As a plaintiff, it is important to avoid doing unnecessary things that will strengthen the defendants’ position and essentially amount to your helping to make their case for them. This is particularly true when it comes to discovery in a personal injury case. One must disclose and divulge what the rules demand, but there may also be many good reasons to reject a defendant’s request when the law says that you are not obligated to acquiesce. In the recent case of an injured truck driver, the California Court of Appeal decided that the plaintiff did not have to participate in an examination that the defense wanted to conduct, since that type of discovery wasn’t covered by the discovery statute.
In any vehicle accident case, the facts of the case will be unique in various ways. If you, as a plaintiff, have medical conditions that make you uniquely susceptible to injury, and you suffered greater injuries due to your condition, the law says that you should not be penalized for your condition. The case of a woman injured in a Northern California car crash highlighted this “eggshell plaintiff” rule, with a jury awarding her almost $3 million in damages due to the knee, back, and mental injuries she suffered.
A man who was seriously injured by a car that had hydroplaned received a favorable ruling recently from the California Court of Appeal that allowed him to resume pursuing his case against a tow truck company that moved his vehicle. The man’s case raised a possible dispute of fact regarding whether the tow truck driver violated a duty to the man by failing to remove him and his vehicle from a busy freeway during a rainstorm.
When you’ve been injured by a driver’s negligence, you have several important steps that are before you. You must decide if you will sue, when you will sue, and whom you will sue, among other things. Getting the fullest recovery possible under the law is, in part, based upon making these choices correctly. A recent California Court of Appeal case involving a teenage pedestrian struck along a Northern California road offers some helpful insight on when you may and may not sue a negligent driver’s employer for your injuries.
In a personal injury case, you have a lot of important decisions to make. One of those is whether to accept or reject a settlement offer. This is one of many areas where experienced counsel can help immensely. Whether it is wise or unwise to accept a settlement may depend greatly on whether that settlement constitutes a “998 offer” under the California statutes. In another recent case exploring the criteria for valid 998 offers, the California Court of Appeal upheld a ruling against a driver because the release she included as part of the offer she extended was too broad to qualify as a 998 offer.
Pursuing your personal injury case can involve many complex steps. The law allows a variety of techniques for presenting your case. In fact, there may be a point in your case at which you bring forward multiple contentions, some of which may seem to be in conflict with one another. The law allows you to present alternative claims for liability and alternative factual allegations, and, according to a recent California Court of Appeal case, the use of this technique should not be considered to be a “sham” and disallowed.
There are a lot of things that go into pursuing a personal injury case, including many decisions that must be made and procedural hurdles that must be cleared. At any of a number of points in the process, making a wrong choice in how you pursue your case can cause you to lose, on procedural grounds, your opportunity to obtain the compensation you deserve. That’s what makes tackling your personal injury case on your own so risky. Just as you know all the nuances in your career field, your injury attorney readily knows all of the laws, rules, and procedural hoops that must be complied with simply to get your day in court. One injured Northern California man’s case provided a stark example, since his procedural errors led the court to throw out a default judgment in his favor and also dismiss his case entirely.
Settlement offers are part of many personal injury cases. Weighing whether to accept or reject an offer can be complicated, especially when you receive a statutory settlement offer in your California injury lawsuit. Rejecting such an offer and then obtaining a judgment that is less than the offered settlement amount could mean that you’re on the hook for paying some of the other side’s court costs. One injured Northern California motorcyclist escaped such a fate, even though the judgment he received was less than the amount offered, since the California Court of Appeal decided that the terms of the other side’s offer did not comply with the law’s requirements.
This case began with an auto accident in Alameda County. Seventeen-year-old Jacy Rasnick was driving her father’s car when she ran a stop sign and struck a motorcycle driven by Charles Sanford. Sanford sued the driver and her father for his injuries. The Rasnicks, through their lawyer, extended a statutory “998 offer” in the amount of $130,000. The Rasnicks conditioned this offer on Sanford’s entering into a settlement agreement and general release with them.
A recent decision by the California Court of Appeal upheld a jury verdict in favor of a truck driver in a fatal accident. Even though the truck driver backed over a contractor, causing the contractor’s death, and the truck driver had smoked marijuana two days earlier, the contractor’s family’s wrongful death case failed anyway. In any negligence case, the plaintiff must prove causation, and, in this case, the dead man’s family was unable to persuade the jury that the truck driver’s marijuana use, not the contractor’s inattentiveness, caused the contractor’s death.
The lawsuit arose after the tragic death of Dan Toste. Toste, a general contractor on an asphalt project on State Route 135, was working when a construction truck driven by Paul Michaelson backed over him. After the accident, Michaelson voluntarily took a drug test, which revealed quantities of marijuana in his system. The truck driver admitted he had smoked two days before the incident in order to treat a headache. Toste’s son sued Michaelson, his employer, and the asphalt supplier on the project, asserting claims of negligence and wrongful death.
Before you sign a waiver agreement, it is important to understand just how broad that agreement’s coverage is. In a recent case before the California Court of Appeal, a man injured in an auto accident was not allowed to sue the driver at fault for the accident, nor the owner of the vehicle, because the accident was a “related activity” that was covered by a waiver the man signed with a religious-based substance abuse recovery home where he was residing at the time.
The accident occurred when David Richardson, an employee of In His Steps Christian Recovery Home, Inc., drove one of the home’s participants, Robert Murphy, to the DMV to get a state ID card, which Murphy needed in order to apply for public assistance. On their way to the DMV branch, Richardson ran a red light and crashed into another vehicle. Murphy was injured in the accident. Murphy sued Richardson, the home, and one of the home’s board members (who owned the van in which Murphy and Richardson were riding when the accident occurred) for negligence. The home, the employee, and the board member asked the trial court to issue a summary judgment in their favor. Murphy could not win his case, they asserted, because he had signed a waiver when he first entered the home’s program, and that waiver provision prohibited him from launching any lawsuits, such as this one, related to the home’s “help and assistance given … or related activities.”