Updated on April 19th, 2023

Personal Injury Attorney

California, Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange County, San Bernardino, Riverside

Author: Brad Nakase, Attorney

Email  |  Call (888) 600-8654

Hello, I’m Brad Brad. I’m a personal injury attorney protecting injured victims in Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Diego. My team of experts are dedicated to providing strong advocacy to our clients in California. Since 2006, we have proudly represented injured victims in a wide range of legal issues, including:

  • Car accident
  • Motorcycle accident
  • Commercial truck accidents
  • Brain Injury
  • Slip and fall
  • Dog bite
  • Wrongful Death

We strive to improve our clients’  quality of life after an accident – one client at a time. We are ready to help you and your family recover money you need to improve the quality of your life after an injury cased by another person.

Personal Injury Terminology

Given that you will be involved in a lawsuit, the basic knowledge of important legal terminology can help you move ahead with your personal injury lawsuit. So, for your convenience, the following is a glossary of some common legal terms associated with personal injury lawsuits.

Negligent or negligence

The failure to act with responsible care or carelessness is negligence. A person is negligent if their carelessness caused harm or damage to another person.

How do we use these words? For example:

  • Defendant Don was negligent in causing plaintiff Paula’s injury.
  • Don’s negligence in operating the truck in near zero visibility caused the truck to smashed into Paula’s parked car.
  • Don’s was negligent when he decided to get into his truck to drive after he has been drinking liquor for five hours.

Negligence is a part of tort law and that’s why the plaintiff has to prove four things in personal injury case.

  1. There was an obligation or duty of defendant to the plaintiff.
  2. The duty was breached or violated by the defendant.
  3. Damaged was caused by the breach or violation.
  4. The actual damages exist.

For instance, a local grocery store’s duty was to keep the isle hazard-free. But they failed to do it as they didn’t clean the spilled oil on the floor on time. The plaintiff fell on the ground due to their breach and this caused physical and financial damages. In this case, the local grocery store was negligent.Burden of Proof

In order to recover the damages, it is plaintiff’s obligation to prove that their allegations are true (or most likely to be true). There must be preponderance of evidence which means that the plaintiff must prove the defendant is 50% at-fault. For instance in the suit against the local grocery store, the plaintiff can recover damages if they prove that the store was 50% at-fault for their sustained physical injuries.

Personal Injury Lawsuit

It is a court-based process in which a plaintiff who has been wronged or injured seeks to hold a person (defendant) liable for some type of wrongful act or harm. The defendant is sued by the plaintiff for damages – usually in the form of monetary damages to recover what the plaintiff lost.


A plaintiff is a person who initiates a lawsuit before a court against another person or a group of some wrongdoing. The civil lawsuit is filed by a plaintiff when they have been wronged or injured.


When a plaintiff files a lawsuit for being wronged or injured, the person or entity being sued is the defendant. A defendant can be an individual, an organization, a company, or even the government. In a single lawsuit, there can be several plaintiffs and defendants.


Now pay close attention to this important legal term. Understand that an injury is more than just physical injury (e.g. broken arm, leg, head) as it also includes defamation of character (when someone makes a statement that damages your reputation), wrongful death (death of a family member due to the negligent actions of another), emotional injury (pain and suffering), and even financial loss (e.g. losing assets, property, savings). A civil court tries to restore the plaintiff’s condition before the injury had occurred. This means that there will be compensation in the form of money. However, the civil court cannot restore the condition of plaintiff by restoring their reputation or by bringing back a deceased person. The money can’t fix everything, but it can still help restore some of plaintiff’s condition.

Complaint & Answer

Once you’ve decided to pursue with your civil personal injury lawsuit, your CA personal injury lawyer will initiate the lawsuit with the court by filing a complaint – it will be a document that comprises each damage for which you want to be compensated.

After a complaint has been filed by your lawyer, a specific period of time will be given to the defendant to file an answer. The defendant will provide a formal legal response which will notify the plaintiff and the court of the position of defendant regarding the allegations.


In a personal injury lawsuit, the plaintiff’s goal is to recover is money which equal damages. Although damages equal to money, it is important to keep in mind what you are receiving the money for. There are three categories for damages: economic damages, non-economic damages, and even punitive damages. Economic damages are quantified damages such as wage loss, medical expenses, auto repair bills, replacement services. Non-economic damages are not specifically quantifiable damages as they include pain, suffering, anxiety, and humiliation. Take the example of an auto accident. In this case, your economic damage would be $7,000 hospital bill and $3,000 auto repair bills. You can demand $5,000 for suffering from anxiety and insomnia due to your injuries and it would be considered as non-economic damages. If the court deems that the actions of defendant were reckless, you would be awarded additional amount of money and that would be punitive damages.

Statute of Limitations

It can be explained as the time period set by the law in which a person can file suit claiming damage. This time period is based on the type of case and the state. Keep in mind that the statute of limitations for a personal injury lawsuit in most states in 2-3 years, but it can vary in case of medical malpractice. This means that the time period will start on the date of your loss, accident or diagnoses. As State law controls statutes of limitations, if you are thinking about filing a personal injury suit in California then you need to know that the time limitation is 2 years.


It can be explained as the obligation a person is bound to perform by law. Whether it is about personal injury, damage to property, or anything else, the liability of a defendant is their obligation under the law. So, take an example of you renting your home and the tenant burning it to the ground because they forgot to turn off the gas stove. In this case, the tenant is liable to your property loss. Or someone who drives a car has a legal responsibility to drive safely and follow the rules, but if that person fails to do it then he/she is liable for damage of another person’s property or well-being.

Tort and Intentional Tort

A tort can be explained as any wrongful act that is not a crime and also a breach of contract. Negligence, wrongful death, trespassing, and defamation are counted as Tort. For instance, an individual who has caused a car accident has committed a tort.

Intentional Tort, on the other hand, is a wrongful act committed by an individual on purpose. Now take an example of assault and battery as they are usually handled in the criminal court, but when it comes to civil action, they become intentional tort. Similarly, defamation of someone’s character is also an intentional tort because it was something the defendant did on purpose.

Strict Liability

It is a legal theory that says a defendant is still liable regardless of wrongdoing or fault. For instance, if a plaintiff sues a drug manufacturing company for sustaining internal injuries or severe side effects because of using their drug that didn’t come with a side effects label, then the defendant (drug manufacturing company) would need to prove to the court that their drug didn’t cause the injuries to the plaintiff.

Comparative Fault and Contributory Negligence Standards

In a personal injury lawsuit, the damages can be reduced or eliminated altogether by comparative fault and contributory negligence. In some cases, both the plaintiff and defendant can be considered at fault, although the percentage of plaintiff’s fault is usually smaller. For instance, there was spilled oil on the floor and the cleaner simply placed a warning sign in front of the spill instead of cleaning it. Now the court can assign some percent of fault to the plaintiff as well for ignoring the warning sign. This means that the plaintiff would be considered 30% at-fault for the injuries and the local grocery store will be considered 70% at-fault for not cleaning the floor timely. So, if the plaintiff was going to get $10,000 for damages, the judgment would be reduced to $7,000.

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What is the best treatment for spinal injury?

Treatment for spinal injury includes a soft neck brace collar. Diskectomy is surgery to relieve pain by removing the part of a spine's disk with its soft center pushing out through the tough outer lining.

Will a hit and run claim raise my insurance?

No, if you're not at fault in the hit and run, the car insurance company cannot raise your insurance rate. But if you're at fault in a hit-and-run car accident, your insurance many raise the insurance rate.

Car Accident Back Pain, Symptoms, and Compensation

A sudden and intense impact from a car accident causes damage to the back muscle and surrounding tissue, commonly causing lower back pain. Compensation for a back injury averages $9000 for no spine injury to $250,000 for spine injuries.

What should you do after a car accident?

After you've been involved in a car accident and realize you sustained injuries, report to the police immediately and request medical attention. If you were not injured in the car accident, safely check that other persons in the car are safe and call 911 if necessary and inform them there is an injury.

Average Settlement for Car Accident Back and Neck Injury

The average settlement for car accident back and neck injury ranges from $50,000 to over $1 million. The amount depends on where you live, medical bills, the length of injury, and the extent of your back and neck injury.

Back pain after a car accident: Common injuries

A high-speed car accident that causes a spinal fracture or vertebrae sprain can lead to permanent and painful nerve damage. Likewise, A car accident resulting in a minor back injury left untreated can progress into a degenerative or chronic spinal condition.

Back Injury From Car Accident

Common injuries from car accidents include soft tissue injuries such as sprains, strains and spine injuries such as fractures and herniated discs.

What is the average settlement for a back injury in a car accident?

The average settlement for a back injury in a car accident ranges from $11,000 to over $1 million depending on four factors: 1) Was the injury soft tissue? If yes, the average settlement is $12,000; 2) Was there a spine injury? If yes, the average settlement is $70,000; 3) Was or is surgery required? If yes, the average settlement is $275,000, 4) Is there a permanent disability? If yes, the average settlement can exceed $1 million.

What causes most semi-truck accidents?

The number cause of semi-truck accidents is driver fatigue; a driver cannot legally drive more than 12 hours per day in 24 hour period.

Tractor Trailer Injury Lawsuit

If a tractor trailer seriously injures a victim, an injury lawsuit often results in a money settlement exceeding $1 million.

Rear-end collision settlements California

Unless there is a serious injury, the average settlement for a minor rear-end collision is $12,000 to $22,000. The average rear-end collision settlement resulting in serious injury is $60,000 to $25,000.

What is eggshell plaintiff theory?

The Eggshell Skull doctrine is a common law rule that makes a negligent defendant liable for a plaintiff’s unforeseeable injury because of the plaintiff’s preexisting fragile health condition.

What is sexual battery?

Depending on the state you resides, each state defines and penalizes rape, sexual assault, sexual battery differently.

Sexual Abuse of A Disabled Person

A person with mental health or intellectual disabilities has a higher risk of rape and sexual assault than their nondisabled peers.

Car Accident Spine Injury

A car accident may cause a serious spine injury when a victim was rear-ended. Spine injury settlement amounts depend on the severity of the spine injury and medical bills.

Brain Injury Prognosis

An estimated fifty percent of patients with traumatic brain injury go through more decline in their cognition within five years of sustaining injury.

How much should I settle for a herniated disc?

A herniated disk is a serious injury that causes lifetime pain if left medically untreated. Because a herniated disc is a big deal, the average settlement is $80,000 to $280,000, depending on if there was surgery.

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