Injured By Negligence
If you are the injured due to the negligence of others you may be entitled to receive compensation for your injuries, both to pay medical bills, to compensate for other costs caused by the negligence and for any pain, suffering and emotional distress.
Negligence of others can occur is many situations, too many to list here. However, we at the Lee Law Group want you to be knowledgeable, both concerning whether you are a victim of negligence so you can seek compensation and concerning what to do if you are the victim of negligence. In this section of this website, we attempt to educate you in these areas.
The law of negligence, in its simplest form, requires people to conduct themselves in a manner that conforms to certain standards of conduct. Where a person's actions violate those standards, the law requires the person to compensate anyone who is injured as a result. In some instances, the law of negligence also covers a person's omission to act. In tort law, (a tort is a civil wring), negligence is a distinct cause of action. The Restatement (Second) of Torts, a rule book for attorneys practicing in this area, defines negligence as "conduct that falls below the standard established by law for the protection of others against unreasonable risk of harm."
There are many rules, concepts and principles concerning the law of negligence. Therefore, you should contact the Lee Law Group to fully evaluate you situation and to answer your questions to ensure you have all the information you want or need. However, simply pit, you are a victim of negligence if you were the victim of the following conduct, facts and circumstances:
1. A Duty of Care was owed to you by Another Person or Entity. Duty can arise in any number of situations. For example, all people in society owe a duty to conduct themselves with "due care" which may be defined as conducting oneself in a reasonably careful, prudent manner. Another example, Dave, a driver of a car on public streets, owes all other drivers a legal duty to drive with reasonable caution under the circumstances.
2. Someone Caused a Breach of that Duty. This means the person who owed you the duty of care, failed to live up to that duty. For example, when Dave, a driver of a vehicle on the public highway, was speeding through an intersection, running the red light and causing his vehicle to collide with Pat's vehicle causing a total loss and injuring Pat, he failed to act with "due care", and thus "breached" or violated the duty. Dave's conduct may be defined as a failure to fulfill the duty he owed to all other drivers on the public highway, including Pat.
3. An Actual, Causal Connection or "Causation" Exists Between the Breaching Party's Conduct and the Resulting Harm. This means that when the person that owed you a duty of care breached that duty her, or his, breach was an actual cause of your loss, injury, death or other harm. Or, said another way, if this person had not beached their duty, you would not have been harmed. For example, "but for" Dave breaching his duty to Pat by driving negligently and colliding into his car, she would not have been harmed.
4. There is Proximate Causation, which Relates to Whether the Harm was Foreseeable. Proximate causation is a complicated issue. However, to put it in its simplest form, if the harm caused to you was foreseeable to the breaching person, before or at the time of the breach, their breaching activity was the proximate cause of your harm. Using our example to illustrate, because it is foreseeable that when a driver speeds and runs a red-light they may collide with another vehicle causing damages and injury, Dave’s breach was not only the "but for" cause but was also the proximate cause of Pat’s harm. Proximate Cause is related to the concept of "proximity" or closeness between one action and the harm or injury. If an injury or harm is not reasonably foreseeable to an action or conduct that falls below the due-care standard it is said to be too remote or unconnected to be the proximate cause, even if it's the "but-for" cause and thus the actor of this conduct cannot be deemed legally negligent.
5. Damages Resulting from the Breaching Party's Conduct. Very simply put, if you were damaged in any way by the activities of the breaching party, you satisfy this requirement or "element".
If you satisfy all five of the elements above, you may have a case for negligence.
Comparative Negligence Rule
There is another important rule to understand when considering if you have a negligence case in California. This is the rule or concept of "comparative negligence", or "comparative fault". California follows a 'pure comparative negligence' rule. This mean that a person trying to determine the value of their negligence case must consider if they were in any way also negligent because their negligence reduces their recovery, but will never bar recovery. The potential claimant’s, or plaintiff's, negligence is compared to the combined negligence of all other negligent actors concerning the incident, whether or not joined as parties, to determine the amount of the reduction. Since California is a pure comparative negligence state, a person claiming negligence can recover for their injuries and harm even if they are more at fault than any of the other negligent persons.
For example, if you have an auto accident and you are 75% at fault, and your damages are worth $10,000 you will still receive $2,500 or 25% of your damages, (100% = the complete loss; you were 75% at fault, 100% (-) you 75% at fault = 25%).
You May Be Eligible to Receive Damages
You may be able to recover economic and non-economic damages. Generally speaking, economic damages are those to replace money you have lost through expenditures or lost earnings. Examples of these damages include, but are not limited to, loss of earnings and future earning potential. In addition, if there is an injury or death, economic damages include medical expenses to be repaid to your healthcare insurance company, Medicare, Medi-Cal or any other medical treatment or care provider engaged on your behalf. Economic damages also include those for expenses for treatment you are expected to need in the future, along with out-of-pocket payments for medical devices, prescriptions, transportation, household assistance, and any other such expenses you may experience. Of course, this is not an exhaustive list. Non-economic damages are serious losses that are more difficult to assign a dollar value, including pain, suffering, inconvenience, physical impairment, disfigurement, mental anguish, and loss of quality of life.
What if I am Injured or Have Property Damage Due to Negligence of Others. What Do I Do Next?
If you are injured or suffer a loss due to the negligence of others contact the Lee Law Group and we will assist you throughout the entire ordeal, most times at no costs to you unless and until you recover your loss. It is important to contact us, or some other attorney, as soon as possible because if you eventually have to file a lawsuit you must file it within a specified period of time by law. This period of time, known as the ‘statute of limitations’, could bar your case if you do not act in time.
Once you contact the Lee Law Group, we will investigate to ensure liability, that is, to confirm that someone else’s negligence was responsible for your damages. Often times we will be able to call on experts such as an accident reconstructionist or experts in animated reconstruction to provide theoretic or visual replays of the incident so that fault can be more clearly assigned to the person or persons who injured or harmed you by their negligence. These scientific methods are then used to better develop professional opinions concerning causation and theories on the nature and extent of your injuries.
In addition, if you are injured, we will work closely with your medical care providers to ensure you obtain the best possible care for your injuries. If you do not have a physician, or other medical care provider, the Lee Law Group will engage a respected care provider, whether you need a regular physician, physician specialists, chiropractor, physical therapist, or all of the above, on your behalf with no payment required until your case is resolved. These medical care providers will provide a professional opinion concerning the extent of your injuries and your prognosis.
Then, once we have a firm idea of the costs of your medical treatment and of the fair compensation for all your damages, we will write a settlement demand letter to the negligent company, person or persons' insurance company for compensation to cover you damages. Usually, negotiations are required at this point and the Lee Law Group will conduct these negotiations until we have a settlement agreement that you can accept because final approval of any potential settlement rests with you, not the attorneys. Many cases are settled in this way. However, if the insurance company refuses to offer a settlement that you can accept we will file a lawsuit to obtain your just compensation and relief, still at no costs to you unless and until you recover compensation.
What Happens if I File a Lawsuit For Negligence?
If the Lee Law Group is forced to file a lawsuit to obtain your just compensation we will litigate your case from start to finish explaining the process to you every step of the way. We will instruct you on what to do and when to do it, making the process as simple as possible. A great majority of cases are settled after filing a lawsuit without having to actually conduct a trial. However, if a trial is necessary we at the Lee Law Group are experienced in trial work and will energetically try your case still at no costs to you unless and until you are compensated for your injuries.
If you are the victim of negligence, contact the Lee Law Group so we can fight for you.