San Jose Personal Injury Lawyer

Dealing with an injury caused by someone else's negligence can be difficult, but choosing the right San Jose personal injury lawyer can make a significant difference in obtaining the fair compensation you deserve to help you manage the situation.

Understanding how personal injury claims are typically handled in San Jose and the rest of California is essential in determining the most appropriate action for obtaining compensation for your injury. Here is an overview of some of the most important things to know about filing a personal injury claim in San Jose and how working with Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos can simplify the process.

Why Choose Our San Jose Personal Injury Law Firm

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Choosing the right personal injury lawyer is essential in obtaining as much compensation as possible. At Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos, our strong track record of assisting residents of San Jose with a wide range of personal injury cases has made us an easy choice for quickly and efficiently obtaining the compensation you need and deserve.

Our San Jose injury attorneys frequently increase our clients' total compensation far beyond what insurance companies initially offer, including those who were partially at fault. This means that working with us is a far more successful option than attempting to file a claim on your own. Contact an experienced personal injury attorney with Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos today for a free case evaluation and to discuss your options for pursuing financial compensation.

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Types of Personal Injury Lawsuits

Many types of injuries can result in compensation by filing a personal injury lawsuit, but some types of injuries are more likely to be eligible for compensation than others. Here are some of the most common personal injury lawsuits frequently resulting in a significant settlement.

Car Accidents and Truck Collisions

Motor vehicle accidents are among the most common causes of personal injury lawsuits. The vast majority of these cases are preventable and the apparent fault of one or more parties. Regardless of whether an accident results from a simple error or obvious negligence, you will often be able to file a claim to obtain compensation from the other driver’s insurance company if they are determined to be at fault. Schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys today to discuss your type of motor vehicle claims, or review some of our practices:

Workplace Accidents

Many workplaces can present a variety of safety hazards for employees, and employers are responsible for making sure reasonable precautions are in place to prevent injuries. Employers may be liable if they do not provide protective clothing and gear, continue to use known broken equipment, require employees to work an unsafe number of consecutive hours, or otherwise create circumstances that make their employees more likely to be injured at work.

Your employer should also provide some form of workers’ compensation that can be used to cover medical expenses and lost pay if you are injured at work, but this does not necessarily mean that you cannot file a claim for additional compensation if your injury was the result of your employer’s negligence.

Types of Workplace Claims:

Slip and Fall Accidents

Property owners are responsible for ensuring that public areas are in reasonably good repair and kept clean and free of debris to prevent falls and other injuries. This category can include everything from fixing broken or rotting stairs and appropriately blocking off areas where repairs are being made to clean up broken chunks of pavement or spilled paint promptly.

Although slipping is generally less of a concern in San Jose than in areas that rarely get above freezing during the winter, landlords and other property owners also need to make a reasonable effort to deal with ice if it does occur.

Animal Bites and Attacks

Owners of pets, farm animals, and zoo animals are responsible for ensuring they do not bite, attack, or otherwise injure humans or other animals. Although animals can be unpredictable, owners who do not make a reasonable effort to ensure that their animals are safe to be around may be liable for damages if their animal injures someone.

Under certain circumstances, you can hold landlords liable for injuries because they failed to deal with pests in their properties, such as bites or illnesses from rats, mice, bats, or similar animals.

Product Defects

Broken or otherwise defective products can cause various injuries, such as burns, serious cuts, and falls. Depending on the size and purpose of the product in question, this can involve anything from minor injuries that need little to no further action to serious injuries that are likely to qualify you to obtain a significant amount of compensation from the product’s designer or manufacturer.

Defective products that injure many people will likely be recalled and may eventually qualify you for additional compensation through a class action lawsuit. Still, you may also be able to file a claim against a company.

Wrongful Death

Wrongful death refers to a legal claim or lawsuit filed by the surviving family members or beneficiaries of a person who has died as a result of another party's negligence, recklessness, intentional actions, or wrongful conduct.

A wrongful death claim seeks compensation for the loss of the deceased person's life and the financial and emotional suffering experienced by the survivors due to the death. Wrongful death cases can arise from various situations, including car accidents, workplace accidents, and other incidents where someone's actions or negligence led to a fatal outcome.

Do I Have a Personal Injury Case?

Negligence is a key legal concept in personal injury claims and is the basis for holding someone legally responsible for injuries or damages caused to another person due to their failure to exercise reasonable care. To establish a successful personal injury claim based on negligence, four essential elements must typically be proven:

  1. Duty of Care: The first element involves establishing that the defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff. In other words, there must be a legal obligation on the part of the defendant to act in a reasonably careful manner to prevent harm to others. The duty of care varies depending on the specific circumstances and the relationship between the parties involved.
  2. Breach of Duty: The second element requires demonstrating that the defendant breached their duty of care by failing to act as a reasonably prudent person would under similar circumstances. This means that the defendant's actions or inactions fell below the standard of care expected of them.
  3. Causation: It must be proven that the defendant's breach of duty was the proximate cause of the plaintiff's injuries or damages. There are typically two types of causation to establish: causation in fact (but for the defendant's actions, the injury would not have occurred) and proximate causation (the defendant's actions were a foreseeable cause of the injury).
  4. Damages: Lastly, to have a successful personal injury claim, the plaintiff must demonstrate that they suffered actual damages as a result of the defendant's negligence. These damages can include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, property damage, and more.

In essence, negligence claims require showing that the defendant had a duty to act reasonably, failed to meet that duty, and as a result, the plaintiff suffered harm.

What If I'm Partly to Blame for My Personal Injury?

Comparative negligence is a legal doctrine used in personal injury cases to allocate responsibility for an accident or injury between the parties involved, including the plaintiff (injured party) and the defendant (alleged at-fault party).

Under comparative negligence, the court or a jury determines the degree of fault for each party and then apportions damages accordingly. This means that even if the plaintiff is partially responsible for their injuries, they can still recover damages, but the amount awarded will be reduced in proportion to their degree of fault.

California follows a "pure" comparative negligence standard, which is one of the most permissive comparative negligence systems. In California, a plaintiff can recover damages for their injuries even if they are found to be 99% at fault for the accident, although the amount of their recovery will be reduced by their percentage of fault.

For example, if a plaintiff is awarded $100,000 in damages but is found to be 25% at fault, they will ultimately receive $75,000 (i.e., $100,000 minus 25% of their fault). This system allows plaintiffs to seek compensation even if they bear a significant portion of the blame for the incident.

What Damages are Available to Persona Injury Victims?

In a personal injury claim, various types of damages may be available to compensate the injured party for their losses and injuries. These damages can generally be categorized into two main types:

Economic Damages

Economic damages, also known as special damages, are the measurable financial losses and expenses incurred by the injured party as a direct result of the accident or injury. These damages aim to restore the injured party to the financial position they would have been in had the injury not occurred. These include:

  • Medical Expenses: Compensation for past and future medical bills, including hospitalization, surgery, medication, rehabilitation, and therapy.
  • Lost Wages or Income: Reimbursement for income lost due to the injury, including missed work days, reduced earning capacity, and future earning potential.
  • Property Damage: Compensation for damage to the plaintiff's property, such as a vehicle in a car accident.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages, also known as general damages, account for intangible losses and the emotional and non-financial impact of the injury. Unlike economic damages, which have a clear financial value, non-economic damages aim to provide compensation for the emotional and psychological toll that the injury has taken on the injured party's life. These include:

  • Pain and Suffering: Compensation for physical pain, emotional distress, and suffering caused by the injury.
  • Emotional Distress: Damages for psychological trauma, anxiety, and mental anguish resulting from the incident.
  • Loss of Consortium: Compensation for the negative impact the injury has on the injured person's relationship with their spouse or family.
  • Loss of Enjoyment of Life: Damages for the loss of the ability to participate in activities and hobbies enjoyed before the injury.

Punitive Damages

In rare cases, a court may award punitive damages. Punitive damages are not intended to compensate the injured party but are designed to punish the at-fault party for particularly reckless or malicious conduct. They are awarded in cases where the defendant's actions were willful, wanton, or grossly negligent.

How to File a San Jose Personal Injury Claim

Filing a personal injury claim in San Jose is as simple as going to your local courthouse and filling out the necessary paperwork to obtain compensation from the person or organization responsible for your injury. However, it is generally better to find an experienced lawyer to work with before starting the process to ensure that all procedures are followed correctly, and you seek the maximum compensation you may qualify for.

California Personal injury lawyer

You must consider four primary points when determining whether you have a solid personal injury case that you are likely to win, and we can work through them with you to determine the best course of action.

  1. To file a successful personal injury lawsuit in San Jose, you must first be able to provide evidence that the person or organization you are filing a claim against owed you a specific duty of care. This can include anything from following a specific law to performing an aspect of their job correctly. It identifies the party to whom you are looking to obtain compensation.
  2. You must then be able to provide evidence that the responsible party failed to uphold that duty of care. This requirement describes what the person or organization did or did not do that caused you to be injured and identifies why you seek compensation.
  3. You need to be able to identify specific damages that occurred, such as providing evidence of specific injuries or other damages you received. Simply stating that you were injured is not enough, as this is too vague and does not clearly explain what happened.
  4. Finally, you must provide sufficient evidence that the person or organization you seek compensation from was clearly at fault.

At Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos, our team of experienced personal injury lawyers can help you work through these questions to determine whether you have a strong case. We can then use the specific details surrounding each of these four points to help you determine the course of action that will help you obtain the best compensation.

Areas in San Jose, CA With High Accident Potential

Accidents can occur anywhere, but certain areas tend to be linked to the highest number of personal injury cases. Busy or poorly marked streets are more likely to cause vehicle accidents than others, certain hazardous places of employment can come with a particularly high risk, and common areas of apartments that are poorly maintained can put residents at especially high risk.

Frequently Asked Questions About Personal Injury Lawsuits

Every personal injury lawsuit is different, and several variables can determine how you can expect your specific case to be handled. Here are some of the most common questions people considering a personal injury lawsuit may have.

Does My Injury Qualify for Compensation?

Not all injuries automatically qualify for compensation, especially if no one is clearly at fault for your injury. However, it is worth your time to consult a personal injury lawyer about the most appropriate next steps, which might be following nearly any type of injury if you believe that someone else is at least partially responsible for your injury.

Certain types of injuries are typically more likely to result in a settlement than others. Still, we can work with you to increase your likelihood of obtaining compensation for medical expenses, missed work, and other damages that a particular person or company is liable for.

No matter what type of injury you have experienced, contacting us as soon as possible after you are injured and providing as much evidence as possible about what happened are important steps in helping us build a case with the best chance of obtaining the results you want.

How Can I Pay My Medical Bills Until My Lawsuit Is Settled?

You will likely have medical bills due before your personal injury lawsuit is settled, especially if your injury is severe and likely to result in a particularly long legal process. While your end goal is obtaining funds from the responsible person or organization’s insurance company to cover your expenses, this will not happen until the process is finished and your compensation has been settled.

You may be able to use your insurance, workers’ compensation benefits, Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage, or a personal loan from your bank to cover these payments in the meantime, but you will need to keep track of these payments so that the organization that temporarily covered the funds can be reimbursed once your lawsuit is settled.

How Soon Will I Need to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

Beginning a complex legal process may not be the first thing on your mind immediately following an injury, especially if your injury is serious and requires a long recovery process before you can return to your normal life. In San Jose, you will need to file a personal injury lawsuit within two years of the day you are injured to be eligible to continue seeking compensation.

This means that you will be able to put your recovery first during the days and weeks following an injury and still have plenty of time to consider your options before moving forward with a lawsuit. Still, you will need to be mindful of this statute of limitations if you and your family decide that seeking compensation is the best decision for you.

Not all injuries are obvious immediately, and this two-year limitation may be extended if it becomes apparent that you are injured more seriously than you thought you were at a later date. If you do not think that you are injured badly enough to see a doctor immediately following an accident, you will have two years from the date that an injury is found to file a lawsuit if the effects of a personal injury appear several days, weeks, or longer after you are injured.

How Long Should I Expect Settling My Personal Injury Claim to Take?

Every personal injury case is different, and a wide range of factors determine how much time you can expect to pass between the date you file your lawsuit and the date you receive your settlement check. Many less serious claims will be able to be handled by your insurance company.

They can be settled much quicker than claims involving serious injuries, multiple injured people, negligence, or other liability concerns. The most complex cases can take over a year to settle. In contrast, most other personal injury cases require less time to sort out the details and determine an appropriate amount of compensation. However, providing an accurate estimate without knowing more details about your situation is difficult.

How Can a Lawyer Help with My San Jose Personal Injury Case?

A lawyer from Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos can assist you in several ways with your San Jose personal injury claim:

Legal Experience

Our personal injury attorneys have a deep understanding of the legal principles, statutes, and regulations that apply to your case. They can navigate the complexities of the legal system on your behalf.

Investigation

Your lawyer will thoroughly investigate the circumstances of your accident or injury, gather evidence, interview witnesses, and consult with experts if necessary to build a strong case.

Liability Determination

They will work to establish liability by identifying and proving the at-fault party's negligence or wrongdoing, which is crucial for a successful claim.

Valuation of Damages

Your attorney will assess the full extent of your damages, including medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and other losses, to ensure you seek fair compensation.

Negotiation

Our lawyers can negotiate with insurance companies or opposing parties to reach a fair settlement on your behalf, ensuring your rights are protected and that you receive the compensation you deserve.

Litigation

If a fair settlement cannot be reached through negotiation, your lawyer can represent you in court and advocate for your interests during a trial.

Legal Guidance

They will provide you with legal advice and guidance throughout the entire claims process, helping you make informed decisions about your case.

Stress Reduction

Hiring an attorney can alleviate the stress and burden of dealing with legal matters, allowing you to focus on your recovery and well-being.

Maximizing Compensation

Our lawyers are skilled in maximizing the compensation you may be entitled to, ensuring that all potential sources of recovery are explored.

Contingency Fees

The personal injury lawyers at our law office work on a contingency fee basis, meaning they only get paid if you receive compensation, making legal representation accessible to those who may not have the financial means to hire an attorney upfront.

Contact Our San Jose Personal Injury Lawyers Today

At Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos, our personal injury attorneys are here to help residents of San Jose and surrounding cities who experience nearly any type of personal injury recover compensation for damages. Although every case is different, and we cannot guarantee the outcome you desire, choosing us is the first step in obtaining compensation to help you manage your injury.

Contact us today at (650) 345-8484 to learn more about the experienced attorneys on our legal team and the types of personal injuries we handle during your free consultation.

Galine, Frye, Fitting, & Frangos, LLP
Phone: (650) 345-8484