| Read Time: 3 minutes | Personal Injury

Personal Injury Basics 101

According to the Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute [personal injury | Wex | US Law | LII / Legal Information Institute (cornell.edu)], personal injury is defined as “an injury… to the body, mind or emotions”. Personal injury law is a provision allowing an injured person to file a lawsuit in court to legally recover for all losses they suffered due to an accident or incident. This article will discuss the basics of personal injury law. The fundamental purpose of the personal injury system is to grant the injured person financial compensation to ‘make them whole’ after suffering harm caused by someone else’s negligent or intentional conduct. There exist several different situations whereby the personal injury rules apply. Some of these include the following: Accidents – A Personal injury occurs whereby a person acts negligently and, as a result of their negligent actions, causes harm to another person in an accident. Examples of personal injury law accidents include car accidents or negligently failing to keep a store clean . Defective products – Personal injury rules come into play when vehicle parts, consumer products, medical devices, or other products are defective or unreasonably dangerous. If such a product harms anyone, they can seek legal recourse through a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer. Defamation – When defamatory statements made by one result in harm to another, the victim may file for legal recourse by way of a personal injury lawsuit. Intentional acts – When an individual’s intentional conduct results in harm to another person, such as an assault, personal injury laws are applicable. A common question asked with regards to personal injury law is who makes the personal injury laws. Most of the laws are based on very  old common law rules. The term common law comes from laws that judges make; these are different from most laws currently passed by way of bills and statutes. Common law stems from when, in certain case, appeals court judges hear a case and decide on it, and decide to officially publish their opinion; their decision on the case becomes precedent on all other state courts lower than the court where the case was heard. Thus, the different courts are bound by the decision made on such a case and must apply it–hence the term common law. However, it must be noted that common law can differ from one state to the next. The personal injury rules are not the same across the country. Other pieces of law that have been a source of personal injury laws include statues passed into law by legislatures. For example, legislatures passed worker’s compensation laws; these directly affect all work-related injuries and create a system outside the scope of personal injury laws, making worker’s compensation the sole remedy against an employer for work injuries. The legislature also  passed laws to allow someone to sue when a loved one dies,   but again there are strict statutory rules that govern how the process works. Another state law that shapes personal injury laws is that of the statute of limitations. By definition, the statute of limitations [Statute of limitations | Wex | US Law | LII / Legal Information Institute (cornell.edu)] is a law that limits or “bars claims after a certain period passes after an injury”. Therefore, a personal injury claim may have to be filed within two to six-years of the accident, depending on the state.  California is generally two years for an adult.  Sometimes there are grace periods for the victim to file their claim from the date of the incident or discovery of the injury. For more specific legal advice and representation in your personal injury case, contact a renowned Bakersfield personal injury lawyer today.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Personal Injury

What Happens in a Personal Injury Case?

No two personal injury cases are the same; each case is unique. However, there are common elements that can be expected once you file a personal injury lawsuit. This article will discuss some standard features you will encounter when deciding to file a personal injury lawsuit. The basis of each personal injury lawsuit is that the plaintiff was injured. Personal injury law provides for injured individuals to receive relief from the injuries they have suffered at the hands of a negligent party. As such, proof of the plaintiff’s injuries plays a significant role in the case. If the losses suffered by the plaintiff go beyond the threshold of the small claims court limit, most plaintiffs will consider hiring a Bakersfield personal injury lawyer [https://www.youngwooldridge.com/]. The initial consultation, which is free, allows both the attorney and the plaintiff to see if there is a valid personal injury case to be pursued. If both parties are happy, the attorney may agree to conduct further investigations that includes determining whether the defendant has insurance or sufficient assets to cover any settlement or judgement. Once this is determined, the attorney-client relationship is made official and binding by way of a fee agreement that the plaintiff and attorney sign. No fees will be charged unless the lawyer recovers compensation for the injury victim. The next stage is to file a complaint and serve it upon the defendant. First, the personal injury complaint is filed in the appropriate civil court. By definition, the complaint does what the word says, complain. It basically gives information stating the charges being made against the defendant. This may include what the defendant did and how the plaintiff was injured or suffered losses as a result. Once filed, the plaintiff’s attorney must locate the defendant and serve the complaint in a little over a month. Serving the complaint basically means that the document is physically delivered to the defendant in a way that can be verified. This is an important stage as it eliminates the possibility of the defendant claiming that they do not know about the lawsuit. Therefore, service papers and the complaint tell the defendant the date they are to appear in court. On the defendant’s side, it is often prudent on their part to hire an attorney before their first court date. If the defendant has an appropriate insurance policy or valuable assets, it will not be difficult to find a defense attorney willing to represent them. If their insurance is suitable for the personal injury case, the defendant will need to notify their insurance company as soon as they are aware of the lawsuit. The insurance company will then appoint and pay a lawyer to represent the defendant if the defendant has not hired one already. A pre-trial process is triggered, where both sides request evidence and witness information from each other. This phase is called discovery and allows both sides to request information of the other side. They may also agree to mediation or even arbitration. A trial date will be set by the court. The mere fact of filing a lawsuit in court does not mean the case will go all the way to trial. Most cases settle even if a lawsuit needs to be filed.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Personal Injury

How Much Is The Settlement For My Motorcycle Accident?

If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident, you will be concerned with the value of your motorcycle settlement. Many factors affect how much you will receive for damages suffered after a motorcycle accident in Bakersfield.  Below is an overview of the factors to consider for your motorcycle accident case. Factors To Consider For Motorcycle Settlement If another driver’s negligence has caused your accident, you start up your case by determining liability. The next concern will be how much damages you have incurred as a result. You can consider both concerns as follows: Liability: Your case will be worth as much as you can prove that the other party was negligent enough to cause your accident. In case you also were negligent in your accident, you will also be blamed and may  receive less compensation. Since California is a pure comparative negligence state, you will be compensated according to the degree of your fault. Damage suffered: This has to do with your physical  injuries and also the damages to your motorcycle. If you were severely injured, this would usually  mean a higher settlement value. The insurance company considers many factors in any given motorcycle accident in an attempt to come up with a figure for settlement or verdict. Remember that motorcyclists are always believed to be in the wrong. So, when arguing your case with the insurance company, you will need to have an experienced lawyer help you overcome such prejudice. Calculation Of Damages Whether you settle or take your case to trial, your settlement will be based on: Compensatory damages. These are damages that have a quantifiable value. They may include your lost wages, medical expenses for your injuries, future lost earnings, etc. The insurance company adds all your expenses to come up with the dollar amount. Unfortunately, things such as future lost earnings and future medical bills may not be easy to calculate; you may require an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer who understands the right concept to apply. Non-economic damages. These don’t have an easily quantifiable value. For instance, if you were injured and this has affected you emotionally, you have a right to get compensated for pain and suffering. For such damage, the jury must decide on their own how to value your emotional  damages. That’s why it’s vital to have a lawyer represent you. The Bottom Line The jury is usually the one to decide what they think would be fair in your case.  Settlements can only be made if what you may be willing to accept and what the defendant is willing to pay to settle the case meet somewhere in the middle. This will be easier if the defendant is proven to be fully liable for your motorcycle accident. But all this will depend on what injuries you suffered and how this has affected your normal life, as well as any property damages. Where your damages may exceed the defendant’s insurance coverage limit, you may not get your verdict amount. However, your lawyer can advise you on whether to accept a settlement amount equal to the defendant’s insurance coverage limit. Your lawyer is better positioned to advise on how much your case may be worth with regard to the cases previously handled either through settlement negotiation or lawsuit depending on your jurisdiction.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Personal Injury

Common Types of Personal Injury Cases

Personal injury law allows an injured person to file a lawsuit in court to legally recover for all losses they suffered due to an accident or incident. This provision permits the injured person to receive financial compensation for their losses in a bid to ‘make whole’ the individual after suffering harm or loss due to the negligent or intentional actions of another. This article will discuss some common types of personal injury cases. Several situations can be remedied by way of a personal injury claim. However, it is essential to note that one’s suffering an injury does not automatically lead to legal liability. For example, some of the most common forms of personal injury cases include the following: Car accidents – Most personal injury cases in the United States are from car accident claims. In most cases, when a car accident occurs it is because one of the drivers failed to follow the road rules or was not driving as carefully as they ought to have been. As a result, a careless or negligent driver can be held responsible for injuries from the car accident. Medical malpractice – these are legal actions that arise when a health care professional (doctor, nurse, specialist, etc.) provides a treatment below the medical standard of care. The patient suffers injuries as a result. Medical malpractice cases are one of the most complicated forms of personal injury and thus require plaintiffs to enlist an experienced, professional personal injury attorney in Bakersfield CA. Medical malpractice attorneys can determine if you have a valid medical malpractice case or if your injury is simply a bad outcome, but still within the standard of care. All medical procedures are not successful. Slip and fall cases – slip and fall claims make up some of the most common claims in personal injury cases. These claims arise when an individual is injured as a result of a property owner’s negligence. Property owners have the legal duty to ensure their premises are reasonably safe and hazard-free. Depending on the situation and state, the property owner has specific legal responsibilities to fulfill. Not all injuries that happen on the property lead to legal liability. An injured person must prove that the owner was negligent. Wrongful death cases – wrongful death claims arise when a person dies due to someone else’s legal fault. Wrongful death claims include all fatal accidents, for example, vehicle accidents, medical malpractice, products liability, etc. The claim is brought on behalf of the surviving spouse, children or dependents of the deceased. Wrongful death claims are based on the theory of negligence, where a person failed to act reasonably under the circumstances or acted intentionally. Construction accident cases – These are claims that involve injuries sustained on a commercial property during construction due to the negligence of the property owner or third parties. There are usually a number of subcontractors at a construction site, and any on of them can be sued for negligence if it causes a worker to become injured. Keep in mind if your own employer is negligent, you can usually not sue them because of the worker’s compensation laws. As noted previously, personal injury law is a provision to ‘make one whole’ [Make One Whole | Wex | US Law | LII / Legal Information Institute (cornell.edu)], i.e., the individual who was a victim of negligent acts by means of financial compensation. For legal advice and representation, contact a law firm of renowned professionals specializing in personal injury matters.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Personal Injury

Big Box Stores and Premises Liability

Californians enjoy the savings provided by big box stores. A number of major retail chains provide a wide variety of items in bulk for a significant discount. And who doesn’t like to save money, right? But are there risks to shopping in these huge stores? When accidents happen in a commercial business, the injuries are often subject to personal injury claims under premises liability laws. If you or a loved one suffer an injury while shopping in a big box discount store, you could be eligible to receive compensation for your injuries. An experienced personal injury attorney in Bakersfield can help you determine if you have a case. What is Premises Liability? Premises liability laws are in place to protect the public from accidents in public, commercial buildings, and other places. Basically, the owner or store manager has a responsibility to take all reasonable actions to ensure that the store is free of obstacles or other means by which patrons could become injured. For example, if a customer spills laundry detergent on the floor of a store, the store must take certain actions. First, a store employee will clean up the mess. Then, proper warning signs must be posted around the site for a certain amount of time, warning other shoppers of a wet floor and possible fall risk. If the mess is not cleaned up properly, or no signage is in view, and another shopper slips and falls, they could possibly file a claim against the store under premises liability law. What About Big Box Retail Stores? Large chain big box retail stores make their profits by buying huge quantities of products and selling them cheaply, and often in bulk. Warehousing costs are reduced by storing large pallets of products right in the store. Very often, this shelving is located immediately above the products on display for sale. A roll of paper towels is relatively light; but the weight of a wooden pallet containing 24 cases, each with 100 rolls of paper towels is significant. In the event of a collapse or inadvertent shifting of a load while placing more pallets of product nearby, these heavy amounts of products could fall on unsuspecting patrons, causing serious injuries. Moreover, since this accident features heavy objects falling from above, head injuries are likely and could be catastrophic. If you or a loved one suffers an injury in a bog box retail location and have questions about your legal rights, contact the Personal Injury Department at Young Wooldridge, LLP. Our Personal Injury attorneys have experience with handling premises liability accident claims. We can help you file the claim and vigorously pursue your right to compensation from the responsible parties. Call us today or send a message online to arrange your free same-day, initial case review.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Personal Injury

Proving Negligence in a Personal Injury Lawsuit

In most California personal injury cases, negligence is a deciding factor. Therefore, knowing about what constitutes negligence and how to prove it is important. If you or someone you love have suffered a personal injury through the fault of another party, it is highly likely that negligence is involved. Defining Negligence Negligence is legally defined as follows: “A failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances. The behavior usually consists of actions, but can also consist of omissions when there is some duty to act (e.g., a duty to help victims of one’s previous conduct).” While aspects of “ordinary prudence” and “some duty to act” are often debated, the courts generally have a firm understanding of these terms as applied to personal injury negligence cases. Basically, a person of ordinary intelligence and capacity who acts or fails to act in such a way that causes another person or party to sustain an injury is guilty of negligence. Proving Negligence Claiming another person or party was negligent in their actions or lack thereof is not sufficient; the law demands that the injured party provide sufficient proof of said negligence. Legally, four elements must combine to prove negligence occurred. They are: Duty, breach, cause, and harm. The existence of a legal duty of care – this means that the defendant (the accused) was obligated to prevent harm from happening to the plaintiff (the victim of injury). The breach of that duty – this means that the negligent party created or allowed a dangerous situation to occur when they could have taken reasonable measures to stop it. The sufferance of an injury or harm – this refers to the physical and mental trauma, property damage, and lost income that resulted from the breach of duty. The proof that said breach caused the injury – this is evidence that the actions or omissions of the defendant directly or indirectly caused the plaintiff’s injury. If all four factors can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt before the court, you may be able to collect financial compensation from a personal injury lawsuit based on negligence. Many other factors can be involved, as every personal injury case is different, whether it happened in a car, truck, or motorcycle accident, through a defective product, a construction accident, or by other means. If you or someone you love suffered a personal injury where you believe negligence is a factor, contact Young Wooldridge, LLP by phone or contact form. We are able to fully serve your legal needs during the Coronavirus pandemic and can provide a same-day review of your case with a free phone or video consultation.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Personal Injury

When Do I Need a Personal Injury Attorney?

Life is never really the same when you or someone you love suffers a personal injury. You may be forced to adopt dramatic changes to even performing the most mundane tasks. The National Center for Health Statistics reports that around 31 million people each year receive medical treatment due to injury. Many people wonder when or if they should contact a personal injury attorney in Bakersfield. Young Wooldridge, LLP has served our surrounding communities since 1939, and we have the seasoned experience to help you in the event of an accident. What is Involved in CA Personal Injury Law? The personal injury laws of California provide legal recourse for those suffering personal injuries from the actions or negligence of another party or parties. Young Wooldridge, LLP can assist you with filing a claim with the courts to pursue compensation. Our attorneys have forged strong relationships throughout our community with legal and medical professionals. These partnerships allow us to formulate the best possible defense for your claim. When you need a talented, experienced personal injury attorney in Bakersfield, Young Wooldridge, LLP can provide the legal assistance you need for the following types of accidents: Car Accidents Construction/Industrial/Oil Field Accidents Burn Accidents Dangerous and Defective Products Dog Bites Motorcycle Accidents Premises Liability Traumatic Brain Injuries Truck Accidents Wrongful Death If you or a loved one have suffered a personal injury, contact the attorneys at Young Wooldridge, LLP by phone or online to schedule a confidential consultation. How Can Young Wooldridge, LLP Help? Every accident is as unique as the Bakersfield resident who suffers an injury. Due to these differences, and the many complexities that can be present, California personal injury laws can be complicated. You need a seasoned, knowledgeable personal injury attorney to defend your rights and fight to obtain you the compensation you deserve. In cases where one of the family’s providers becomes injured and unable to work, it is especially important that your attorney be able to provide efficient and effective negotiation and litigation on behalf of your claim for compensation.  Call or send an online message to Young Wooldridge, LLP today if you or a loved one have been injured in an accident due to another party’s negligence.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Personal Injury

Personal Injury Attorney | Drowsy Driving Prevention

Bakersfield Personal Injury Attorney helping drivers reduce their risk on the road when it comes to drowsy driving. Personal Injury Attorney | Drowsy drivers are a dangerous addition to America’s roads. With nearly one-quarter of American adults saying that they know someone who has fallen asleep at the wheel, it’s no wonder that drowsy driving has become an increasingly concerning issue on our nation’s roads. From 2011 to 2015, 4,121 lives were claimed due to car accidents related to drowsy driving. The National Safety Council warns against these symptoms of drowsy driving: Frequent yawning or difficulty keeping your eyes open “Nodding off” or having trouble keeping your head up Inability to remember driving the last few miles Missing road signs or turns Difficulty maintaining your speed Drifting out of your lane One staggering statistic from the American Sleep Foundation tells us that more than half of all U.S. drivers admit to consistently operating a vehicle while feeling drowsy. Drowsy driving can be hazardous to you, your passengers and other motorists around you. Driving when fatigued affects awareness and attention behind the wheel and greatly reduces the driver’s reaction time. Our team of Personal Injury Attorneys advise you to follow these safety tips to prevent drowsy driving and reduce your risk on the road.   Remember the following tips and help put an end to tragic drowsy driving accidents. If you’ve been awake for 24 hours or more, do not drive. It isn’t safe. Travel during times you are normally awake. If you feel fatigued, stop and drink something with caffeine. Make sure you are not fatigued by any medications you might be taking. If you are, use public transportation instead. On long road trips, make a pit stop every 100 miles (or every two hours) to stretch, get something to eat or drink and break up the monotony of the road. If you simply cannot shake your exhaustion, stop and nap in a safe place. Adults need seven to nine hours of sleep every night. For many of us, stress, responsibility and distractions make it hard to get this recommended amount. That means that many of us are susceptible to drowsy driving much of the time. Statistics show us that men are slightly more at risk for fatigued driving as are people between the ages of 18 and 25. Most fall asleep accidents happen at high speeds, on long road trips or rural highways. Armed with this knowledge and the above warning signs and safety tips, you can help to reduce the number of drowsy drivers on the road. If you have suffered a personal injury due to drowsy driving, contact The Personal Injury Department at Young Wooldridge, LLP. A personal injury attorney at Young Wooldridge, LLP can inform you of legal options you may not know you have.

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Personal Injury Attorney | Halloween Safety Tips

Personal Injury Attorney | Happy Halloween!  It’s time for kids (and parents too!) to get dressed up and hit the streets in search of the ultimate treat!  However, what’s scarier than any costume you may see, are the child safety statistics that this holiday brings. According to Safe Kids Worldwide, children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween than on any other day of the year.  Here are some tips to ensure you and your kids have a safe holiday. Walk Safely Use traffic signals and crosswalks; cross the street at corners When crossing the street look left, right, then left again; keep looking as you cross. Do not use electronic devices when crossing the street. Walk, don’t run across the street. Teach children to make eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of them. Always walk on sidewalks or paths. If no sidewalks are available, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible. Children should walk on direct routes with the fewest street crossings. Watch for cars that are turning or backing up. Teach children to never cross in between parked cars or to dart out into the street. Trick or Treat With an Adult Children under the age of 12 should not be alone at night without adult supervision. If children are mature enough to be out without supervision, they should remain in well lit, familiar areas, and trick-or-treat in groups. Costumes can be Creative and Safe! Use reflective stickers or tape to decorate costumes and trick-or-treat bags. If possible, choose light colors for costumes. Masks can obstruct a child’s vision. When possible, choose face paint or makeup. Give children flashlights or glow sticks to help them see and be seen by drivers. When selecting a costume, make sure it fits properly to prevent trips and falls. Drive Extra Safely on Halloween Kids get excited about Halloween and can move in unpredictable ways. Slow down and be alert in residential neighborhoods. Take extra time to look for kids at intersections, on medians and on curbs. Enter and exit driveways and alleys slowly and carefully. Remove all distractions inside your car so you can fully concentrate on the road and your surroundings. Anticipate heavy pedestrian traffic. Drive slowly and turn your headlights on earlier in the day to spot children from greater distances. Popular trick-or-treating hours are 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. so be especially alert for children during these peak hours. Following these effective tips can greatly reduce the risk of injury for you and your child on this holiday.  Young Wooldridge, LLP wishes you and your family a safe and Happy Halloween!

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Personal Injury

Personal Injury Lawyer | Basic School Bus Safety

An experienced Personal Injury Lawyer can inform you of your rights if your child is injured on a school bus due to negligence.  Personal Injury Lawyer | School buses are the safest form of travel for children going to school. By taking an average of 36 cars off the road per bus, school buses aren’t only decreasing car accidents for children, they’re decreasing traffic and subsequent accidents, in general. However, as with any motor vehicle, school bus accidents do occur. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, four to six school-age children die each year and about 17,000 children are treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries associated with school buses. School bus injuries can occur when children are riding the bus, getting on or off the bus, or just standing near the bus. Understandably, some parents can be apprehensive about putting their children on school buses each day. To help dissuade some of their concerns, parents can follow and talk about some recommended practical safety measures with their school-aged children before sending them off to ride the bus. To limit risk and ensure the safest ride to school for your child, teach them to practice these safety guidelines: When Riding the Bus: If seat belts are available on the bus, buckle up. Stay in your seat. Wait until the bus has come to a complete stop before exiting. Don’t yell, speak loudly or make abrupt noises that may distract the driver. Keep your hands, arms, and heads inside the bus at all times. Getting On and Off the Bus: Stand away from the street as the bus approaches. When crossing the street before boarding or after exiting, teach kids to make sure the bus driver indicates it is safe to cross. Children should always walk in front of a school bus. Teach them to look left, right and left again before crossing. Bus Stop Safety: Walk children to the bus stop and wait with them until the bus arrives. Make sure that your bus stop and the children waiting are highly visible to other neighborhood drivers. Drivers should always exercise extreme caution around school buses. Although motorists are required, by law, to stop and wait for a school bus and exiting or boarding children, more school-aged pedestrians are killed in the hour before and after school than any other time of day. Every motorist should expect that children boarding or exiting the bus are not paying attention to other vehicles as they cross the street. If you or someone you love has suffered a personal injury involving a school bus, contact the Personal Injury Department at Young Wooldridge, LLP. A personal injury lawyer at Young Wooldridge, LLP can inform you of legal options you may not know you have.

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