Surprisingly, many people that have been the victim of a personal injury accident do not even realize it. When most people hear the term “personal injury accident” they immediately think of a car accident. Car accident are certainly one type of personal injury accident, but personal injury accidents encompass a variety of situations outside the realm of car accidents. The Oakland personal injury law firm of Ledger & Associates has been representing accident victims for over a decade. During that time, they have had the opportunity to represent victims from all walks of life and for almost every conceivable type of personal injury accident. Each personal injury accident is unique and therefore it is impossible to provide a guide that would include every imaginable personal injury accident scenario. Having said that, the team at Ledger & Associates would like to offer the following information to help you determine if you have been the victim of an Oakland personal injury accident. If you believe that your situation amounts to a personal injury accident, you should have your case evaluated immediately to determine if you are entitled to compensation for your injuries.Personal injuries are generally based on the theory of negligent tort. In order for a defendant to be held responsible for injuries suffered in an accident, his negligence must have caused the injuries. Negligence is a legal term that essentially equates to fault or blame. Negligence can be very complicated, but the four basic elements that must be met to prove negligence are duty of care, breach of duty, causation and damages.
The duty of care refers to the obligation that the defendant had to use reasonable care to protect the victim. Over the years the law has determined that anyone operating a motor vehicle on a public roadway is presumed to have a duty of care to the other motorists. Other situations can also invoke the duty of care. For example, the owner of a restaurant will generally be found to have a duty of care to the patrons that he invites into the restaurant. A pilot has a duty of care to the passengers of the plane. An automobile manufacturer usually has a duty of care to the people that purchase and operate the vehicle. The owner of an animal may even have a duty of care to anyone that comes into contact with the animal.
A breach in the duty of care comes about when the defendant failed to use reasonable care to protect the victim. In the above example of the restaurant owner, imagine that he allowed cleaning chemicals to spill into the food causing a patron to get sick or that he allowed water to flood the restroom causing a patron to slip and fall. The owner of the animal may have breached his duty of care if he allowed an aggressive dog to run loose that ultimately bit someone.
Causation basically just means that the defendant’s breach of duty must have been the reason for the victim’s injuries. Damages is the legal term that refers to injuries. In California, a victim is entitled to both economic (medical bills, lost wages etc.) and non-economic (pain and suffering) damages.
As you have likely begun to realize, an Oakland personal injury case can be predicated on a wide variety of circumstances other than a car accident. If you believe that you may have been the victim of an Oakland personal injury accident, please feel free to make an appointment with the team at Ledger & Associates-Oakland by calling 510-984-1401 or 1-800-300-0001. The Oakland office of Ledger & Associates is located at 1300 Clay Street, Oakland, California 94612