David Allen & Associates Personal Injury Introduction

Personal Injury Introduction

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In this video I will present an overview of the major elements that must be present in order to bring a personal injury claim. There are additional videos which further explain the main points .

My name is David Allen. I started practicing law over 43 years ago. I am admitted to practice law in four different states. I understand the way in which th3 law varies from state to state. In addition I previously hosted a call in a radio show called a law talk which was syndicated throughout the west. I did it every Saturday for 9 years. I only stopped doing it reclaim my weekends. I also provided legal commentary for an ABC affiliate in Northern California for four years. I possess vast expanse in dealing with personal injury.


The elements of Personal Injury presented here are in the order they are analyzed in the real world by lawyers representing people who get good results for them.

Personal injury Is a complex area of the law. Law school provides one full year of instruction in it. In this series of videos I am attempting to provide the principal elements of a personal injury claim. You will better be able to understand how the claim works. You may be able to handle the straightforward claim of your own and you certainly will be able to know how to best select an attorney to represent you in major claim.

Personal injury claims are a civil cause of action. There is a big, big, big difference between civil law and criminal law. One of the big differences is the burden of proof. The prosecutor must prove the criminal defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This is a high standard. The reason it is high is because it is government against an individual. In civil law it is one private person against another private person. The burden of proof is much lower on the part of the individual who is bringing claim. The standard of proof is by a preponderance of the evidence. Think of the Scales of Justice. The party who show his or her case is better need only move the scales by a tiny bit in order to win. In this video and in the videos that follow we’re talking about civil law.


There must be a personal injury. This seems self evident. Yet, some people may want to bring a claim because they are mad at the way somebody else acted. You can only bring a personal injury claim if you suffered injury. Sometimes the personal injury may not be immediately evident and has to be approved by the credible medical evidence.


In order to bring a claim you must show someone is at fault. What does it mean that someone is at fault. Under the law it means that a person did not comply with the standard of care. The standard of care is the conduct which the person which needs to be followed. Violation of the standard of care makes the person responsible for the injuries inflicted. Some people refer to a violation of standard of care as negligence. The law the word negligence refers to all the elements of an injury claim. It is different than the every day definition of negligence.

A simple example. Alex runs a stop sign. He crashes into the car being driven by Betty. Betty gets hurt. Clearly Alex violated the standard of care. The accepted rules of the road require that Alex stop at a stop sign and not blow through it.

The standard of care is reasonable conduct. This means some one must do something or refrain from doing something if going forward would cause harm.

Another example. We already saw how doing something can violate the standard of care, Alex ran through a stop sign. He did something wrong. So, what’s an example of failing to do something. If someone owns a vicious and mean dog, the do owner possesses an obligation to warn others. This can consist of warning people not to pet the dog and also putting up beware of dog signs on the entrance to the property with the dog lives. The owner who fails to warn people of the dog’s mean nature can be found responsible for the dog biting someone.

What is a standard of care when two or more people are responsible for an injury. I discuss this and other issues of standard of care in a separate video.


So we have personal injury and breach of standard of care. The third thing which must be present is causation. You must show the breach of standard of care caused the personal injury.

Example: Alex runs a stop sign again, he’s a very careless driver. He crashes into Betty . At the hospital the doctors treating her fractured ribs find she is suffering from lung cancer. Clearly the lung cancer was not caused by the accident. Betty can bring claim for the fractured ribs and the cancer but Alex will argue, appropriately, he is not responsible for the lung cancer.

In this example there is personal injury, and there’s a violation of the reasonable standard of care, but the alleged personal injury, the cancer, is not caused by a violation of the standard of care.


This takes is to our next topic. The need to prove damages. You cannot simply say my back hurts and somebody owes you money. Technically you can say that, but will not get you very far. You need to present credible evidence of personal injury. This generally consists of medical records showing medical care arising from treatment of the injury. For individuals who do not believe in receiving medical care and rely upon prayer or other methods to deal with personal injury the absence of medical records can produce a major problem. The insurance company, or if the case goes to trial, the personal jury wants to see objective evidence of personal injury. Medical records or testimony from a treating Physician generally are needed.

This takes us to another point. If you are planning to bring claim for personal injury it is necessary you follow up with your medical doctor and let the doctor know the various problems you are experiencing as a result of the personal injury. If you’re going to bring claim for personal injury this is not time to keep a stiff upper lip. You need to let those providing care and know what problems you are confronting.


Now we have personal injury, violation of the standard of care, causation between the violation and personal injury and proof of damages. The final thing we need is someone who can pay for the damages. It doesn’t do any good to prove of all the elements of a personal injury if the person causing injury can’t pay for it. After over 40 years practicing personal injury law let me tell you someone with lots of money is generally very difficult to collect from. They usually hold their money and property in trusts and in various other ways that shield them from a court judgment.

This takes as to the topic of insurance. There’s all kinds of insurance. The common automobile policy has five forms of coverage. Liability, collision, comprehensive, medical payments, and uninsured motorist. Average homeowner’s policy possess several forms of coverage, including liability coverage and medical payments coverage. These are relatively straight forward insurance coverages purchased by average everyday people. The insurance that covers businesses like supermarkets, trucking companies and airlines can become very complicated. It is for this reason there is a separate video dealing with insurance coverage.


Finally, there are intentional personal injury claims. If Alex slams Bob in the jaw with the intent to hurt him - that gives rise to a claim. We generally don’t hear much about intentional personal injury claims because insurance policies exclude coverage for intentional personal injuries. Insurance companies won’t pay. Nonetheless, these claims do exist and there is a separate video talking about them.


This video is simply a summary of the elements of a common personal injury claim.. There are lots of questions which still exists and which can arise.


What if the car which cause the crash was stolen? Is the owner responsible for personal injuries? What if an unlicenced 14 year old is driving the car? What standard of care applies? What if the personal injury arises six months after the crash, is it presumed it was not caused by the crash? What if multiple people were involved in the crash? What if the crash was caused because a stop sign was knocked over in a prior crash? If the responsible party is from out of state how much will the insurance company pay?

This is why there are other videos on this website which go into more detail on the various elements of a personal injury claim.

My names David Allen. I bring you these videos so you can better understand how the law works.

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David Allen & Associates
At David Allen & Associates you will find Personal Injury attorneys to help people injured in motor vehicle accidents, social security disability and long term disability lawyers to help those who cannot work, and Insurance Bad Faith lawyers to help policyholders collect the benefits they paid for. All of our attorneys share an unwavering commitment to helping our Personal Injury, Social Security Disability and Long Term Disability clients recover, and they have excellent track records of success when it comes to gaining decisions for their injured clients.

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