Bakersfield Personal Injury Attorneys
In an ideal world, no one would need the help of a Bakersfield personal injury attorney. Sadly, we do not live in an ideal world. Even in picturesque Bakersfield, California, accidents happen and people get hurt. If you are hurt because of someone else’s actions, then you do not deserve to suffer the financial burden of your injury on top of the pain you are already enduring.
Personal injury lawyers practice an area of civil law known as “tort law.” A basic definition of tort law is: the law that gives injured people the right to go to court to demand that their injuries be corrected or compensated for. “Injuries” does not mean just physical injuries (although those are certainly covered by tort law), but it also includes:
- Emotional suffering
- Mental anguish
- Property damage
- Diminished quality of life
- Loss of companionship or consortium with a loved one
What Accidents Are Covered by Personal Injury Law?
If an accident caused you an injury and was the result of someone else’s actions, then there is likely a legal claim. Examples of situations when you could need a Bakersfield personal injury lawyer include, but are not limited to:
Bakersfield Injury Statistics
Bakersfield, like any major metropolis, has its fair share of accidents. The California Department of Public Health put together the follow 2012 statistics for Kern County.
- There were 2,526 cases of slip and fall accidents that required the victims to be hospitalized for their injuries.
- Seniors were at the greatest risk of suffering a fall, making up nearly 40% of this type of injury.
- Automobile accidents sent 785 people to the hospital. Drivers ages 25-44 were involved in the largest percentage of crashes.
Who Is Responsible For Your Accident?
Bakersfield has become a major center for industry and leisure. Unfortunately, as the region continues to grow, the number of accidents has increased as well. Vehicle and industrial accidents are some of the most common.
- Off-Highway Vehicle Accidents. As manufacturers build heavier, stronger, and faster off-highway vehicles, OHV accidents happen with greater frequency and cause more significant injuries. Powerful vehicles demand proper manufacturing and driving. The companies who build defective vehicles may be responsible for a faulty design or improper manufacturing. Drivers may be responsible for ignoring a manufacturer’s warning or reckless handling.
- Oil Refinery Accidents. Oil refineries are extremely dangerous. Experts have noted that at least one fire breaks out every week at a U.S.-based refinery. Companies may be responsible for unsafe work conditions that lead to explosions or long-term exposure to toxic chemicals. Low quality tools, untrained subcontractors, and third party errors can contribute to deadly accidents.
- Agricultural Accidents. Nearly 20% of Kern County is harvested land. With the region relying on agriculture as a main staple of the economy, agricultural accidents become a high probability. 41% of farm fatalities involve tractors. Tractor roll-overs, improper operation, or lack of warnings and seat belts create serious dangers for agriculture workers. Additionally, agri-business owners may provide unsafe equipment for workers while pushing them to work long hours at a dangerous pace.
After an Accident
Accidents can disrupt our daily lives in an instant. The shock of the accident may leave you confused and unsure of the steps you should take to protect yourself and your loved ones. The following tips will help you gather important information that a skilled attorney can use to help you receive compensation for the accident.
- If you or a loved one has been injured, seek immediate medical attention. Keep a copy of all medical records.
- After an auto accident, ask the police to photograph the accident site before it is cleared. Ask for a copy of the police report, including any photos.
- After an accident on commercial property, such as an office complex or amusement park, request an accident report from the property owner or manager.
- After a work accident, inform your employer, request an accident report, and file a workers’ compensation claim.
- If you are able, photograph the accident scene with a camera or cell phone camera. Write down the names and contact information of all parties and witnesses. Record any facts or observations that you think could be relevant to the case.
- Never speak to insurance company representatives without first speaking to a personal injury lawyer. Any information that you give to an insurance company can be used against you.
- Immediately contact an experienced personal injury lawyer with the skill and resources to communicate with all parties, handle the investigation, and manage your case from start to finish.
When Is Someone Liable for Your Injuries?
In California, you can recover full compensation for your injuries when they are entirely someone else’s fault. If your injuries are only partially someone else’s fault, then you can still recover partial compensation proportional to the other party’s degree of responsibility.
In order to prove that someone else is at fault, you must show that they are legally “liable.” This means that you have to show that they breached their duty of reasonable care to you; that the breach caused you an injury; and that your injury led to some kind of loss—otherwise known as “damages.” Your Bakersfield accident attorney will know exactly how to prove those elements.
The following are the circumstances in which someone else is liable in California:
- Negligence: Legally speaking, negligence is when someone violates their duty to take reasonable care to keep you safe. That duty varies based on your relationship with the person and the exact situation you are in. For example, your doctor has a very high duty to keep you safe when you are on the operating table, but a lesser duty to keep you safe when you are just dining at the same restaurant together.
- Intentional torts: Sometimes when someone is injured, it is not an accident. If you are assaulted in any way that causes you some kind of hurt, then you might have a personal injury claim against the offending person. For example, if your loved one was murdered, then you probably have a wrongful death claim against the person who killed them.
- Strict liability: Some accidents are out of anyone’s control and yet someone can still be at fault. These are called strict liability offenses. This means that no matter how responsibly someone behaves, if another person is injured then the responsible party is at fault. A good example is when an animal attacks. Even if the pet’s owner behaved totally responsibly and reasonably, the owner is still liable for injuries incurred as a result of that animal attack.
If you have been injured or a loved one has been killed, then please make sure to contact The Reeves Law Group today at (661) 202-3056 or via email.