Personal Injury Accident in Malibu, California
Life is full of potential hazards, even in the paradise that is Malibu. In fact, the best parts of life involve some amount of adventure and, yes, danger. You love to ride your stand-up paddle board at Malibu Beach and hike the canyons, for example, and you take on that risk yourself. But what you don’t always prepare for are those injuries that happen because someone else wasn’t being mindful or following the laws. And now, just because the owner of your favorite pastry shop didn’t bother to fix that leaky gutter, you’re in the hospital with a busted knee and torn ligaments.
People had told her for months that she needed to fix it, pointing to the wet spot in front of the entrance and the slick moss growing on the walkway as a result. You usually just walked around it, but it was packed and you ended up stepping on it the wrong way. The fall was embarrassing, of course, but now you’re in a world of pain. What you need to do is contact a Malibu personal injury lawyer at Walch Law so you can get compensated for your injuries. We know how to get the most for Malibu personal injury cases. We’ll discuss the basics below.Fault, Negligence, and Personal Injury
You and your friends know that any reasonable shop owner would have fixed the gutter in order to maintain a safe entranceway. Since she failed to do so, ultimately putting you in the hospital, she may be considered negligent for purposes of a personal injury claim. When considering liability for personal injuries, the breach (an act or failure to act, as in this case) is compared to what a theoretical “reasonable person” would do in a similar situation. She had to have known it would eventually result in someone slipping and falling, right?
As the plaintiff (the injured party), you need to prove the existence of certain elements in order to prevail. The elements of a negligence claim are:
- Defendant (at-fault party) owed a duty of care to the plaintiff (to fix an obviously dangerous situation in front of her pastry shop)
- Defendant breached that duty (failed to fix the gutter that was causing the problem)
- Plaintiff’s injuries were in fact caused by this breach
- Defendant’s actions were the proximate cause of the injury(ies), meaning they wouldn’t have occurred if not for the negligence of the defendant (you’re in the hospital because of this)
- Plaintiff has suffered actual damages, such as bodily injury (you have a badly injured knee)
The term “duty of care” applies to specific relationships. For example, motorists have a duty of care to follow traffic signals, not exceed the speed limit, and watch out for pedestrians. The pastry shop owner has a duty of care to maintain reasonably safe premises. If, for example, you were injured in her shop after a powerful earthquake, then she probably would not be liable unless her building was not up to code. In any event, it all depends on the facts specific to your case, which your Malibu personal injury lawyer will be able to assess.Beyond Negligence: Intent and Strict Liability
If your injuries are the result of a faulty product, then you may be able to file a strict liability claim (without having to prove negligence). For example, you were injured by a defective awning that fell while you were entering the pastry shop.
For a strict liability claim, you would need to prove the following elements:
- Product was unreasonably unsafe or dangerous when it was designed, manufactured, or sold
- Seller expected and intended that the product would reach the consumer without changes to the product
- Plaintiff was injured by the defective product
If someone meant to hurt you, then it may be what is called an intentional tort. For example, someone is angry at you for ordering the last croissant, so they punch you in the face and break your nose. That also may be charged as a crime (in either case, it would be “assault and battery”).Damages: Compensation for Your Injuries
When you file a legal claim stemming from your injuries for which someone else is liable, they’re referred to as damages. The nice thing about California personal injury cases is that even if you played a role in your injuries, you can still get money for the percentage you are not at fault for. We know all the arguments to make in personal injury cases that involve comparative negligence.
Damages may include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Disfigurement or permanent disability
- Pain and suffering
- Diminished future earning potential
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium (intimacy and affection)
You have two years from the date of the incident in which to file a personal injury claim, but it’s often a good idea to get started as soon as possible in order to preserve the evidence and obtain witness testimony. Also, the sooner you call the sooner you can get paid and move on from this accident. But don’t call just any lawyer, get in touch with the legal experts at the Law Offices of Gary K. Walch, a Law Corporation and get your life back on track. We take all our cases on a contingency fee basis so you don’t pay us a thing until you get paid. Call us today to learn more about how we can help get you the most for your accident.