Personal Injury Attorneys in Los Angeles
Personal injury is a diverse area of the law that covers injuries to persons caused by the negligent or wrongful conduct of another person or entity. The most common injury claims are those involving motor vehicle accidents along with premises liability and product liability.
Many injured claimants attempt to handle these claims on their own but there are traps and complexities in this area of the law that experienced injury attorneys are aware of and will be able to handle so that clients can be fully compensated for their injuries. Studies consistently show that injured claimants who are represented recover substantially more in compensation than those who handle claims alone, even accounting for legal fees.
Personal Injury Lawyers
Our dedicated legal team can negotiate skillfully with insurance companies on your behalf, or fight for your rights in court if necessary. Personal injury matters we handle include:
- Auto accidents
- Tractor-trailer accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Premises liability accidents
- Dog bites
- Motorcycle accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Boating accidents
- Product liability claims
Most injury claims are brought on the basis that another person's or entity's negligence caused their injury. The elements of a negligence cause of action are:
- A person or entity owed a duty of care to that person
- The person who owed the duty of care breached it
- The breach was the proximate cause or was the substantial cause of injuries
- The injured party has provable damages — economic and non-economic
Various parties owe duties of care. A motorist has a duty of care to passengers and to other people on the roadway, a business owner has a duty of care to its patrons to eliminate hazardous conditions and a product manufacturer has a duty to produce a safe product for intended users.
Damages in a Personal Injury Claim
Once liability is established, you do have to prove damages. This includes obtaining medical records, carefully drafted medical reports, employment and school records, and/or witness statements. Damages can include:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Past and future wage loss
- Lost earning capacity
- Diminished quality of life
- Emotional trauma
- Pain and suffering
- Spousal claim for loss of consortium
In a wrongful death action, the decedent's immediate family may recover funeral and burial expenses, loss of financial support and loss of the decedent's love, support, guidance and counsel. Our office handles all kinds of personal injury matters. The most common include motor vehicle, product liability, premises liability and dog bite cases.
Motor Vehicle Accidents
All motorists owe a duty of reasonable care to others when driving. If they run a red light or drive recklessly, they breach their duty of care. If the breach leads to a collision or if a driver strikes a person who is legally in a crosswalk and injuries are sustained, then there is proximate cause.
The types of motor vehicle accident cases we handle include:
- Car accidents
- Tractor-trailer accidents
- Trains and accidents at train crossings
- Injuries to pedestrians
- Bicycle accidents
- Boating accidents
- Motorcycle injuries
- Accidents due to defective roadway design
- Accidents with municipal or state-owned vehicles
- Uninsured motorist claims
- Underinsured motorist claims
Proving liability can involve detailed investigations of an accident scene, interviewing witnesses, analyzing property damage, braking and steering systems and the positions of the vehicles, skid marks and other factors.
Trucking accidents and others involving commercial carriers demand knowledge of state and federal regulations to show negligent conduct. Boating and railway accidents also involve issues of different state and/or federal laws and regulations to hold these entities responsible.
Also, there can be more than one responsible party in any injury case. In a motor vehicle accidents, a defect in the road design or signage can be a principal factor in causing an accident.
If a state, city or county vehicle was at fault in your accident, then claimants must follow certain rules and laws regarding notice and filing, which are not the same that apply to other injury claims.
This area of personal injury law concerns products that are defective and cause injuries. Negligence claims in this type of case typically concern:
- A failure to use reasonable care in the manufacturing process
- A failure to use reasonable care in the design of the product
- A failure to test a product effectively and then truthfully report the results
- A failure to warn regarding injuries, damages or complications that could result
Product liability claims include:
- Defective drugs, including those for which manufacturers failed to warn regarding certain complications or targeted them for off-label and non-approved uses
- Defective medical devices, such as artificial knees and hips and their components
- Tires that do not keep their tread at high speeds
- Defective steering or braking systems
- Cars that suddenly accelerate
- Air bags that do not deploy or deploy in non-accidents
- Child safety seats that do not restrain the child in an accident
Proof in these cases can be difficult; however, the principle of strict liability can impose liability on a designer, manufacturer, advertiser or handler if the product is deemed unreasonably dangerous. So long as the consumer used the product as intended and the product was in substantially the same condition when sold, then you need not prove negligent conduct other than your own damages.
Most people refer to premises liability as slip and fall cases, but they encompass more than that. For instance, premises liability could be applied if you are assaulted by a drunk patron at a restaurant, robbed in an unlit or unmonitored parking lot where the owners were aware of criminal activity, or had a child who drowned in a neighbor's unfenced swimming pool.
Owner liability is determined by their status. Business owners have the highest duty of care and must inspect their property for hazardous conditions and warn business invitees or those whom they encourage to come onto their property to purchase products or services. Notice of the hazard is required, which can be direct, such as by being told of it, or constructively if it existed long enough so that the owner should have been aware of it.
Residential owners or renters owe a duty of care to warn others of known hazards but not to inspect their property. Even trespassers can claim damages but only if the property owner deliberately or intentionally harmed the individual.
The principles of strict liability apply to dog bite cases as well. If you can show that a particular dog bit you, then the owner is strictly liable for whatever injuries you can prove. You must have been in a public place or lawfully on the owner's property and not have provoked the dog such as by hitting or abusing it, unless the injured party was under the age of 5.
Retaining one of our attorneys at the earliest stage of your claim can help ensure you have the best opportunity to establish the strongest case possible for your claim.