A Personal History of Negligence – Is It Relevant?

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We all know individuals who are chronically clumsy or careless. These generally are not bad people; rather, they simply seem to routinely forget to take the precautions and protections necessary to keep themselves and those around them safe. While this can cause these individuals to develop a negative social reputation – individuals know to be on their guard whenever they are around such people – can this reputation be used in a personal injury lawsuit to help an injury victim prevail?

How Prior History Could Be Helpful to a Personal Injury Plaintiff

Plaintiffs who are injured by individuals known to be clumsy or negligent may wish to have this information presented to a judge or jury to help bolster their claim. The plaintiff could argue, for example, that because the defendant has a history of engaging in careless conduct that injures others, it is more likely than not true that the person engaged in careless behavior in the present case. In other words, the plaintiff could argue that while any defendant is capable of engaging in negligent conduct, a defendant with a reputation for clumsiness is more likely than others to have been careless in a personal injury incident.

The California Rules of Evidence and Evidence of Carelessness

Knowing the persuasive power of such evidence, the California Rules of Evidence prohibit a plaintiff from introducing evidence of a defendant’s character or reputation or of specific incidents of negligent behavior for the express purpose of creating an inference that the defendant is more likely to have committed a negligent act in the present case. To illustrate, the Rules of Evidence in California would not permit a plaintiff to introduce the fact that the defendant has been found at-fault in five previous car accidents to suggest to the judge or jury that the defendant is at fault in the present case.

There are exceptions to this general prohibition, however. First, evidence of prior acts or reputation can be admitted as evidence of the defendant’s motive or the lack of mistake. Also (and more significant), evidence of prior acts or reputation is admissible when used to rebut the defendant’s characterization of his or her habits or reputation. If the defendant in a car accident case testifies that he has a spotless driving record and is a careful driver, the plaintiff could then introduce evidence of prior car accidents in which the defendant has been involved to rebut the defendant’s testimony.  

Contact Case Barnett Law for Help with Your California Car Wreck Lawsuit

The experienced Orange County car accident lawyers at Case Barnett Law are thoroughly familiar with the rules of evidence applicable in California personal injury lawsuits. We know how to help you build a convincing case for compensation, and we will devote our firm’s resources to collecting the evidence you will need to prevail in your case. Call Case Barnett Law at (949) 861-2990, or reach out to the firm online for help today.

Multimillion Dollar Verdicts are Not Common in Personal Injury Lawsuits

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Headlines are littered with news reports and press releases of personal injury lawsuits and other similar cases in which the injured victims obtain millions of dollars in monetary damages. With the large number of such cases that are reported on by the media, one might be forgiven for assuming that the vast majority of personal injury lawsuits end with such large sums of money being awarded to the victim. This, in turn, can lead a person to seek out an attorney who claims to have a record of obtaining these types of judgments to handle his or her own personal injury lawsuit.

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The Truth Behind Multimillion Dollar Awards

In truth, only a small percentage of personal injury lawsuits end with the injury victim receiving millions – or even hundreds of thousands – of dollars in compensation. Those that do typically have several of the following factors in common:

  •      The victim was of a young age with few or no preexisting conditions that limited his or her life;
  •      The victim suffered a considerable amount of pain in the aftermath of the incident;
  •      The victim will be left permanently disabled in some way as a result of his or her injuries;
  •      The victim will require continuing medical treatment or medical assistance for a considerable length of time;
  •      The victim had children and/or a spouse who depended on the victim for love, companionship, and support;
  •      The victim was active in one or more activities prior to the incident, and as a result the victim may not be able to fully participate in these activities.

In addition, evidence that the at-fault party acted with extreme indifference, gross negligence, or deliberately caused the victim’s injuries can lead a court to impose punitive damages in addition to other economic and noneconomic damages.

What the Headlines Don’t Emphasize

Even where a victim obtains a multimillion dollar compensation award, this award may be reviewed by the trial court or one or more appellate courts. Any one of these courts may lower or throw out a judgment award they believe to be grossly unfair or disproportionate to the harm suffered by the victim. In other words, just because a victim was awarded a large sum of damages after a trial does not mean that he or she will actually get such an award, especially where the case was tried to a jury.

Can the Right Attorney Help Me Obtain More Compensation

To be sure, however, having the assistance of an experienced and skilled California personal injury attorney like a member of Case Barnett Law’s legal team can help increase the likelihood that you will receive a compensation award that fully and fairly compensates you for your injuries.  At Case Barnett Law, we carefully help our personal injury clients evaluate the losses they experienced as a result of their injury incident and then aggressively fight to help our clients obtain this compensation.  Contact us at (949) 861-2990, or complete our online form, and discuss your personal injury case with us today.

Nursing Home Saves Money at the Expense of its Patients. Ends up Being a $1 Million Dollar Mistake.

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L.F. v. Nursing Home

Case Barnett Law Corporation

Settlement: 1 Million Dollars

A lucrative nursing home in Orange County decided to save money on nursing staff. The nursing homes make more money by hiring fewer nurses than needed to provide appropriate care. Patients are then left in their own feces and urine for hours at a time. These patients frequently develop bedsores and other humiliating and painful injuries because they aren’t helped. Case Barnett Law made this facility pay.
91 year old L.F. ends up in the emergency room septic, with a bed sore, a 102 degree fever and a soiled diaper. She had been essentially forgotten about and left to die. Then, adding insult to injury, the nursing staff “backdated” their notes writing that they had recently bathed her and she had rolled herself in a wheelchair to the cafeteria smiling and laughing.
For two years the nursing facility refused to accept responsibility only offering $30,000, nuisance value to make the lawsuit go away. The family and Case Barnett Law refused to accept this. Like L.F., they are fighters. Case Barnett Law took more than 20 depositions and engaged in vigorous discovery to prove that the nursing home had neglected this beautiful woman. As part of the resolution, the facility must pay $1,000,000 to the family of L.F. and was forced to make changes in order to prevent this from happening to any one else ever again.