In the legal world, the term Personal Injury generally refers to harm to a person’s body, mind or emotions. This is very different than damage to property. When you are injured in an accident that happened because someone else or a company was negligent, you can work through the legal system to recover fair monetary compensation for certain damage claims related to your injuries. In addition to bodily injuries, you can seek compensation for other non-physical claims, such as defamation.
Your Personal Injury Attorney will thoroughly investigate the particulars of the accident and help you determine which course of legal action will bring you optimum results. Most personal injury lawsuits are settled prior to going into a courtroom, but if this does not happen, you need help from an experienced attorney to present a winning case. In some situations, the jury will also levy punitive damages on the defendant if the accident also involved actions that were deliberate, excessively careless or particularly heinous.
Los Angeles Personal Injury
In Southern California, the city of Los Angeles is a densely populated, active and vibrant urban area. It is the second-largest city in the United States. Over 18 million people live in this area, ranking it as the most populous city in California. With such large numbers of people in a concentrated area, there also are a large number of personal injuries that occur within that population. Personal Injury damage results from vehicle crashes, workplace violence, slip & fall accidents, civil rights violations and discrimination, and other incidents like product defects that cause physical, mental or emotional harm.
With such dense population numbers, it is no surprise that Los Angeles also leads the state in the occurrence of vehicle accidents. This metropolitan area is laced with 14 freeways and thousands of other roadways. Los Angeles is notorious for having the most dense traffic load of all major U.S. cities. It follows that this area has a corresponding number of vehicle accidents to match.
In 2012, LA Weekly reported there were about 20,000 hit-and-run crashes. Some were merely fender benders, while other crashes resulted in multiple fatalities. During 2013, Los Angeles traffic accidents took a heavy toll. There were 213 fatal accidents, involving 485 persons and 370 vehicles. These accidents resulted in the deaths of 227 people. Of the fatal accidents, 52 involve drunken persons. 109 pedestrians were also involved in these fatal accidents.
Many people are injured or killed in non-traffic accidents, while at work, play or shopping. Many work-related fatalities resulted from transportation accidents. In 2013, work injuries that ended in death totaled 102 cases in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Of this number, 28 were transportation-related, 24 resulted from falls, slips or trips and 22 others were due to violence or other injuries by persons or animals.
Los Angeles Personal Injury Accidents
Personal Injury claims arise from many different types of accidents in addition to road traffic accidents. People suffer harm while at work, while shopping, on vacation trips, and at home. Some injuries occur due to a deliberate assault or from random or workplace violence. Medical mistakes and product defect accidents are other sources of personal injury. Sometimes people do not realize harm has occurred until long after the actual event, such as injury or death due to prior exposure to toxic substances at work.
Some injuries develop over time, especially some workplace-related harm from exposure to harmful substances or repetitive motion injuries. People have died due to diseases like mesothelioma, asbestosis, or they continue to suffer from serious lung diseases like asthma, chronic bronchitis or emphysema. When a job requires exposure to loud noises or certain repetitive movements, workers may suffer from problems like occupational deafness or stress, vibration white finger, contact dermatitis or repetitive strain injuries.
Examples of recent personal injury incidents occurring in the Los Angeles area reported to the LAPD include:
- Car-Train Accident – A 21-year-old driver and a train conductor, along with 10 commuters on a Metro Train, were injured when the train collided with the vehicle at an intersection. The driver of a 2013 Hyundai Sonata turned left and was struck by the train. (March 28, 2015)
- Bicycle-Car Accident – A driver was involved in a hit-and-run accident with a bicyclist December 23, 2013. The collision occurred at an intersection; the bicyclist was riding westbound on Burnet Avenue and the vehicle was traveling southbound on Lanark Street. The driver of the vehicle fled the scene without rendering aid or providing identification. The bicyclist suffered severe injuries.
To help fight against drug or alcohol impaired driving, the LAPD was awarded a significant grant of $2,244,100 from the California Office of Traffic Safety to create DUI Checkpoints. The checkpoint system has proven effective in reduction of accidents involving operators who were driving while impaired from drugs or alcohol. In Los Angeles during 2012, DUI crashes resulted in the deaths of 15 people and injury to another 792 persons.
Los Angeles Personal Injury Claims
No matter how the accident happened, when there is personal injury, people suffer and die needlessly. When negligent behavior is the cause of the personal injury, the injured party has rights to pursue fair compensation for injury costs and other damage claims, like work loss, loss of companionship and other losses. Survivors of people who lose their lives in these types of accidents or resulting problems are also allowed to file damage claims through the legal system to recover their losses, including costs for funerals and burials.
There is a wide variety of claims that can be included in a personal injury lawsuit. For some calculations, your attorney will get estimates of future costs from expert witnesses. Their knowledge is needed, because it can be very hard for others to assess future needs when long-term care or rehabilitation is needed.
Typical personal injury claims requested in personal injury lawsuits include the following items:
- Medical Care – Emergency, Hospital, Nursing Home, Doctors, Nurses, Dentists, Anesthesiologists, Home Care, Rehabilitation Therapy, Psychological Therapy
- Work Loss – Income losses, Retraining costs, Benefit losses (retirement, insurance, etc.), Disability (Temporary or Permanent)
- Personal Claims – Loss of Consortium, Loss of Companionship, Loss of Guardianship, Loss of Future Income/Inheritance
- Non-Economic Damages – Pain & Suffering, Anxiety, Disfigurement, Physical Impairment, Inconvenience
Los Angeles California Personal Injury Lawsuits
California is a “pure comparative negligence” state, meaning that any amount of compensation that you could receive will be reduced by any amount equal to your percentage of fault for the accident, if any. The state also has a statute of limitations for filing damage claims, and there are limitations on the amounts of damages that are recoverable. The details of these limitations are listed in the California Code of Civil Procedure section 335.1.
If your claim is against a California state government agency or a city or county, a six month time limitation for filing claims applies. You also must follow certain procedural rules set forth in Cal. Gov’t Code § 911.2. This is another reason why it is best to work with an experienced California Personal Injury Attorney right away. They know all the current regulations that apply to your case and they are familiar with the state regulations that might apply to your case.
- Traffic Accident Exceptions
If the injured driver is uninsured, California law denies most of those drivers from recovery of non-economic damages, even if the other driver was determined to be at fault. There is an exception if the other driver was operating their vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and they were convicted of a DUI for the accident.
- Medical Malpractice Caps
California law limits the non-economic damage awards in medical malpractice cases. This is set at $250,000, under the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA).
California Civil Code, section 1714, details the statutory basis that applies to negligence-based injury actions. The basic premise is that everyone is responsible for an injury they make to another person willfully, or when they neglect to exhibit normal care or skill in their own actions.
If you are harmed in an injury accident in the Los Angeles area, get immediate consultation with an experienced California Personal Injury Attorney to determine if you have a valid case to pursue for fair compensation. When negligent behavior by another person or a company creates pain, suffering and personal injuries that will disrupt and change your life, you deserve to be compensated.
The above information applies to all cities in Los Angeles county including but not limited:
La Cañada Flintridge
La Habra Heights
Palos Verdes Estates
Rancho Palos Verdes
Rolling Hills Estates
Santa Fe Springs
South El Monte