agreed-upon sum of money following an accident caused by the person that the entity authorizing the settlement represents. Typically, an insurance company offers a settlement after you file an insurance claim, or, in some cases, following negotiations with you and your attorney. Settlements from insurance companies may be quite lower than what you could claim in a lawsuit unless your attorney argues otherwise, but you can usually obtain the money much faster than you could in a lawsuit.

A lawsuit, on the other hand, is an action that you file in civil court against the at-fault party responsible for your injuries. You and your attorney will present your case in front of a judge and jury, establishing the liability of the other person and presenting evidence that details your physical, financial, and emotional losses. The court will decide whether or not the other person was at-fault, and may award you a settlement based on the damages you claim. The lawsuit process can be long and complex, but you have a greater opportunity to claim the maximum compensation you need to recover through this avenue.

You Cannot Accept a Settlement and File a Lawsuit

When you accept a settlement, you usually waive your right to pursue additional legal action against the at-fault party in your case. The insurance company will typically include a release of liability in your settlement paperwork, which prevents you from filing a lawsuit over the same incident.

However, you can back out of a settlement and pursue legal action before you sign the paperwork. Your attorney may evaluate the offer and determine that the funds are insufficient to pay for your injuries. You also have a greater opportunity to present evidence for a higher settlement in the courtroom, which may result in a larger amount of compensation. There are situations where a settlement prior to trial would be more beneficial than a lawsuit — your attorney will advise you on the best course of action for your case.

Should You Accept a Settlement After an Accident?

If you are suffering from the aftermath of a serious accident, an insurance company representative will likely contact you and ask you a series of questions about the incident. He or she may offer you a settlement soon after discussing your injuries, and it may be tempting to sign  this document instead of entering into lengthy trials and negotiations.

However, the funds the company may provide might not be enough to help you recover from your injuries. You may not know the extent of your damages at that point, and signing an early settlement can decrease your chances of obtaining the funds you need.

Accidents and injuries can lead to significant expenses, from medical bills to lost wages to property damage and more. To ensure that you receive the amount of compensation to recover from your accident, contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible following the incident. Your Bakersfield accident attorney will be able to evaluate any settlement offers you receive, help you determine the damages you are eligible for, and advocate for your needs from the negotiating table to the courtroom.

Posted by highrank at 9:35 pm

Should I File a Police Report After a Minor Car Accident?

Friday, January 10, 2020

Car accidents can range in severity from minor bumps to serious, multi-car collisions. If you are in an accident that does not result in severe vehicle damage or serious injuries, you may wonder if you need to file a police report or seek help for the accident at all. However, California laws require you to file police reports for certain accidents, and you may be suffering from underlying injuries or damages you may not be aware of yet. Working with a Bakersfield car accident lawyer from the start can be beneficial when figuring out your next steps.

California Car Accident Reporting Requirements

You may wonder if you have to report a minor accident to law enforcement or the Department of Motor Vehicles – but in some situations, the law will require you to. California Vehicle Code section 20008 requires that all drivers involved in a car accident – or someone who can represent the driver – must report certain collisions to either the police department where the accident happened or the California Highway Patrol.

If the crash involved any injuries or deaths, you will need to report the accident to law enforcement within 24 hours. If you call a law enforcement officer to the scene of the accident, he or she will prepare an accident report on your behalf and you will not need to file a separate report.

In addition, you will have to report the accident to the California DMV within 10 days if any of the following factors apply.

  • Someone in the crash suffered an injury, including minor injuries.
  • Someone died in the crash.
  • The crash resulted in damage to property worth more than $1,000.

Why Do You Need to File a Police Report?

Car accidents can have many consequences that might not seem apparent at first. You may not feel like you are suffering from any injuries but may have a case of whiplash or internal injuries that do not appear until later. You may not notice any damage to your vehicle, or feel as if the damage is minor enough to pay for without insurance, and incur unexpectedly high repair costs later on.

If you do not file a police report after a minor crash, you may lose your chance at collecting the compensation you need to recover from the accident. Police reports are a crucial piece of evidence in insurance claim investigations and personal injury lawsuits. Failure to file a police report can harm your credibility since it indicates that at the time of the accident, you did not believe it was necessary or serious enough to contact law enforcement.

In addition, insurance companies can use statements that you said or the at-fault driver alleges that you said at the crash against you in your claim. For example, you may state that you do not have any injuries or that the damage is negligible, and the insurance company may use this as evidence to argue for a lesser settlement or even no settlement at all. Contacting law enforcement allows you to issue a formal statement to back your side of the story, and the responding officer may write an opinion about what he or she believes happened during the accident that you can use as a crucial piece of evidence in your claim or lawsuit.

What to Do After a Car Accident

If you are in a car accident, no matter how minor it may seem, it is important to call 911 and have police officers respond to the crash. The officer will then file a report that you can use as evidence in your claim, and you can also collect the necessary information from the at-fault driver to file your claim. You should also seek medical attention for any injuries, and save all records from your hospital visits.

If you are suffering from the aftermath of a car accident, even a minor collision, it is important to take the necessary steps to seek legal assistance. In these situations, a car accident lawyer can assist you with filing an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit against the person at-fault for the collision. You may be eligible to seek compensation for medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, and more.

 

Posted by highrank at 5:48 pm

How to Prove a Wrongful Death

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Losing a loved one is one of the most difficult experiences we can face. The death of a family member can be even more painful to face if he or she lost her life due to someone else’s negligent, reckless, or intentionally violent behavior.

In these situations, you can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault party to claim compensation for the damages you and your family suffered as a result of the incident that led to his or her death. However, proving a wrongful death case requires satisfying a series of specific legal elements.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in California?

In all states, only certain individuals can file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the deceased. If you qualify, you must file the lawsuit within two years of the date of your loved one’s death, and you must prove that you are one of the following people in relation to the deceased.

  • A spouse or domestic partner
  • A surviving child
  • A person who is in the line of succession to inherit the deceased’s property in the event that no spouse or child exists, such as a parent or sibling
  • A person who is financially dependent on the deceased, such as a stepchild, a putative spouse or putative children, or parents

You can file a lawsuit against any party that may be at-fault for the death of your loved one, including individuals, corporations, hospitals, or government agencies. You can file a wrongful death claim against a single person or entity, or multiple parties. However, to prove your case and claim compensation, you will need to provide evidence to support a series of four elements.

Element #1: Duty of Care

Before you can establish that a wrongful death occurred and that the at-fault party is responsible, you will first need to prove that the at-fault party owed your loved one a duty of care at the time of the accident. To prove duty of care, you can provide a copy of medical records, a lease agreement, surveillance footage, and other pieces of evidence that establish the relationship between the at-fault party and your loved one.

For example, if your loved one died in a car accident, you can prove that the at-fault driver owed him or her an obligation to follow the rules of the road and to drive safely. If your loved one died due to dangerous conditions in an apartment building, you can prove that the landlord had a duty to maintain safe premises and respond to hazardous conditions promptly.

Element #2: Breach of Care

After you establish the responsibility that the at-fault party had to your loved one, you must prove that he or she breached the duty of care in some way. Proving this element will vary based on the circumstances of your case. For example, if a driver ran a red light and crashed into your loved one’s vehicle, you can establish the breach by showing police records and surveillance footage.

Element #3: Causation

Once you establish that the breach occurred, you will next need to prove that the breach of care directly led to the death of your loved one. You can prove this by displaying medical records, witness testimony, surveillance footage, expert witnesses, and many more pieces of evidence. Your attorney can help you determine which evidence you need to prove causation.

Element #4: Damages

Finally, you must prove that the death of your loved one led to damages that you and your family members can collect in your lawsuit. Damages in wrongful death cases differ from personal injury lawsuits and can include any of the following.

  • Final medical expenses for the deceased
  • Reasonable funeral and burial expenses
  • Loss of future earnings
  • Loss of financial support
  • Loss of consortium or companionship

If you are grappling with the death of a loved one in California, you may have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit on his or her behalf. To do so, you will need an attorney on your side who is familiar with the legal process that governs these lawsuits and who has the resources necessary to help you build your case. Contact a Bakersfield wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your case and to begin the filing process.

Posted by highrank at 5:06 pm

Is There a Cap on Non-Economic Damages in California?

Monday, November 25, 2019

When you file a personal injury lawsuit, you can claim compensation for both economic and non-economic damages, as well as punitive damages in some circumstances. However, many states can limit the amount that you may claim by imposing caps on certain types of damages in certain lawsuits – even if you believe the circumstances of your case warrant a higher award. The state of California imposes caps on non-economic damages in certain circumstances.

Different Types of Damages in California Lawsuits

You have the right to claim two main types of damages in a California personal injury case: economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages refer to the tangible financial losses you suffered as a result of the accident, such as medical expenses, lost wages while you were in the hospital or recovering at home, property damages sustained in the accident, and disability accommodations to your home and vehicle.

On the other hand, non-economic damages refer to the losses you cannot provide a financial paper trail to prove. They refer to the emotional repercussions of your injuries, such as the development of mental health issues like depression and anxiety, or other intangible impacts, such as chronic pain, disability, and disfigurement, or a loss of quality of life.

In certain cases, you may also be able to claim punitive damages in your lawsuit. Unlike economic and non-economic damages, the purpose of punitive damages is to punish the at-fault party, not to compensate you for your losses. Courts will assign punitive damages on top of economic and non-economic damages in situations where the at-fault party acted in an especially negligent, reckless, or dangerous manner.

How Do California Courts Calculate Non-Economic Damages?

In the state of California, different courts calculate non-economic damages in different ways. There is no set standard under which the state will determine your non-economic damages. The jury will determine the final amount based on the circumstances of the case and what would be a reasonable amount based on your injuries.

To successfully prove your case for non-economic damages, your attorney will need to establish that you suffered the injuries as a result of the at-fault party’s negligence or recklessness. After presenting your case to the courtroom, the jury will determine whether or not you can claim compensation, and will determine how much you should receive.

California Non-Economic Damage Caps

California does not impose limits on the amounts on economic damages you can claim in a personal injury lawsuit. In most personal injury cases, California does not impose a limit on non-economic damages either – unless the case falls under certain circumstances.

 

  • If the lawsuit involves an instance of medical malpractice, the court caps amount of non-economic damages you can claim at $250,000.

 

  • If you do not carry car insurance and suffered injuries in a car accident that was not your fault, you do not have the right to claim non-economic damages. The exception to this rule is if the at-fault driver was under the influence at the time, during which you can claim non-economic damages.

 

  • If you suffered an injury while you were driving under the influence, even if the other driver was at-fault for the accident, you cannot claim non-economic damages if the courts convicted you of the DUI.

 

  • If you suffered an injury while committing or fleeing a felony crime, you cannot claim non-economic damages if you receive a felony conviction, even if you were not at-fault for the injury.

 

Calculating non-economic damages can be challenging, as well as collecting evidence for the economic damages you could claim and determining whether or not your case qualifies for punitive damages. However, hiring an attorney to assist you with your lawsuit can help you discover optimal pathways towards maximum possible compensation. If you have not done so already, contact a personal injury attorney to discuss your legal options and to begin the filing process. 

Posted by highrank at 8:12 pm

What Is the Difference Between Personal Injury and Workers’ Compensation?

Monday, October 28, 2019

Accidents can happen at any time and in any place, including your home, at school, or in the workplace. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may be able to claim compensation for certain damages after an injury, like medical expenses or lost wages. However, the process you enter to obtain this compensation will change based on whether you suffered an injury at work or not.

 

California Workers’ Compensation Law

 

In the state of California, you can collect compensation for injuries you suffer on the job. You must prove that your workplace duties caused the injury, such as overexertion while lifting boxes or a slip and fall on your construction site. Through a workers’ compensation claim, you can collect benefits for lost wages and disability, as well as funds for your injury-related medical expenses.

 

Only injuries that occur during the course of your job qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. If you suffer an injury during a commute, on your lunch hour, or even while stepping outside for a quick 15-minute break, workers’ compensation insurance will most likely not approve benefits for you.

 

If someone else’s negligence or recklessness caused your accident, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit or insurance claim against him or her – even if it happens on the job. This is true in cases where a third-party causes your injury at work, a defective product harms you, or your employer acts in an intentionally harmful manner.

 

What Is a Personal Injury Case?

 

Whether you suffer an injury at work that doesn’t fall under workers’ compensation or you are in an accident outside of work, you may be eligible for compensation through a personal injury lawsuit or insurance claim. For an accident to qualify under personal injury, someone else’s negligence must have caused it to occur.

 

You can claim many different types of damages in personal injury cases, including the following.

 

  • Past and future medical expenses related to the injury, including medications, surgeries, and doctor’s visits
  • Lost wages during recovery time
  • Emotional damages, like pain and suffering and a loss of quality of life
  • Disability accommodations to a home or vehicle
  • Property damage sustained in the accident
  • Punitive damages in situations where the at-fault party acted in an especially reckless or negligent manner

 

What Should You Do After an Accident?

 

If you are in an accident, you will need to take certain steps to preserve the evidence necessary to file your insurance claim, lawsuit, or workers’ compensation claim.

 

If you suffer an injury on the job, take the following steps.

 

  • Seek medical attention as soon as possible. Your employer may require you to visit a specific doctor or you can choose one on your own – verify with your employer before you leave.
  • Report the injury to your employer within 30 days of the accident.
  • Receive your workers’ compensation claim form from your employer and complete it. Contact an attorney if you need assistance with your claim.
  • Receive a decision from the workers’ compensation insurer within 90 days of filing.
  • If the insurance company denies your claim, you can file an appeal. Contact an attorney to help you build your case.

 

If you suffer an injury anywhere outside of work or during a lunch break, take the following steps.

 

  • Call 911 and bring law enforcement and medical attention to the scene immediately.
  • Take photographs of your injuries, any vehicles involved, and the area where the accident occurred.
  • Collect the contact information for the at-fault party and any witnesses in the area.
  • Seek medical attention as soon as possible for your injuries and save all documentation.
  • Contact a personal injury attorney to assist you with your insurance claim or lawsuit.

 

Personal injury and workers’ compensation are two different legal processes that can lead to different types of compensation or benefits. The main difference between the two is whether or not you suffered your injury on the job.

 

If you are unsure about your case’s category or wish to discuss the legal processes further, contact a California attorney who works with both personal injury and workers’ compensation cases. Your attorney will be able to advise you on which path you should pursue to claim compensation.

Posted by highrank at 6:29 pm

Does Homeowner’s Insurance Cover Slip and Fall?

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Homeowners have the responsibility to ensure that their property is free of any hazards to visitors and occupants – including any object or condition that can lead to a slip and fall. Homeowner’s insurance policies typically cover the cost of medical expenses and other damages in case someone suffers an injury on the property, including slip and fall cases. However, the injured person will need to prove that the homeowner was negligent in his or her upkeep of the property to successfully claim that compensation.

Proving a Slip and Fall Case in California

In the state of California, you can claim compensation under homeowner’s insurance if the homeowner’s negligence was responsible for your slip and fall. You cannot claim compensation if the accident was not a result of an action by a homeowner or due to your own negligence.

For example, if you trip on wet grass on the homeowner’s front lawn after a rainy night, you cannot hold the homeowner liable for your damages. However, if you trip over a broken stair that the homeowner was aware of and suffer injuries, you could file an insurance claim for compensation.

To prove a slip and fall case in California and establish homeowner negligence, you and your personal injury attorney will need to satisfy the following elements when speaking to the insurance company.

  • You will need to prove that the homeowner owed you a duty of care. If you were a visitor and not a trespasser, the homeowner has a responsibility to maintain safe premises. The homeowner also has the responsibility to fix any issues he or she is aware of that could lead to an injury.
  • Next, you will need to establish that the homeowner breached his or her duty of care to you in some way. This will likely involve proving that he or she knew about the issue that caused your slip and fall and failed to take action to fix it.
  • Then, you will need to prove that the homeowner’s breach of care led to your injuries. This element depends on what caused your slip and fall. A broken stair, failing to shovel ice or snow, or unsecure area rugs are all common causes of slip and falls on private property.
  • Finally, you will need to prove that you suffered damages that you can claim through the insurance company. These damages must be a direct result of the slip and fall that the homeowner’s negligence caused.

What Damages Can You Claim Through Homeowners’ Insurance?

Homeowners’ insurance policies typically offer two types of claim coverage: liability coverage and medical payment coverage, often referred to as med pay. Through these sets of coverage, you can collect compensation for any medical expenses you incur, lost wages during recovery time, property damage, and more. Speak to your attorney to determine which damages you may be eligible for.

However, you can only claim compensation up to the policy limits that the insurance company sets. If you suffered significant and severe injuries, are grappling with emotional damages, or missed months of work, you may not recover enough through an insurance claim to cover these costs. The insurance company may also offer you a settlement below what you need to recover.

In these situations, it may be best to file a personal injury lawsuit instead of an insurance claim. There are very few limits to the damages you can claim in a slip and fall lawsuit, as compared to the insurance process. Speak to your attorney to discuss your legal options and to determine which pathway is best for you.

Whether you slip and fall on someone else’s property or you are a homeowner facing a lawsuit, having homeowner’s insurance is crucial to ensure that an injured person receives the funds he or she needs to recover. Depending on the circumstances of the case, you may be able to claim compensation through homeowner’s insurance for a slip and fall. Contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case and to begin the filing process.

Posted by highrank at 6:24 pm

Can a Spouse Sue for Loss of Consortium?

Thursday, October 3, 2019

If your spouse is in an accident that someone else’s negligence caused, the aftermath can be devastating for the entire family. You and your family may have to deal with unexpected medical bills, funeral costs, and emotional damages, like mental anguish and a loss of consortium. Whether an accident leads to your spouse’s death or an injury so severe that your spouse cannot provide the same support as he or she did in the past, you can file a lawsuit against the at-fault party for loss of consortium.

What Is Loss of Consortium?

Loss of consortium refers to the loss of moral support, companionship, or intimacy following an accident. You can claim non-economic damages for loss of consortium in both personal injury cases and wrongful death lawsuits under California law.

There are two main types of damages you can claim in a lawsuit following an accident: economic and non-economic. Economic damages refer to the tangible losses you and your spouse suffered, such as medical bills or lost wages. Non-economic damages, on the other hand, refer to the losses you cannot prove a financial burden or provide a receipt for. Instead, the damage is emotional – and loss of consortium falls under this category.

How to Prove a Loss of Consortium Case in California

If you are filing a lawsuit and claiming loss of consortium damages after your spouse’s accident, you will need to work closely with a California personal injury attorney to prove your case. In order to successfully claim this compensation, you and your lawyer will need to satisfy the following four elements.

  • First, you will need to prove that your spouse suffered injuries in an accident that someone else’s negligence caused. You will have to prove that the at-fault party owed your spouse a duty of care and breached it, leading to his or her injuries or death. You can satisfy this element in a number of ways, including medical records, surveillance footage, witness testimony, and expert testimony.
  • Second, you will need to prove that you and your spouse are in a legal marriage or registered domestic partnership that was valid at the time of his or her injury. You can prove this element by providing your marriage license or domestic partnership paperwork.
  • Third, you will need to prove that you lost your spouse’s consortium as a result of the injury or death. This element can be difficult to prove, since you cannot always see emotional damages. You may need to discuss the impacts that the injury has on your spouse’s abilities or behavior, and how that impacts your relationship. Speak to your attorney to determine which pieces of evidence you should present.
  • Fourth, you will need to prove that the injury and the accident that caused the injury is at fault for your loss of consortium. This portion of the lawsuit can be difficult to prove as well, since you will have to establish that the loss came from the accident itself instead of an outside event, like marital troubles. Your attorney can assist you with satisfying this element.

How Do California Courts Calculate Loss of Consortium?

If you are successful in proving the loss of consortium, the court will award you a settlement for your damages. Understanding how much you receive can be difficult, since there is no specific number attached to this type of loss. In addition, settlements vary from case to case; the amount you receive will depend on the extent and severity of the damage.

The court will likely consider the following factors when calculating loss of consortium.

  • How severe your spouse’s injuries are
  • The emotional trauma you and your spouse have suffered
  • How the loss of consortium disrupts your daily life
  • How long it may take for your spouse to recover
  • Whether or not the injuries are permanent or long-term

If your family is experiencing loss of consortium after your spouse suffers severe injuries in an accident that was not his or her fault, you can claim compensation for these damages in California civil court. However, proving a loss of consortium case can be difficult depending on the circumstances. Contact a California personal injury attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case and begin the lawsuit filing process.

Posted by highrank at 6:12 pm

Can I Claim Workers’ Compensation for Stress?

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Workers’ compensation claims can involve numerous types of accidents and injuries, from falling from scaffolding to suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome after writing all day. However, you may wonder if non-physical injuries and ailments, such as mental stress, could be grounds for a workers’ compensation claim. While the legal framework for these claims can be tricky, it is possible to claim workers’ compensation for stress.

California Workers’ Compensation Laws

Compared to many other states, California is ahead of its counterparts when it comes to workers’ compensation. While the state does not explicitly name stress as an injury you can claim compensation for, you can file a claim for mental health injuries that you suffer as a result of your job.

However, you will need to prove that you suffered your mental injury as a result of your job. Providing evidence for this claim can be very difficult, since you cannot show a physical injury. As a result, many employers and insurance companies can deny mental health-related workers’ comp claims.

The Definition of Psychiatric Injuries in California

In order to receive benefits for workers’ compensation, you need to prove that the injury is workplace-related. For a mental health claim, this means showing that you suffered your stress due to stressful conditions at work. Due to this injury, you cannot perform certain tasks on the job and may have to take time off of work.

You must meet all of the following requirements to successfully file a workers’ compensation claim for a psychiatric injury.

  • A doctor diagnosed you with a mental disorder established by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V).
  • You worked for your employer for at least six months. If your injury came as a result of a sudden, extraordinary condition, you do not need to meet this requirement.
  • You had to receive medical treatment or experienced disability as a result of the mental disorder.
  • You can prove that your working conditions were the predominant cause of your mental disorder or psychiatric injury.
  • You did not suffer the injury as a result of any personal, good faith actions of your employer.

To prove that you satisfy these requirements, you may need to produce documentation such as medical records. You will need to collect additional pieces of evidence that prove your stress injury is work-related. Contact an attorney to determine what evidence you should submit along with your claim.

What Benefits Can You Receive Under Workers’ Comp?

While you may be able to claim certain types of benefits for physical injuries under California workers’ compensation, you may not be able to claim these same benefits for a psychiatric injury. Because of the way that the system verifies these claims, the insurance company may limit the amount you can receive.

For stress injuries, you could receive compensation for medical treatment. You may also be able to claim temporary disability benefits if you need to take time off of work due to your condition. However, you may not be able to receive permanent disability benefits since the system assumes that you could return to work. The company may assume that you could find a less stressful position that will not aggravate your condition.

Do You Need an Attorney for Your Workers’ Compensation Claim?

If you are attempting to file a workers’ compensation claim for a stress-related injury, you may run into a few issues. Since the evidence is not physical, you may find that your employer and the insurance company can deny or dismiss your claim. In these situations, you need an attorney to assist you with your case.

A California personal injury attorney will know the processes you need to follow to receive your settlement. In addition, your lawyer can launch an in-depth investigation into your stress injury, helping you build a more compelling case to the insurance company. Contact an attorney as soon as possible after you discover your injury to begin the claims process.

Posted by highrank at 6:45 pm