Have you recently sustained a physical injury, contracted an illness, or suffered significant economic losses due to the irresponsibility or intentional recklessness of another party? If so, you could have grounds for a personal injury claim under California state law. This is typically the best method of securing compensation for your losses after another party has injured you in any way but navigating the process on your own is incredibly difficult.
The legal team at Kenneth M. Sigelman & Associates can provide the peace of mind and guidance you need when facing any type of personal injury case. We understand how difficult it is to manage household responsibilities, a career, a family, and everything else while in pain as you recover from injuries that never should have happened in the first place. As your San Diego personal injury attorney, Attorney Sigelman and his team have the experience to help you recover as much as possible from your claim.
Why Choose Kenneth M. Sigelman & Associates?
A personal injury claim often includes severe physical injuries and complex medical issues. One of the best allies to have on your side if you are facing a personal injury claim is an experienced attorney who understands the medical field. Attorney Kenneth M. Sigelman not only has more than 20 years of experience handling difficult civil litigation as an attorney, but he also holds an MD and has years of practical experience in the medical field.
Our team will ensure your case proceeds as smoothly as possible and address all of your legal concerns on your behalf so you can focus your energy on recovery. We exhaust every avenue of compensation in every case we represent to ensure as complete a recovery as possible for our every client.
When you choose Kenneth M. Sigelman as your San Diego personal injury lawyer, you will have access to decades of experience in both the legal and medical fields. Few other attorneys can match this breadth of professional knowledge. You can rely on our legal team to handle your proceedings, keep you updated about the latest happenings in your case, and answer any questions you might have along the way. We strive to provide compassionate and reliable legal counsel to every one of our personal injury clients.
What to Expect From a Personal Injury Claim in San Diego
The core legal concept at the center of every personal injury claim filed in the US is negligence. This term describes one party’s failure to exercise reasonable care in a given situation. “Reasonable care” may seem like a nebulous term, but it means the realistic level of action a reasonable adult should take in a specific scenario. In virtually any given situation, an adult has a duty of care to behave in a certain manner and prevent harm to others. For example, drivers have a legal duty of care to drive safely and obey traffic signals.
When someone violates this duty of care and injures another person, this breached duty of care forms the grounds for the victim’s personal injury claim. Success with this civil action will hinge on the plaintiff and their attorney, proving that the defendant named in their Complaint owed the plaintiff a duty of care but failed to act with reasonable care in the given situation. The plaintiff’s legal team must then show the court the full extent of the plaintiff’s damages and provide evidence that shows their damages resulted from the defendant’s negligence and not another cause.
It’s not uncommon for a personal injury plaintiff to feel desperate soon after their injury. A serious physical injury can be incredibly painful and require a long time to heal, during which time the victim may not be able to work and maintain their household. Soon, injuries and lost income can easily lead to missed bill payments, collection notices, and significant financial concerns for the victim and their family. Do not make the mistake of accepting a potentially lowball settlement offer out of desperation. Contact a San Diego personal injury attorney for a more thorough review of your options for legal recourse and recovery.
Possible Recovery From Your Personal Injury Claim
The goal of any personal injury claim is to compensate the plaintiff’s losses as completely as possible. If you or a loved one recently suffered a personal injury due to the negligent actions of another party in the San Diego area, talk with our firm. It is only natural to wonder what damages you might be able to claim in your legal action. Ultimately, any losses resulting from a negligent defendant’s behavior will likely form part of your compensation if you succeed with your personal injury claim. Some of these damages may include:
- Your immediate medical expenses resulting from the defendant’s negligence, such as hospital bills and emergency room fees.
- Long-term medical costs you incur as a result of your injury. For example, if you suffered a serious injury that will require a year or more of physical rehabilitation to fully heal, you can claim the costs of all your treatment sessions during your recovery.
- Lost wages. If a personal injury prevented you from working while you recovered, you can claim the income you lost during this time in your personal injury lawsuit.
- Lost earning potential. If a defendant’s negligence caused a permanent injury of any kind that interferes with your ability to continue working, you have options. Your San Diego personal injury lawyer can help you claim compensation for the income you would have likely earned in the future had the defendant not injured you.
- Property damages. Any time a defendant’s negligence damages your personal property, you have the right to claim the cost of replacing or repairing that property in your personal injury claim.
- Pain and suffering. This may seem difficult to calculate, and every court uses different formulas to determine appropriate amounts of this type of personal injury compensation. It may form the bulk of your recovery from a successful personal injury claim. This compensation exists to repay a personal injury victim’s physical pain and psychological suffering resulting from a defendant’s negligence.
It is also possible for a successful personal injury claim in San Diego to yield punitive damages for the plaintiff. While the plaintiff and their legal team may not have the ability to directly claim punitive damages directly, California judges award punitive damages at their discretion. They typically base the amounts they award on a defendant’s overall wealth and the severity of their behavior. California state law doesn’t limit the amount of punitive damages a personal injury plaintiff may receive.
Personal injury plaintiffs must also be aware of the possibility of a personal injury claim transforming into a wrongful death claim. A wrongful death claim functionally replaces a personal injury claim when the victim does not survive their injuries. If another party harmed your loved one through negligence and the victim died, your family will be able to pursue a wrongful death claim instead of a personal injury claim the victim could have filed had they survived.
Pure Comparative Negligence in California
It is not uncommon for an injured plaintiff to have concerns that they are partially liable for the damages they have experienced. Many of the events that cause personal injuries, such as motor vehicle accidents, happen very quickly. It can be difficult for an injured victim to remember exactly what transpired during a traumatic accident. When a defendant faces liability for alleged negligence, the first automatic response is to try and divert blame to another party immediately, even the victim.
California upholds a pure comparative negligence statute that ensures a plaintiff’s partial responsibility for claimed damages does not override their ability to recover compensation for losses someone else caused. However, a plaintiff found partially liable for their claimed damages in California will lose a percentage of their case award equal to their percentage of fault in the case. Many states follow modified comparative negligence statutes that only allow a plaintiff to claim a partial recovery if they are less than 50% at fault for a claimed event; anything more than that would disqualify the plaintiff from claiming compensation. California has no such limit.
If you have concerns about potential partial liability for your claimed damages, your San Diego personal injury attorney can help. We will build the strongest case possible to minimize the potential liability you could incur from your legal action.
Winning Your Personal Injury Claim
Personal injury claims arise from many different situations, including motor vehicle accidents, slip and fall incidents, defective product accidents, medical provider negligence, and a host of other potential causes. The first step in winning your personal injury claim is positive identification of the defendant or defendants in your claim. This might require research on the part of your San Diego personal injury attorney, or the identity of the defendant in your claim may be immediately clear.
Once you and your attorney know the subject or subjects of your civil action, you can proceed with drafting and filing your Complaint. This document is a formal legal notice to the defendants named in your claim that you are taking legal action against them. The Complaint must outline the extent of the plaintiff’s damages, a succinct explanation of why the plaintiff deems the defendant responsible, and the plaintiff’s terms for settlement.
The plaintiff and their San Diego personal injury attorney must file their Complaint with the court, which then formally serves the Complaint documents to the defendant, providing them the opportunity to respond. The situation then goes one of two ways: either the defendant agrees to meet the plaintiff and discuss a settlement under the supervision of legal counsel, or the defendant denies liability and demands a trial.
Personal Injury Settlement and Litigation
The overwhelming majority of personal injury claims filed in the United States settle outside of court. This is due to the simple fact that settlement is faster, more effective, and more affordable for everyone involved. During settlement negotiations, the parties involved in a personal injury claim discuss liability and compensation. The defendant may partially assume liability or contest the extent of the damages the plaintiff is claiming, and settlement negotiations are an opportunity to discuss these discrepancies. Ultimately, settlement helps an injured plaintiff secure a recovery faster and allows a defendant to put the legal matter to rest as quickly as possible.
Unfortunately, a settlement is not always possible. A defendant may refuse to negotiate and demand litigation, or the defendant may agree to liability but disagree with the plaintiff’s proposed settlement offer. If negotiation is fruitless, or the plaintiff’s attorneys believe litigation is the best way to ensure the plaintiff’s most complete recovery, we will still pursue your claim. Litigation is the next phase of resolving a personal injury matter.
When litigation begins, the parties involved in the case must conduct depositions, examine and cross-examine witnesses, conduct research and fact-finding procedures, and ensure the Discovery rules are followed. Court proceedings in personal injury litigation have the potential to last weeks, months, or even years depending on the extent of the plaintiff’s damages, the nature and number of defendants in the claim, and the overall complexity of the issues cited in the claim.
How to Find the Right San Diego Personal Injury Attorney
Now that you have some idea of what to expect from a personal injury claim in California, it is important to consider whether you are ready to speak with a San Diego personal injury lawyer about your own situation. Finding the right attorney can be challenging, especially if you or a loved one have sustained catastrophic injuries with a severe financial toll. Experience, compassion, and responsiveness are crucial in a San Diego personal injury attorney. The team at Kenneth M. Sigelman & Associates is ready to provide the legal counsel you need.
Our goal is to help you handle your personal injury claim with confidence. We have the resources and experience to provide comprehensive legal counsel in any personal injury claim and can help you understand your legal options in greater clarity. Contact Kenneth M. Sigelman & Associates today to schedule a complimentary case evaluation from a trustworthy San Diego personal injury attorney.