San Bernardino Personal Injury Attorney
San Bernardino, the 100th largest city in the United States, is home to colleges, museums, the site of the world’s first McDonald’s, and the Coussoulis Arena. If you suffer a personal injury accident in San Bernardino, California, call the San Bernardino personal injury lawyers at Bentley & More, LLP. Our esteemed Southern CA injury attorneys will meet with you one-on-one during a complimentary case evaluation and let you know if we believe you have a case. Reach out for help with your San Bernardino personal injury lawsuit today.
Do You Have a San Bernardino Personal Injury Case?
In order to file a personal injury suit, you must first determine if you have grounds for a suit. Before speaking with a personal injury attorney, consider whether your accident has these three factors.
- You suffered a personal injury. A personal injury is an injury to your person, your mental health, or your emotional health. For example, physical injuries as a result of a car accident can consist of broken bones, lacerations, head injuries, and paralysis. Mental and emotional health injuries sustained can include PTSD, anxiety, depression and even insomnia caused by your experiences.
- Another person’s negligence caused your injuries. Consider the circumstances of your accident. If someone else acted carelessly, or did not act as a reasonable person should under the circumstances, he or she was likely negligent in your situation. It is not enough that someone else acted negligently, however. Your attorney must be able to prove that the other person’s actions, or failure to act, directly caused your injuries.
- You have recoverable damages. You must determine if you have damages that financial compensation can remedy. The person at fault must pay damages, the legal term for money awarded to recover financial losses. Damages most frequently exist in the form of medical bills, lost wages as a result of injury, and reduction in potential income as a result of a decreased ability to work. However, courts also award damages for pain and suffering, mental anguish, decreased quality of life, and accommodations necessary for new disabilities.
If your accident meets these three factors, you likely have a viable accident injury case. Speak with one of our San Bernardino injury attorneys to determine your next steps.
Common Personal Injuries in San Bernardino
Personal injury is an injury as a result of someone else’s negligence or recklessness. You can hold multiple people and entities responsible for your injuries, including companies, government agencies, and landlords.
Some of the most common types of personal injury accident cases in San Bernardino County include the following.
- Car accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Work-related accidents
- Accidents on construction sites
- Defective and dangerous projects
- Truck accidents
- Dangerous conditions on private property
- Burn injuries
- Brain injuries
- Pedestrian accidents
- Dog bites
- Slip and fall accidents
How Do You Prove Negligence in Personal Injury?
In order to successfully prove a personal injury case, you and your attorney will have to establish that the at-fault party was responsible for the accident. To do so, you will need to prove the following four elements in court.
- First, you will have to prove that the at-fault party owed you a duty of care. For example, if you suffer injuries after tripping over a wet spot in a grocery store, you can claim that the owners of the building and the company owed you a duty of care to maintain safe premises.
- Next, you will have to prove that the at-fault party breached his or her duty of care to you. For example, if the grocery store failed to put up a Caution sign warning you of the spill, you can claim that the store and the building’s owners breached their duty of care.
- Third, you will need to prove that you suffered injuries as a result of the at-fault party’s negligence. For example, if you slipped and broke your arm after you fell, you can claim that the lack of warning of the wet spot led to your injuries.
- Finally, you will need to show that you suffered damages as a result of the at-fault party’s negligent. For a broken arm, you could claim damages such as medical expenses and lost wages.
You can present multiple pieces of evidence to prove the at-fault party’s negligence. Using our grocery store example, you can show pictures of the scene and surveillance camera footage establishing the existence of the spill and the grocery store’s lack of action to call attention to it.
The Elements of a San Bernardino Personal Injury Lawsuit
Personal injury lawsuits encompass many different subsets of law – for example, a victim of negligence may file a San Bernardino personal injury claim against a defendant if he or she suffers injury from using a defective product or as the result of medical malpractice. While some personal injury cases fall under the purview of different state laws, the vast majority of cases have a few key elements in common. In order to successfully establish liability in a personal injury claim, a plaintiff must show sufficient evidence of the following:
- First, a plaintiff must show that a defendant owed him or her a duty of care. This is often the simplest element to establish. For example, a property owner owes a duty of care to all invitees, and a healthcare provider owes a duty of care to all patients.
- Secondly, a personal injury claim requires evidence that the defendant breached his or her duty of care by committing negligence. A property owner might commit negligence by failing to rectify a dangerous condition that could lead to foreseeable injury, or a physician may commit negligence by failing to adhere to an established standard of care.
- Next, a plaintiff must show that a defendant’s negligence was a direct, or proximal, cause of his or her injuries.
- Lastly, an injured person must show proof of damages, or harm. These include things like lost wages, medical bills, or projected costs of future medical care.
Other important elements also apply to personal injury cases, especially as they go through the settlement or litigation process. These include:
- The statute of limitations. Each personal injury claim has a time limit for filing, also called the statute of limitations. In California, victims of personal injury generally have 2 years from the date of the injury to file a civil claim in court.
- The evidentiary standard. Civil cases like personal injury and criminal cases have different evidentiary standards, also called the burden of proof. In a criminal case, a prosecutor must show proof of a defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in order to merit a conviction. However, in civil cases, the evidentiary standard is not as strict. A plaintiff must show proof of negligence based on a preponderance of the evidence. In other words, it must be more likely than not that negligence occurred.
- This legal concept underlies nearly all personal injury claims, with the exception of those involving strict liability. A person commits negligence when he or she acts in a way that another, reasonably careful person wouldn’t. Negligence can arise as the result of action (for example operating on the wrong body part) or inaction (failing to rectify a dangerous condition on a property that could lead to foreseeable injury).
What To Do After a Car Accident in Southern California
Parties who incur injury in San Bernardino accidents can take several steps to protect the viability of their claims, including:
- Seek Medical Treatment. For any personal injury case, documentation of injuries is essential. Seeing a doctor is not only important to a victim’s health and safety, it also creates an official medical record of an injury that insurance companies will use to ascertain the amount of damages a victim incurs.
- Don’t Provide Statements to Insurance Companies. Following an accident, an insurance claims adjuster might call and request recorded statements or other information. Never agree to any of this without a personal injury attorney’s approval.
- Contact an Accident Attorney. Anyone who incurs injury in an accident should seek a free case evaluation from a San Bernardino car accident lawyer. Getting a review of possible avenues for legal recourse is the first step in gaining fair compensation for injuries and other damages.
What Damages Can You Recover?
You can recover two main types of damages in accident injury cases: economic damages and non-economic damages. In circumstances where the actions of an at-fault party were especially negligent or reckless, you can also recover punitive damages meant to discipline the at-fault party.
Economic damages refer to the monetary, tangible costs of your injuries, including the following.
- Past and future medical expenses
- Lost wages and lost earning potential
- Property damage
Non-economic damages are difficult to quantify. They refer to the emotional damages you suffered after your accident, including the following.
- Chronic pain
- Disability and impairment
- Depression, anxiety, and PTSD
- Loss of quality of life
- Emotional distress and mental anguish
- Pain and suffering
How Much Does a Personal Injury Attorney Cost?
Legal representation can be expensive, but Bentley & More LLP operates on a contingency fee basis for maximum affordability. You do not pay us any out of pocket costs for your personal injury case. Instead, our legal team take an agreed-upon percentage out of your final settlement for our services.
Typically, contingency fees can range between 33% and 40%. If our law firm does not secure a settlement on your behalf, you do not have to pay any legal fees.
How Long Will It Take to Reach a Settlement?
Each personal injury case is different. Depending on the circumstance of your case and how severe your injuries are, it can take anywhere between a few months to a couple of years to reach settlement. Certain factors can impact the length of your personal injury case.
- Most insurance companies prefer to settle out of court. If you do not enter the lawsuit process, you can have a shorter timeline to settlement. Entering a lawsuit may extend your timeline by a couple of years, but it is necessary to secure the compensation you need.
- If your injuries are especially severe, your personal injury case will likely take longer. Your attorney will want to wait until you reach maximum improvement before you begin negotiating for your settlement. This is because it is important to determine what your medical costs will be and if you can claim additional damages such as disability, loss of earning potential, and longer periods of last wages.
- If liability is not clear in your case, it may take longer to reach a settlement. Your attorney needs to prove negligence in order to win your case and may require additional investigative time.
Types of Personal Injury We Cover
The law offices of Bentley & More LLP have spent years accumulating experience, resources, and knowledge about California personal injury law. Our Southern California law firm has procured outstanding results for past clients in the form of settlements and verdicts. Our client base spans a wide range of personal injury practice areas, including:
- Auto accidents
- Catastrophic injuries
- Insurance bad faith
- Premises liability
- Product liability
- Workers’ compensation
- Wrongful death
Catastrophic injuries include brain, spinal cord, and severe burn injuries. Dog bites, broken bones, and explosion injuries can also qualify as catastrophic if they cause serious and long-lasting damage. You need exceptional San Bernardino injury attorneys to help with personal injury compensation claims in Southern California. You need Bentley & More LLP to help you navigate the legal system.
Why You Should Choose Us
Bentley & More LLP has extensive experience handling even the most complex claims across various practice areas. Our San Bernardino injury lawyers work closely with each client to understand their injuries, their lives, and their unique needs. Then, we take on settlement negotiations or legal battles with these goals in mind. Our team helps people build strong personal injury cases with all the necessary elements against negligent, reckless, or criminal parties. Our San Bernardino personal injury law firm is trusted by accident victims throughout the Inland Empire. Call (949) 870-3800 or submit our contact form to talk to a San Bernardino injury lawyer for free today.