In a liability case, there may be two types of damages awarded: compensatory and punitive. The names make clear what each type is all about. We have previously discussed compensatory damages, which allow a plaintiff to receive compensation for loss. Now we will discuss what punitive damages are and how these may help others from being harmed in the same way you have been.
Punitive damages are punishment for negligence. In the case of a business, it may be negligence in failing to fix a trip hazard on their property or in failing to recall a product that was known to potentially cause harm. In the case of individuals, negligent behavior could be driving distracted or under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
While a plaintiff may receive compensatory damages to cover medical bills and missed workdays, punitive damages are put in place to punish the entity or individual for wrongdoing. This is meant as a deterrent to keep the wrongdoer from repeating the indiscretion and possibly harming more people. As a result, these damages may far exceed the actual monetary loss of the individual bringing the case to court.
One thing to keep in mind is that an insurance company is unlikely to admit fault in an initial settlement. Therefore, you may not even have all of your tangible losses covered, let alone deterring the wrongdoer from committing further negligence.
Getting the Help You Need for Personal Injury Cases in Southern California
Petrov Law Firm is here to help you maximize the settlement you receive from the insurance company after a personal injury. Give us a call today at 619.344.0360 so that we can help you get what you really deserve.
Slipping and falling doesn’t have to mean you were somewhere high up. And you don’t have to be on stairs or a ladder to sustain a serious injury. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor and the CDC, 2/3 of falls that cause an injury do not involve falling to a lower level but are considered same-level falls. More than one million people in the US are injured in falls each year, so you are not alone and should not feel embarrassed.
The CDC also reports that 20% of falls cause major injuries like a TBI (traumatic brain injury) or a broken bone. This makes falling the number on cause of TBIs in the US. Medical costs of falls reach $34 billion per year in the USA. But lost money is not the only effect of a fall.
Long-Lasting Effects of Falls
While a concussion or whiplash-type trauma is certainly a serious injury on its own, the aftereffects can be long lasting leading to things such as post-concussion syndrome or spinal arthritis. Plus, an injury from a fall can have lasting mental and emotional effects resulting from the fear of future falls. One may fear to go into the type of building where the injury occurred, or may experience years of future anxiety and PTSD.
If your personal injury has occurred on someone else’s property (commercial or residential), you need to know what your rights are in regard to compensation. The responsibility lies with the property owner to make the area safe for others. If you are entitled to compensation to help you deal with medical costs, missed work, and other lasting effects of the slip and fall, we can help. Don’t forget that the consult is free, so you have nothing to lose from bringing your case to Petrov Law Firm.Read More
One of the best conveniences of life in the states is being able to live close to your work, granted you have to work every day. Living close means you don’t have to deal with a long commute that is almost always flooded with traffic in both directions. If this is the case, you have likely considered downsizing your personal automobile to a handy and earth friendly bicycle.
The many advantages of biking to work far outweigh the obvious risks associated with this physical activity. The most minimal advantages include saving on fuel, car maintenance, and health care costs. The more lasting and significant rewards comes in the form of improved physical and mental health that result from daily exercise.
Before investing fully in this economical and beneficial routine, you should also consider the basic risks associate with biking to work and how you can protect yourself in case of accidents on the road. The biggest risk for a bicyclist on the roadways is collision with a moving vehicle. Needless to say, the resulting injuries can be debilitating or even terminal.
Fortunately, you can reduce the risk of getting involved in such an accident by practicing defensive bicycling. Map out the shortest, most convenient route and one that will avoid sharing lanes with other vehicles. Once on the road, be aware of all traffic and don’t assume drivers can see you or will yield to you. It is safest to bike defensively, obey traffic signals, and say in protected zones such as bike lanes.
The most immediate and reliable form of protection you can get for yourself is personal protective equipment such as a trusty helmet, appropriate biking clothing, and a well-maintained bicycle with the necessary reflective and lighting materials.
Lastly, if you do find yourself in an accident with another vehicle, treat it as you would if you were in your personal car: obtain the driver’s insurance and contact information; make note or take pictures of damages to yourself, your bicycle, and their vehicle; call for emergency services should you require it and make a police report for proper documentation. If you have been hurt, you are still eligible to file for personal injury claims from the other party. Know you can protect yourself beyond the physical equipment necessary for biking to work.Read More
Making the decision to pursue a personal injury case can feel stressful. Is it the right thing to do? How much will it cost? What happens if I lose? Luckily, one conversation with a personal injury attorney will answer all of those questions.
The lawyer will set some basic expectations. For example, the lawyer doesn’t get any money unless you get money. In short, the lawyer takes a percentage. And so, the lawyer isn’t likely to take on a case that is a losing battle. Finally, personal injury cases are generally not about right and wrong; they are about injury and losses. If you lost money because of the injury (like lost wages) then you should be paid back.
If you slipped and fell at a grocery store, you aren’t really suing the grocery store; you are submitting an insurance claim through your attorney. The grocery store (or airport or cafe…) has an insurance policy to protect them from paying out on an accident. The insurance company pays for your injuries — not the business owner. So there is no need to feel guilty if you need to submit for reimbursement because of your losses.
Slip and fall cases take time — sometimes over a year. During that year, you will have to visit the lawyer a few times to answer some questions about the fall. Your lawyer can help you find a doctor to treat your injuries and you won’t have to pay for the treatments. Don’t go it alone if you’ve had a fall; ask a lawyer for help.Read More
If you’ve been assaulted while on public transportation or while at a station platform, you need to contact a lawyer immediately. Although you might not have the name of the person who assaulted you, you can use a personal injury attorney to force the public transportation system to repay you for your losses.
When passengers step onto a train platform or major bus hub, they are putting themselves into the care of the mass transit system. These passengers can assume a reasonable level of security to help deter and prevent assault. Some of those deterrents include sufficient lighting, working closed circuit monitors, and security personnel. If any standard security safeguards are found to be lacking, the transit system can be held liable for endangering the passengers.
Even if you don’t notice that there are any lacking security measures, you need to contact a lawyer to help you investigate any history of problems at the location. For example, if one particular bus station has a history of violent attacks, the public transportation system has a responsibility to inform passengers and upgrade its security measures at that location.
Of course, these same rules apply if you are riding public transit and you are assaulted. The vehicle conductor has the responsibility to request on-site security personnel at any point during the ride; by ignoring the signs of an antagonistic passenger, the transit authority is putting everyone at risk.
Assault in public is random, but frequently avoidable with some simple security measures. Don’t sit in silence and assume nothing can be done to help cover the expenses of your medical bills, lost wages, and mental anguish. Contact a lawyer immediately.Read More
Technically, in California, you are not entitled to receive any punitive damages from a personal injury lawsuit. Where legal, punitive damages are designed to deter the defendant from repeating the behaviors that caused the injury. In California, you are only allowed to get money because of a loss — not because of punishment for the defendant.
However, you should always allow a personal injury lawyer to calculate your losses. Of course there are some losses that are easy to calculate — like medical expenses. And there are some hidden losses like lost wages. A personal injury lawyer will also help you decide if your case warrants seeking losses for pain and suffering.
Many people ignore the possibility that the personal injury will cause pain and suffering. If you were in a car accident, for example, you might suffer from panic attacks while driving in the future. This kind of anxiety problem can multiply, causing problems at work, at home, and with friends. Personal injury victims will often end up isolating themselves a year or more after the accident in an effort to avoid another injury.
Personal injury cases are complicated, legal matters. And in the same way you allowed the doctors to treat you immediately after the accident, you should allow a lawyer to represent you in the years that follow.Read More
Despite the laws designed to discourage Californians from using their cell phones while driving, drivers still use a variety of mobile devices and frequently cause accidents. Cell phones, tablets, and even GPS devices, when misused, distract drivers and cause thousands of accidents every year. If you were injured in a car accident caused by another driver using a cell phone, contact a lawyer immediately to start your personal injury case.
Because of myths and misunderstandings about the laws that govern device usage while driving, many drivers don’t realize they are breaking the law. For example, some drivers think that if they use the speakerphone feature, they aren’t breaking the law. Others think that by using the GPS feature on the phone, they are within the law.
You will need the help of a lawyer to determine if the driver who caused the accident was using his or her cell phone. Most people will simply lie when asked if they were using their phone while driving. Because finding the cause of the accident will very often have significant financial implications, you will need your lawyer to help you get the phone records of the other driver. Witness testimony is also helpful to prove the other driver was on the phone; but witness are hard to find even just a few moments after a high speed accident.
Don’t dismiss the value of placing the blame where it belongs. Lawyers and insurance companies will need proof that the other driver was using a mobile device. Call an experienced lawyer today to help you establish cause and firmly place the financial burden where it belongs.Read More
When someone attacks you, it’s a criminal act — assault and battery. However, you also have the option of filing a personal injury case against the attacker. Frequently, a personal injury case regarding a personal attack is not connected to the criminal case for the same incident.
Most personal injury cases are civil lawsuits addressing the medical costs, emotional distress, and property damage caused by someone’s neglect or carelessness. Intentional torts, however, allow you to confront your attacker through both the civil and criminal courts. Even if the attacker has been found to be not-guilty in a criminal court, you can still pursue a civil case for the same act.
Through your civil case, you can demand compensation for any losses associated with the injuries. Your lawyer will pursue losses for the medical costs and lost wages (current and future) associated with the attack. In addition, your lawyer will pursue additional compensation for emotional distress. Because acts of assault and battery generally cause more emotional distress than other kind of personal injury, your lawyer may pursue this avenue aggressively.
Establishing compensable losses for emotional distress is a difficult and lengthy process. Because there are no hard numbers (like lost wages) to calculate the compensation, you will generally have to visit a variety of psychologists to assess your emotional state. However, these losses can be equal or greater than the medical and wages losses associated with the case.
If you’ve been attacked, don’t just call the police. Contact your own lawyer to establish cause for a personal injury case against your attacker.
Getting off an airplane, a man pulling his luggage from the overhead compartment drops his bag on the head of another passenger. She’s hurt. The bag was heavy, causing a muscular neck injury. The sharp corner on the bag also caused bleeding and required regular medical attention to ensure the cut healed properly.
In this real life example, the injured passenger can’t sue the airline. Her only recourse is to get the name of the man who dropped his bag on her head and sue. While that might seem especially difficult, it’s not.
Once you have the other person’s name and address, a personal injury attorney can investigate possible options for recovering your medical and wage losses caused by the injury. In fact, if the other passenger has homeowner’s insurance, your lawyer might only have to file the claim with the insurance company. (Homeowner insurance policies cover people outside of the home too.) If you are too injured to ask for the other party’s name and address, contact the business where the accident happened. Generally, businesses use incident report forms to document contact information in the case of on-premises accidents. If you are too timid at the time of the incident to directly ask for the information, request an employee of the business to create the incident form.
Personal injury accident happen everywhere, and frequently involve people you would otherwise never meet. You don’t have to be in a car accident to file a claim against someone else’s insurance coverage. Airplanes, restaurants, shopping malls… regardless of the location, if a stranger is negligent and responsible for your injury, you can get help.Read More
If you were injured while on public land or city property, contact a lawyer to help you determine the likelihood of your claim yielding a financial recovery. While cities, counties, and states must follow the laws they are sworn to enforce, suing a government body is more complicated than suing your neighbor.
Generally, ask yourself if it’s reasonable that the city be held responsible for your injury. Tripping and falling on an uneven sidewalk is not likely to be seen as a viable claim. However, if the city was negligent by improperly installing a handrail that broke when you used it, you can probably make a case for recovering the cost of medical bills and lost wages.
Many states protect governmental bodies with immunity from lawsuits. Generally, this immunity can be waived in the face of gross negligence. However, the immunity laws are broadly worded so as to provide as much protection for the city as possible. For example, if your car gets damaged in the course of high speed police chase because you didn’t move in time to allow the police to pass easily, the immunity laws will favor the police.
If you and your lawyer feel the city was grossly negligent, you might find the city is ready and willing to settle. Many cities self-insure — meaning there isn’t an insurance company to slow the process and question every claim. Don’t delay. When suing a government body, you will have to show a preponderance of evidence. But if you have a solid case, you might find the city willing to quickly pay your claim.Read More