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When Do I Get My Personal Injury Compensation Award?

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Those injured in a serious personal injury accident – as well as the surviving family members of decedents killed in a fatal injury accident – usually have two overriding concerns on their minds when they visit with a personal injury law firm. First, these injury victims and family members want to know if they have a viable case. Answering this question requires our legal team to analyze the facts and circumstances of the person’s situation and utilize our knowledge of the law to render an informed opinion as to whether the person has a realistic opportunity to recover compensation for his or her injuries and losses.

The second most common question – and an equally compelling question, too – that injury victims want answered is this: “How long will it take to get my compensation award?” This is understandable considering that many injury victims are facing significant financial hardships due to medical bills and decreased wages. Unfortunately, it is not always as easy to determine when an injury victim will actually get the money in his or her hands.

If Your Case Settles Before Trial

If you and the at-fault party in your civil action decide to settle your case, then the settlement agreement will usually indicate when and how the defendant in your case is to pay you. This is typically true if you and the defendant settled the case yourselves or if a mediator assisted in brokering the agreement. Because a settlement agreement should be an enforceable contract, you should be entitled to additional damages and/or other legal relief if the defendant fails to pay within the time specified.

If You Win Your Case at Trial

If your case proceeds to trial and you prevail, the judge will enter an order fixing the amount of compensation the defendant must pay and the time within which he or she should pay. This timeframe can be paused if the defendant decides to appeal the trial’s result, legal issues that arose during the trial, and/or the amount of compensation ordered by the court. If the defendant does file an appeal, then the defendant is usually not required to pay until after the appeal has been resolved. Depending on the number of cases that must be decided before your own at the appellate level, this can take months or (in some cases) years.

If You Arbitrate Your Case

If you submit your case to an arbitrator, the arbitrator will fix the amount of time the defendant has to pay you. However, like a trial, the defendant may be permitted to appeal the arbitrator’s decisions to a court (and then appeal any adverse decisions the court makes to an appellate court). Again, it can take months – or even years – in order for the case to be finally resolved in your favor and the defendant to begin making payments.

Case Barnet Law Firm is a California personal injury firm committed to helping injury victims recover the compensation they need following a catastrophic personal injury accident. Contact the firm at (949) 861-2990 today for assistance, or complete our firm’s online contact form.

Is Your Child at Risk of a Daycare Injury Accident?

 

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For many California parents, daycare is not a luxury – it is a necessity. When a parent lives away from friends and family members who are able to stay with the child with the parent is at work, a daycare facility is usually the parent’s last resort – somewhere where the child can be safe and supervised while the parent is away at work. When using a daycare facility, the parent may be lulled into a false sense of security: The regulations and laws with which a daycare facility in California must comply in order to continue operations can make a parent feel confident that their child will return to them from the daycare facility uninjured and in good health. This is not always the case, however.

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Common Daycare Injuries to Children

As much as parents may not wish to dwell on the thought, a daycare can be a dangerous place for a young child. Some children have been injured through deliberate acts inflicted upon them by daycare staff, but a child can suffer serious – even fatal – injuries simply because a daycare worker acted carelessly or had a momentary lapse of judgment. Just a few of the injuries that can befall a young child while at daycare include:

  •      Falls down steps or falls from heights which can lead to traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, or even death;
  •      Cuts and serious lacerations from sharp objects like scissors or knives that are left in areas accessible to children, or from sharp corners on tables and other furniture;
  •      Serious burns of various types. Chemical burns can result from being exposed to powerful cleaners and disinfectants (even the fumes can cause internal injuries). Electrical burns can come about if the child is permitted to play with an active electrical socket. Heat burns can occur when the child is permitted to touch a hot stove or radiator.
  •     Traumatic brain injuries, neck and back injuries, broken bones, and other injuries commonly associated with car accidents if the child is being transported in a daycare vehicle and the driver is involved in a crash.

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Parents of daycare-age children should carefully investigate a daycare facility before enrolling their children in the facility. Ensure that the facility is properly certified by the State of California. Tour the building and speak with the teachers, assistants, and staff. Does it appear that there are too many children and not enough adults? Are children supervised or do they appear to run wild? Are the facility, toys, and equipment in a good state of repair or are things falling apart? When it comes to your child’s safety, go with your gut – if you do not feel comfortable leaving your child at the facility for eight hours or more each day, it may be advisable to find another facility.

When to Call a Southern California Daycare Injury Attorney

If your child was injured while at a California daycare, you may be entitled to compensation for your expenses and losses. Contact Case Barnett Law Firm at (949) 861-2990 today, or contact us online to discuss your case.

Hollywood Screenwriter Settles Defective Medical Device Claim for $4.2 Million

Product liability claims for defective medical devices can arise under a number of different situations, but frequently come about when a medical device that was not properly tested injures a patient. This type of personal injury lawsuit is very common as the sale of medical devices is a massive industry that brings in approximately $85 billion-per-year, according to DrugWatch.com. Additionally, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) only lightly regulates medical devices, and once the FDA clears a particular medical device, physicians may use the the device however they deem fit.

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According to StatNews.com, a defective medical device lawsuit filed in Southern California was recently settled outside of court for $4.2 million. In this case, the plaintiff was experiencing numbness and pain in his hands and went in for surgery to relieve the discomfort. Although the surgery initially appeared to be a success, the man later experienced trouble speaking, his left eye drooped, and he developed terrible pain in various body parts including his neck, arms, and hands. Experts determined that these unintended side effects were caused by the implant that surgeons had fused into the man’s neck in order to relieve his original hand pain. StatNews.com reports that the implant had not been approved to replace a bone in the neck, which is how it had been used in this case. The man settled his case with the hospital for $4.2 million, and with the manufacturer of the medical device, Medtronic, for an undisclosed amount.

 

Medical Devices and Off-Label Medical Device Uses

 

Although Medtronic has already settled the defective medical device claim outlined above outside of court, the company is also facing a whistleblower lawsuit which claims that the it gained approval for the device from the FDA under false pretenses and that the device is being regularly used for unintended purposes, reports StatNews.com. Plaintiffs in the case claim that the medical device was specifically labeled as “not for cervical spine use”, and yet the company made it known that the device was in fact meant to be used in the cervical spine based on marketing emails and the small size of the device itself. In rebuttal, Medtronic maintains that its company policy is to only promote their products for FDA approved purposes.

 

Types of Defective Product Liability Claims

 

If you have been injured by a defective medical device it is important to note that product liability claims for defective medical devices come in three different forms. The three types of defective product liability claims in the United States are:

  1. Defectively manufactured medical devices,
  2. Medical devices with a defective design, and
  3. Defectively marketed medical devices.

 

Need Legal Advice?

 

If you have been injured by a defective medical device and would like to file a personal injury claim, contact the Case Barnett Law Firm today. Our experienced personal injury lawyers would be happy to discuss your legal options with you during a free consultation. Our office in Newport Beach can be reached by calling (949) 861-2990.

Personal Injury Claims Filed Across California Due to Malfunctioning E-Cigarettes

Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 9.31.07 AMIn the last few years electronic cigarettes, or “e-cigarettes” as they are commonly called, have become increasingly popular across California. An e-cigarette is a cigarette-shaped device that vaporizes a nicotine based liquid that the user inhales in order to simulate the experience of smoking a traditional tobacco cigarette. While researchers are not sure of the long-term health ramifications associated with using e-cigarettes, many people are switching from traditional to electronic cigarettes because of perceived health benefits. However, e-cigarettes may pose an unexpected risk to your health. An article in the National Law Review reports that there are a rising number of e-cigarette malfunctions occurring in California. Malfunctions are occurring in a number of different ways, including exploding and catching fire, and are causing serious bodily injuries. As a result, product liability lawsuits for personal injury claims are being filed across California.

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Malfunctioning E-Cigarettes

 

The National Law Review reports that numerous e-cigarettes have exploded or caught fire due to a defective heating element. E-cigarettes work by heating a nicotine based liquid to its boiling point via a heating element that is often powered by a lithium ion battery. If the battery overheats it can combust or explode. A malfunctioning e-cigarette can be particularly dangerous due to the fact that users generally hold the device in their hand or between their lips while smoking.

 

California’s Product Liability Laws

 

In California, as in other states, we have product liability laws designed to protect consumers who are injured by a product that has a design defect, a manufacturing defect, or did not include sufficient warnings or instructions. These laws generally hold manufacturers, as well as sellers and retailers involved in the product’s chain of distribution, liable for compensating parties who are injured by their product. However, before an injured party can win their case, they must prove that their injury was caused by a defect in the product. Because California embraces a strict liability approach to product liability claims, the injured party does not need to show that the defendant was negligent in allowing the product to be unreasonably dangerous.

 

California’s Statute of Limitations

 

Most states have statutes of limitation that limit the timeframe in which an injured party can file a personal injury claim based on a defective product. In California, under California’s Code of Civil Procedure section 335.1, there is a statute of limitations that bars recovery for product liability claims that are filed more than two years after the injury was discovered. Therefore, if you have been injured by an e-cigarette in California do not wait too long before filing your lawsuit or else you may not be able to recover compensation for your injuries.

 

Need Legal Advice?

 

If you have been injured by a malfunctioning e-cigarette in California and would like to discuss your legal rights, contact the Case Barnett Law Firm today. Our experienced personal injury lawyers would be happy to meet with you during a free consultation. Our office in Newport Beach can be reached by calling (949) 861-2990.

Personal Injury Claims and Pokémon Go

Screen Shot 2016-08-08 at 2.03.14 PM.pngAs the Pokémon GO craze sweeps the nation, young and old alike are taking to the streets in mass in search of the elusive Pokémon. In case you haven’t heard, Pokémon GO is an augmented reality game produced by Nintendo that users play on their smartphones. The app encourages its users to go out into the real world in search of virtual Pokémon characters that can only be seen by looking through the camera on your phone. The game is wildly popular and, according to the Newport Beach Indy, boasts 30 millions downloads and $35 million in revenue in less than a month. The Newport Beach Indy also notes that there are several popular spots in Newport Beach where Pokémon can be found including Balboa Island, Dover Shores, Newport Beach Civic Center, and Crystal Cove State Park.

 

While Pokémon GO is undoubtedly fun, and can take credit for getting its users off the couch and out of the house, users are becoming so engrossed in the game that some people aren’t paying enough attention to their surroundings and are getting hurt. Dopplr.com reports that a rash of concerning personal injuries have been reported across the country including:

  • July 12: Teenage girl breaks her collarbone and foot in Pennsylvania after being hit by a car while playing Pokémon GO.
  • July 12: Teenager is bitten by snake while playing Pokémon GO in Texas.
  • July 12: A man in New York is injured after crashing his car into a tree while playing Pokémon GO.
  • July 13: Two distracted men survive a fall off of a cliff in southern California while playing Pokémon GO.
  • July 18: A distracted driver hits a police car while playing Pokémon GO in Baltimore.

 

Can Nintendo Be Held Liable For These Injuries?

 

While reports of Pokémon GO related injuries continue to surface, many people are wondering if Nintendo will soon be facing a rash of personal injury lawsuits? An interesting report from CNN claims that the liability issues surrounding augmented reality games, such as Pokémon GO, represent a new legal frontier. The report notes that the Pokémon GO app contains a comprehensive Terms of Service Agreement that users are required to agree to before they are allowed to play the game. Nintendo’s Terms of Service Agreement protects the company from being sued by its users for property damage, injuries, and even death. In other words, users agree to play Pokémon GO at their own risk. However, CNN points out that non-users do not sign the Terms of Service Agreement and are therefore are not precluded from suing if they are injured by Pokémon GO players. These non-users may potentially be able to sue the app or even be sued themselves. While Nintendo has tried its best to shield itself from liability, so many people are being injured while playing Pokémon GO that we will likely see at least a few related lawsuits surface in the near future. These lawsuits will help define how much liability videogame makers incur for augmented reality games.

 

Need Legal Advice?

 

If you are interested in pursuing a personal injury claim in southern California, contact the Case Barnett Law Firm today for a free consultation. Our personal injury lawyers are committed to obtaining justice for our clients and would be happy to discuss your legal options with you. Our office in Newport Beach can be reached at (949) 861-2990.

 

See Related Links

 

Can I Sue For A Slip and Fall in a Public Place?

Fourth Of July Aftermath: Personal Injury Claims For Firework Accidents

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While many of us associate the Fourth of July with fireworks and fun, the unfortunate reality is that thousands of people sustain firework-related injuries every year on Independence Day. Unfortunately, this year a nine-year-old girl in Southern California was seriously injured when fireworks exploded next to her at Burrell-MacDonald Park in Compton. According to the South Gate-Lynwood Patch, the little girl lost fingers on her right hand, suffered burns on her face, and injured her left hand so badly that it had to be amputated. While it is unclear at this time whether or not the little girl’s family will file a personal injury claim on her behalf, it is important for the public to know that victims who are injured in firework accidents may be able to recover damages for their injuries by filing a personal injury claim.

 

Personal Injury Claims To Recoup For Firework-Related Injuries

 

Determining whether some individual or company can legally be held liable for your firework-related injury can be complicated as there are a number of different legal theories that may apply. For example, one legal theory of liability that often applies in these types of personal injury cases is the legal concept of negligence. The theory of negligence can be a bit complicated but essentially holds a party liable for injuries sustained by the victim if that party failed to exercise the level of care that a reasonable person would have been expected to exercise given the circumstances. Essentially, a person is often deemed to have acted negligently if they acted in a careless manner and as a result someone else was hurt. For example, if a teenager intentionally shoots a firework at his friend and that friend is injured when the firework explodes in his face, a court would likely find that the teenager acted negligently and is liable for his friend’s injuries. Determining liability can be tricky and therefore it is always a good idea to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer about your claim.

 

Safety Tips

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According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s 2015 Annual Firework Report, an estimated 11,900 people went to the hospital due to firework-related injuries in 2015 and 11 people died. Given the prevalence of firework-related injuries across the United States, it is a good idea to review the American Pyrotechnics Association (APA) list of safety tips before lighting those leftover Fourth of July fireworks that are sitting in your garage. A few of the APA’s key safety tips include:

  • Read all instructions carefully before lighting your fireworks,
  • Never let children light fireworks without supervision,
  • Only light one firework at a time,
  • Always have a water bucket and a connected water hose close by, and
  • Do not ever aim fireworks at people.

 

While safety should always be a top priority, also keep in mind that not all types of fireworks are legal, and that fireworks are not legal everywhere in California. You can check out a brief summary of California’s firework laws here.

 

How Can We Help?

 

If you have sustained a firework-related injury and are interested in pursuing a personal injury claim, contact the Case Barnett Law Firm today for a free consultation. Our Southern California personal injury lawyers are happy to help you and can be reached at (949) 861-2990.


See Related Links

 

Alligator Attack At A Disney Resort May Result In A Wrongful Death Lawsuit

As residents of Southern California we are all well aware of how popular Disneyland is. It is a local landmark that attracts vacationing families from all over the world, and for many of us is a place that evokes fond childhood memories. However, tragedy recently struck at the ‘happiest place on earth’ when a two-year-old child was attacked and killed by an alligator at Walt Disney World’s Grand Floridian Resort in Orlando, Florida. Now, Disney is potentially facing a wrongful death lawsuit.

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What Is A Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

When someone dies due to another party’s negligence or neglect, the deceased’s relatives are generally permitted to file a wrongful death lawsuit. While wrongful death statutes vary slightly some state to state, most states (including California) have a law on the books that closely resembles Florida’s Wrongful Death Act. In Florida, the party that causes a victim’s death via a wrongful act, negligence, default, or a breach of contract shall be held liable for damages.

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Is Disney Liable?

According to the Huffington Post, Disney may potentially face a wrongful death lawsuit given that businesses are required to ensure that their premises are reasonably maintained. In this instance, the fatal alligator attack occurred around 9:00 p.m. at the edge of a lake located at the Disney World resort. The toddler was playing in approximately six inches of water when an alligator attacked and pulled him into the lake. The boy’s father jumped into the water in an effort to save his son but unfortunately was not able for force the alligator’s mouth open. The boy’s body was later found intact, and officials suspect that the cause of death was drowning.

While no amount of legal action or monetary compensation will bring the deceased toddler back, his family may be able to recover damages from Disney by filing a wrongful death claim. The family would need to show that Disney was aware of the alligators on its property and did not take appropriate steps to warn their guests of this known danger. According to an article published in People Magazine, the resort routinely removes alligators from its waterways. This seems to indicate that Disney was aware of their alligator problem before the attack occurred. The article also notes that the resort had a legal obligation to protect invitees from known dangers on the premises. If this case goes to court, the key question would likely be whether or not Disney adequately warned its guests about the danger posed by the alligators.

The Huffington Post notes that the resort did in fact have signage posted around the lake that stated “No Swimming Please”. However, this signage did not indicate that alligators may be present in the water. Disney did have at least one sign posted on the property that read “Please be aware of alligators in the lake”, but this sign was posted a few miles away from where the toddler was attacked. Although Disney is not required to keep their resort guests absolutely safe at all times, they do have a legal responsibility to warn of known dangers on the premises and the signs that were posted may not have been adequate to provide an appropriate warning.

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How Can We Help?

If you live in Southern California and are interested in filing a wrongful death lawsuit, or other personal injury claim, contact the Case Barnett Law Firm. Our personal injury lawyers are happy to discuss your legal options and can be reached at (949) 861-2990.

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Case Barnett Law Settles Trip and Fall Case for $ 4.3 Million Dollars

Dr. B vs. Homeowner’s Association

Case Barnett Law Corporation

 

Verdict: Defendant found Liable by jury

Settlement: 4.3 Million Dollars

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It’s not often that an attorney settles a trip and fall case for $4.3 million, but in 2016, Case Barnett Law did. Dr. RB lived in a posh Orange County neighborhood paying over $700 a month in monthly homeowner’s association dues. A water meter box was continually broken in front of his home. Dr. RB complained to his homeowner’s association about the broken water meter box on multiple occasions.

After a day at work, Dr. RB returned in the evening and parked his car in the driveway. He exited the car to get his mail. His second step went in to the broken water meter cover causing serious injuries including a traumatic brain injury and severed tendons in his hand.

The defendants repeatedly passed responsibility among each other and pointed the finger back at Dr. RB for not fixing it himself, and for knowing about it, but failing to avoid it. The liability issues were complicated because of the covenants, codes and restrictions (the CC&R’s), the governing documents for the homeowner’s association and the HOA’s attempts to shift responsibility to the homeowners. CC&R’s give HOA’s the ability to make their own laws and distribute responsibilities. A close inspection of these governing documents is essential to suing any homeowner’s association.

Four of the five defendants acknowledged their safety failings before trial. One defendant did not. A jury dropped the hammer on the remaining defendant. At the end of the trial, the combined defendants were forced to pay $4.3 million to the plaintiff. Be safe. Don’t endanger others. If you do, Case Barnett law will force you to face the consequences.

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.

What To Do If You Are In A Rainy Day Car Accident

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With four El Niño-fueled storms currently bearing down on California we expect to see more accidents on the road. El Niño 2016 will have a profound affect on the climate as well as on driver’s safety while on the wet roads. While there are many steps you can take to avoid a rainy day car accident, not all accidents will be prevented.

Often time accidents can be minor and handled in small claims court.  However, what should you do if you are injured in a car accident?  Case Barnett Law can help you recover the compensation you deserve.

If you have been in an accident that was not your fault, you may be eligible for damages.

If you were injured in a car accident, you can ask the other drivers insurance to pay you a cash settlement. If that driver was not insured, you may request this settlement against your own under-insured motorist coverage on your own insurance, if you have this coverage.

Insurance companies may put pressure on you to rush the process after you have been in an accident.  They may make you feel that you do not have a case and that you will not be awarded any financial compensation for your accident.  There is no rush but you do need to be aware of your state’s Statute of Limitations.  The Statute of Limitations means that you must file a lawsuit or close or settle your case within your state time limits. The time clock starts on the day of the car accident. In California the statute of limitations is 2 years for injury and 3 years for property damage. To learn more about your State’s insurance rules and regulations visit California State Website for Insurance Questions.

After a car accident NEVER sign any documentation with the insurance companies in exchange for cash, until you have finished your medical treatment. By contacting an attorney at Case Barnett Law you will be protected through this process.

After you sign a release to close this case, no matter how serious your injuries in the future, you cannot go back for more treatment, or compensation, even if you made a mistake.

How To Make Sure You Receive Proper Compensation After A Car Accident

  • File a police report.
  • Seek medical attention quickly.
    • Visit the emergency room or your physician as soon as possible after an accident if you are injured.
  • Be aware of any pre-existing injuries that you are claiming became worse as a result of the accident.
    • Ask your physician to take new x-rays or ultrasounds of those injured areas. Comparisons in the pre-accident and post-accident scans can help show that the accident caused additional damage to the area. This will be crucial in court.
  • Avoid emotional statements that you make to other drivers or passengers after the accident.
    • Keep in mind that although your emotions might be intense following a car accident, you should avoid making promises or statements of blame.
  • Take witness testimonies.
  • Take photographs of the accident scene.
  • Gather up any records and documents that validate the number of days and wages you lost due to the accident.
  • Be aware of any personal injury limits written into your car insurance policy.
  • Take notes on anything you can remember about the accident as soon as you are physically able.
  • Document your injuries.
    • Take photographs and get medical attention to provide evidence of the seriousness of your injuries.
  • Contact witnesses.
    • If you collected witness contact information at the time of the accident, contact them as soon as possible to get their observations down on paper.
  • Return to the scene of the accident to search for and take pictures of evidence.
    • You may notice something, such as a dirty traffic sign, that led you to make a driving mistake and get into a car accident.

Damages In Car Accident Personal Injury Cases

Damages refer to the cost of your injuries. These can be a direct financial cost or an emotional and indirect cost.

  • Direct damages.
    • Cost of medical bills.
    • Lost wages.
    • Loss of earning capacity.
    • Property loss.
  • Indirect damages. 
    • Pain and suffering.
    • Emotional distress.
    • Inability to have children as a result of accident-related injuries.
    • Loss of an extremity.
    • Loss of consortium, if the accident caused a strain on your relationship.

If the defendant was especially careless when causing the accident, you may also receive punitive damages, which are meant to punish the defendant, and are imposed by the court.

If you have questions about damages or your personal injury case in general, speak to an attorney at Case Barnett Law.