car accidentKnowing exactly how extensive your injury accident damages are and, as a result, how much your injury case is “worth,” are important pieces of knowledge in any personal injury litigation, especially in California. California has a statute, Section 998 of the Code of Civil Procedure, that is designed to promote the settlement of civil cases. It says that if the defense makes a settlement offer that meets all the statutory requirements listed in Section 998 (a qualifying “998 offer”), then there are some very important consequences you can face, depending on how you handle that offer and how your case resolves.

If your opponent makes a valid 998 offer that you decline, and the jury (or judge in a bench trial) awards you a sum of damages that is less than the settlement offer (or returns a defense verdict), then not only are you not eligible to recover the costs that you incurred after the date of the settlement offer, the defense can recover their costs that were racked up after the date of the offer. This difference can be quite a significant sum, and is just one more example of how your injury case can benefit from the knowledge and skill provided by an experienced California personal injury attorney.

A recent case from San Bernardino County (Superior Court Case Number CIVDS1505973) was an example of this process in action. The event that led to litigation was an intersection collision in the city of Upland. A city employee ran a red light and crashed into M.N. The employee was on the job at the time that the accident took place. The injured woman sued both the city and the man who hit her. The key dispute in this trial focused less upon whether or not the employee had caused the accident, and more around the extent of the injured woman’s damages.

segwayGenerally, in a personal injury lawsuit, there are two broad categories of damages for which you can receive compensation: economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages refer to things for which you can readily prove the dollar amount of your loss. Your medical bills could demonstrate your past medical expense damages. Your past income documents might prove your past lost wages. An economics expert might give evidence about your future lost earnings. A medical expert might give testimony about your future need for care and the cost of that care.

Non-economic damages include things like pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life and mental anguish. These can be more subjective determinations that a jury must make in your case, but the amount of these damages (and the amount of compensation you can receive for them) may be very large. If you’ve been hurt in an accident, you want to be sure that you get the most from all the forms of damages to which you are entitled, which is why you should retain the services of a knowledgeable California personal injury attorney to handle your case and provide the representation you need.

An example of a case that could have been a situation involving significant amounts of both economic and non-economic damages was the case of R.C. According to a report by the San Diego Union Tribune, R.C. was operating a Segway device along Camino de la Costa in San Diego County when she encountered a large area of roadway that was cracked and broken. The broken roadway caused R.C. to lose control of her Segway and crash to the ground. The injuries she suffered in the accident were very severe. Specifically, the woman shattered her pelvis in the crash, requiring medical providers to screw in metal plates, the report indicated.

funeralCertainly, everyone hopes to have a trial that is both free from problems and one that arrives at a successful outcome. You want your trial to end with a “winning” result, one that won’t be overturned later. Unfortunately, the system is not perfect and mistakes can occur in jury trials because they depend upon imperfect human jurors. One of the essential things in managing any personal injury case, and one in which an experienced California injury attorney can help, is being sure that you respond to those unexpected “wrinkles” in the right way. If you’ve lost a loved one in an accident in Northern California, you should be sure to retain an experienced California wrongful death attorney to handle your case and provide the representation your family needs.

One recent case with such an unexpected element was brought by V.T., a widow. V.T.’s husband was killed in a tragic accident involving a tractor and a pickup truck. The husband, while trying to repair the tractor, became pinned between that vehicle and the truck. The accident killed him.

V.T. and her four daughters sued several individuals and entities for wrongful death. The case went to trial and the jury awarded a total of $670,000. However, because the jury awarded no damages to the man’s two adult daughters, the appeals court later threw out the damages award and ordered a new trial on damages. After the second trial on damages, a jury awarded a total of $9.4 million. That figure was cut in half because the first had found that the deceased man was 50% at fault for the accident.

ladder fallChances are, unless you are a lawyer or someone deeply familiar with legal issues, you’ve probably not heard the Latin phrase “respondeat superior.” But those two Latin words can mean a lot if you’ve been hurt in an accident. Respondeat superior is a Latin phrase that loosely translates to, “let the master answer.” The theory behind this concept is that, in some situations, someone who hires another person may be indirectly liable for the acts of negligent committed by the person they hired. This doctrine of law may open the door of possibilities for you, expanding your options against whom you can pursue compensation. To make sure your injury case names all of the people and/or entities who might be liable to you, be sure you have representation from an experienced California injury attorney.

An example of a case where this concept of “respondeat superior” was a key element was M.J.’s injury action. O.M. owned a landscaping business and hired M.J. to help on a job trimming trees. The jobsite was a private property owned by D.S. M.J., while using a ladder (that O.M. had provided) to do her job, fell off the ladder and suffered substantial injuries.

When you’re hurt in a situation like what happened to M.J., there may be several different ways you can pursue the compensation you need in order to get by while you are recovering from your injuries (and afterward.) For some people, compensation may be through workers’ compensation benefits. For others, though, getting the needed compensation may require filing a civil lawsuit. If are in the position of suing, you may have multiple people or entities whom you can name in your case. The more individuals and/or entities you can name, the better your chances of achieving a full and complete recovery award.

Legal News GavelIn an injury case, small details can make big differences. A complaint that alleges that you suffered harm as a result of an accident that took place in a particular month could potentially end in total defeat if your opponent can show that no such accident ever took place when you said it did, even if the error was just a typo. If you make a mistake regarding a date in your complaint, there may be ways to correct it. It is vital to understand how these procedures work and follow them properly to make the corrections you need, which is why it pays to have an experienced California injury attorney on your side who is knowledgeable in the law and procedural processes.

The case of a man named G.M. was an example of this kind of scenario. One day in 2013, G.M.’s boss ordered him to clear space on a top shelf to make room for certain hot-air balloon equipment. G.M.’s boss specifically ordered him to stand on a pallet while the boss used a forklift to raise the pallet (with G.M. atop it) up to the top shelf to allow the employee to clear the space. Unfortunately, this didn’t end well for G.M. He suffered a 12-foot fall in the attempt, which resulted in a broken foot.

G.M. sued for his personal injuries. In his complaint, the employee alleged that the accident took place on August 5, 2013. The case went to trial. At trial, G.M. encountered a problem. Various pieces of evidence, including a doctor’s report, indicated that the accident took place on October 5, 2013, not August 5, 2013. At the trial, G.M. acknowledged that the doctor’s report refreshed his memory and that the accident did occur in October, not August,

If your opponent in your auto accident case asked the court to take “judicial notice” of a document, would you know what that meant? Would you know how to respond? Even many very intelligent and educated people would probably answer “no” to those questions. However, these kinds of evidentiary decisions can make or break an injured person’s personal injury lawsuit. That’s why it is so important to have the representation of a skilled California car accident attorney in your case.highway

A dispute over “judicial notice” was at the center of one woman’s recent auto accident case. The accident, in which Marie suffered injuries, happened on May 20, 2014. Whenever you are injured in an auto accident, there is the possibility that there may be multiple people and entities that are liable for the harm you suffered. The facts of your case likely will permit you to sue the driver. If the owner is someone other than the driver, this may represent a second possible defendant. If the driver was “on the job” when the crash occurred, you may also have a claim for liability against the employer.

Regardless of the number of people or entities you are suing, it is important to act with all due speed. If you file your lawsuit after the deadline (the “statute of limitations”) has expired, you are not entitled to any compensation, no matter how strong your proof is. So what do you do if you are reaching the end of the statute of limitations period, and you don’t know the identities of some people who could be liable?

If you’ve been hurt in an accident in California in which another driver was making a left-hand turn, whether the accident took place in an intersection or elsewhere, the facts of your case may place you in a very strong position to recover compensation for your injuries. Making a left-hand turn is a potentially dangerous maneuver, so the law places a substantial onus on the left-turning driver to wait until she is sure it is safe before making that turn. Regardless of the precise details, if you’ve been hurt in an auto accident in Northern California, you should be sure to retain a skilled California car accident attorney to handle your case.Legal News Gavel

A case from Los Angeles County Superior Court (Case No. BC615394) was an example of a successful left-turn injury lawsuit. The accident was a two-vehicle collision. C.H. was traveling across El Segundo Boulevard when she attempted a left turn. V.H., a maintenance supervisor for the City of Los Angeles, was headed straight in the opposite direction. The two vehicles crashed, and V.H. was hurt.

In California, if you were hit by a left-turning driver, and your traffic signal was green, the odds of success for you can be quite high. The only ways that the left-turning driver can establish that you were actually the one at fault for the accident are to show that you were speeding, that some sort of sudden emergency caused her to slow or stop her turn (which prevented her from clearing the intersection in time), or that your light was actually red, rather than green.

Legal News GavelWhen you are an independent contractor and you’re hurt on the property of the party who hired you, your premises liability lawsuit can potentially be more complicated. In this type of situation, California law says that there are only two scenarios in which you can proceed with an injury lawsuit: “when the hirer exercised control over the contractor’s work in a manner that had contributed to the injury” and “when the hirer failed to warn the contractor of a concealed hazard on the premises.” If your situation doesn’t include either of those scenarios, then the property owner may be able to get your case dismissed before it even gets to trial, so proving one or both of these exceptions is of paramount importance. To make sure your premises liability case is as complete and unassailable as possible, be sure to retain the services of an experienced California injury attorney.

A recent case from Southern California shows how a worker can proceed in a situation like this,  avoiding a defendant’s request for summary judgment. The injured man was a professional window washer. The injury took place at the property of a very popular and successful singer of the 1950s and 60s. The singer’s home included an indoor pool that was covered by a large, round skylight. While his team was performing a cleaning job of the skylight, the window washer slipped and fell off the roof of the home after he had communicated instructions to the other window washers.

The injured window washer sued. Whether you are on the roof of a home, the yard attached to a home or inside a home, if you’re there with permission, the homeowner has a legal obligation to keep the premises safe for you. If a dangerous condition exists, the law says that the homeowner must correct the hazard or warn of the hazard. In the window washer’s situation, he asserted that there was loose rocks, pebbles and sand on the roof, which was what caused him to slip and fall off the roof. He also alleged that the roof was dangerous because the ledge required to access the skylight lacked safety railings and the shingles on the roof were “dilapidated,” making the surface slippery.

Legal News GavelWhenever you are considering signing any document that restricts your legal rights in any way, it is important to make absolutely sure that you understand what you are signing. You need to be sure that you know what rights you are giving up and what rights you are retaining, in order for you to make a truly informed decision. If you are unsure about an agreement, seek out experienced California legal counsel to provide you with the advice you need.

P.Z. was a person potentially impacted by such an agreement after she was hurt at a health club. P.Z. was walking through a health club’s gymnasium when she tripped and fell. The accident happened because the member’s foot became entangled with a metal “wireway” that the club used to run wires to the club’s treadmill machines. She sued the club in a premises liability action for the harm she suffered, which included a fracture and dislocation of her right elbow.

In many health clubs like this, members sign an agreement as part of the application for membership process. This club had such an agreement. In the document, the member agreed, as part of seeking membership, to waive the right to sue for various types of harm.

Legal News GavelWhen you hear the phrase “premises liability,” one very understandable reaction might be, “What’s that?” Another is to assume that “premises liability” comes up only in situations where a person suffers a slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall accident at a place of business. The reality is that premises liability can cover a variety of scenarios, extending beyond just slip-and-fall and trip-and-fall injuries. If you have been hurt while you were on someone else’s property, you may have a case and an entitlement to compensation. Contact an experienced California injury lawyer to learn more.

One example of this “other” type of premises liability injury took place recently here in San Mateo County. A 12-year-old boy and his family were camping in the San Mateo County Memorial Park when a 72-foot-tall tree fell on his tent. The early morning tree collapse was allegedly the result of a fungus that left the diseased tree rotten and unstable. In order to save the boy’s life, doctors amputated one of his legs and part of his pelvis.

The boy sued for premises liability. A premises liability case, whether it is a slip-and-fall, trip-and-fall or a case like this one, requires you, as the injured person, to give the court proof that the person/entity you sued is liable through negligence. In other words, you need proof that the person or entity who owned or controlled the property either acted improperly or improperly failed to act and that your injury was the reasonably foreseeable result of that negligence.