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Bakersfield Personal Injury Lawyer

Every year in Bakersfield, people are injured due to the recklessness or carelessness of another person or company. Whether your injuries were caused by a vehicle accident, a construction accident, an accidental fall, a defective product, a dog bite, sexual assault, or some other cause, if someone else was at fault for your accident, you deserve just compensation for your injury. Contact a skilled personal injury attorneys today at Gomez Trial Attorneys to review your case and discuss your recovery options.

Gomez Trial Attorneys: Local Attorneys With National Reputations

If you have been injured, and it’s someone else’s fault, Gomez Trial Attorneys can help. We are an award-winning law firm and haverecovered $500 million for personal injury victims over the past two decades. Our offices are right here in Bakersfield.

Our only focus is obtaining justice for people who have been injured or otherwise harmed through negligence or intentional misconduct. In the past year, for instance, we won a $16.2 million settlement for a slip and fall accident. While we cannot, of course, guarantee that any single personal injury case we take on will receive damage compensation that large, past results are a sign of how hard we fight for justice—and how hard we can fight for you. We seek the best outcome possible for every personal injury case.

We know that many hard-working people in Bakersfield may be hesitant to contact a personal injury attorney because they are anxious about payment. There is no need to worry: Our first consultation regarding your case is always free.

What Is Personal injury?

Personal injury law covers injury to the body, emotions, or mind that another party caused. The other party can be another person, a company, or an organization, such as a nursing home.

Three elements need to exist in a personal injury case. First, the other party must have been negligent. Negligence, in legal terms, is failure to show the duty of care a reasonably prudent person shows.

Duty of care is a legal concept as well, and while most people may not have heard the term, we do know that we are expected to go through life not causing harm. When we get behind the wheel of a car, we are expected to operate it safely and not drive recklessly. That’s a driver’s duty of care. Construction companies are expected to make sure working conditions are as safe as possible. Store owners and landlords are expected to keep their property in good repair for customers and tenants. Doctors and nursing homes should exercise good judgment in medical care and perform their duties properly.

When a reasonable duty of care has not been observed, the law refers to it as a breach in the duty of care. Such a breach is negligence. It can most vividly be seen in examples. A car driver who gets behind the wheel drunk has breached a duty of care to drive safely. A construction company that fails to provide safety equipment and requires work in dangerous conditions has breached a duty of care. A store owner who doesn’t clean up spilled liquid properly and a landlord who doesn’t repair faulty wiring both their breach duties of care.

To successfully bring a personal injury case, you must show that

  • The party who injured you owed you a duty of care. EXAMPLE: A landlord owes all tenants a duty of care to maintain a premises safely, and to repair any unsafe areas.
  • The duty of care was breached. EXAMPLE: If stairs are damaged and unsafe in a building, a landlord must fix the stairs within a reasonable period of time.
  • The breached directly caused your injuries. EXAMPLE: Your child has fallen down the stairs and broken both an arm and a leg because of the damage.

A negligent party is likely liable for your injuries when all these conditions are met.

Types of Bakersfield Personal Injury Cases

While these are just a few examples of personal injury cases, the range of potential personal injury cases is broad Personal injury cases might include the following:

What Types of Injuries Happen in a Bakersville Personal Injury Case?

Personal injury covers any type of injury or harm that can occur as a result of accidents such as the above, from traumatic brain injury (TBI) in a car accident to burns from an exploding e-cigarette (a type of product liability). Here is a quick summary of common types of injuries that can occur in personal injury cases.

Vehicle Accidents

Accidents involving cars, bicycles, pedestrians, motorcycles, and trucks can include:

  • Broken bones
  • Cuts
  • Bruises
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Sprains
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Road rash
  • Burns
  • Scars and disfigurement
  • Internal organ injuries

Construction Accidents

Construction sites are some of the most dangerous workplaces in the United States. Serious and fatal accidents unfortunately occur often enough that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) terms the following injuries the Fatal Four:

  • Falls
  • Electrocution
  • Struck-bys (workers injured from objects that strike them, such as a hammer falling from a height)
  • Caught-betweens (workers injured from being caught between two things, such as a truck and wall)

Other types of construction accidents can result from a lack of duty of care, such as not maintaining safe working conditions on the site.

Dog Bites

Dog bites can cause serious injury, especially if the dog is large and the person bitten smaller (such as a child). California law holds that a dog’s owner is strictly liable if their dog bites someone in a public place or a private place where the victim lawfully was (such as a private home). Strictly liable means the owner is responsible for the injury regardless of the duty of care observed or intent to harm. Dog bites can cause cuts, bruises, internal injuries, spinal cord injuries, infections, scars, and disfigurement. Blood loss from a dog bite can be fatal.

Premises Liability

Owners of premises are responsible for keeping the areas safe. Store owners, for instance, must keep stores safe for the public, as must hotel owners, shopping mall owners, and so on. Landlords must keep their buildings and grounds safe for tenants.

Slipping and falling in any kind of building (or grounds) can result in cuts, bruises, sprains, broken bones, TBIs, spinal cord injuries, and internal injuries.

Product Liability

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If products cause injuries or harm to those who use them, the makers of those products can be liable for injuries. The range of injuries in product liability cases is very broad, just because products themselves vary so widely.

Some toys are unsafe and explode when used, for example. Some children’s pajamas are flammable. E-cigarettes can catch fire in a user’s pockets. Some commonly prescribed drugs and medical devices are dangerous and cause septic shock, high blood pressure, stroke, and other conditions. Some car tires blow out far before the tire should even have worn tread.

Because of the multiplicity of potential harm products can do, they can cause almost every type of injury, from internal bleeding and broken bones to TBIs.

Sexual Abuse and Assault

More and more, society is taking sexual abuse and assault seriously—and understanding how widespread these types of personal injuries are.

Sexual abuse and assault can cause physical injuries such as cuts, bruises, internal injuries, sexually transmitted diseases, and infections. If the assaults are severe, they can cause broken bones, TBIs, and spinal cord injuries.

Sexual abuse and assault can also cause mental and emotional trauma that can last for years.

Medical Malpractice

We expect medical personnel and healthcare systems to heal us, not to do harm. But in fact, doctors and other practitioners can fail to exercise the proper duty of care in many ways. They may misdiagnose a condition, fail to read charts properly, choose an incorrect method of treatment or follow it improperly, and even leave surgical implements in a patient after surgery.

All these errors or failures constitute medical malpractice. People can fail to get better because of misdiagnosis or receiving the wrong treatment. They can suffer allergic reactions to the wrong type of drug. Failure to diagnose properly can prove fatal.

Nursing Home Abuse

Nursing homes and assisted living facilities owe a duty to their residents to provide safe care and proper treatment for their conditions. But unfortunately, abuse of all types does occur in nursing homes.

Elder abuse is widespread in California and across the United States. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines elder abuse as “an intentional act, or failure to act, by a caregiver or another person in a relationship involving an expectation of trust that causes or creates a risk of harm to an older adult.”

Elder abuse includes the following:

  • Physical abuse
  • Emotional abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Neglect (failure to provide a clean and safe environment)
  • Abandonment
  • Exploitation

Because these areas are so broad, elder abuse can cause a wide number of injuries.

Physical abuse, for example, can cause physical injuries, such as fractured bones or burns. Emotional abuse can cause mental anguish and cause the elderly to withdraw from all social interaction. Sexual abuse can result in sexually transmitted diseases and mental distress. Abandonment can be very dangerous to older adults, resulting in falls or illnesses caused by a lack of appropriate medication. Exploitation means using an older person’s money or access to them for personal gain (such as living in their house without an appropriate relationship or permission), so the injury can be emotional and financial.

Types of Compensation From Bakersfield Personal Injury Case

Personal injury cases are designed to obtain economic justice for the harm an injury or other wrongdoing does.

While some personal injury cases, such as sexual abuse and assault or financial elder abuse, may also be crimes, a personal injury case does not attempt to convict the at-fault party for a crime. That is the responsibility of prosecutors and criminal courts. Personal injury lawyers operate in civil courts to bring claims on behalf of victims, for damage compensation.

If you or a loved one was been injured by a negligent party, you might seek compensation for both economic and non-economic damage, as follows:

Economic Damages

  • Medical bills, including doctor’s visits, surgery, hospitalizations, prescription medication, physical therapy, and more
  • Expected future medical bills
  • Wages lost from work, if you needed to take time off work for treatment and recuperation
  • Expected future wages lost from work
  • Property damage, if the injury has also resulted in property damage (such as a car accident)

Non-Economic Damages

  • Pain and suffering that the injury caused
  • Emotional distress stemming from either the accident or even or from the injuries, including trauma and lasting anxiety or depression
  • Loss of enjoyment of life if you are no longer able to do favorite activities or hobbies.
  • Loss of consortium because of loss of companionship or loss of intimacy in a marriage or relationship (These damages are sought on behalf of a spouse)

In some cases, the court can award punitive damages if it considers the defendant’s behavior particularly harmful or egregious. As the term implies, the court hands down these damages to punish the defendant. A drug maker who knew a given medication was likely to cause harm but manufactured and sold the drug anyway while failing to warn either healthcare practitioners or patients, for example, may face punitive damages.

Bakersfield Personal Injury FAQ

Personal injuries have the power to put your life on hold. They occur when negligent people, corporations, or organizations cause or contribute to preventable accidents. Those individuals’ actions may cause mild, serious, and sometimes catastrophic injuries. Injured people can experience emotional and psychological effects, as well. The financial costs of medical treatment, surgical intervention, rehabilitation, and disability may continue for a lifetime.

Personal injuries occur suddenly and accidentally. They occur everywhere, so they’re difficult to avoid. That’s why we’ve created this Bakersfield Personal Injury FAQ and provided answers. We believe our clients need to understand the personal and legal consequences of a personal injury.

Who determines if I have a legitimate Bakersfield personal injury claim?

When you’re injured due to someone else’s negligence, a personal injury attorney can listen to your story and help determine who is legally responsible. An attorney can explain your potential for recovering damages and your most viable recovery methods. If you decide to move forward with your case, a personal injury attorney will work to resolve your damage claim with the responsible parties and their insurers. Attorneys sometimes mediate cases to reach an agreement with the adverse parties. If an attorney can’t settle your claim informally, then he or she will sometimes file a lawsuit and let a judge or jury decide the case.

Sometimes, the responsible party’s insurance carrier decides that its insured is liable, and the company may contact you to settle your claim. While you have the right to proceed on your own, you shouldn’t expect insurance claim representatives to offer a fair initial settlement. Insurance companies are focused on their bottom lines. It’s their job to resolve claims, but often they settle cases as economically as possible.

Are Bakersfield property owners always liable for injuries on their premises?

When you sustain an injury, you must prove that a property owner (or the business owner who rents the property) is responsible. To prove legal liability, you must show that the owner’s actions were negligent based on a traditional negligence formula.

You must prove the following elements of negligence:

  • Duty owed: In California, a property owner owes you the duty of ordinary care to ensure your safety. Ordinary care for a property owner includes proper maintenance, inspection, repair, and warning of hazards. These duties apply to sidewalks, staircases, floors, pools, and other areas of a property. When a property owner’s dog bites someone, the owner is strictly liable for the damages regardless of negligence.
  • Duty breached: When property owners fail to meet their duties, they are responsible for the damages that result.
  • Proximate cause: The injuries claimed must relate to the owner’s failure to comply with his or her duties.
  • Damages: The damages claimed must relate to the injuries that occurred due to the breach of duty.

Negligence standards also apply to vehicle crashes. Each involved driver pays for damages based on his or her negligence percentage.

How do I prove that someone else is liable for my injuries?

Evidence is the key to proving legal responsibility for a claim. That’s why it’s so important to preserve evidence as soon as possible after any type of accident or event. Whether you were injured in a slip-and-fall, an auto accident, or a product incident, you must do what you can to document the circumstances before everything changes.

If possible, take the following steps to preserve evidence immediately:

  • Use your cell phone camera to take photos of an accident location and the surrounding area.
  • If you’re in a vehicle accident, take photos of the damage on each car or truck and the post-accident resting positions.
  • Get names and contact information of any witnesses to the accident.
  • Never turn over a defective product to the manufacturer, seller, or a claim representative. You should treat a defective product as evidence that can help you prove your case.

Attorneys will investigate their clients’ accidents as soon as possible. Attorneys understand that documenting evidence is one of the most important aspects of developing a liability case.

What role do my own insurance carriers play when I’m injured in Bakersfield?

When you’re injured, you should review your insurance policies and make any required reports to your insurers. They may get involved in your liability case, depending on the type of coverage that you have.

Auto insurance. Vehicle insurance companies require you to report any claim to which your coverage might apply. If you delay your report and jeopardize their rights, they may reserve the right to deny coverage at a later time or deny coverage outright.

Insurance companies will request a copy of your accident report because:

  • They must determine your liability and assess any damages they owe on your behalf.
  • Even if you believe you’re not at fault, your insurer has a right to determine its own position on liability.
  • If the other person is at fault, your insurer needs to evaluate the liability issues to determine its subrogation rights.
  • Auto insurance policies sometimes include medical payment coverage that may pay your bills if you’re injured.
  • You may also have a valid uninsured motorist claim.

Workers’ compensation insurance. Your employer owes medical bills and lost wages for on-the-job injuries. You should turn in a claim even if you believe you have a valid liability claim against someone else.

Health insurance. Even if you believe that the other person caused your injuries, medical providers don’t want to treat you until you show proof of your own insurance. If you file a claim against a responsible party, you need insurance to pay your bills during your recovery and up until the point where you settle your claim.

How does subrogation affect me?

If your insurance company has a right to recover damages paid on your behalf, then it will expect you to cooperate and support its efforts. Most auto insurance policies have subrogation provisions that give insurers the right to recover paid damages. Insurers determine liability by investigating their insured’s claims. If insurance companies pay damages to their insured, and the other person is at fault, they will place the at-fault party on notice and attempt to recover the damages once they resolve their insured’s pending claims.

If the responsible party has liability insurance, a subrogation representative deals directly with the insurance company. If the other person doesn’t have liability insurance, the insurance company will recover damages informally or file a subrogation suit. As an insured, you must cooperate and protect your insurer’s subrogation rights if you file a lawsuit against the responsible party. If you receive a settlement for damages that your insurance company paid, you must pay your insurer back or work out a sharing agreement.

Do I need an attorney to recover damages for my Bakersfield personal injury claim?

Personal injury Attorney John Gomez

John Gomez, Bakersfield Personal Injury Lawyer

A Bakersfield personal injury attorney makes the process easier. When you deal directly with a liability insurance company, you have no way of knowing if the company is treating you fairly. Personal injury attorneys understand the liability and damage issues, so they know how to properly evaluate your claim. When an attorney negotiates a settlement, he or she will recognize when an insurance company isn’t acting in good faith.

When you schedule a legal consultation with a Bakersfield personal injury attorney at Gomez Trial Attorneys, the appointment is free, and no one will pressure you to make an immediate decision. You simply discuss your accident and injuries with an attorney and learn more about your legal options.

The Bakersfield Personal injury Firm That Gets Results

Gomez Trial Attorneys is here if you were injured or harmed by another party in Bakersville. The first consultation to discuss your case is always free. We are paid only out of any settlement or judgment you receive, and if we cannot recover compensation in your case, you don’t owe us a thing. We are ready to fight to do justice on your behalf.

Call today to make an initial consultation appointment at (619) 237-3490, or contact us online.


Gomez Trial Attorneys
1825, 18th Street
Bakersfield, CA 93301
(619) 237-3490

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