Personal Injury Litigation FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Personal Injury Litigation in California

Personal injury litigation is based on English Common Law, which is often referred to as tort law.   The basic concept of (torts) is that we owe each other a duty of “due care.”  We must be careful to not cause injury to others because of carelessness.  Our law says that if a person fails to be as careful as a reasonably prudent person would be in the circumstances that gave rise to the injury, the person causing the harm is legally responsible for the damages caused by his or her carelessness – negligence.  Our laws require each of us to accept the responsibility for the harm that we cause by negligence.  If we do not accept this responsibility, the law will impose it upon us through litigation and a jury trial.

If you prove liability – that someone’s or some entity’s negligence or wrongful conduct caused your injury, the following are some examples of the damages you may recover:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Past and future pain and suffering
  • Past and future lost income
  • Past and future home/life care
  • Loss of enjoyment of life, grief, emotional distress

If the injury is solely caused by their own negligence, then the short answer is no.  However, as in most situations in life, it is usually not that simple.  If the injury was caused by a combination of the injured person’s negligence, and another person’s negligence, then based on principals of comparative fault the non-economic damages (such as pain and suffering) are allocated based on the percentage of fault.  The economic damages (out of pocket losses such as medical bills) are joint and several, meaning that the tortfeasor (the other person causing the injury) is solely responsible for all of the economic damages, as long as they are found to have some percentage of fault.

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