Modesto Personal Injury Lawyer

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Modesto Personal Injury Lawyer

Modesto Personal Injury Attorney

After we or someone close to us suffers an injury in Modesto, CA, our focus is almost always on recovering and getting back to normal. The reality is, though, that we don’t quite ever return to normal. An injury can leave us with medical bills, missed wages from work, and even an emotional toll. Depending on the severity of the injury, we might never get back to where we were before. If, though, an injury occurred due to the negligence or wrongdoing of another, the law has created a way for the injured to receive some compensation for what they’ve suffered.

A personal injury claim can help restore a good portion of what you lost and potentially even protect your future if your injury has caused a substantial shift in your capacity. Filing a personal injury claim can make a tremendous difference in what someone’s life will be like post-injury. With such an important process, you are going to want a legal team with skills, experience, and depth of knowledge they can apply to your case. At the Law Offices of Carl D. Barnes, we have those things and are ready to go to work on your case.

Personal Injury

Many people are unsure if their situation qualifies them for a personal injury case. A lawyer can help you with the particulars of your case, but in general, a personal injury is anything that fits a rather broad definition. A personal injury is:

  • A physical injury,
  • An emotional injury, or
  • A psychological injury
    that is caused by another person’s
  • Wrongdoing or
  • Negligence.

With such a broad definition, there is a wide variety of things that have been filed as personal injury claims spanning from those that are primarily physical harm to injuries that have no physical harm but can take a tremendous emotional toll on a person. Some personal injury cases that are sometimes filed include:

  • Car Accidents
  • Truck Accidents
  • Medical Malpractice
  • Dog Bites
  • Slip-and-Fall Accidents
  • Premises Liability
  • Motorcycle Accidents
  • Bike Accidents
  • Construction Site Injuries
  • Slander or Libel

Proving Negligence

A claim can argue that the defendant’s actions were either malicious or negligent in nature. However, unless there is criminal action or some other very strong evidence, it is often not worth the time to argue for malicious intent. In most cases, a plaintiff’s optimal case is to argue for negligence on the part of the defendant. This requires that three elements be shown to be present in the case. They are:

  • That the defendant had a duty of care in the situation. This means that, given the circumstances, others had a reason to expect a particular behavior or range of behavior from the defendant.
  • That the defendant breached the duty of care. The standard here is what a reasonably careful person would have done. So if the defendant did not do what a reasonably careful person would have done, or did do something that a reasonably careful person wouldn’t have done, then they breached the duty of care.
  • That the breach was the cause of the injury. The plaintiff must be able to establish that the breach on the part of the dependent was the cause of the injury suffered by the plaintiff.

Establishing negligence on the part of the defendant can often be one of the most important elements of a personal injury claim. Without it, there is no case. Our legal team can make sure your case has a well-researched, organized, and compelling argument for negligence on the part of the defendant.

When You Can File

In the case of personal injury claims, the statute of limitations requires that the claim be filed within two years of when you first suffered the injury. There is, though, a concession made for those who don’t discover the injury until after that two-year period. In those situations, you have one year from the discovery of the injury to put forward your claim.


Often, the first step in a personal injury claim is to see if it is possible to avoid filing the claim altogether. The legal process of arguing in court and letting that court come to a decision can be a lengthy and expensive process for all parties involved. It’s also a risk that the judge might not rule in your favor. Instead, negotiation for a deal that can satisfy both parties is often a good place to start.

Sometimes, though, negotiation isn’t possible. Sometimes, the defendant isn’t even negotiating in good faith but is rather trying to run out the clock on the statute of limitations. If an agreement can’t be found, then the plaintiff must submit a claim to the court. Their claim should contain a summons, which will then be sent to the defendant, notifying them of the claim against them.

The second thing the plaintiff must file to the court is a complaint, which describes the injury, why the defendant is liable, and the damages sought. From there begins a process of filings, motions to the court, hearings, depositions, and further investigation. Your lawyer will keep you updated and aware of the process. You may want to keep negotiating during this period, but if no agreement can be reached before a trial, then the court will ultimately decide.


There’s no guarantee how much the court will award in damages. There are three kinds of damages that they will consider, although all three need not be awarded in every case. They are:

  • Economic Damages – quantifiable costs from the injury like medical bills and lost wages
  • Non-Economic Damages – unquantifiable costs such as pain and suffering or emotional distress
  • Punitive Damages – a kind of punishment meant to address wrongdoing and deter similar behavior in the future.

FAQs About Modesto, CA Personal Injury Law

What Counts as Negligence in California?

In most personal injury cases, it is argued that negligence is the cause of the action (or inaction) that led to injury rather than malicious intent. This means that part of the case is proving negligence, which is a three-part process. To prove negligence, it must be shown that there was:

  • A Duty of Care
  • A Breach of Duty
  • That Breach as the Cause of Injury

The standard for action that a defendant should have taken is what a reasonably careful person would have done or not done in the same situation. It can be difficult to establish these three components, and that is where a plaintiff can benefit from having an accomplished lawyer arguing for them.

How Long Do I Have to File a Claim in California?

Most laws, both criminal and civil, come with what is known as a Statute of Limitations. This statute sets a limitation for when a crime may be charged and when a civil claim may be filed. In the case of personal injury in California, you must file a claim within two years of the injury’s occurrence. The only exception is that if the injury was discovered beyond that time period, you will have one year from that date of the discovery of the injury to file.

In California, What Damages Will be Awarded for a Personal Injury Claim?

It’s impossible to say exactly what damages will be rewarded before a final ruling is issued. That’s because each case is unique enough that the damages will vary. However, we can say that there are three kinds of damages that the court will consider. They are:

  • Economic Damages – These are quantifiable costs associated with the injury and the aftermath. Things like medical bills, property damage, and lost earnings, both present and future, are examples of economic damages.
  • Non-economic Damages – These are generally unquantifiable costs from the injury. The court will often attempt to look at the situation and precedence and develop a fair ruling on damages for things like emotional distress, pain and suffering, and loss of consortium.
  • Punitive Damages – These damages are directed as a kind of punishment against the defendant. Even in cases of negligence, the court may decide that the defendant should have known better than to act as they did. Therefore, punitive charges are punishment for the defendant’s actions and also may serve as a deterrent against others acting similarly.

What is A Personal Injury Claim in Modesto, California?

A personal injury claim requires that the plaintiff must have suffered some form of physical injury, emotional injury, or psychological injury as a result of either wrongdoing or negligence by another party. This covers a broad range of incidents, so if you think you might have a case, an experienced lawyer can help you understand your options.

Let Us Help You Seek What You’re Owed

A personal injury case can be an important step to take if you’ve been injured. It accomplishes several important things for yourself and for others, including helping you get the restitution that you deserve. Another thing a personal injury claim can do, though, is cause a change of behavior in others and deter them from making the same mistake that caused your injury. If you think you have a claim, contact us at the Law Offices of Carl D. Barnes and let us take a look at your case.

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