In California, when you are injured, there are several things you need to keep in mind.
As a California personal injury law firm, we know this rule of comparative negligence applies in California, and it is important to understand. This rule states that you may have been the injured party, but if you are found to be partially negligent yourself, your settlement may be reduced or denied.
Let’s look at an example. You are trespassing in someone’s back yard. Their dog bites you. You are injured, and their dog bit you, but you should not have been on their property. Your settlement, if you get one, will be considerably lower than if the dog had approached you on the street and bit you.
Burden of Proof
In a personal injury case, the “burden of proof” is on the plaintiff. That means that to win a settlement, you must have an ironclad case that proves the other party was negligent.
Proving your case depends on what evidence you can present. Witnesses who were at the scene and willing to give statements are a valuable asset in a personal injury case. Sometimes, an expert witness may be used to testify on behalf of the plaintiff to back up claims.
Calling in Expert Witnesses
At times, it may be necessary to call in expert witnesses to have them testify. As an expert in a particular field, they will bring credibility to the plaintiff’s case.
In personal injury cases, expert witnesses in the following fields are frequently consulted with and brought in on cases:
- Accident Reconstruction
The Importance of Evidence
Evidence can make or break your personal injury case. It is important that you collect contact information at the scene of the incident. If you are unable to, ask another person to help you. Many people assume that the police will do that for them, but it’s not always the case.
So, witnesses play a huge role in supporting written evidence collected after the event. Make sure that you have copies of all medical bills and records of lost wages.
Do All Personal Injury Cases Require a Lawyer?
No, nothing says you should use a personal injury lawyer. If you are hurt, and it’s obvious that the other party was a fault, you may be able to negotiate your own settlement. Anything that gets more complicated than that, it would be a good idea to hire a personal injury attorney.
If you require witnesses, especially expert witnesses, then a lawyer can help with that. They can also help to brief witnesses from the scene and check to see that they will testify on your behalf. If the opposing party is denying liability, your case may be too tricky to handle on your own with limited legal experience.
Put the Odds in Your Favor
Don’t come to the table without everything available to you. If a witness from the scene will testify for you, then ask them for their assistance. If you or your lawyer feel that an expert witness would help your case, then get their help too. A lot is riding on the evidence that you can produce. It can make or break your claim.