Bakersfield Personal Injury Lawyers
- What Is Personal Injury?
- Why Do So Many Accidents Happen?
- Types of Personal Injury Cases
- Construction Accidents
- Medical Malpractice
- Types of Damages Available in a Personal Injury Case
- Common Types of Damages Available After a Personal Injury Accident
- What If I Am Partially Responsible for the Accident?
- What Are the Benefits of Having a Personal Injury Attorney?
- How Do I Collect My Money After a Settlement or Jury Award?
California Injury Law Firm with Proven-Results
When you suffer from damages or loss in a personal injury accident, you need an advocate to help you get your life back on track. Call our Bakersfield injury firm today at 888-488-1391 to schedule a free consultation with an aggressive Bakersfield personal injury lawyer. There are no fees until we win your case!
Verdict in a mild traumatic brain injury case involving a motor vehicle collision.– JUDD ROSS ALLEN
What Is Personal Injury?
Why Do So Many Accidents Happen in Bakersfield?
When Do I File a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
You have limited time to file a claim or lawsuit for personal injuries in California. Under California law, after a person is hurt, they have a statutory time limit for filing a lawsuit. This period is called the statute of limitations. If an accident victim does not file a lawsuit or settle their claim with the insurance company before the statute of limitations runs, they may lose their legal right to pursue compensation.
- Personal (bodily) injuries must be filed within two years of the date the injury happened.
- Lawsuits for property damages must be filed within three years from the date that the damage occurred.
- Claims in which the victim alleges that the government is responsible for the injury must be filed with the agency that the victim alleges to be responsible for the harm within six months of the injury. The claimant gets six additional months to file a lawsuit in court.
Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations
- You were under the age of 18 years old when the accident happened. – For example, if you get into a car accident that is not your fault when you are 16, the statute of limitations may be extended.
- You did not discover your injury until after the statute of limitations passed. – You may see this exception to the statute of limitations used when a medical malpractice claim is involved. In medical malpractice cases, harm happens, but you may not realize there was professional negligence until after the initial statute of limitations has expired. Here, the time to file a lawsuit is extended if there was a reasonable delay in discovering an injury.
- The responsible party cannot be found. – For example, if you get into a car accident and the responsible party lives out of state, the statute of limitations is extended until the responsible party is found.
Types of Personal Injury Cases
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving has taken the lives of nearly 3,000 people in recent years. Distracted driving happens when drivers take their attention off the road. A driver is distracted if they operate a vehicle while fatigued, impaired, texting, changing the music or checking the GPS, etc.
- Visual – Taking your eyes off the road
- Cognitive – Taking your mind off driving, such as by daydreaming
- Manual – Taking your hands off of the wheel
- Road rash
- Spinal cord injury
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injury
- Internal bleeding
- Chronic pain
- Permanent disability
- Driving too close to the shoulder
- Distracted driving, including driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, fatigued driving, etc.
- Weaving in and out of traffic.
- Disobeying traffic rules or riding against traffic.
Common Causes of Traffic Accidents:
- Driver error
- Reckless driving
- Impaired driving (driving under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or other intoxicating substance)
- Fatigued driving
- Professional office settings
- Transportation services
April 2019: $14M settlement in a traumatic brain injury case involving a defective piece of equipment at a factory.– BRIAN BEECHER
Motor Vehicle Accidents
Fires and Explosions
Crush Injuries and When a Worker Is Stuck Between Two Objects
Common examples of medical malpractice include:
- Mistakes made during surgery
- Errors while administering medication or failure to medicate properly
- Failure to diagnose
- Delayed diagnosis
- Failure to treat
- Immediate family members, including spouses and children, have priority when filing a wrongful death lawsuit.
- If the deceased did not have a spouse or children at the time of death, then more distant family members can sue, including parents, siblings, and grandparents.
- The parents of a child who died in utero may be entitled to wrongful death benefits.
- Some states allow putative spouses, life partners, and financial dependents to file suit and recover wrongful death benefits.
Sexual Abuse and Sexual Assault
Nursing Home Abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Physical abuse
Licensees – A licensee is a person that is invited onto an owner’s land. Licensees have the owner’s permission to be on the property. There is typically an economic purpose for licensees to be on the property. Examples include salespeople. A property, business, or landowner has a duty to warn licensees of any dangerous conditions that are present on their property.
Invitees – An invitee is a social guest, and there is implied permission to be on the owner’s property. Invitees include your friends and family and other people that enter your home or people who enter a business to patronize it. An owner has a duty to keep the property safe for invitees. For invitees, owners must take action to check and remove dangerous conditions to help an invitee avoid injury.
Trespassers – A trespasser is a person that does not have express or implied permission to be on a person’s property or on a business’s land. Typically, a premises owner does not have a duty to protect trespassers. However, if the trespasser is a child, a property owner must avoid artificially created dangers like swimming pools.
Types of Damages Available in a Personal Injury Case
Common Types of Damages Available After a Personal Injury Accident
- Current and future medical bills
- Current and future lost income
- Property damage
- Rehabilitation care
- The cost of nursing home care
- The value of disability caused by the accident
- Lost earning capacity
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Reduced quality of life
- Pain and suffering
- Anxiety and depression
- Disfigurement and scarring
What If I Am Partially Responsible for the Accident?
What Is Comparative Fault?
What Is Subrogation?
How Does Subrogation Affect Me?
Automobile Insurance – Your auto insurance policy probably has a subrogation clause. The terms of the policy, of course, vary among policies. Still, you are likely required to inform your insurance company about any settlement payments you receive from the other side. You cannot double-dip with settlement payments.
Workers’ Compensation Insurance – If you are hurt on the job, be sure to file a workers’ compensation claim with your employer. You should file your claim immediately after the accident. Your employer likely is required by state and federal law to carry insurance to cover workplace injuries for their employees.
Health Insurance – Your health insurance subrogation policy operates like vehicle and workers’ compensation insurance. The insurance company wants a guarantee that it will be repaid for any expenses incurred if it pays for treatment while your injury case is pending. In some instances, medical providers will refuse service after a personal injury unless you can prove that you have health insurance.
While your health insurance company will pay your bills for treating your injury while pursuing a claim against the party responsible for the accident, even up until you settle or win a jury award, the health insurance company will want to be repaid. The coverage and the terms of your policy determine the repayment obligation.
The Employee Retirement Insurance Act (ERISA) is an important part of health insurance subrogation. ERISA is a federal law enacted in 1974. ERISA was enacted to protect American workers’ retirement accounts from misuse by fiduciaries. In addition to protecting retirement accounts, ERISA applies to employer-provided health insurance.
ERISA applies to private employers. Employees that receive health insurance through their employers may run into issues regarding subrogation after suffering a personal injury. Under ERISA, if an employee of a private employer suffers from a personal injury and their health insurance company pays for their treatment during the pendency of the lawsuit. In an ERISA claim, your health insurance company typically places a lien on the settlement after paying for your treatment. It claims a right to any monetary recovery you receive from a settlement or a jury verdict.
What Are the Benefits of Having a Personal Injury Attorney?
A Good Bakersfield Personal Injury Lawyer Will Negotiate Relentlessly on Your Behalf
- Trapping you into a version of a story by asking you for a written or recorded statement
- Trying to downplay your injuries or get you to downplay your injuries
- Offering you a lowball settlement that does not cover your expenses
- Dragging out settlement negotiations to try to wear you out and accept an unsatisfactory settlement amount out of exhaustion
A Personal Injury Attorney Will Help You Determine Your Case’s Worth
Various factors increase the overall value of your personal injury case:
Severity of Injuries – Your personal injury attorney will want to sift through your medical records. Your attorney and their team will likely review the notes from your physician and speak with your doctor to determine the severity of your injuries. The insurance company will try to diminish your injuries, but you can be suffering from permanent or disabling harm, and you deserve compensation.
Your personal injury attorney will work with medical experts to understand how your injuries affect your life. The information your attorney gathers from reviewing your records and conversations with medical professionals will help them assign a monetary value to your personal injury claim.
Pain and Suffering – Pain and suffering refer to the damages that are unseen but that you endured because of the accident. Because of their intangible nature, pain and suffering damages are hard to prove, but an experienced Bakersfield personal injury lawyer will help you prove the existence and severity of your pain and suffering and understand your rights to recover these damages.
If you have these kinds of damages, you may face an uphill battle recovering these kinds of damages on your own from the insurance company. Insurance companies often try to deny that pain and suffering damages exist. A personal injury attorney will help you avoid tactics from the insurance company that keep you from recovering pain and suffering damages.
Lost Wages – If you suffered injuries that prevented you from working, you might be entitled to compensation for those losses. Insurance companies are for-profit businesses, so any claim that you make regarding losses incurred from your injuries will be heavily criticized by the insurance company. The insurance company will try to deny any connection between your injuries and your inability to continue to work. A personal injury attorney will advocate for you to receive total compensation for all losses that result from your injuries.
Loss of Companionship or Consortium – The overall value of your case may increase if your spouse has a claim for loss of consortium or companionship. There is value in the everyday tasks that a spouse completes, and when spousal contributions are lost, we can feel the difference. The value of your claim may be increased by the value of tasks like cleaning, cooking, caring for children, caring for elderly parents, sexual intercourse, etc. These kinds of losses are mixed with intangible losses and tangible losses. A thorough investigation can help you recover compensation for these losses.
Help You Find Every Responsible Party
A Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help You Avoid Blame-Shifting
Negligence vs. Strict Liability
What Is a Strict Liability Tort?
An example of a strict liability tort is a dog bite injury. Under California Civil Code § 3342, a dog owner must ensure that their dog does not bite another person. If their dog bites another person, the dog owner is strictly liable for any injuries suffered by the victim. A person that is bitten by a dog can automatically recover for their damages if they were lawfully on the property where the dog bite happened. The dog owner’s liability is created by statute.
How Do I Collect My Money After a Settlement or Jury Award?
Another potential way to recover for your injuries is to garnish the defendant’s wages to recover your judgment. Garnishment is typically a separate lawsuit from the original personal injury claim. An injury attorney in the Bakersfield area can help you if you choose to pursue a garnishment action.
Contact Our Award-Winning Firm
Our Bakersfield personal injury attorneys at Arash Law headed by Arash Khorsandi have decades of combined experience in injury law. We have helped many people across Bakersfield, California, get the compensation they need to pay for medical treatment and replace lost wages after an injury. We have recovered over $400 million in compensation for accident victims in Bakersfield and across the state. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury in a personal injury accident, we want to help you get back to normal. Contact us online or call our office at 888-488-1391 to schedule your free initial consultation.