San Jose Personal Injury Lawyer
A catastrophic event has the potential to change a person’s life, sometimes for forever. If you have been injured by someone else’s negligence or recklessness, protect your rights and get the legal help you deserve from an experienced San Jose personal injury lawyer.
According to the National Safety Council, in 2017 there were 169,936 preventable deaths across the United States, and approximately 42.7 million preventable injuries. Those statistics mean there may be a preventable injury or death for one in every seven Americans! The annual cost of preventable injuries and deaths is equally shocking, totaling more than $1 trillion.
The tragedy of preventable injuries may be even greater when it was the negligence or recklessness of someone other than the victim that caused them to occur. The hardship of huge medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and more, is burden enough without also having to fight an at-fault party or their insurance company to get rightful compensation for damages. It is therefore very important for anyone who finds themselves in these unfortunate circumstances to talk to a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.
Personal injury law is an area of practice focused on helping those injured due to someone else’s negligence or recklessness receive the monetary compensation they deserve for their economic and non-economic losses. Among other things, a personal injury attorney may counsel clients, investigate cases, analyze facts and determine all legal claims, negotiate with insurance companies and other parties, and handle all aspects of litigation, including filing, discovery, settlement, trial, and appeals.
The attorneys at Bohn & Fletcher are experienced and compassionate professionals. We tirelessly fight for the rights of injured Californians and their families. Our number one goal is to achieve full and fair compensation from the parties who are responsible for causing harm to our clients.
If you have suffered an injury caused by someone else’s negligence or recklessness, contact Bohn & Fletcher in San Jose at (408) 279-4222 or online today and schedule a free consultation to discuss your case and learn if we may be able to help you.
Some Common Types of Personal Injury Cases
Personal injuries may occur under many different circumstances. While the specific facts of each case are unique, and outcomes vary, common personal injury cases include claims arising from:
- Motor vehicle accidents: Regardless of whether they involve passenger cars, semi-trucks, motorcycles, or pedestrians, traffic accidents and collisions are very common in personal injury cases. The National Safety Council (NSC) reports motor vehicle accidents caused more than 40,000 fatalities and approximately 4.6 million injuries requiring medical care in 2017. In 2016, nearly 5,400 injuries and fatalities were reported in San Jose alone. Depending on the facts and the parties involved, drivers, commercial vehicle operators, manufacturers, or even local governments may have liability in these types of cases.
- Slip and falls: Slip-and-fall accidents can happen to anyone and almost anywhere. Despite the specific term that is used to describe these cases, “slip-and-falls” may include any accidental fall on someone else’s property, regardless of whether it was preceded by slipping, tripping, or just losing balance. Common factors contributing to slip-and-fall accidents include wet floors, uneven sidewalks, uneven or poorly-lit stairs, open holes, loose carpeting, and faulty handrails. According to data from the NSC, older pedestrians are at heightened risk for serious and fatal injuries from falls. In most cases, attorneys seek to hold property owners liable in these types of accidents.
- Product defects: Victims who have been injured while using a product as intended may have claims for personal injuries. According to the NSC, in 2017 approximately 10.5 million people received treatment in hospital emergency rooms for injuries caused by consumer products. When those products were defective because of their design, how they were manufactured, or because they lacked adequate warnings, any party in the stream of commerce, including the manufacturer, distributor, and retailer, may be strictly liable for damages.
- Construction accidents: Construction workers have the right to expect they will be kept safe from injury in a construction accident. When an accident occurs at a construction site (often as a result of lax safety practices, faulty equipment, or poor construction design), catastrophic injuries to vulnerable workers and their families often results. While some workers may be covered by workers compensation insurance, it does not necessarily apply in every case and to every victim. Additionally, even when workers compensation is available, a victim may still have the right to seek further damages from other liable parties.
- Workplace accidents: Just like construction workers, workers at any kind of job should be able to do their work safely and without suffering a workplace injury. In 2016, there were 4,398 preventable workplace deaths and 4.5 million workplace injuries requiring medical attention. Under California law, workers compensation insurance should be available to cover the cost of some injuries, including lost income, but workers often also have the right to file personal injury claims against others if those parties were responsible for causing the workplace accident.
- Animal attacks: Dog owners have a duty of care to others to control their pet, and the failure to do so may have devastating consequences. Dog attacks and maulings take an especially heavy toll on children and other vulnerable victims, who often do not recognize the warning signs of an agitated animal. Californians attacked by a dog may seek compensation for their injuries and losses regardless of whether the dog owner was at fault or the dog had a history of attack.
Common Personal Injuries
No two cases are ever alike; each comes with its own set of unique facts and circumstances. However, at Bohn & Fletcher, our attorneys often represent clients who have suffered the same types of severe personal injuries, including but not limited to:
- Traumatic brain injury: An impact, jolt, penetrating blow, or prolonged period without oxygen can cause lasting injuries to a human brain, known as traumatic brain injury (TBI). Brain injuries may involve a range of complications, some even permanent, including coma and/or severe cognitive and physical impairments. The symptoms of a TBI may occur immediately after an accident, but often may take hours or days to fully manifest. TBI frequently results from motor vehicle accidents, construction accidents, and slip-and-fall accidents.
- Spinal cord injury: Injuries to the vertebral column can damage or destroy the spinal cord’s ability to function with the brain and the body. Spinal cord injuries may result in permanent, partial, or total paralysis, thereby changing a victim’s life forever. Spinal cord injuries often occur due to a blow or other trauma to the vertebral column, such as when a worker on a construction site falls or an occupant of a motor vehicle suffers the impact of a collision.
- Traumatic amputation and crush injuries: These injuries tend to be especially common in violent motor vehicle accidents and in workplace accidents involving heavy machinery. They often occur when a victim’s limb gets pinned, trapped, or severed by equipment. Victims of traumatic amputations and crush injuries may be left without the function of a limb and suffer reduced quality of life. Victims usually must endure surgeries, lengthy and painful rehabilitation, and need assistive devices to help them return to function moving forward.
- Burns: Whether caused by fire, chemicals, or electricity, second and third-degree burns inflict extreme physical and emotional pain. They frequently mean victims must suffer months of hospitalization, surgeries, and rehabilitation. Even after extended and painful recovery periods, burn victims may have disfiguring scars, psychological trauma, and permanent disabilities that limit their everyday lives. Personal injury victims with severe burns may have received them from a motor vehicle accident, construction accident, or incident at a place of public accommodation.
- Laceration and penetrating trauma: In violent motor vehicle collisions, workplace accidents, and dog maulings, among other circumstances, victims often suffer injuries that break the skin, and cause major bleeding and internal injury to muscles and other soft tissues. Even after surgeries and treatment of these wounds, disfiguring scars and impaired functionality often remain. In children attacked by animals, as well as other cases, emotional scars may also be a lasting issue.
- Orthopedic trauma and fractures: Victims sometimes delay seeking legal help if they have suffered from these types of injuries because they usually aren’t life-threatening and may not seem “serious.” However, injuries like broken bones, torn knee ligaments, and damaged rotator cuffs can result in significant damages. Such injuries may severely limit a victim’s ability to earn a living, at least for the short term, and sometimes longer. As well, they may also cause chronic pain and other lasting complications.
- Toxic exposure: Workers and homeowners who have been exposed to harmful substances and materials often do not realize the damage that has been done to them until long afterward when serious and sometimes irreversible injuries have already occurred. Toxic exposure may lead to severe health issues, including cancer, respiratory illness, birth defects, and compromised immune systems. The psychological trauma from toxic exposure may be particularly severe and debilitating. A victim may be unable to live without anxiety and fear of a recurrence or new exposure to substances that may be life-altering or even fatal.
While the injuries listed here are some of the more common examples of the physical damages that personal injury victims may suffer, there are almost always other damages as well.
Damages for Personal Injuries
It is very rare that a personal injury affects only one facet of a victim’s life. Instead, victims typically find that their injuries take a toll in every aspect of their lives, and in each of those areas, compensation may be appropriate.
The compassionate and experienced attorneys at Bohn & Fletcher strive to help their clients recover rightful compensation for all of the physical, emotional, and financial injuries they have suffered because of the negligence or recklessness of someone else.
Damages may be economic or non-economic, and may include:
- Medical expenses: The cost of emergency transportation, hospitalization, radiology, surgery, medication, rehabilitation, and other treatment, including ongoing care and assistive devices, are compensable damages.
- Lost wages and lost earning capacity: Personal injuries often force victims to take time off of work to recover. Some victims with permanent disabilities can never fully return to employment in their prior capacity. Lost wages from time off and any permanently diminished ability to earn a living may be compensable.
- Pain and suffering: Most personal injury claims include compensation for the physical and emotional pain inflicted by an injury. The amount that may be awarded for these damages depends on a variety of factors, including the severity of the injury, the length of recovery, and any permanent disabilities.
- Emotional distress or mental anguish: These damages compensate victims for the emotional and psychological trauma of their injuries.
- Loss of consortium: Victims and/or their loved ones may be able to seek damages to compensate for a loss of consortium, meaning the negative impact their injuries have had on their relationship with their spouse or partner.
- Loss of enjoyment of life: Any significant impact on a victim’s ability to engage in activities typical of their prior lifestyle may be compensable damages.
- Property damage: If a victim’s property is damaged or destroyed, as is often the case in motor vehicle accidents, they may receive damages for repair or replacement value of their property.
- Punitive damages: While rarely awarded in negligence cases, if there are particularly egregious circumstances such as the acts or omissions of the defendant involved malice, oppression, or fraud, a victim may be entitled to punitive damages.
An experienced San Jose personal injury lawyer can best advise you on the claims you may make and will have the knowledge and resources to accurately calculate the value of your total damages.
Three Important Steps to Take After a Personal Injury
Personal injury victims may not know what to do or where to turn after someone one else has upended their lives. If you have been injured by someone else’s negligence or recklessness, three of the most important things you can do to protect your rights are:
1. Report the Accident or Incident to Appropriate Authorities
No matter how your injury happened, there will often be someone “official” to whom you can report it. Do not wait to do so, for several reasons. First, you may have a legal responsibility to make a report, such as calling the police after a motor vehicle accident, or reporting a workplace injury to your employer. You do not want a failure to report the accident or incident to add to your burdens later.
Second, reporting an accident or incident in which you sustained an injury will create records that may become critically important evidence if you need to pursue claims for your damages.
Reporting may also prompt official action by the relevant authorities to preserve additional evidence and interview witnesses before their memories of the incident can fade.
Finally, you may also have an obligation to report an accident or injury to your insurance company.
2. Seek Immediate Medical Attention
Always do everything necessary to protect your own health and wellbeing. Seek medical care as soon possible after an accident or incident, regardless of whether you believe you were injured. Many injuries, including brain injuries and soft tissue injuries, may not develop until hours or even days later, and a delay in evaluation and treatment can cause irreparable harm.
Records of prompt medical attention may also become important evidence if or when a dispute regarding the extent and severity of injuries later arises.
3. Talk to an Experienced San Jose Personal Injury Lawyer as Soon as Possible
Schedule a free case review as soon as possible with an experienced San Jose personal injury lawyer from Bohn & Fletcher.
When someone has suffered a traumatic accident or incident, seeking out a lawyer to talk to may be low on the list of priorities, if the thought to do so occurs at all. However, the earlier you consult a lawyer the better the outcomes of your case may be. Key evidence can be more easily obtained and preserved, memories will be fresh, and diligent documentation of your damages can be made. Additionally, having representation early means you will never have the added stress of having to deal directly with the parties responsible for your injuries, or insurance companies who may try to pressure you into a quick but insufficient settlement.
Questions People Frequently Ask San Jose Personal Injury Lawyers
The aftermath of an accident or incident that caused personal injuries may be chaotic and confusing. Our personal injury clients often have many questions about their rights. While broad answers are offered here, please contact us to get specific answers for your particular circumstances:
How much time do I have to file a personal injury claim?
Under California law, the statute of limitations for personal most injury claims is generally two years from the date of the injury; however, there are some caveats and also rare exceptions to that rule. For example, notice of a claim against a government entity must be given within six months. Missing the statute of limitations deadlines may preclude your opportunity to recover damages, so be sure to talk to a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to avoid that worst case outcome.
Can I still seek compensation for my injuries if I was partially at fault for the accident?
Under California law, a victim may be able to seek damages from anyone who was even partially responsible for causing their injuries. However, if you were partially at fault for your accident, any award you eventually receive may be reduced by the percentage of fault attributable to you. For example, if you were in a motor vehicle accident with another driver and had $100,000 in damages but you were found to be 10 percent at fault, your compensation would be $90,000. It is therefore very important to build the strongest possible case using the facts that show the correct allocation of liability.
What can I do if a family member died in an accident that was caused by someone else?
If a close family member was involved in a fatal accident or incident, you may be eligible to recover damages through a wrongful death claim against the responsible party. Wrongful death claims may be made by particular members of the decedent’s family, and usually benefit survivors such as spouses, partners, children, parents, or other financially dependent relatives. The damages that may be claimed in a wrongful death suit are limited to the loss are limited to damages related to the loss of value of the relationship, with some additional damages such as funeral and burial costs.
Do I Have a Personal Injury Case? Ask a San Jose Personal Injury Lawyer
Bohn & Fletcher offers a free consultation to potential clients, and if our attorneys agree to take a case they will do so on a contingency fee basis. This means that the cost of any necessary litigation and attorney’s fees is not paid by the client but from any eventual settlement or judgment they may receive. If there is no recovery, the client is not responsible for any costs or fees.
If you have suffered an injury because of someone else’s negligence or recklessness, the legal team at Bohn & Fletcher in San Jose may be able to help you.
Our experienced attorneys understand personal injury law, and know that the right legal help may ensure a victim has the ability to move forward with their life. Contact Bohn & Fletcher in San Jose at (408) 279-4222 or online today and schedule a free consultation to discuss your case and learn if we may be able to help you.