The largest city in the Central Valley, Fresno is home to a significant economic hub as well as cultural events and historical sites. With a population of more than half a million, it’s no surprise that many people experience accidents and injuries in Fresno.
If another party is at fault for your injuries, you may have questions or concerns about recovering damages. When someone else’s negligence has harmed you, there’s no time to lose—please contact an experienced personal injury lawyer immediately to protect your legal rights.
How Can a Fresno Personal Injury Attorney Help After Your Accident or Injury?
From car accidents to slip-and-fall injuries, personal injury can be complicated. The at-fault party or their insurance company will often blame the injured person in an effort to avoid responsibility.
Sometimes, determining the at-fault party can also be challenging, as there may be multiple parties who could have caused an accident. If you’ve already filed an insurance claim, it may have been denied due to a fault dispute or other reasons.
These complications might seem insurmountable, but in many cases, a knowledgeable personal injury attorney can help you overcome them. At the CEO Lawyer Personal Injury Law Firm, we offer free consultations about your personal injury situation.
We’ll review the details of your accident or injury, answer your questions, and clarify your options for recovering damages. There is no obligation, and if you want to move forward with our help, we won’t charge you anything until we win or settle your case.
Do You Have to Prove Fault in a Car Accident Case?
California is a fault state for car accidents, so the at-fault driver is expected to be responsible for an injured person’s damages—medical bills, lost income, permanent disability or disfigurement, pain and suffering, property damage, etc. In most cases, each driver has at least the minimum required liability insurance to cover these damages.
California requires $15,000 per person for bodily injury liability ($30,000 per accident) and $5,000 in property damage liability, although you should consider purchasing larger amounts to provide more protection in severe accidents. There is, however, another layer of complication to consider: Pure comparative negligence.
Comparative negligence is a system that allows an injured party to recover damages even if they were partly at fault for an accident, which is common. We see many cases where both drivers made mistakes that contributed to the crash.
In some comparative negligence states, an injured party is barred from recovery if their portion of the fault is higher than a certain percentage, usually 50 or 51 percent. However, California’s pure comparative negligence system allows you to recover if you are up to 99 percent at fault.
The downside is that you will be responsible for the share of responsibility you do have, so if you were 99 percent to blame, you could only recover 1 percent of your damages. Fortunately, most people have lower percentages of culpability and can still recover a significant portion of their damages, if not all of them.
Who Assigns Fault in a Car Accident?
Clients often assume that fault is decided in court, but the reality is that most car accident cases are settled out of court. Only rarely is it necessary to go through a trial to prove fault in a car accident.
Others think that a police report on the accident assigns fault. While the police report does contain the responding officer’s opinion about how the crash occurred and who was at fault, this is not the final word on culpability.
The officer bases their opinion on statements from the drivers/witnesses, as well as evidence at the scene. In many cases, they receive conflicting statements, and there may be limited physical evidence, so the officer makes an educated guess; if we can find evidence the other driver was at fault, we can challenge the police report.
In most car accident cases, the insurance companies ultimately decide who is at fault and to what degree. If you don’t have a lawyer, your insurance carrier and the other driver’s carrier will work this out (If you have the same insurance company, you will be assigned separate adjusters).
Letting the insurance companies work things out isn’t always in an injured person’s best interests; you may be assigned a higher degree of fault than you had, and both insurance companies could drastically undervalue your damages.
For this reason, engaging the services of an experienced personal injury lawyer will give you the best chance of recovering the settlement you deserve. Your lawyer works for you, not the insurance company, and they will fight to recover as much of your damages as possible.
What Happens if an Uninsured Driver Hits You?
California law requires that liability insurance include uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UI) unless the insured signs a form waiving UM/UI. We strongly recommend you don’t sign that waiver when buying insurance.
About 16.6 percent of California drivers are completely uninsured, and depending on the amount of damages you have, even many insured drivers may not have enough coverage.
For instance, if you have $50,000 in damages from your injuries and $8,000 in property damage to your car, and the at-fault driver only has the minimum required coverage, you would only be able to collect $20,000 from their insurance. However, you could recover more damages from your own UM/UI policy.
UM/UI can also be used if you are struck by an uninsured motorist while walking or riding a bicycle, even if your car has nothing to do with the accident.
California and Boat Accidents
Due to its lengthy coastline, California is a popular place for boating and water sports. After Florida, it has the second-highest rate of boating accidents and fatalities, with 387 accidents and 42 deaths in 2022 alone.
Following a boat accident, you could have medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and other damages, but identifying relevant insurance policies and liable parties might be more challenging than you’d think. Sometimes, an injured person tries to file a claim with the boat owner’s insurance, but this is only a good solution if the boat owner is at fault and has liability insurance (Although boat insurance is not required in California, most boat owners choose to protect their investment. However, coverage varies depending on the type of policy).
A boat owner may be liable if they were operating the boat and caused the accident through a careless mistake. They could also be at fault if they didn’t perform regular maintenance, causing the boat to malfunction, if they failed to keep all the required safety equipment on board, or if they allowed an unqualified person to operate the boat.
But what if the owner isn’t at fault? Here are some other potentially liable parties we will consider when analyzing your boat accident:
The boat operator. This could be the person driving your boat or operating another vessel that crashed into yours. We will look for evidence that the operator behaved carelessly, disobeyed laws, or made a mistake that caused the collision.
A mechanic or service company that fixed the boat. If we find evidence that the repair was done incorrectly and this problem led to the crash, the mechanic or company could be liable.
The boat manufacturer. In some cases, we trace the cause of the accident to an inherent flaw in the boat’s design or manufacturing.
Other passengers. Sometimes, we see cases where a passenger is horsing around and accidentally knocks another person overboard, causing injuries. Or, a passenger becomes angry and tries to seize control of the boat, leading to a struggle and possibly assault charges. These types of situations often coincide with intoxication.
If you’re injured in a boat accident, it’s not always easy to know which of these parties caused the accident, but your lawyer can help you learn more. Once we’ve identified who might be liable, we’ll consider any relevant insurance policies and other options for seeking compensation.
If You Rent a Boat, Are You Responsible for the Damage?
The rental company will probably ask you to sign a release or waiver stating that they are not responsible for your injuries or any property damage you cause the boat. However, this does not protect the company if they are at fault for your accident.
For instance, if the boat they provided was in disrepair and malfunctioned, causing your accident, they could still be liable.
When another boater or other party caused the collision, you may be able to seek compensation from them for any damages caused to the boat, as well as your own injuries. If you’re unsure who was at fault or have questions about a rental boat accident, please speak with an attorney and show them the waiver or any other paperwork you signed.
Does California Have Strict Liability for Defective Product Claims?
Yes, if a defective product harmed you, it is not necessary to prove the manufacturer was negligent. Under strict liability laws, the manufacturer may be at fault if you can demonstrate the following:
The defendant (the party you’re suing) designed, manufactured, distributed, or sold a product that was defective. This means that in some cases, you might be able to sue a retailer who sold the product, a distributor, etc. However, there could also be difficulties with tracking down who actually designed or manufactured a product, as the company may have outsourced the job to another business. Since this process can be time-consuming, we recommend that you consult a lawyer as quickly as you can.
The product had this defect when it left the defendant’s control. Again, this is sometimes challenging because the manufacturer might claim the product was fine when shipped, and the retailer must have dropped it, or the mail carrier damaged it, or the customer tinkered with it, etc. However, if there are other reports of customers experiencing a similar problem, it may be easier to make the case that the issue originated with the manufacturer. Your lawyer will work to find evidence that the product was in a defective state before it reached you.
You used the product in a “reasonably foreseeable” way. In other words, if you used a product in such an unusual or unexpected way that the defendant couldn’t have imagined such a scenario, it may not be their fault that you were injured. It is still necessary for manufacturers to anticipate misuse—especially if this is a common problem—and design the product in a way that reduces risk. For example, compressed air manufacturers know that people struggling with substance use disorders sometimes inhale the canned air, so they started adding bittering agents to discourage the practice. In many situations, the manufacturer will also add warnings to prevent misuse—but if they don’t, you might have a claim for “failure to warn.”
You were injured because of the product defect. The defendant may try to claim your injuries are fake or caused by something other than the product defect. For this reason, we will thoroughly analyze your medical records, healthcare bills, pay stubs showing lost income, etc. We’ll also create a strategy to show exactly how the defective product led to your injuries.
What Should You Do if You Believe a Defective Product Harmed You?
Many people aren’t sure what happened when they experienced a defective product accident. Some may not ever think to consider the product caused their injuries.
In other cases, the injured person may have realized something was wrong when they started using the product. For instance, if you turn on your new toaster oven and a minute later you see smoke coming out of the outlet it’s plugged into, you might suspect a problem with the toaster’s wiring.
If the potentially defective item wasn’t destroyed in the incident that caused your injuries, we recommend preserving it in its current state as long as you can do so safely. Your legal team may want to examine it or ask an expert’s opinion.
We also recommend that you wait to fix any property damage, as this might also provide evidence about how the problem occurred.
If there is an official report on your accident or injury, such as a police or fire department report, please request a copy so we can review it. If possible, take pictures of your injuries and the area where the accident occurred.
When Should You Suspect a Defective Product May Have Injured You?
As discussed in the last section, there are many situations where an injured person doesn’t realize they were harmed by a defective product immediately. Sadly, some people may never know that they deserve compensation for their injuries.
Here are some signs that you might have suffered injuries due to a defective product:
You had an accident or injury that you can’t explain. You did the same things you normally do in this situation, yet something went inexplicably wrong.
You experienced a severe, life-threatening, or rare complication or health condition while taking a medication. Many defective product cases involve drugs or medical devices that cause severe health difficulties. If your doctors struggle to explain why you developed this condition, it’s possible that it was due to a defective medication.
You used safety equipment as directed, and it failed to serve its purpose. The fact that you were hurt while using safety equipment doesn’t necessarily mean it was defective because safety equipment can’t eliminate all risks. However, if the item was intended to do something specific that it clearly didn’t do, then it may have been defective.
You’ve used the same product many times before and noticed something different about it or its functions before the injury.
There was a recall for the product in question. It’s important to note that the lack of a recall doesn’t prove the product was safe. Sometimes, the manufacturer isn’t yet aware of the problem or may have chosen to ignore it. However, if you’ve experienced an injury involving a product, it’s a good idea to check if it’s been recalled. You can search for “Product Name + Recall” or check the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s website.
None of the above points prove that a product is defective, but if any sound familiar, it’s worth taking a few minutes to talk with a personal injury lawyer to learn if you have a case.
What Happens When You Are Injured on Someone Else’s Property?
If the owner’s negligence caused your injury, you may be able to file a claim on their homeowner’s or business liability insurance. However, as is the case with car accidents and other types of insurance claims, this is not always a straightforward process.
The owner and/or their insurance company could argue that you were the negligent party, so your lawyer will work to build a strong case showing you weren’t.
When Is a Property Owner Negligent?
A property owner has a duty to fix or at least warn others about any hazardous property condition. It will be essential to show that the owner was aware, or should have been aware, of the hazard and had a chance to address it.
For example, if you slip and fall 20 seconds after someone spills a cup of coffee in a restaurant, it’s unlikely that the restaurant staff had a chance to notice the spill and clean it up. On the other hand, if the spilled coffee was still there when you slipped half an hour later, the manager may have failed to check the floor regularly and address an obvious hazard.
Tripping/slipping and falling is a frequent type of premises liability case, but there are many other ways a person might be hurt on another party’s property. Here are some examples:
Attractive nuisances. These are situations where a feature might not be hazardous to everyone but could be dangerous to a young child. For instance, if your neighbor has an unfenced pool or a collection of old appliances in their backyard, a small child might fall into the pool or get trapped inside an appliance.
Falling objects. These injuries often happen when a store stacks merchandise on upper shelves, but one item is too close to the edge, so it falls and strikes an unsuspecting customer.
Elevator or escalator accidents. When these machines malfunction, sometimes they cause more than just inconvenience—they can also lead to serious injuries.
Negligent security. If you were the victim of a crime in a public property like a store or hotel, the business owner could have been negligent. It will be necessary to show that the owner failed to take reasonable precautions to establish a safe environment for guests.
Fires. There are numerous causes of fires, and not all of them are the property owner’s fault. However, if the owner’s negligence led to the fire or made it harder for people to escape the fire, they might be negligent. One example would be if a store allowed one or more of the emergency exits to become blocked by displays or merchandise, preventing customers from exiting quickly. Or, if they failed to keep the required number of fire extinguishers on hand, that could be another incidence of negligence.
Get Help From a Fresno Personal Injury Law Firm Today
In most personal injury cases, you only have two years from the date of injury to file a personal injury claim. If you or a loved one have suffered a serious injury and believe another party may be responsible, please contact the CEO Lawyer Personal Injury Law Firm right away so we can review your case.
We’ll learn more about what happened, answer your questions, and advise you of your options for pursuing compensation.
Attorney Ali Awad founded the CEO Lawyer Personal Injury Law Firm and quickly grew it into one of the fastest-growing law firms in the country. He and his team have more than twenty years of combined experience and have recovered millions of dollars in compensation for their clients with a 99.5 percent success rate.
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Frequently Asked Questions
After a personal injury, you're bound to have legal questions. The CEO Lawyer Ali Awad can provide you with answers to these questions, just as he's given answers to his millions of curious social media followers. Take a look at some of the most common personal injury law questions for general information, and then reach out to one of our seasoned attorneys for specific guidance on your case!
To quickly resolve matters following an accident, insurance companies will offer you less than you deserve in compensation for your injuries. Many victims feel pressured to accept these offers as the bills begin to pile up, but that is rarely a good idea. The insurance company is looking to protect its bottom line; and will offer injured victims less than they deserve. An experienced personal injury attorney understands how to negotiate with the insurance company and can look out for your best interests by getting you the compensation you deserve after an injury. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, it is important to avoid negotiating or providing recorded statements to the insurance company without first seeking help from a qualified personal injury attorney.
Do You Have a Personal Injury Case?
The best way to determine if you have a personal injury case is to speak with a knowledgeable attorney. Our legal professionals have the expertise to evaluate your case and determine a strong legal strategy so that you can obtain the greatest amount of compensation possible under the law. We will enlist investigators, assistants, and other specialists to collect accident reports, speak with witnesses to your accident, and put together a plan. While you focus on your physical recovery, we will remain committed to fighting for the compensation that you deserve.
Georgia's Personal Injury & Accident Firm
Accident victims have a limited time to file a personal injury lawsuit. This time period is referred to as the statute of limitations, and in Atlanta, it lasts only two years. This means that if you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, you have only two years to pursue a personal injury suit. If you wait too long to reach out to an experienced attorney, you might be forever barred from seeking the compensation you deserve.
What to Expect From Your Initial Consultation With a Personal Injury Attorney?
During your initial consultation with CEO Lawyer team, we will go over the important details of your personal injury accident, which include the nature and extent of your injuries, how your injuries have impacted your ability to earn a paycheck, the cost of your medical treatment, and whether further medical treatment will be required. We will answer any questions you might have, as well, in regards to our experience, our track record of success, and what to expect from the legal process.
Many personal injury victims wonder if they will be able to afford the legal fees required to pursue a lawsuit. CEO Lawyer injury and accident attorneys will not ask for any type of upfront fee unless we are successful in obtaining compensation for you. That means that if you have been harmed in a motor vehicle accident, slip and fall accident, defective product accident, or any other type of personal injury accident, you can absolutely afford to contact our law office today for assistance. In fact, you cannot afford to wait. Reach out today.
We understand that some accident victims might have already obtained the assistance of an attorney but may be dissatisfied with the services provided. We are standing by and prepared to help you change legal representation, regardless of where you are in the process.
Speak to an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Today
If you or a loved one has been injured in any type of personal injury accident, you should not hesitate to speak with the experienced attorneys at CEO Lawyer personal injury law firm. Call, email, or fill out our online contact form today so that we can begin helping you pursue the compensation you deserve.