Personal Injury Accident in Thousand Oaks, California
Thousand Oaks is a great escape from the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles, with some of the area’s most beautiful hiking trails and plenty of adventurous activities for kids of all ages. But with adventure comes the risk of injury—whether you’re off-roading on your juiced-up ATV or having a paintball battle with friends. Even a simple trip to the store can send to the hospital if you slip and fall the wrong way. Life is full of risks, but when someone else’s carelessness (or intentional act) is to blame, you may be entitled to compensation. Give Walch Law a call today if this is the scenario you find yourself in.
Carelessness is called negligence in legal terms and is the basis for most personal injury claims. Personal injuries aren’t just limited to bodily injuries and may include any harm done to you as a result of another party’s negligence. It’s always best to discuss the details of your case with your Thousand Oaks personal injury lawyer, but we’ll summarize the basics of injury claims below.What it Means to be Negligent
Negligence claims are based on what a “reasonable person” would do in a similar situation. For example, a reasonable person would stop at a stop sign or yield to a pedestrian in the roadway. We’ve discussed what it means to be negligent in a general sense, but civil courts require injured parties to prove their claim by showing that certain elements are present.
The elements of a negligence claim are:
- Defendant owed a duty to the plaintiff
- Defendant breached that duty
- Plaintiff’s injuries were in fact caused by this breach
- Defendant’s actions were the proximate cause of the injury(ies), meaning it was obvious to a reasonable person that those actions could cause harm
- Plaintiff has suffered actual damages (legally recognized injuries), such as bodily injury
To “owe someone a duty” means a given party has a legal responsibility to act as a reasonable person would in order to ensure that other parties are free from harm. For instance, a shopkeeper owes a duty to clean up any spills on the floor that otherwise may cause customers to slip and fall. If you’re a dog owner, you have a duty to keep your dog on a leash when walking him in public.
When that duty is breached, causing injury to another party—and it’s clear that their action or inaction would cause harm—then they’re financially responsible (or liable) for compensating that individual. If negligence doesn’t cause actual harm, however, then the plaintiff has no basis for a personal injury claim. If someone slips on a spill in a store that should have been cleaned up earlier but doesn’t fall or suffer an injury, then they can’t file suit. A Thousand Oaks personal injury lawyer is best positioned to help you prove the elements of your claim. All our consultations are totally free so whether you know you have a claim or not sure, give us a call and we can tell you that and so much more!Beyond Negligence: Strict Liability and Intentional Acts
Some personal injury claims are filed against parties who were neither negligent nor had any intention to cause harm. We call this strict liability, which generally applies to manufacturers and retailers of various products. If a design flaw in your ATV causes your brakes to fail, resulting in serious injury, you don’t have to prove negligence or intent to file a claim against the manufacturer.
The elements of a strict liability claim are:
- 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
Intentional acts also may give rise to a personal injury claim, as is often the case with certain crimes (such as assault and battery or homicide). For instance, the state may prosecute someone for assault and battery, resulting in prison or other sanctions. But the victim also may sue for assault and battery in civil court to recover for their injuries.Personal Injury Damages
When another party is liable for your injuries, you file a claim for damages. Damages are the monetary value of your injuries, whether they’re directly or indirectly related to the underlying incident. For instance, you may claim damages for the pain endured as a result of the injury in addition to the actual cost of medical care and the loss of wages from being out of work for a period of time.
Damages may include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Disfigurement or permanent disability
- Pain and suffering
- Diminished future earning potential
- Loss of consortium (intimacy and affection)
If you’ve been injured because of another party’s negligence or intentional act (or because they’re strictly liable for your injuries), then you owe it to yourself to seek full compensation. Injuries can be very costly, and it takes a skilled Thousand Oaks personal injury lawyer to fully assess what those costs may be. Contact the Law Offices of Gary K. Walch, A Law Corporation today and get your life back on track. We have over 40 years of experience and have the track record of success you want fighting to maximize your claim.