Close X

Personal Injury Overview

Personal Injury

When you're injured as a result of someone else's careless actions, it should be that person who pays the bill, not you. The essence of personal injury law is restoration and compensation for the victim. Getting the party at fault to pay is the essence of a personal injury case. Depending on the nature and severity of the injury, that process ranges from relatively straightforward to extremely complex.

Catastrophic injuries are those injuries that often result in permanent disabilities or that severely affect your day to day quality of life. Few things can change a person's life so dramatically as a catastrophic injury. Examples of this type of injury include:

  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Paralysis
  • Loss of limb
  • Loss of eyesight
  • Severe burn injuries

Injuries like this can involve years of therapy and medical expenses. You are fighting to recover not only physically and emotionally but also financially. You may have trouble getting back to work, or you can no longer do the same job. It is an extremely difficult situation that, unfortunately, many people are forced into because of the actions of others. Equally unfortunate is when, while you're fighting to be compensated, the other side is fighting just as hard to avoid paying for your injuries.

Compensation for your injuries

As the injured party, you are entitled to recover for the harm caused by the injury, both economic and non-economic:

  • Medical bills
  • Rehabilitation expenses
  • Lost income
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of consortium (i.e., companionship or sexual relations, for non-injured spouse)

California is a pure comparative negligence state, which means you can recover even if you are partially at fault. For instance, you might suffer an injury where the defendant is found to be 80% at fault, and you are 20% at fault. Your recovery is reduced by 20%, but you can still get 80% of the damages. You can even recover some damages if you were found more at fault than the defendant (some states do not allow recovery if the plaintiff is more than 50% at fault.)

If you were severely injured because of someone else's negligence, it is only right that you are compensated. However, in order to get the compensation you need for medical expenses, lost wages and other damages, it is important to work with an attorney who has the experience necessary to advocate for your cause. In the majority of cases, you are much more likely to obtain a larger recovery if you are represented by legal counsel.

Talk to an attorney as soon as you can, even before you talk to the insurance company (they are not on your side, no matter how nice they seem). There are strict deadlines for filing claims for personal injury (generally 2 years from the injury in California).

Automobile Accidents

Cars and other automobiles are essentially large, fast moving weapons. They can do immeasurable damage to people in an accident. It's bad enough when cars hit each other. But it can be even worse when a car hits a motorcycle or a pedestrian. This is why careful attentive driving is so crucial.

Unfortunately, many people are not careful when they drive. Drivers who are in a hurry may speed or not pay attention. With the rise of technology, cell phones and the increasing problem of texting while driving have just added more distractions for drivers on the roadways. Dangers to pedestrians are always present, even when pedestrians are crossing legally in the crosswalk.

Motorcyclists have the potential both to cause accidents, as well as to be the victims. This is often because California, unlike other states, allows “lane splitting,” the practice of driving a motorcycle between lanes of stopped or slow moving traffic. If the driver of a car swerves to miss a motorcyclist, or opens the door while someone is lane splitting, either could get hurt.

If you were injured in an automobile accident, the damage can be devastating. If the other side was at fault, you are entitled to compensation for your injuries. You can obtain some compensation even if you were partially at fault yourself, such as by jaywalking. An experienced personal injury attorney can analyze your case, give you an idea of what your damages might be worth, and gauge your chances of success.

Dog Bites

Being bitten by a dog is very common. Millions of dog bites occur every year, sending hundreds of thousands of people to the emergency room. Often these bites cause serious injury, such as disfiguring scars or other permanent injury. Sometimes dog attacks result in death.

Dog bite law in California

California's dog bite statute states,

“The owner of any dog is liable for the damages suffered by any person who is bitten by the dog while in a public place or lawfully in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner's knowledge of such viciousness.”

Dog owners in California are held liable for dog bites under a theory of “strict liability.” This means that the owner does not have to be aware of the dog's propensity to bite, and there is no need to prove negligence. If the dog causes an injury, the owner is liable. (Some states may not impose liability for the first time a dog bites, if the owner was not aware of its viciousness prior to the incident. This is sometimes known as the “one bite rule.”)

Compensation for a dog bite injury

Injuries that are possible and compensable with dog bites include puncture wounds, fractures, amputations, infections, and related complications. Additionally, it is very common for emotional distress or mental health issues to develop as a result, and these are compensable as well. A consequent fear of dogs, or even of going outside, may develop after being attacked by a dog. Loss of consortium may also be possible for your spouse.

In addition to the owner of the dog, in certain situations someone else could be held liable as well. This includes a caretaker of the dog, or even the landlord of a tenant with a dog, if the landlord was negligent in containing the dog on the premises.

Damages are usually covered under the dog owner's homeowner's insurance policy. If you are injured by a dog, try to obtain the dog's registration information and take pictures of the injury. As soon as you are able, you should discuss your case with an attorney who handles dog bite cases.

Sexual Harassment

Most people in California spend as much — if not more — time at work as they do at home. This reason alone makes the safety and security of any workplace extremely important. Unfortunately, some people choose to take advantage of that security by harassing co-workers or employees in a sexual manner, violating them personally, and interfering with their ability to support themselves and their families. No one deserves to feel unsafe in his or her workplace.

What Is Sexual Harassment?

Many people have an idea of what sexual harassment is, but they may not realize how many different behaviors it can encompass. In California, the following behaviors are considered sexual harassment:

  • Inappropriate physical contact, such as a back rub at your desk
  • Offering benefits, such as a promotion, in exchange for sexual favors
  • Sexual jokes or gestures
  • Derogatory or offensive comments
  • Unwanted and unsolicited sexual advances

You do not have to endure workplace harassment out of fear for your job or risking a promotion. You are protected by both State and federal laws against retaliation. Retaliation includes being fired, demoted or not getting a promotion because you rejected the advances or reported the harassment.

How to Handle Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

If a co-worker, supervisor or even a customer has harassed you at work, it is important to report the behavior to your employer, if possible. In some situations, however, it may be unsafe to do so.

Next, it may be beneficial to speak to a lawyer. If your employer failed to address a problem you made known or a colleague created a hostile work environment, it may be possible to seek damages. No one should have to endure a threatening or hostile work environment because a colleague or supervisor refuses to behave appropriately.

Helix Law Firm can help you obtain the compensation you are owed

We understand how life-changing a serious injury can be. Whether you were injured in a motorcycle accident, pedestrian accident or animal attack, we can help. We can also help you assert your right to work in an environment that is free from sexual harassment. The sooner you get in touch with us, the sooner we can start working on getting you the compensation you deserve.

If you're interested in learning more about how Helix can help you pursue a personal injury claim, please call us at (619) 567-4447 to schedule a free consultation.

Helix Law Firm Is Here for You

At Helix Law Firm, we focus on Wills, Trusts, & Probate, Business Law, and Real Estate Law. We are here to listen to you and help you navigate the legal system.

Contact Us Today

Helix Law Firm is committed to answering your questions about estate planning.

We'll gladly discuss your situation with you at your convenience. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.