Personal Injury  Attorney - Melinda Helbock

Serving all of California

Handling the most complex injury claims in California.

Dedicated and skillful lawyers from Melinda J. Helbock's law office in San Diego serve not only the city but also the entire state of California.

What is San Diego Personal Injury?

Personal Injury is a legal term that refers to all types of accidental injuries or other harm that affects a human, rather than property or assets. The harm can be obvious bodily injury, or it may cause problems with a person’s mind, emotions or psychological well-being. Physical injuries may be easier to document than are claims of damage to a person’s emotional health. Some types of harm are not caused by a physical event, but they are due to verbal assault, insults, discrimination or when another person berates a reputation.

Other injuries are delayed in appearance, as is the case with an industrial illness like mesothelioma, which is caused by exposure to toxic chemicals often decades earlier in the victim’s life. Wrongful death, dog bites and medical malpractice are other events that can lead to personal injury. A product defect or failure can also cause injuries, but those products only become dangerous when a person or company was negligent in design, manufacture, installation or some other element that involves product safety.

Common Areas of Practice

Your San Diego Injury Attorney

If an accident or deliberate harmful behavior caused injury to you, or death to a loved one, it is time to take action and fight back. Your California Personal Injury Attorney knows all about Personal Injury legal options, and will help you can make informed decisions about pursuing fair compensation.

An accident generally occurs suddenly, without warning, although some accidents do happen because people ignore warnings. Vehicle accidents, slip-and-fall, medical malpractice, product failures and other events can happen in an instant, causing physical harm or death in some cases. Discrimination and violations of civil rights are not usually as obvious, but still harm a person, their finances and sometimes their life.

First Steps to Take After a San Diego Injury

  • Fast action is a must when you have been injured. Get medical attention if needed, and as soon as possible, contact your San Diego personal injury attorney.
  • It is important to only discuss your accident, injuries and other details only with your lawyer. Do this as soon as you can, after you get medical attention for physical harm.
  • Get copies of all medical and Police accident reports, photographs, witness information and other documentation from the accident scene. This includes the location, weather conditions, traffic density and other facts from the time of the accident.
  • Make an appointment to meet with your San Diego personal injury lawyer. Bring along all your facts, information and documentation.

Stages of a San Diego Personal Injury Case

Your San Diego personal injury attorney will collect all information about your accident and injuries, your income losses and other details that are related to injury-created problems. They have expert witnesses to help with investigations and calculate expenses, including future need for medical care, income and other financial problems that would result from the accident. You life and lifestyle may be drastically affected by your personal injuries; you deserve fair compensation for losses and expenses that those injuries cause.

  • Once all the information is collected, your attorney will contact the other party or their legal representative. If no agreements are reached, the case will be filed and move into a court setting. Your San Diego personal injury lawyer is familiar with state and local court systems and procedures and can handle these matters for you.
  • Timing is important because in San Diego California, victims only have two years from the time of their accident to file San Diego personal injury claims; six months if the claim is against a government agency. If this deadline is missed, the case would be dismissed and you will lose your opportunity for justice.
  • Most San Diego personal injury cases are settled prior to court because it is faster and more beneficial financially to the defendant to make a good settlement. Your San Diego personal injury attorney can also be helpful if you have collection problems.

Fees in San Diego personal Injury cases generally are charged on a contingency basis. You only pay for minor ongoing expenses until and if your case is won; after you receive payment, attorney fees are paid from that settlement or award.

Insurance Companies and Accident Claims

Your San Diego personal injury attorney will work closely with you, to make sure every possible claim is filed and that you get fair treatment from insurance companies. Remember, insurance companies are not going to help you get maximum payments; they only want to minimize costs for their company. Do not sign anything or make an agreement without consulting with your own attorney first.

Typical San Diego Personal Injury Claims:

  • Emergency & Medical Care – hospital, surgery, doctor, dentist, nurse, anesthesiologist, transportation, and supplies
  • Nursing home, after-care costs, rehabilitation, special equipment, transportation
  • Work loss – due to temporary or permanent disability, loss of benefits, loss of future income
  • Future costs – medical care, retraining, special needs due to disability
  • Wrongful death – funeral, burial, loss of companionship and guardianship, economic losses due to loss of loved one and their support

Some property damage claims may also be included separately by your attorney.

San Diego Personal Injury – Liability and Negligence

There is a broad variety of claims to make under Personal Injury Law. Most involve expenses for medical care and work loss, but if there is a death, survivors can also act to recover costs and financial harm that will occur due to loss of their loved one, their care and financial support. The amount of claims is based on many elements of the case; establishing liability and negligence is critical to winning a case and calculating compensation.

To determine liability, an attorney looks at all aspects of the case, including the accident scene, any warnings, the weather and many other factors aside from the actual accident or non-physical elements.

  • To be liable, there must be a duty and a reasonable standard of care.
  • There must have been negligent behavior, a breach of that duty, and a failure to use standard care.
  • It must be proven that if not for that breach of care, there would have been no injury to the plaintiff.
  • That failure must be what caused the injury (proximate cause) and there needs to be proof of actual injury and loss.
  • Liability can be shared by several persons or entities; each can be included for recovery of claims.

Injuries may be caused accidentally, deliberately or by negligent/reckless behavior. How a San Diego personal injury accident happens is important, because this affects responsibility and liability for the harm. Many San Diego personal injuries are caused when another person or company fails to use reasonable care and an accident/injury is the result of that negligence. A victim can be partly responsible for their own injury in some cases, if they misuse a product or ignore warnings or the law. A San Diego personal injury attorney also must prove the injury was a foreseeable result of that negligent action. Defense to this accusation sometimes is waged against that term “foreseeable” by arguing that the victim should have been able to foresee a negative result themselves.

San Diego Personal Injury Compensation

The amount of any San Diego personal injury settlement or award is based on the extent and intensity of injuries and other damages. Traffic accidents generate most San Diego personal injury claims in California. Monetary results are generally kept confidential, but recent estimates show that the average personal injury settlement in California is around $31,000 per case as of 2021. To win a San Diego personal injury case, your personal injury attorney must prove both liability and negligence.

Smaller cases, like slip-and-fall accidents, have the lowest settlement amounts, ranging around $2,000. In cases where there are claims for medical malpractice or wrongful death, settlement amounts average over $300,000. Some states, including California, have a cap on some claim awards or settlements.

Do not be afraid to contact a San Diego personal injury attorney when you have legal matters to resolve. They will welcome your inquiry and provide a free consultation to discuss your concerns about your accident and injury case.