What Is a Personal Injury: Tips From Fresno’s Top Attorneys

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What Is a Personal Injury: Tips From Fresno’s Top Attorneys

Any injury impacts your mental and emotional health. Personal injuries that aren’t your fault seem even more harmful. You’re left with substantial medical bills, debilitating injuries that keep you from doing things you used to do, and lost wages if you can’t do your job.

Personal injury law involves injuries and damages that aren’t your fault. It’s when you’re harmed intentionally or accidentally due to negligence or deliberate acts of others. For example, you’re driving home at night and an impaired driver crashes into your car. You suffer a head injury and a broken leg and arm.

It’s going to be months before you’re mobile again, which means you cannot work for months. It’s not your fault, so you have a personal injury claim if you want to pursue it. That’s a quick summary of personal injury, but there’s a lot more to know.

Different Types of Personal Injuries

Personal injuries can be mental, emotional, or physical. It can also be a loss of reputation due to defamation, libel, or slander. These injuries may be:

  • Intentional (Such as a mass shooter)
  • Negligence (Such as a store failing to clear ice from the roof over the front of the building)
  • Strict Liability (Such as a defective product)     

Mental and Emotional Injuries: 

Mental and emotional injuries are possible. Suppose you witness a robbery and it causes severe anxiety when you try to walk into that store. That’s a mental and emotional injury. Anxiety, depression, PTSD, and other psychological damage are all part of this type of injury.

Physical Injuries:

Physical injuries are the easiest to understand. It’s the damage that you can see such as a broken leg, cuts, and bruises. Suppose you’re at a concert and the fireworks go awry. You get burned and need urgent medical care for third-degree burns. That’s a physical injury that’s caused by someone else through negligence.

Loss of Reputation: 

Understanding what defamation, libel, and slander are is important when it comes to determining if you have a valid case for damages to your reputation.

  • Defamation: A false statement said to another person that damages your reputation.
  • Libel: A defamatory statement provided in a picture or in writing.
  • Slander: A defamatory statement spoken or told to someone else.

Defamation must meet these five elements:

  • The statement must be factual and false.
  • The statement must have been made to a third party.
  • The statement must have been made with negligence or malice.
  • The statement cannot have been privileged information.
  • There needs to be proof that damage was caused.

Whatever false statement is made, it has to be proven that it was made to be factual and that the person who said it knew it was false or didn’t do his or her research to verify the validity. That proof is essential in a personal injury claim related to defamation.

The Most Common Causes of Personal Injuries

Those are the types of personal injuries. Many of them are tied to these common causes.

  • Car Accidents
  • Defective Products
  • Dog Attacks and Bites
  • Medical Malpractice
  • Product Liability
  • Slip and Fall Accidents
  • Workplace Accidents

What Goes Into a Personal Injury Claim?

It’s hard to win a personal injury claim if you cannot prove the following.

  • The defendant has a legal duty to act with care.
  • The defendant breached that responsibility.
  • The defendant’s actions directly caused the plaintiff’s injury or injuries.
  • The plaintiff suffered damages like medical expenses, pain and suffering, or lost income.

Keeping exact records like medical bills, the wages you lose if you’re unable to work, and what happened as detailed as possible. Photos of the cars and area after a car crash, police reports, and other details do a lot to help you build your case.

Understand the Different Types of Damages in Personal Injury Cases

Suppose you file a personal injury complaint, there are different types of damages. The possible damages are:

  • Economic: Losses that have undeniable monetary value, such as medical bills.
  • Non-Economic: Emotional and mental impact or disfigurements where the monetary value is harder to determine.
  • Punitive: Financial awards that are meant to punish the defendant for his or her actions.

Sometimes, you’ll only get the economic losses, but it’s common to ask for both economic and non-economic losses. A Fresno personal injury attorney can help you understand your options.

How Do You File a Complaint?

Don’t hesitate to reach out and talk to a personal injury lawyer if you believe you have a valid complaint. A free consultation offers you the chance to determine if you have enough to file your complaint and what your legal options are. 

Before you do, gather as much evidence as you can. You want medical bills, emails, text messages, photos, medical reports, and anything else that proves the injury you suffered.

Your attorney will start investigating your complaint, using as much proof as you can provide. Once this is completed, a demand letter is sent to the at-fault person’s insurance company. That letter sets what the claim is and what compensation is demanded. 

That letter starts the negotiation process. Most complaints end here with a settlement. If a settlement isn’t reached, the complaint will go to court for a judge or jury to decide.

A Fresno Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help You

A personal injury lawyer offers a lot of help, and it’s the help you’ll need. Unless you’re skilled in the laws, you may not realize that there is a burden of proof you must meet or that there are statutes of limitations.

Personal injury lawsuits have to be filed before the deadline hits. In California, the statute of limitation is two years. If the injury isn’t immediately discovered, it’s a year from the date the injury is diagnosed. 

If the personal injury involves a breach of contract. It’s four years from the date of the broken contract if the contract was in writing. Otherwise, it’s two years.

California is a pure comparative negligence state. If you’re an injured party, you are able to collect damages, even if you were partially responsible. You might have forgotten to turn on your turn signal, but the car behind you should have noticed your brake lights. You can still file a personal injury claim. 

This is why it’s so important to work with an attorney skilled in personal injury law in Fresno. Shegerian Conniff’s attorneys are ready to help you get the financial settlement or award you need to avoid stress when you can’t work or manage your normal daily routines. Arrange a free consultation with Shegerian Conniff to learn more.

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