Every day, thousands of people throughout the United States sustain injuries and economic losses without warning from a variety of causes. Some of these incidents occur due to forces beyond anyone’s control, but others happen because of negligence, a failure to use reasonable care, or intentional misconduct. These incidents are personal injuries, commonly cited grounds for civil claims in the San Bernardino, CA, area.
Legal Representation for San Bernardino, CA, Personal Injury Cases
When one party’s actions cause an illness, injury, economic loss, or a combination of damages to another party, the victim has the right to seek recompense for their losses. Civil suits are the best option for recovering from these experiences for many victims of personal injuries. However, navigating the personal injury statutes of California can be very difficult without an attorney. An experienced San Bernardino personal injury lawyer is an invaluable asset for anyone reeling in the aftermath of an unexpected personal injury from someone else’s actions.
Kenneth M. Sigelman & Associates offers comprehensive and compassionate legal counsel to those who need it most in the San Bernardino area. Our firm has assisted in the recoveries of many past clients afflicted by a wide range of personal injuries. We adapt our legal strategies and provide unique professional insights for every client we represent. If you or a loved one is recovering from an injury someone else caused, it’s vital to know what a San Bernardino personal injury attorney can do for you.
Benefits of Hiring a San Bernardino Personal Injury Lawyer
Working with an experienced attorney allows you and your family to have some peace of mind during a difficult time. However, any personal injury is likely to cause a host of immediate complications for a victim and their loved ones, such as expensive medical bills, an uncertain prognosis for the victim, and financial instability from lost income. Therefore, it is understandable that many personal injury victims hesitate when hiring legal counsel, believing the cost of legal representation to be outside their reach. While it’s technically possible for a plaintiff to file a civil claim on their own, it is more than worth investing in legal counsel you can trust to secure a better result.
An experienced personal injury attorney can handle their client’s case proceedings so the client can focus on their medical treatment and recovery. Your legal team can ensure your claim meets all the applicable court filing deadlines and all documentation is complete and error-free. Depending on the nature of your personal injury, who caused it, and various other factors, you could have several options for resolving your case. When you choose Kenneth M. Sigelman & Associates to represent your personal injury claim in San Bernardino, we will take time to learn as much as possible about your situation, creating an individually tailored legal strategy to maximize your recovery.
Average Person Won’t Win Best Settlement Without Experienced Counsel
While it’s technically possible for a plaintiff to file and even win their personal injury case independently, they would be unlikely to recover as much compensation as an attorney could have secured on their behalf. The average person with minimal legal experience may be able to calculate immediate damages like hospital bills, vehicle repair costs, and lost wages from time missed at work, but they may not know how to address long-term or complex damages, such as ongoing medical costs for a severe injury or lost future earning capacity from a disability. Experienced personal injury lawyers can uncover compensation their clients may have overlooked on their own.
Hiring an experienced San Bernardino personal injury lawyer allows the client to approach their case more confidently and clearly. As a result, they can make more informed decisions about the progress of their case and will be more likely to secure favorable results than they would be on their own. Kenneth M. Sigelman & Associates helps each client understand the legal mechanisms in play in their case and guides them through case proceedings as efficiently as possible. We aim to help each personal injury client we represent maximize their recovery as much as California state law allows for their case.
Understanding California Personal Injury Law
Each state has unique laws for personal injury claims. In California, a personal injury claim must be filed within the two-year statute of limitations, starting when the injury occurred. However, some personal injuries are not immediately apparent. If there is any delay between a defendant’s action and the plaintiff discovering the resulting harm, the statute of limitations “tolls” or pauses until the plaintiff makes this discovery. When the discovery rule applies, a claim must be filed within one year of the plaintiff discovering harm.
Potential plaintiffs must also know that to file their claims,they must prove they sustained actual harm. This means they must show measurable losses from the other party’s actions. California state law allows a plaintiff to seek full repayment of all the economic damages sustained from a defendant’s actions. The state also permits claiming pain and suffering compensation that reasonably reflects the severity of the plaintiff’s experience.
The average person with minimal exposure to the civil court system would likely make many errors in the preliminary stages of their case, potentially jeopardizing their claim on procedural grounds. However, an experienced San Bernardino personal injury lawyer will assist their client with all case filings, ensure applicable deadlines are met, and assist the client in proving the full extent of their claimable losses.
How to Prove Fault for a Personal Injury
Success with any personal injury claim hinges on identifying the defendant or defendants responsible for causing the plaintiff’s claimed damages and then showing the full extent of those damages. When it comes to establishing liability, this is accomplished differently in every case. First, however, the plaintiff in any personal injury claim must prove the defendant was negligent or engaged in deliberate misconduct that resulted in the plaintiff’s damages.
In most personal injury claims, the plaintiff must prove the defendants named in their suits were negligent or failed to exercise reasonable care. For example, driving a car under the influence of alcohol breaches the driver’s duty of care to operate their vehicle safely and responsibly. Therefore, the plaintiff must show the defendant held a duty of care they failed to meet and consequently caused the plaintiff’s claimed losses.
Plaintiffs in personal injury cases can leverage various forms of evidence to prove liability. Every personal injury claim is unique, but most rely on physical evidence, eyewitness testimony, and various forms of digital records. An experienced San Bernardino personal injury lawyer can help you develop a customized strategy that addresses the unique elements of your case.
Common Types of Personal Injury Claims Filed in San Bernardino, CA
When you need representation from an experienced personal injury lawyer, it’s vital to ensure the attorney has experience handling the type of case ahead of you. Kenneth M. Sigelman & Associates has assisted clients in San Bernardino and Southern California in a wide range of personal injury cases, many of which involved substantial damages. A few of the types of personal injury claims our firm handles include:
- Motor vehicle accidents. Resolving the aftermath of a vehicle crash in California can be incredibly challenging. While the state requires all drivers to maintain auto insurance coverage, insurance may not be enough to fully compensate for the damage from a serious accident. Our team can help a car accident victim file a personal injury claim to enhance their final recovery after exhausting their compensation options from insurance.
- Premises liability claims. Property owners have a legal duty of care to ensure their properties are safe for lawful guests and visitors. If you suffered an injury on someone else’s property due to their failure to address a foreseeable safety hazard, this likely constitutes grounds for a personal injury claim. An experienced attorney can help clients navigate a slip and fall accident claim, negligent security claim, or any other form of premises liability suit in San Bernardino.
- Medical malpractice. Every day, thousands of people in California trust medical professionals to provide safe and effective care. Unfortunately, medical errors and professional negligence are the top-cited causes of accidental injuries and deaths each year in the United States. Kenneth M. Sigelman has professional experience as a physician and an attorney, positioning our team as uniquely qualified to handle complex medical malpractice cases. These personal injury claims involve unique statutes and demand the attention of experienced legal counsel.
- Birth injuries. Any injury during childbirth can potentially result in lifelong disabilities for the child. This medical malpractice case is especially difficult for claimants, and experienced legal counsel is required to ensure adequate compensation for the victim’s anticipated future medical costs.
- Catastrophic injury claims. Some personal injuries result in permanent harm, causing disabilities and interfering with the victim’s ability to work and live independently. When these injuries occur, victims need legal counsel they can trust to guide them through complex civil court proceedings as they recover. Kenneth M. Sigelman & Associates leverages professional experience in law and medicine to help catastrophic injury victims recover as fully as state law allows.
Any personal injury claim will likely present unique challenges and opportunities to the plaintiff. There are no one-size-fits-all legal strategies for winning personal injury cases, and the right San Bernardino personal injury lawyer can profoundly affect the outcome of your impending case. Winning any personal injury case requires identifying the party responsible for the damages in question, proving the full extent of those damages, and establishing a clear causal link between the defendant’s actions and the plaintiff’s claimed damages. After establishing liability for damages, the plaintiff’s legal team will assist them in proving the full scope of the damages claimable in a personal injury action.
Compensation Available in a Personal Injury Case
California state law determines the damages available in a personal injury case. The personal injury statutes of California uphold that a plaintiff has the right to seek full compensation for any economic damages suffered because of the defendant’s negligence or intentional misconduct. There is no limit to the amount the plaintiff may claim in economic damages, but they must be ready to prove that those damages resulted solely from the defendant’s actions and not some other cause.
The economic damages typically available in a San Bernardino personal injury claim include:
- Medical treatment costs. If the defendant physically harmed the plaintiff, the plaintiff could hold the defendant accountable for any medical care required to heal from their injury and/or manage their symptoms. Hospital bills, surgery costs, ambulance fees, and other medical costs are just a few examples of damages the plaintiff can include in their claim.
- Lost income. A personal injury could leave the victim unable to work until they recover. The defendant is responsible for any income lost or vacation days the plaintiff must use during this time.
- Property damage. Many personal injury claims also pertain to property losses. If the defendant’s actions damaged or destroyed the plaintiff’s property, the plaintiff can hold them accountable for repair or replacement costs.
Typically, these immediate economic damages can be proven with documentation such as repair invoices, pay stubs, medical bills, and other records. However, while the average person may be able to calculate these simplified economic damages in a personal injury case, they may not know how to calculate the long-term damages they are legally allowed to claim.
Long-Term Damages for Serious Injuries
Many personal injuries have lasting impacts on victims and their families. California state law maintains that every plaintiff in a personal injury suit has a right to seek recompense for all the damages suffered from a defendant’s negligence, including anticipated future losses and ongoing expenses related to their injury management. However, a personal injury plaintiff may not be able to accurately assess the total economic impact of their experience immediately after it occurs. In these situations, it’s vital for plaintiffs facing extensive long-term damages to seek legal counsel they can trust.
An experienced San Bernardino personal injury attorney can help clients assess their claimable economic damages beyond immediate medical expenses and lost income. If the plaintiff is likely to require ongoing medical care for their injury, or if the injury caused a permanent disability, the defendant is liable for the cost of managing their condition in the future.
This means that alongside medical bills, plaintiffs can seek compensation for their long-term treatment costs until they reach maximum medical improvement. If they cannot return to work because of the severity of their injury, the defendant would also be liable for their lost future earning potential. An attorney can calculate how much their client would be projected to earn if their injury had not occurred and then include this in their claim.
Pain and Suffering in California Personal Injury Cases
Alongside economic damages, California state law allows a personal injury plaintiff to request compensation for their non-economic damages, specifically their pain and suffering. The state acknowledges that the experience of suffering a personal injury, the physical pain, and the psychological distress a plaintiff endures deserve financial compensation. Therefore, there is no limit to the amount a plaintiff may claim in pain and suffering damages in a personal injury case,exceptin medical malpractice cases. California limits non-economic damages in medical malpractice claims to $250,000. However, recently approved legislation is slated to increase this limit for cases filed in 2024 and then increase it further for cases filed in 2024.
When determining an appropriate amount of pain and suffering compensation to include in a personal injury case, the plaintiff’s San Bernardino personal injury lawyer can use various methods to calculate pain and suffering damages. For example, if the plaintiff is expected to fully recover from their injury within a reasonable time, their counsel could determine per diem compensation for every day they spend in recovery until they reach maximum medical improvement. Alternatively, plaintiffs who suffer catastrophic injuries can seek more extensive pain and suffering compensation, and their attorneys may seek large lump sum settlements instead.
Comparative Fault in California Injury Claims
The total case award a plaintiff could receive from a successful personal injury claim could be far more than they initially expected when they have the right attorney handling their case. However, in some personal injury claims, plaintiffs are discovered to bear partial responsibility for causing their claimed damages. For example, if a driver hit a pedestrian, but the pedestrian suddenly crossed the street outside of the crosswalk, the driver would likely be found more at fault for the accident, but the pedestrian could absorb partial fault as well.
When a plaintiff bears partial liability for causing their claimed damages, California’s pure comparative negligence law comes into effect. The plaintiff can still recover compensation, but they lose a percentage of the final case award to reflect their partial fault. For example, if the plaintiff is 15% at fault in a $100,000 claim, they lose 15% of the case award or $15,000 under California’s pure comparative negligence law. A personal injury plaintiff concerned about potentially bearing comparative fault should consult their attorney about the best way to mitigate it.
How to Resolve a Personal Injury Claim in California
The vast majority of personal injury cases filed in California end in private settlement negotiations. This process allows the parties involved to move past the situation as quickly and painlessly as possible. However, a settlement requires both parties to agree to a compromise. For example, if the defendant denies their liability for the plaintiff’s damages, asserts comparative fault, or disputes the range of damages sought by the plaintiff, the case could proceed to litigation.
Ultimately, every personal injury claim is unique, and it’s vital for anyone facing any kind of personal injury case to seek legal counsel they can trust as soon as possible. A San Bernardino personal injury lawyer will help their client gather evidence to prove fault, establish the full scope of their claimable damages, and guide their client through any difficult court proceedings. Kenneth M. Sigelman & Associates strives to settle every client’s case as swiftly as possible but is prepared to represent clients in court when their situations demand litigation.
What to Expect From Your San Bernardino Personal Injury Attorney
When you need reliable legal counsel to guide you through a difficult personal injury claim, you must assess a prospective attorney’s overall legal experience and experience handling your specific type of case. A good attorney will streamline their client’s case proceedings significantly, helping them secure favorable results as quickly as state law allows.
The early phases of a personal injury claim revolve around filing the necessary documents with the San Bernardino civil court, compiling evidence for use in settlement negotiations and/or litigation, and establishing the full scope of the plaintiff’s claimable damages. A good attorney is flexible in compiling their client’s case, assisting them in gathering the evidence needed to prove liability while assessing the full range of their claimable losses.
A personal injury case begins once a complaint is filed with the local civil court. Once the court receives this complaint, the defendant is provided an opportunity to submit their response. The case can go in many different directions at this point. For example, if the defendant accepts responsibility for the personal injury and agrees to a settlement, the two parties can meet privately to negotiate a mutually agreeable resolution. Alternatively, the defendant could dispute liability or demand a trial, at which point litigation begins.
Litigation for a personal injury case can be tedious and stressful, and it could be several months before the parties involved see a result. Additionally, when a judge oversees a personal injury claim in court, they have the final say on the outcome. This may work against either the defendant or the plaintiff, and it’s also possible for the result to fall short of both parties’ expectations. Therefore, there are risks and potential benefits to taking any civil claim to trial. A San Bernardino personal injury attorney should thoughtfully advise clients on the best ways to handle their cases.
Kenneth M. Sigelman & Associates has cultivated a reputation as a leading personal injury firm for San Bernardino-area clients facing a wide range of civil cases. We take an individualized, client-focused approach to personal injury counsel, helping each client develop a customized strategy for maximizing their compensation. We aim to help clients resolve their cases quickly through settlement whenever possible, but our firm is fully capable of handling intense litigation on behalf of our clients.
Personal Injury Accident FAQs
Q: How Long Will My Personal Injury Case Take to Resolve?
A: The time required to complete a personal injury case hinges on many variables. If the defendant is liable for the plaintiff’s claimed damages and does not dispute the range of damages sought by the plaintiff, it’s possible for the parties to negotiate a mutually agreeable settlement relatively quickly, perhaps within a few weeks of the initial case filing. Alternatively, a disputed personal injury claim can take much longer to resolve. If a personal injury case goes to trial, it can take several months before a ruling is delivered.
Q: How Much Does It Cost to Hire a San Bernardino Personal Injury Lawyer?
A: Most personal injury claims make their services more accessible to potential clients with contingency fee billing. This means there are no upfront legal costs; clients pay nothing unless their attorneys win their cases. The attorney’s fee is a percentage of the client’s case award. Make sure you fully understand a potential attorney’s billing policy before agreeing to their representation.
Q: Is It Worth Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney?
A: The right attorney can make a significant difference in the quality of your experience with a personal injury claim. They can handle case proceedings on your behalf to recover with peace of mind, helping you gather the evidence needed to prove liability and the scope of your damages, and provide ongoing support and guidance as your case unfolds.
Q: Can I File a Personal Injury Claim Without an Attorney?
A: Technically, there is no legal requirement to hire legal counsel if you intend to pursue a personal injury claim against another party. However, there are many risks you face in doing so. For example, you could make clerical errors in your claim that delay court proceedings, or you could overlook available channels of recovery and settle for less than you should.
California Personal Injury Law Attorneys
Kenneth M. Sigelman & Associates is a team of experienced San Bernardino personal injury lawyers who have successfully represented many past clients in difficult personal injury cases. We know the stress and uncertainty that can follow the victim after an unexpected injury and the legal questions people in this situation often have. Our goal is to help our client recover as fully as California law allows with an individually crafted legal strategy. Discuss your case with an experienced and trustworthy San Bernardino personal injury lawyer. Contact us today and schedule a free consultation with Kenneth M. Sigelman & Associates.