California Personal Injury Law Explained

By February 7, 2011 January 10th, 2018 Personal Injury

Each state determines its own tort laws within the framework of the United States Constitution. What this means is that each state may make laws or set precedents as long as they do not violate the Constitution. Tort law is the area of the law that deals with injuries. A personal injury car accident case would be an example of a tort law case. California personal injury law, therefore, is governed by tort law. Car accidents, however, are not the only type of case that falls within the purview of California personal injury law. Train accidents, airplane crashes, dog bites, work place injuries, and exposure to toxic chemicals or substances are other examples of cases that would be handled under California personal injury law.

California personal injury law cases fall into one of three categories – intentional torts, strict liability torts and negligent torts. An intentional tort, as the name implies, happens when someone intentionally injuries the victim. For example, an assault or battery could be an intentional tort. Assault or battery may be charged criminally as well, but the victim often has the option to file a civil tort case against the defendant in addition to the criminal charges. A strict liability tort is one in which the intention of the defendant is not a factor. Some dog bite cases are considered strict liability torts due to the inherently aggressive nature of the bread involved. The legislature has determined that in some situations, injury to the victim is all that is necessary in order to receive compensation. The last category, negligent torts, makes up the vast majority of the California personal injury law cases. Negligent torts require that the victim show negligence on the part of the defendant in order to receive compensation for her injuries. So what is negligence?

Negligence is made up of four elements-duty of care, breach of duty, causation and damages. The duty of care element requires the victim to show that the defendant owed her a duty to protect her from reasonably foreseeable harm. The breach of duty element requires the victim to prove that the defendant didn’t do something he should have done to protect her from harm or did something he shouldn’t have done opening her up to potential harm. Causation simply means that the victim must show that the defendant’s actions caused the injuries she suffered. “Damages” is a legal term that refers to injuries. Under California personal injury law, damages can be economic or non-economic. Economic damages are things that are easily quantifiable such as lost wages or medical bills. Non-economic damages under California personal injury law can be a variety of things such as emotional distress, pain and suffering or loss of consortium. If all the elements of a negligent tort claim have been met then the victim may be entitled to recover monetary damages for her injuries according to California personal injury law.

If you believe that you have been the victim of a tort case that falls under the purview of California personal injury law, contact the law firm of Ledger & Associates or a free detailed evaluation of your potential case. The team can be contacted by calling 1-800-300-0001 or they can be visited online at

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