Important California Legal Terms You Should Know
Bay Area Lawyers Help you Understand Personal Injury Law
At Needham Kepner & Fish LLP, we realize that legal jargon can be intimidating. Below are some common personal injury terms you should know:
- Damages: Damages are financial compensation for the expenses and suffering an injury victim incurred because of someone else’s mistake or wrongdoing. Damages can include medical costs, the cost of future medical care, lost wages, loss of future earning capacity, as well as pain and suffering.
- Negligence: Proving negligence is the key to winning the typical personal injury claim. A person is negligent when he or she fails to exercise the level of care that a reasonably prudent person would exercise in similar circumstances. In short, negligence is carelessness. To prevail in a personal injury case, you must prove that the defendant’s negligence caused your injuries.
- Discovery: Discovery is the process of gathering evidence to be used at trial. Discovery typically includes interrogatories (written questions), depositions (oral questions), requests for documents, and requests for admissions.
- Settlement: Many personal injury lawsuits end in a settlement. This means that the defendant agreed to pay the injury victim an acceptable amount of compensation. If the defendant refuses to settle, the lawsuit will proceed toward trial. Most settlements are paid by defendants’ insurance companies.
- Wrongful death: When someone’s negligence causes the death of another person, the victim’s family may file a wrongful death lawsuit to recover damages.
- Catastrophic injury: These are injuries that are so serious that they result in long-term or permanent disability. Examples of catastrophic injuries are paralysis, traumatic brain injury and dismemberment.
- Statute of limitations: This is the time within which you must file a lawsuit. If you don’t file suit within the time limit, your suit will be barred. Generally, the statute of limitations for a personal injury lawsuit in California is two years, although it can be much shorter in cases involving public entities such as cities or counties.
Injury attorneys serve San Jose, Sacramento and San Francisco
At Needham Kepner & Fish LLP, we work hard to help you get compensation if you have been injured because of someone’s negligence. To schedule a free consultation, contact us today at 1-408-956-6949 or online. We handle injury cases on a contingent fee basis, which means that you pay us nothing unless you recover compensation.