Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyer
The Sacramento personal injury attorneys at Crowell Law Offices are committed to the victims of negligence. We will do everything possible to get you compensation and justice for all the suffering you’ve endured.
Your serious personal injury doesn’t only affect you. When you’re hurt because of someone else’s negligence, the lives of your family members are affected, too. The person or people responsible for your injury must be held accountable for their actions. That way, they won’t hurt anyone else the same way they hurt you.
A Sacramento personal injury lawyer from our firm can help you recover compensation for all you and your family have suffered. Schedule a free consultation by calling our office today.
Personal Injury Case Types Common in Sacramento
When you’ve been seriously injured in Sacramento, the type of injury or accident matters less than the fact that negligence played a role. There are thousands of ways a person can be injured. If someone caused your accident because of his or her failure to take your safety into account, it’s very likely you have a viable Sacramento personal injury case.
The following are some of the more common types of personal injury cases we handle:
- Construction Accidents – A supervisor or foreman’s willingness to ignore safety rules and cut corners could have caused this kind of accident. If you were injured at a construction site, you may have a case for personal injury compensation.
- Motor Vehicle Collisions – Car crashes cause some of the most devastating injuries of all, and if another driver’s recklessness caused your collision, you can be compensated. This category includes truck accidents and motorcycle wrecks.
- Defective Products – Many people don’t realize that they can hold large corporations and manufacturers accountable if their products cause injuries. Anything from a tainted food item to an exploding home appliance could be involved in a product liability case.
- Medical Malpractice – Doctors make mistakes just like the rest of us, but when their mistakes could have been prevented with the proper precautions, you can recover your losses through a medical malpractice suit.
- Premises Liability – Slip-and-fall accidents, dog bites, and many other property hazard accidents fall under the umbrella of premises liability. If you’ve been injured on another person’s property because the owner failed to address a dangerous situation, you can pursue compensation for your injury.
What Kind of Injury Warrants a Personal Injury Claim?
Any kind of injury can qualify you to pursue personal injury compensation in Sacramento, as long as you suffered damages and your injury was the result of someone else’s negligence. Here’s a list of serious injuries that are often involved in Sacramento personal injury claims:
- Organ damage or failure affecting the heart, kidney, liver, or central nervous system
- Traumatic brain injuries and other head injuries
- Severe burns
- Broken bones
- Spinal injuries
- Wrongful death
Workplace injuries often result from strain, repetitive motion, and dangerous equipment. Lifting heavy items can injure a person’s shoulder, neck, or back. Falling off a ladder can result in broken bones and head trauma. Repetitive motion injuries can permanently injure tendons, nerves, muscles, and ligaments.
Car accidents often result in one of two types of injuries: impact, or penetrating injuries. Impact injuries include head trauma from being thrown around in the vehicle. Penetrating injuries include cuts and lacerations from broken glass or items flying around during the crash.
Medical malpractice is a wide category and can result in numerous injuries depending on the individual circumstances. However, some common medical malpractice injuries involve incorrect medication or dosages, birth injuries, improper conduct (such as leaving a tool inside a patient after surgery), or simple failure to diagnose a patient.
Premises liability accidents are another wide category. Slip-and-fall incidents can result in head trauma, broken bones, and spinal injuries. Dog (or another animal) bites usually result in puncture wounds, broken bones, scarring, and, depending on the speed of treatment, infection. Nerve and tissue damage are also common.
Negotiating with Insurance Companies After Your Sacramento Injury
Following a personal injury in Sacramento, you can pursue compensation for your losses by suing the at-fault party. That could be a person, but it could also be a company, an organization, or even a government agency in California or Sacramento. In many cases, the party you’re suing will have an insurance company to protect it from financial liability.
For example, if you’re seeking compensation from a negligent driver following a serious car crash, that driver’s insurance company will likely be the one to pay for your damages. If your personal injury was caused by the negligence of a business, the business will likely also have an insurer you must negotiate with to recover compensation.
In either case, if you attempt to negotiate with insurance companies on your own, chances are you won’t come out on top. Insurance companies have attorneys and adjusters who will do everything they can to lower the value of your claim. They have a variety of tactics to accomplish this goal, such as placing blame on you.
Unfortunately, despite the fact that your money keeps them in business, even your own insurance company may do everything in its power to give you the lowest sum possible for your claim. Insurance companies are for-profit businesses and awarding you the amount you deserve for your claim is not in their financial best interest.
One way to prevent them from winning is having a legal team of your own. Your Sacramento injury injury lawyer can negotiate for you, and we can even handle all communications on your behalf. We won’t let them take advantage of you, and we will do everything we can to ensure you don’t have to accept an unfair settlement amount.
Liability and Negligence in California Personal Injury Claims
So, who is liable for your claim? In a legal context, the word liability just means accountability, often for an accident or injury.
California is a fault state, which means that the person who committed a negligent act and caused an accident or subsequent injury will be liable for the resulting damages. Here’s what you need to know about liability as a Sacramento personal injury victim.
Types of Negligence
Negligence refers to a person’s failure to do something that a reasonable person, guided by those considerations that ordinarily regulate conduct, would do, or an action that a prudent or reasonable person would not do.
There are three main categories of negligence: gross negligence, comparative negligence, and vicarious liability.
Gross negligence is the most serious of the three. Gross negligence is an extreme lack of care, or extreme departure from the way a prudent person would behave in a given situation.
Some examples of gross negligence include:
- Speeding through an area with heavy pedestrian traffic, such as a school zone at the end of the school day.
- Prescribing a patient a medication that their file clearly states they are allergic to.
- Nursing home staff failing to feed, water, and medicate their charges for more than a day.
Comparative negligence describes a scenario where the fault is shared by multiple people or parties.
When comparative negligence comes into play, the percentage of fault becomes very important. A person who is found to be 30 percent at fault in a personal injury claim will suffer lighter consequences and be able to recover more damages than someone found 70 percent at fault.
Vicarious liability is a little more complex than gross negligence or comparative negligence and can be more difficult to identify. An example of vicarious liability can be found with companies and their employees, or parents and their children.
More specifically, let’s say a 12-year-old child steals their parents’ car and crashes into a parked vehicle. The child’s parents would be liable for the damages the child caused, given that the child is their dependent, and has no financial resources of their own.
Proving that someone is guilty of negligence often requires four things: duty of care, breach of duty, causation, and damages. Negligence must be proven for a personal injury case to be valid, and these four elements must be present to prove that negligence occurred.
Duty of care is the concept that every individual must use reason and prudence in whatever situation they may be in, to ensure the safety of themselves and those around them. For our purposes, a prudent person would follow the rules of the road when behind the wheel to ensure their safety and the safety of other drivers.
Breaching duty of care occurs when an individual fails to use reason. For example, if a driver chooses to disobey the rules of the road by intentionally going through a light after it has turned red, that is the breaching duty of care, as it puts themselves and other drivers at risk.
Causation is the real harm caused by a breach of duty of care. If our example driver runs a red light, they run the risk of hurting someone else. Let’s say, in this case, they hit another vehicle that is making a legal turn.
Damages are the aftermath of the at-fault individual’s negligence. Keeping with our above example, the negligent driver who ran the red light could have done all kinds of damage to the other vehicle. The other vehicle may need the attention of a mechanic, and the other driver will likely have medical bills to pay following the accident.
Gathering Evidence of Liability
To make any sort of case, you need to have evidence. Some evidence is easier to acquire yourself than others. You and your attorney must acquire enough evidence (also called a preponderance of evidence) to establish your case effectively.
Evidence in a personal injury claim is anything that shows how or why someone is at fault for the incident. Photographs, witness statements, police reports, medical records, and the testimony of experts are all commonly considered evidence in personal injury cases.
While you may be able to take your own photographs and provide your own medical records, the help of an attorney in gathering the necessary evidence is invaluable. They can help track down any witnesses whose contact information you may not have. They can request copies of relevant police reports for you.
Most importantly, your attorney will have a network of contacts who they can call to testify for you in their various fields of expertise. In terms of personal injury cases, expert witnesses that your attorney may contact to testify include medical and health professionals, engineering experts, manufacturing experts, and economic experts.
Calculating Comparative Negligence
Sometimes, there is more than one person at fault, or more than one party guilty of some form of negligence, which can complicate things.
If more than one person is responsible for an accident or injury, comparative negligence comes into play. Comparative negligence divides up responsibility based on each party’s contributions to the accident or resulting injury. The higher percentage you are found at fault, the less compensation you will be able to recover.
The judge and jury are responsible for determining how much each party is at fault. The jury will often be the entity determining the responsibility ratio for the plaintiff and defendant, though they will still be following the instructions of the judge.
The percentage of all blame that has been assigned to each party must add up to 100 percent.
California’s comparative negligence law allows the plaintiff to receive damages, even if they are more than 50 percent at fault for the incident.
Compensation Your Sacramento Personal Injury Claim Could Win
You’ve been seriously injured in Sacramento, and that means you’ve suffered financially due to your injuries. You obviously have medical expenses from your accident, and those alone can be a daunting financial obstacle to overcome without compensation. You may also have suffered many other financial losses because of the carelessness of another person.
You may currently be unable to work because your personal injury has prevented you from doing so; you may be paying for the costs of mental health treatment due to trauma from your accident; or you might be paying for caregiving services because you’re in need of help while you recover from your injuries.
Take a look at the damages for which you might win compensation in your Sacramento personal injury case:
- Medical expenses, including bills, co-pays, and medications
- Lost wages and the loss of your future earning potential
- Physical therapy and mental health services
- Caregiving costs
- The cost of household services
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Lost enjoyment of life
- Emotional turmoil
The damages you may choose to pursue fall into three categories: economic, non-economic, and punitive.
Economic damages are any losses you’ve experienced due to your accident that have a direct financial price tag attached. For example, any medical bills you’ve incurred, or lost wages from being out of work during recovery, would be considered compensatory damages.
Non-economic damages are more difficult to calculate because there is no direct financial price tag attached. Complex, amorphous issues like pain and suffering, or emotional turmoil, fall under the umbrella of non-compensatory damages.
Some states impose caps on damages for personal injury claims, to limit the amount of money a plaintiff can recover from a single claim. In California, there are no damage caps for personal injury cases, with the exception of medical malpractice cases.
At the beginning of 2023, it was ruled that non-compensatory damages in non-fatal medical malpractice cases are to be capped at $350,000. In the case of fatal medical malpractice cases, that cap is $500,000.
Finally, you may choose to pursue punitive damages in the event of extreme recklessness or intent to harm committed by the negligent party. Punitive damages are not meant to compensate the victim, but instead to punish the guilty party for malicious or extreme actions. Punitive damages are harder to receive, and it is important to consult with your attorney if you want to pursue them.
Punitive damages have historically been awarded in cases of car accidents caused by DUI, assault and battery, sexual assault, intentional infliction of emotional suffering, or wrongful termination.
A victim may successfully receive punitive damages if they are able to present clear and convincing evidence that the defendant oppressed, defrauded, or maliciously hurt the plaintiff.
Oppression is defined by California law to include conduct that subjects a person to cruel and unjust hardship that goes against their personal rights.
Fraud, in the context of pursuing punitive damages, is defined as intentional misrepresentation, deceit, or concealment of facts with the intent to deprive a person of property or legal rights or otherwise cause injury.
Malice is defined by the state of California as conduct that is meant to cause injury to the plaintiff or conduct that’s carried on by the defendant with a willful disregard for the rights or safety of others.
California does not impose caps on punitive damages but notes that the Fourteenth Amendment does not allow for grossly excessive or arbitrary punishments and that any punitive damages awarded must correspond reasonably and proportionately to the harm to the plaintiff and to the general damages recovered.
Punitive damages are calculated after the judge and jury consider a number of factors, but notably, punitive damages are based solely on the defendant’s conduct, and not their financial resources.
To pursue punitive damages in the case of oppression, malice, or fraud, it is imperative to have clear and convincing evidence. This evidence must be even more definitive than the evidence presented for other aspects of the case. If you are unsure whether the evidence you have is sufficient for the pursuit of punitive damages, be sure to review your case with your attorney.
Contact a Sacramento Personal Injury Attorney
When you’ve suffered because of another person’s negligent actions, don’t let that carelessness go unpunished. You deserve fair compensation for your medical expenses and other personal injury losses. A qualified and experienced attorney at Crowell Law Offices is ready to help you.
Give us a call at 916-303-2800 or complete the online contact form at the bottom of this page to schedule a free consultation with a Sacramento personal injury lawyer. We also work on a contingency fee basis, which means we don’t get paid unless we win you the compensation you deserve.
Sacramento Personal Injury FAQ
You can call our office anytime to get your free case review, but we’ve listed a few common questions we receive regarding personal injury, along with their answers, to get you started.
How long do I have to file a personal injury case against someone who has injured me?
In Sacramento and California, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is two years from the date of your injury. If you attempt to file after that date, your case will likely be thrown out. In some cases, such as with claims against the government or medical malpractice cases, the time frame is shorter. It’s often best to get started on your personal injury case right away. If you had previously worked with another attorney and they failed to file your claim within the statute of limitations, you may choose to pursue a legal malpractice claim against them.
Is my personal injury case too small for an attorney to handle?
In most instances, there is no case too small for an attorney to assist with, as long as you’re trying to recover compensation for damages caused by a negligent party. We are happy to discuss the details of your case during a free consultation.
I want to avoid the courtroom for my personal injury claim. Is that possible?
Most people would like to stay out of the courtroom if at all possible, and in most cases, your claim can be settled out of court through negotiations. If a fair settlement can’t be reached, however, your Sacramento injury lawyer won’t be afraid to fight in court on your behalf.
How long will my case take?
The length of your case will take depends heavily on the details of your situation. Some cases can resolve in only a few months, while others can take over a year to draw to a close. The extent of your injuries, the duration of your recovery, and the value of your claim are all things that can impact how long it takes for your case to conclude. Speaking with your attorney in detail about your claim is the best way to get a solid estimate of how long your case will take.
What if I can’t afford an attorney?
We understand that seeking out a personal injury lawyer in Sacramento can be intimidating, especially when you’re already juggling your finances after a serious accident. Because of that, we make it as easy as possible for our clients to afford our services. First, we work on contingency fees. That means you’ll only pay a percentage of your settlement if we win. If we don’t win, you don’t pay anything. We also offer a free consultation. If you’re unsure we’re the right law firm for you, come speak with us before you make any decisions. You shouldn’t have to break the bank to get the representation you need.
My child was hurt in an accident. Can I sue on their behalf?
Suing on the behalf of another can be more complex. You may struggle to get answers on your own, especially when you’re not the injured party. Fortunately, your attorney can help you get justice and compensation for your child. That includes seeking approval to act as their guardian ad litem, which allows you to sue on their behalf. Your lawyer can help you take the right steps to do this.