An accident of any kind can seriously disrupt your life. Not only are you left dealing with physical pain and inconvenience, but the stress of not being able to manage your daily routine can pile on and become unbearable. Missing work at a time when unexpected expenses are adding up might feel impossible.

While the aftermath of a serious accident might feel isolating, you are not alone. If someone else’s reckless or careless behavior caused your injuries, a dedicated attorney could help you hold them responsible for your losses. A Sacramento personal injury lawyer at Erkel Law, P.C. could help you learn more about your options.

What is Negligence?

Everyone has a duty to take reasonable measures to protect others. Conduct that endangers someone is often against the law, but even when dangerous situations are not criminal, they may still be negligent. “Negligence”  generally refers to someone’s failure to take reasonable care to avoid a foreseeable injury to another.

Negligence can arise in almost any context. When a driver takes their eyes off the road, they may be negligent if their inattention causes an accident. When a building manager does not promptly repair a loose railing in a stairway and someone falls, they could be liable for negligence. If a restaurant does not follow safe food handling practices and someone becomes ill, the business owner could be negligent. An experienced Sacramento injury attorney could review the details of a particular case to determine whether the other person was negligent.

Pursuing Damages After an Accident

“Damages” are the losses someone suffers due to an accident. In theory, an injured person is entitled to damages that will put them in the same position they would have been in if the incident had never occurred. The injured person must submit documentation or other evidence to prove their damages.

Some damages are easy to put a monetary value on. These are called economic damages. Medical bills, incidental expenses, lost wages, and the value of sick time or other benefits the injured person used while recovering are in this category. An injured person could present receipts, invoices, employment records, tax returns, and other documents to prove their economic damages.

Other compensable losses, known as non-economic damages, do not have a price tag. An injured person is entitled to compensation for their emotional trauma, physical pain, inconvenience, and embarrassment. If the injury caused a temporary or permanent disability, or impaired the injured person’s quality of life, the responsible party must generally pay damages. A Sacramento personal injury attorney at Erkel Law, P.C. could prove these non-economic damages by collecting medical records, victim statements, testimony of friends and associates, photographs, videotapes, and other evidence.

Can At-Fault Parties Still Claim Compensation?

Sometimes, people are reluctant to speak with a lawyer because they know they are partially at fault for the accident that caused their injuries. This is understandable, but the California legal system holds everyone responsible for their part in an incident. An injured person who is partially to blame will absorb some of their injury-related losses, but the other negligent parties generally must shoulder their portion of the responsibility.

California Civil Code § 1714 allows an at-fault party (defendant) to claim that the injured person (plaintiff) was responsible for their own injuries. A jury then decides whether the plaintiff bears responsibility and, if so, how much. The plaintiff must pay the portion of their damages that resulted from their conduct but can collect the rest from other responsible parties.

This concept of shared responsibility, called comparative negligence, is important in settlement negotiations. Defendants often argue they should pay less because the injured person caused the accident. A skilled Sacramento injury lawyer could advocate for fair compensation on behalf of an injured person.

Discuss Your Injury Case with a Dedicated Sacramento Personal Injury Attorney

Being injured is inconvenient and involves unanticipated expenses. It is worthwhile to consult a Sacramento personal injury lawyer to learn whether you could recoup your losses through a claim against the responsible parties.

There is no need to try handling settlement negotiations on your own. Reach out to Erkel Law, P.C. today to get started on your case.  

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