| Read Time: 4 minutes | Personal Injury

How Much to Expect From a Personal Injury Settlement in California

Figuring out how much to expect from a California personal injury settlement is an important step to take whenever you file such a claim. With an estimate in mind, you will know what sort of settlement offer is acceptable. If a settlement offer does not adequately account for the amount of damages you suffered, something is wrong. The other party is making a lowball settlement offer. It is best to avoid accepting a lowball settlement offer whenever possible. If someone else caused your injury, after all, your settlement should at least cover the total damages you suffered. Otherwise, you are paying for something that is not your fault, which entirely defeats the purpose of filing a legal claim in the first place. Building an Estimate of Your Claim’s Value Estimating the value of your personal injury claim is best done with the help of an experienced personal injury attorney. Personal injury lawyers know how to turn over all the stones necessary to make an accurate and thorough assessment of a personal injury claim. Even so, you can make an estimate yourself before meeting with prospective legal team. When you meet with the lawyers, you can compare the numbers you came up with. Comparing notes and numbers will help shore up your trust in the estimate. To build your estimate, all you have to do is add up all of the losses you suffered due to the injury. Read on for more information on the different types of damages. Taking Account of Damages The damages that you can suffer as a result of a personal injury vary as much as injuries themselves do. Injuries often have a sort of ripple effect in the way they disrupt our lives. The ripple effect is different for everyone. Still, there are ways of categorizing and organizing various damages that can help us take inventory of all of them. Like most jurisdictions, California law primarily breaks damages into two separate categories: economic damages and noneconomic damages. The categories are very different from one another but are still the same at their root. They are both types of losses that we can suffer. There is also a third category called punitive damages. Punitive damages are less common than economic and noneconomic damages. Because they are less relevant to our discussion of personal injury settlements, we will not discuss punitive damages in this piece. Economic Damages Economic damages are the losses you suffer that have a tangible, objective, and identifiable monetary value. Calculating the worth of a given “piece” of economic damages is a simple process. All you have to do is find the relevant receipt, bill, or bank statement. The record of the damages will have a precise monetary value. The nice thing about economic damages is that they are hard to dispute. If there is a clear causal connection between the injury and the specific damage, the other party has no way to dispute their value. As a result, economic damages are relatively easy to account for and prove in court.  Economic damages come in many different forms. Some of the types of economic damages you might suffer after a personal injury include: Emergency medical services, Property damage, Rehabilitation services, Specialized medical services, In-home help, Loss of wages, Loss of the ability to earn a living, and Vocational training. These are just a few of the many different possible economic damages. It is important to be as thorough as possible when you take inventory of all the economic damages you suffered. If you forget to account for an economic loss until after you settle your claim, it will be very difficult to recover that sum. Noneconomic Damages Noneconomic damages are a bit less straightforward than economic damages. Unlike economic damages, noneconomic damages measure intangible losses. They lack a precise monetary value and are inherently subjective. Their subjectiveness often makes noneconomic damage a contentious issue in civil litigation. After all, an intangible loss worth $1,000 to one person may only be worth $50 to another. Still, noneconomic damages represent just as much of a loss as any economic damages. Like economic damages, there are many different types of noneconomic damages. Some of the most common types of noneconomic damages are: Pain and suffering, Emotional anguish, Loss of career, Loss of companionship, Loss of enjoyment of life, Loss of a bodily function, and Damage to reputation. Looking through this list, it becomes apparent why noneconomic damages are contentious issues in personal injury claims. How can you place a monetary value on pain and suffering? Furthermore, once you do place a value on pain and suffering, how do you get someone else to agree on that value? Luckily, personal injury attorneys have experience putting a price tag on intangible noneconomic losses. So with the help of an attorney, you can take some of the guesswork out of calculating the value of your noneconomic losses. Once you have a thorough inventory of all of your economic and noneconomic losses, make sure that each item has a specific monetary value. To estimate the value of your claim, add up all the losses. Now, with the sum of all your losses in hand, you have your estimate. Do You Need Help Figuring Out How Much Your Personal Injury Claim Is Worth? If you are filing a personal injury claim in California and want to make sure you know how much your claim is worth, contact Silva Injury Law’s team of experienced personal injury lawyers today. Our firm’s philosophy is to promote healing through compassionate advocacy. That means doing everything in our power to help our clients heal from their injuries and get their life back to normal. No matter what injury you have and no matter how much your claim is worth, Silva Injury Law, Inc. is here to help you. Check out our client testimonials page to see what our previous clients have to say about us, then contact us for a free consultation. We will help you get back...

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| Read Time: 4 minutes | Auto Accidents

How Much to Expect from a Car Accident Settlement in California

If someone else causes an auto accident and you suffer damage, they are responsible for compensating you for that damage.  Auto accidents can happen in any manner of different ways. As a result, the extent and type of damage that they cause varies from case to case. Suppose you were in a California auto accident and are considering filing a legal claim to recover your losses. In that case, you will probably want to know how much you can expect to receive in any sort of settlement. After all, you will want to know whether starting a legal claim is worth your time and effort. If the amount of damages you will receive in a settlement is too small to justify initiating legal action, you might decide not to do it. Unfortunately, it is not always easy to tell how much you should expect in a California auto accident settlement. This is because there is no average auto accident or settlement to compare your case to. Still, you can come up with a rough estimate to help you decide on how you will proceed. The best way to estimate how much a settlement is worth is to add up the total damages you suffered. After you add up all your damages, you can apply the degree of fault to the total amount, and you will have your estimate. Damages The first thing you need to do to estimate your final settlement’s value is add up all the damages you suffered as a result of the accident. It is important to take your time and make a thorough inventory of all of the damages you suffered. If you miss something, it will throw off your estimate and make it less accurate. There are two categories of damages to account for in California: economic damages and noneconomic damages. Economic Damages Economic damages are the damages you suffer that have a tangible monetary value. Adding them all up is as simple as finding the bills you paid or checking your bank statement to account for any payments you made related to your accident and the subsequent damages you suffered. Economic damages come in many different forms. Use this list to help you start brainstorming about what economic damages you suffered: Emergency room visits, Prescription drugs, Emergency medical transportation, Property damage, Wages lost due to injury, Lost business opportunities, Vocational rehabilitation, Lost earning capacity, Household help, and Future medical expenses. Our list is not a complete one by any means. These are just a few types of economic damages that you might suffer from. The two key criteria in identifying economic damages are whether (1) the accident caused the damage and (2) the damage had an identifiable monetary value. Any sort of good or service that you had to pay for or income you lost as a result of the accident is a form of economic damage. Noneconomic Damages Unlike economic damages, noneconomic damages lack an identifiable, objective monetary value. For this reason, noneconomic damages are sometimes hard to identify. On top of that, it is often difficult to place a monetary value on them. After all, how can you put a price on something like the lost companionship of a loved one? Still, noneconomic damages are just as real as economic damages. If you suffer from them, you deserve compensation. Some types of noneconomic damages you might consider include: Loss of enjoyment of activities, Loss of companionship, Physical pain, Mental anguish, Loss of a bodily function, and Loss of reputation. Like economic damages, there are quite a few different types of noneconomic damages. Every person is unique, so the type of noneconomic damage that people suffer from is also unique. Despite the difficulty of estimating the value of noneconomic damages, experienced auto accident attorneys can make an educated prediction of what a given type of noneconomic damage is worth. With their prediction in mind, you can add the value of those noneconomic damages to your running damage total. Using Fault to Adjust Your Estimate Now that you have taken an inventory of all of your damages, you can add them up. With that sum, you are one step closer to having an estimate of your settlement’s value, but there is still one more step: apply your degree of fault to the sum of all damages. In California, the person who causes an accident is the one liable for damages. But accidents aren’t always caused by one person alone; other drivers may share the fault.  California accounts for drivers’ share of fault in the auto accident claims process by reducing the total compensation that a driver receives by their share of fault. For example, if you suffer $10,000 worth of damages in an accident and are 25% at fault for it, your settlement will see a 25% reduction to $7,500. Once you apply your degree of fault to your damages sum, you have an estimate of your settlement’s value. Considering Filing a California Auto Accident Claim? The best thing you can do to ensure that you have an accurate estimate of your settlement’s worth is to consult with an experienced auto accident attorney. Particularly concerning non-economic damages, auto accident lawyers know how much given types of damage are worth, so you can take the guesswork out of your estimate with their help. The auto accident lawyers here at Silva Injury Law, Inc. have considerable experience helping clients estimate the worth of their claim and recover the full amount. Our mission is to approach the legal process with the utmost care, compassion, and professionalism. If you were in an auto accident, get the compensation you deserve. Contact us at Silva Injury Law, Inc. today.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Auto Accidents

How to Get Your Turlock Police Accident Report

A police report can serve as crucial evidence in an auto accident claim and under many other scenarios. Fortunately, you can usually obtain a Turlock police report without a lot of difficulties. You will need to prove some involvement in the accident or incident, however. Obtaining a police report is more difficult if a minor was involved in the incident. The Usual Procedure You should complete a Request for Release of a Police Report to initiate the process. This form is available through the foregoing link, or at the Turlock Police Records Unit (209-668-5550 ext. 6600).  You can submit your request form online, by fax, by surface mail, or in person at the Police Records Unit. You will receive a paper copy of your report in person, by fax, or by surface mail at the address included in your request.  Involved Parties You must include a copy of your driver’s license to prove that you are an “involved party”—a victim, a driver, a passenger, a property owner, or the registered owner of an involved vehicle. Parents of involved minors may also obtain a police report by submitting a request together with a driver license copy. Special Case: Minors (Under 18) Applicable law restricts the public release of a minor’s name in a police report. For this reason, access to a police report is restricted if the report contains information about a minor.  If you seek to obtain a police report regarding an accident or incident involving a minor, you must appear in person at the police department and fill out a form asking a superior court judge to issue an order to release the police report.  Either a notary public or a police department employee must witness you signing this document. The entire process takes about two weeks, and your request could be denied. Insurance Company Requests for Accident Reports An insurance company may request a report about your accident to determine whether to pay a claim (yours or a third party’s). An insurance company seeking a copy of a report of an accident in Turlock must obtain it from Buy Crash (www.buycrash.com), which partners with the Turlock Police Department. Redactions The police department may redact (black out) certain sections of your copy of the police report to comply with applicable laws. In particular, the police department will redact any investigative report. Fee A copy of a police report is free of charge unless it exceeds 15 pages. If it does, you must pay a fee of 15 cents per additional page. Let’s Make It Happen Together If you have been injured through the negligence or wrongdoing of someone else, there is no reason why you should bear all the consequences on your own. At Silva Injury Law, Inc. we believe in compassionate advocacy and in negotiation where possible. Nevertheless, we are ready to fight to the finish if necessary to make sure our clients are treated fairly. Call us at 831-201-5036 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | Auto Accidents

How to Get Your Monterey Police Accident Report

Driver’s school teaches us how to drive safely and avoid accidents. However, driver’s school doesn’t always prepare us for what happens after an auto crash accident. After an auto crash accident, California law requires drivers, in most instances, to report the accident to local law enforcement. The report that the responding law enforcement officer fills out becomes public record and acts as supporting evidence in all legal claims or charges related to the accident. Thus, if you need to file a claim after a crash, having a copy of the auto crash accident report, with all its details of the crash, is crucially important. Not everyone has had to request an accident report before, so read on for more information on how to get your Monterey police accident report. Reporting an Accident in California In California, the only accidents that do not require reporting to local law enforcement are ones where no one suffers injury or where no more than $1,000 of property damage occurs. Drivers who fail to report an accident to the relevant law enforcement agency can face up to one year of imprisonment, a fine of up to $10,000, or both. To protect yourself from such a punishment, always notify law enforcement when you are in an auto crash accident. In addition to reporting accidents to law enforcement agencies, California law requires drivers to report all accidents to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Failure to report a traffic accident to the DMV within ten days of its occurrence can lead to up to one year of driver license suspension. It is important to note that drivers are responsible for making this report themselves. Law enforcement agencies do not forward their own accident reports to the California DMV. Where Do I Get My Accident Report? There are two places you can go to obtain a copy of your Monterey accident report. Depending on where your accident occurs and who responds to it, either the Monterey Police Department or the California Highway Patrol will have your accident report on file. Getting Your Accident Report from the Monterey Police Department If your auto crash accident happens within Monterey city limits, the Monterey Police Department is the law enforcement agency that will respond. If that happens, you can get a copy of your accident report directly from the department for a nominal fee of $.10 per page. The City of Monterey’s website has a portal for submitting records requests that includes a link directly to the police record request form. You can submit the form online, by mail, or in person. To submit the request, email the completed form to mpdrecords@monterey.org, mail it to the Monterey Police Department headquarters at 351 Madison Street, Monterey, CA 93940, or submit it in person to the same address during business hours. To prove your identity, you must bring your government-issued identification with you in person or attach a copy to your email or letter. Getting Your Accident Report from California Highway Patrol If your accident occurs on a highway near Monterey, California Highway Patrol (CHP) will likely respond to the accident and submit the related report. If you need to get a copy of your auto crash accident from CHP, they will handle your request directly. Auto crash accident reports from CHP cost $10.00 for every 25 pages. You can find the CHP form online on their website or in person at your nearest CHP office. You can submit your request form to CHP either in person or by mail. You can find the CHP office closest to Monterey at 960 East Blanco Road, Salinas, CA 93901. This CHP office is open from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday. Hiring a Lawyer After a Monterey Auto Accident Speaking with a legal practitioner after an auto crash accident is always a good idea. Even if the damages in your accident appear to be relatively minor, an auto crash attorney can help you avoid any unsavory surprises during the claims process. The Monterey auto crash lawyers here at Silva Injury Law, Inc. have helped countless clients get their life back on track after Monterey auto crash accidents and are eager to help you in any way that you need. At Silva Injury Law, Inc., we don’t take a cookie-cutter approach in serving our clients. Instead, we work with you directly to craft a legal strategy that fits your needs. Don’t settle for a generic law firm that is eager to start fights and create problems. Instead, go with the Monterey auto crash accident attorneys who pride themselves on being problem solvers. Contact Silva Injury Law, Inc. today for a free consultation!

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | Auto Accidents

How to Get Your Modesto Police Accident Report

Getting a copy of your accident report from law enforcement is not something we do every day. However, obtaining the report is an important step to take after you are in an auto vehicle accident. The accident report provides important details—like who is at fault for how much of the accident—that will dictate which driver is responsible for compensating the other. So if you need to get a copy of your accident report in Modesto, CA, but don’t know where to start, read our guide below. Why Filing an Accident Report Is Important Filing an accident report isn’t just important for recovering damages after the accident. On top of its crucial role in the claims process, the California Vehicle Code requires drivers to report accidents to local law enforcement agencies in most circumstances. Drivers must report auto vehicle accidents to law enforcement if someone is injured, someone dies, or property damage of more than $1,000 occurs. The law enforcement officer who responds to the accident then files the report. Drivers who fail to notify law enforcement of an accident may face jail time of up to one year, a fine of up to $10,000, or both. On top of reporting to law enforcement, drivers must also file an accident report with the California Department of Motor Vehicles within ten days of an accident. A driver who fails to do so can face up to one year of license suspension. Reporting to the DMV is entirely separate from the police report but equally important. Getting Your Accident Report from the Right Agency Where you get your accident report depends on the law enforcement agency that responds to your accident. If your accident is within Modesto city limits, the Modesto Police Department will respond, and you will request your accident report from them. If the accident occurs on a highway, the California Highway Patrol will respond, and they will have your accident report on file. Getting Your Accident Report from the Modesto Police Department Getting your accident report from the Modesto Police Department is as simple as filling out their police report request form. The form will ask for details about your accident, like date, time, and location. You can file your completed police report request form in person or by mail with the Modesto Police headquarters. The headquarters is at 600 10th Street, Modesto, CA 95354. You can submit report request forms in person on Mondays and Tuesdays between 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM, or Wednesday and Thursday between 8:00 AM and 6:00 PM. Reports cost $.10 per page, and you must bring a valid photo ID.  Getting Your Accident Report from California Highway Patrol If your accident occurs on an interstate highway outside of Modesto, California Highway Patrol (CHP) will likely respond to the accident and file the subsequent report. If CHP responds to your crash, you can request a copy of your accident report through them directly. You can find the form here or in person at your local CHP office. The reports cost $10.00 for every 25 pages, and you can submit your request by mail or in person. You will find the Modesto CHP office at 4030 Kiernan Avenue, Modesto, CA 95356. They are open to the public from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday. Contact Silva Injury Law for Help Today If you need help with any aspect of the claims process after your Modesto auto vehicle accident, the auto collision attorneys at Silva Injury Law, Inc. are here for you. The operating principles of our law firm are twofold. First, we strive to be decent human beings in every aspect of our legal practice, no matter who we are interacting with. Second, and equally important, our job isn’t to start fights. It’s to solve problems. That’s what we are here for, and that’s what our auto collision lawyers are committed to doing. Contact us today for help with your Modesto auto vehicle accident claim!

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | Auto Accidents

How to Get Your Merced Police Accident Report

When you begin the auto collision accident claims process, it is important to obtain a copy of your accident report from your local police. An accident report contains important crash details that will affect your accident claim. Most notably, your California crash report will include evidence about your degree of fault in the accident. Not everyone has requested an auto collision accident report from the police, however, and it is not always clear how to do so. If you are in Merced, California, and you need a copy of your accident report, read on for instructions. Always Be Sure to Report Your Accident The claims process is not the only reason you should file a report after an auto collision accident. Division 10 of the California Vehicle Code requires drivers to report all auto collision accidents to local law enforcement agencies. Failure to notify law enforcement is a misdemeanor. If someone is injured in the accident, failure to report is punishable by up to one year in jail, a fine between $1,000 and $10,000, or both. If only property damage occurs, the fine is no more than $1,000, and the potential jail time is no more than six months.  Drivers must also report accidents to the California Department of Motor Vehicles if injury, death, or property damage of over $1,000 occurs. It is important to note that a police report does not fulfill this requirement. Drivers who fail to report an accident to the California Department of Motor Vehicles within ten days of the accident may face driver license suspension for up to one year. Getting Your Accident Report in Merced If your accident was in Merced, California, there are two primary ways to obtain your auto collision accident’s police report. Where you obtain your accident report depends on what law enforcement agency responds to your accident. Requests for the Merced Police Department If the Merced Police Department responds to your accident, you can obtain a copy of your accident report from them. The City of Merced website has an online portal with information on requesting official documents. There, you will find a link to the records request form. If you need help with parts of the form, like the incident number, you can call the Merced Police Department for help at 209-385-6912. You can submit your request in person at the Merced Police Station Records Department located at 611 W. 22nd Street, Merced, CA 95340. Their hours of operation are 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM, Monday through Thursday, and Friday from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM. The report costs $7.50. Requests for California Highway Patrol If your accident occurs on an interstate highway, California Highway Patrol (CHP) will likely respond to the accident and file the report. If that happens, you can request a copy of your accident report through CHP directly. The reports cost $10.00 for every 25 pages. You can find the form here or in person at your local CHP office, where you can submit the form in person or by mail. The Merced County CHP office is at 1500 Bell Drive, Merced, CA 95301. They are open to the public from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM Monday through Friday. Should I Hire an Attorney After a Merced Auto Collision Accident? Whatever happens in an auto collision accident, it is always helpful to consult with an auto collision attorney afterward. Your lawyer will advise you on your best course of action to recover all the damages you suffer and alleviate the stress of the claims process. The auto collision lawyers at Silva Injury Law, Inc. have considerable experience helping victims of auto collision accidents solve the problems they face during the claims process and always strive to do so in the most efficient and respectful manner. Let us help you. Contact us today.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Auto Accidents

Parking Lot Accident Injury Claims In California

Automobile accidents can happen anywhere, and parking lots are no exception. Many parking lot accidents occur due to one or both drivers failing to pay attention to their surroundings. As parking lots can become crowded and busy, it can be easy for drivers to miss something and cause an accident. Whether it be adjusting the radio or air conditioning, or being preoccupied looking for a parking spot, distractions are frequent in parking lots. If you are involved in an accident in a parking lot in California, be sure to document the accident. Document the scene, report the accident to insurance companies, and if you sustain an injury as a result of the accident, contact a personal injury attorney who can assist you in pursuing compensation for your injuries. COMMON ACCIDENTS IN PARKING LOTS Given the busy nature of parking lots, accidents are common. The following are types of accidents which occur frequently in parking lots: Rear-end collisions due to a car stopping short Turning unexpectedly and rapidly in front of oncoming traffic Backing out of a spot without looking properly behind Driving the wrong way Driving through a crosswalk or a stop sign within the parking lot Driving at an unsafe speed Thankfully, the majority of parking lot accidents are minor in nature as they tend to occur at low speeds. However, if a pedestrian or high speed are involved in the accident, the injuries may be substantially more severe. Pedestrians who are knocked to the ground may suffer from a variety of minor to serous injuries, such as back or head injuries POTENTIAL LIABILITY FOR DRIVERS Drivers of vehicles who cause damage due to their negligence or wrongdoing can be held liable for injuries others obtain. In California, all drivers are required to use reasonable care to operate their vehicle, SUV, or truck safely so as to avoid causing harm to others. When a driver fails to look in the rear and side mirrors before baking out, drives too fast, ignores lights, signs and markings in a parking lot they may have breached a legal duty. POTENTIAL LIABILITY FOR PROPERTY OWNERS Property owners in California can be liable for injuries which result from dangerous conditions on their property which they either knew about or should have known about. Therefore, the owner of a parking structure or lot may be liable if they fail to maintain the property in a safe manner. This may involve an owner failing to make repairs, to provide proper staffing and training for staff, having inadequate lighting, failing to mark the proper directions of travel in narrow lanes, failing to mark crosswalks for pedestrians, or having improper designs for parking areas which can create an unreasonable risk of harm to parties near or in the area. Additionally, pedestrians may slip and fall on unmarked curbs or slimy concrete. Parking lot owners may be liable for injuries that are a result of these conditions. CONTACT AN ATTORNEY If you have been injured in a parking lot due to the negligence of another driver or the owner of the parking lot, reach out to an attorney. A skilled attorney at Silva Injury Law will assess your case for free and help you pursue compensation for your injuries.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Personal Injury

Injury Claims For Minors Against a School In California

We often view schools as a safe place where children can grow and learn in healthy ways. Unfortunately, there are often many dangers present at schools which can cause children to experience serious injuries and even death. Schools have a duty to take every reasonable action to protect the children in their care. When a school fails to do what is reasonable and their negligence causes a child to be injured or killed, the child has the right to seek compensation for their damages. If your child has been injured while at school, reach out to a skilled personal injury attorney who can assist you with your case. California law regarding school liability is complex and an attorney can ensure you and your child receive fair compensation. California School Duties Courts in California have established that schools have a duty to protect children in schools. The school is required to provide adequate supervision for all children in their care. While the school is not considered an insurer of the student’s safety, the school district does have a legal duty to act with reasonable care in supervising children in its charge. When the proximate cause of an injury was due to the failure of a school to exercise reasonable care, they can be liable for the injuries. Therefore, if the school failed to provide supervision and a child suffers an injury, and the injury could have been avoided had the school exercised proper supervision, there may be a liability claim. Examples of potential negligent conduct by school administrators, teachers, coaches and school districts include the following: Failing to properly maintain buses and means of transportation A lack of adequate supervision during extraocular activities, recess, lunch and breaks Failing to prepare food in a sanitary and safe manner Having inadequate emergency plans for fires, tornados, earthquakes, school shootings, etc. Failing to repair equipment, grounds, and unsafe structures Failing to supervise and have adequate safety measures for sports and physical activities Injuries That May Give Rise to Claims Against a School Common examples injuries which may result in school liability include the following: Playground injuries Bullying and physical violence injuries Bus accidents Chemical exposure and burns Sexual abuse or assault Shaken baby syndrome Broken bones Scratches, cuts, burns Brain damage and head injuries Violence leading to injury or death What to Do If Your Child Has Been Injured At School If your child has been injured as a result of a school’s negligence, there are specific steps which must be followed. As the required steps and claims include time specific and detailed information, it is best to pursue with the assistance of an attorney. With an experienced attorney at Silva Injury Law, you can be certain that all deadlines and requirements will be met and that your child receive the compensation they deserve.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Negligence

Proving Negligence In Child Injury Premises Cases

In California, landowners have a legal duty to ensure their property is safe for guests. When property owners fail to acknowledge and repair potential hazards that they were aware of, or should have been aware of, victims who are injured have a right to seek compensation for their damages. Even if the injured party was not invited onto the property, therefore trespassing, the owner still may have liability if their actions amounted to negligence. Whether or not a property owner is liable for the injured party’s damages will hinge on whether or not the owner acted with reasonable care in relation to the foreseeability of a risk. ATTRACTIVE NUISANCES AND PREMISES LIABILITY Generally, in California the law does not require that an individual be an invited guest in order for them to invoke property owner liability when they are injured on another’s property. This extends to children who suffer an injury on a property that they technically have trespassed on. This is particularly common when there is an attractive nuisance. An attractive nuisance is a condition on a person’s property which may attract children that are unable to appreciate the inherent danger of the condition. These objects, such as swimming pools, trampolines, man-made ponds, tractors and other equipment, can look enticing to children who may not comprehend the potential treat to safety these items pose. Therefore, even when a child trespasses, if they are injured or killed because of an attractive nuisance, the property owner may be held liable. PROVING PROPERTY OWNER LIABILITY In order to invoke property owner liability when a child has been injured due to an attractive nuisance, it is necessary to prove that the owner of the property failed to use reasonable care in keeping their property safe in relation to the foreseeability of risk. The following factors may be helpful in proving liability: If the property owner knew or should have known that it was likely for a child to trespass onto the property. If the property owner was aware or should have been aware of a hazardous condition and the associated risk it would create for individuals, such as children, on the property. Whether or not the injured child should have understood the risks associated with the hazardous condition. If the owner of the property could have reasonably fixed the hazardous condition. That the burden that would be placed on the property owner to eliminate the risk is minor compared to the potential risk posed to children who may enter the property. CONTACT AN ATTORNEY TODAY If you or your child has suffered an injury on another’s property due to the owner’s negligence, contact an experienced attorney at Silva Injury Law today for a free consultation. An attorney will work with you to help you understand the elements involved in your case, whether or not you have a potential claim, and assist you in investigating and building your case.

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| Read Time: 6 minutes | Other

Sexual Assault Civil Cases in California

Separate from criminal law, California civil law allows a person to seek justice and compensation for the emotional and physical injuries sustained from all types of sexual violence. All victims of sexual assault and sexual abuse have the right to file a claim and sue perpetrators for their damages. If you have been or currently are being sexually assaulted or abused, get to a place of safety and contact law enforcement. After you are safe, you can contact a civil attorney who can assist you in obtaining compensation for your damages. SEXUAL OFFENSES THAT CAN LEAD TO SEXUAL ASSAULT CIVIL CASES Any type of sex crime can be the grounds for a civil lawsuit. The following are common sexual offenses that lead to civil sexual assault lawsuits: Rape is defined as the unlawful sexual intercourse or any other sexual penetration of the vagina, anus, or mouth of another person, that can be with or without force, and completed by a sex organ, another body part, or with a foreign object, completed without the consent of the victim. Sexual Molestation. Molestation, also known as sex abuse, is abusive sexual behavior, and is often perpetuated by using force and/or taking advantage of another. When the abuse is by an adult towards an adolescent, this is referred to as child sexual abuse or statutory rape. Sexual Battery. Sexual battery is often a crime that is sexual in nature but does not involve penetration. This may be unwanted sexual touching of intimate body parts through fraud or without consent. Indecent Exposure. Indecent exposure is regarded as the deliberate public exposure by a person of a portion of their body, often a sexual organ, in a manner that is contrary to standards of appropriate behavior. Aggravated Sexual Abuse. Aggravated sexual abuse often involve the use of force, fear, or threats of bodily injury, death or kidnapping to coerce a victim to engage in an unwanted sexual act. It can also occur when drugs are given to an unknowing victim in order to render the victim unconscious for sexual purposes. Other types of offenses that can give rise to sexual assault cases can include sex and human trafficking, prostitution, the purchase or sale of a child for sexual purposes, the possession or distribution of child pornography, and sexual harassment. PARTIES THAT CAN SUE FOR SEXUAL ASSAULT CRIMES IN CALIFORNIA Anyone who has been the victim of unwanted touching or an unwanted sexual act of any time can sue for the damages. If you have a question about whether you can seek civil restitution, speak to an attorney. In addition to the victim, family members may also be able to sue for damages if they meet one of the following criteria: The sexual assault or abuse resulted in the victim’s death. In this case the family of the victim can bring a wrongful death or survivor’s action on behalf of the victim’s estate. The family member witnessed the assault, resulting in a potential action for negligent infliction of emotional distress. The assault or abuse resulted in a loss of moral support, intimacy, or companionship to a spouse or registered domestic partner (called the loss of consortium.) WHAT IS NEEDED TO FILE A SEXAUL ASSAULT LAWSUIT A common question is whether or not a victim must file criminal charges before they can file a civil lawsuit. In California, victims are not required to obtain a criminal conviction, or even a police report, before they can sue for damages. This means that even if the assault or abuse was never reported to the police, a victim can still seek damages. While a police report and criminal charges are not necessary, they can be helpful in a civil damages case. If reported, and followed by an investigation, any evidence located may be helpful in a lawsuit. Additionally, going to the police may help in bolstering the victim’s credibility. It is not uncommon for victims to not go to police, however, as victims often fear being believed and mistreated. If a victim does report to the police and the District Attorney chooses to not pursue criminal prosecution, or accepts a plea bargain, victims may feel discouraged. In this situation, a victim may feel they do not have a strong civil case. This does not mean a victim should not bring a civil case, or that a civil case will not be successful. In a civil case, the victim will actually be a party to the proceedings, meaning they get to decide whether the case is settled outside of court or if it goes to a trial. Finally, in a civil lawsuit, the burden of proof is lower than in criminal cases. This means that while the District Attorney may not have been able to prosecute a case to prove the extremely high burden of proof, a civil attorney may be able to meet the lower burden of proof for civil liability. SEXUAL ASSAULT CIVIL LAWSUIT BURDEN OF PROOF There is a difference between the burden of proof required for criminal and civil lawsuits in California. For criminal cases, the guilt must be proven “beyond a reasonable doubt.” This is a high standard that can be hard to prove. In civil lawsuits, however, the burden is by a “preponderance of the evidence.” To satisfy this burden the jury must find that it is “more likely than not” that the defendant did in fact assault or abuse the victim. Another key difference is that in criminal trials it is necessary for all 12 jurors to agree on the defendant’s guilt before a conviction can be reached, while in civil cases it only takes 9 jurors to agree that the defendant is liable. STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS FOR SEXUAL ASSAULT CASES ADULT CASES In California, victims who were adults at the time of the sexual assault and abuse have two years from the date of the assault seek civil damages. The time period for criminal charges is often shorter. One exception is when the defendant...

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