Personal Injury, Slip and Fall, Trip and Fall, Pedestrian, Vehicle, Motorcycle, Accidents, Lawyers who care and can help, Product liability, Accidental Death

Personal Injury

Mr. Goehring has served clients in the area of personal injury and accident litigation for over 21 years. He has handled a variety of cases involving motor vehicles, trucks, pedestrians, bicycles, trip/slip and fall, dog bites, product liability, and wrongful death. Mr. Goehring typically handles these cases on a contingency basis at competitive rates meaning that he only charges a fee if there is a settlement or award in the case. If there is no recovery there is no fee. Call today and make an appointment for a free consultation.

“And if men strive together, and one smite another with a stone, or with his fist, and he die not, but keeps his bed: If he rise again, and walk abroad upon his staff, then shall he that smote him be quit: only he shall pay for the loss of his time, and shall cause him to be thoroughly healed.” – Exodus 21:18-19

 

Key Terms and Concepts

 

General Advice if You Are Injured:

Seek treatment immediately. Your injury could be more serious than you realize. Be careful about giving a statement to anyone. Be careful about signing a release.

Seek treatment immediately because you have an obligation to mitigate your damages. Be careful about giving a statement (written or recorded) to anyone. It’s evidence and can be used against you. Be careful about signing anything. It could be a release, which ends your right to collect in the future even if your injury is more serious than you realize, or an authorization that allows for the disclosure of all your confidential records, even old ones that have nothing to do with the accident.

 

Do you have a case?

Generally, it must be established that you were harmed (or damaged) by someone else’s negligence.

You must prove that another person was negligent, that you were harmed (or damaged), and that the other person’s negligence was a substantial factor in causing your harm.  CACI No. 400 (Judicial Council of California Civil Jury Instructions).  On the other hand, some cases are based on strict liability such as dog bite cases where harm alone is sufficient to establish a case and negligence need not be proven.

 

What is negligence?

Negligence is the failure to use reasonable care to prevent harm to oneself or to others.

“Negligence is the failure to use reasonable care to prevent harm to oneself or to others. A person can be negligent by acting or by failing to act. A person is negligent if he or she does something that a reasonably careful person would not do in the same situation or fails to do something that a reasonably careful person would do in the same situation.”  CACI (Jury Instruction) No. 401.

 

What is a substantial factor?

A substantial factor in causing harm is a factor that a reasonable person would consider to have contributed to the harm.

“A substantial factor in causing harm is a factor that a reasonable person would consider to have contributed to the harm. It must be more than a remote or trivial factor. It does not have to be the only cause of the harm. Conduct is not a substantial factor in causing harm if the same harm would have occurred without that conduct.”  CACI (Jury Instruction) No. 430.

 

Are there time limits on when I can bring my case?

Yes, there are various statutes of limitation that bar claims after a specific period of time.

If the person that caused you harm was a government employee or agency, you must also file a claim with the government agency within a specified period of time, generally much shorter than the applicable statute of limitations, to preserve your claim.

 

What kinds of damages are available?

The law allows you recover damages (or monetary compensation) for your harm that was caused by another person’s negligence.

Damages include economic damages such as past and future medical expenses and past and future lost wages or earnings that you can reasonably prove. The law also allows for the recovery of noneconomic damages available for past and future physical pain, mental suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, disfigurement, physical impairment, inconvenience, grief, anxiety, humiliation, and emotional distress, upon adequate proof. In a wrongful death case, a plaintiff (such as the spouse and/or child of the decedent) may recover economic damages for the financial support, if any, that the decedent would have contributed to the family, the loss of anticipated gifts or benefits from the decedent, funeral and burial expenses, and the reasonable value of household services the decedent would have provided. The plaintiff may also recover noneconomic damages for the loss of the decedent’s love, companionship, comfort, care, assistance, protection, affection, society, moral support, consortium, and training and guidance.

 

What about preexisting conditions?

You may still have a claim and recover damages for the effect the accident had on that condition.

While you are not entitled to recover damages for any physical or emotional condition that you had before the accident occurred, if your physical or emotional condition was made worse by the accident, you may be able to recover damages for the effect the accident had on that condition.  CACI (Jury Instruction) No. 3927.

 

You Have a Duty to Mitigate (Minimize) Your Damages

You are not entitled to recover damages for harm that you could have avoided with reasonable efforts or expenditures.  CACI (Jury Instruction) No. 3930