When persons are exposed involuntarily to danger and injuries or death occur, that person or his/her family can bring a personal injury action against the party who owed a duty to the injured person to keep the environment safe. These injuries can happen at your office, store, mall, hospital and even public places.
In Los Angeles and the State of California, when a person is injured, he or she can bring an action for physical and medical injuries. Damages from personal injury can include: pain and suffering; various forms of mental suffering and anguish, including fright, shock and emotional distress; loss of time or earnings and impairment of earning capacity; the reasonable cost of necessary medical treatment, hospital care, nursing services and related expenses; physical disability; and other expenses incurred because of the injury.
COMMON WAYS TO GET INJURED
Slip and fall in store
Stores, especially grocery stores, carry a lot of products that, if spilled, can easily cause you to slip and fall and hurt yourself. Spilled milk or a leaky fridge or freezer unit can deposit slippery and hard-to-see liquids on the floor. Also, boxes of small, round food products, such as popcorn kernels or gumballs, can be equally hazardous as they roll around acting like little ball bearings waiting to be slipped on.
Torn or raised carpet in store or house
Over time, carpets can tear or bunch-up to create a hazard that is easily tripped on. As this wear and tear takes time, the condition of the carpet should come as no surprise to the owner or maintainer of the area, who may have used duct tape to temporarily address the problem. Such remedial action is an acknowledgment that there is a problem, and if you are injured, you can receive compensation for your injuries.
It is common for trees to be planted alongside sidewalks in neighborhoods in Santa Monica and the greater Los Angeles area. However, the roots from growing trees, coupled with soil settling beneath the sidewalk, can cause the sidewalk to rise or sink in a way that makes it uneven with other sections. This can be a hazard to an individual walking or jogging down the sidewalk, especially at night.
Most sidewalks are on public property, and thus maintained by a state, county or local governmental entity. Making a claim against the government has special requirements. First, you must make a claim with the appropriate agency within 6 months of the accident. If this claim is denied or not answered within 45 days, then you have 6 month from the date of rejection or the running of the 45 day period to file a lawsuit.
The current state of the law is that height irregularities of more than 1 inch are considered a hazard, and injuries resulting from trip and falls on such hazards are compensable.
Being constantly impacted by car tires and the bottoms of bumpers can caused a sidewalk curb to wear out faster than the rest of the sidewalk, and leave an uneven surface. It is easy to roll your ankle or trip and take a tumble when stepping up from or down to the road. The same 1-inch threshold that applies to uneven sidewalks also applies to broken curbs.
Uneven stairs, improper height stairs or stairways without handrails
Under the California Building Code, there a many requirements to be met for stairways to be considered up to code. Private stairways must be 36 inches wide. Handrails are required for stairways with over 3 stairs. The stairs themselves must be uniform, and not more than 8 inches high or less than 4 inches high. They must also be 9 inches deep at a minimum. There must be head clearance of 6 feet 8 inches.
Guardrails to protect from falling off the side of a stairway are required where the stairway is open to the side and more than 30 inches off of the ground. The vertical guard bars or ornamental design must not be wide enough such that a 4 inch sphere could pass through anywhere.
These are just some of the California Building Code requirements for stairways. As these building code requirements are usually designed for safety purposes, there are many ways to violate a building code in a way that can lead to injury. Therefore, a violation of the California Building Code establishes liability per se if related to the injury.
Medical bill compensation
If you are even moderately injured, you likely sought medical treatment, for which you now have medical bills. These medical bills were incurred by you as a result of someone else’s actions, and they are therefore responsible for paying these costs for you.
Common vehicle accident injuries give rise to emergency room bills, chiropractor/orthopedist/physical therapy bills, x-ray and MRI bills and other, more specialize treatment bills. There are usually two phases to accident injury treatment: immediate diagnostic care and treatment and long-term rehabilitation. You have a legal right to compensation for both.
If you are very injured, your medical expenses can balloon to very high figures quickly. One crucial piece of information to know once your medical expenses get above about $5,000 is the extent of the at-fault person’s insurance coverage. In California, the minimum policy required to be carried by all drivers is $15,000 per person, $30,000 for the whole accident for bodily injury damages and $5,000 for property damage. Above $5,000 in medical expenses means that your claim is getting close to being worth $15,000, and the at-fault party might not have sufficient insurance to cover the full extent of your damages. For this reason, we recommend everyone carry at least $100,000 per person, $300,000 per accident uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. This means that if you are hit by an uninsured motorist (no insurance at all, driving illegally) or someone simply carrying a minimum policy, you won’t be left in debt for an accident that someone else caused.
Loss of income compensation
Automobile accident injuries can cause you pain and injury such that you are not able to work for a period of time. This lost income is another form of economic harm that you have suffered because of someone else’s action.
If you cannot work because of your pain and injuries, you should talk to your doctor about the nature of your job and seeing if he or she thinks that you should rest instead of going back to work right away. If your doctor believes that, he or she will give you a note. This note is very helpful in getting your loss of income claim paid for by the at-fault party’s insurance company. The other important piece of the puzzle is a letter from your employer detailing the time you missed and your rate of pay.
Not only are the dollars you did not get paid collectable, but also the paid sick, personal and vacation time that so many injured people are forced to use due to accident injuries. After all, this was deferred compensation that someone else’s action caused you to have to use.
Loss of earning capacity
Sometimes an injury is so severe that you can no longer perform the work you were doing before the accident. Effectively, you have been displaced from your profession, all due to someone else’s actions. If your injury is such that you are demoted, or face no realistic probability of promotion, then you are entitled to the difference between what you would have made over the course of your working life had the accident injuries not happened, and what you will in fact make in your permanent disabled state. If you are rendered unable to perform any aspects of your prior career, then you would also be entitled to compensation for having to be retrained for another career. If you are completely disabled, then you are entitled to your loss of earnings from the remainder of your working life.
Property damage compensation
Your vehicle was likely damaged if you were in an accident. You are entitled to compensation for that damage, either through it being repaired or you being given the cash value if the vehicle is beyond repair (“total loss” or “totaled”). Additionally, you are entitled to a rental vehicle for the time which your vehicle is in the repair shop or the being “totaled out”. If you do not need or want a rental, you are entitled to the temporary loss of use of your property.
Additionally, the accident may have damaged or destroyed items within your vehicle, such as a child’s car seat or pair of glasses. Or perhaps you had just put new tires on your vehicle, the benefit of which you have now lost out on. You are entitled to additional compensation for these additional items.
As a complimentary service, we will handle your property damage claim for no fee to allow you to focus on getting healthy and getting back on your feet as soon as possible.
Pain and suffering compensation
Often, the worst part of any accident injury is the actual pain you suffer through while you heal, and the permanent pain you suffer from injuries that never fully heal. These harms, called “pain and suffering,” are generally the largest part of any jury award, and thus, the largest part of any settlement. Pain and suffering is subjective, and can be difficult to quantify. While you are likely all to aware of many of the harms you are suffering (pain, mood changes, exhaustion), some are more difficult to connect (depression, weight gain, relationship conflicts). We can help you connect all of the dots to most fully reflect the impact your injuries have had on your life.
Other foreseeable harms
While the above-mentioned means of recovery are the most common, they are not the only ones available. Any harm that you suffer is compensable, as long as it is foreseeable. Almost any harm that you suffer as a result of an automobile accident is foreseeable because it actually happened, and therefore, you can recover for it.