Whether California residents are in a car crash or a slip and fall incident, they will need to prove that the other side, be it a driver or a property owner, was negligent in order to be eligible for compensation. As a legal concept, negligence means the failure to act in a reasonably safe manner.

Negligence can range from the failure to clean up a spill in a supermarket in a timely manner to the breaking of traffic laws by speeding or driving while using a phone. However, in some cases involving the failure to address a safety hazard, the property owner may be innocent because he or she did not have a reasonable amount of time in which to discover the hazard.

Direct evidence and circumstantial evidence are the two types of evidence that plaintiffs can rely on to establish a claim. When there is little evidence to go by, though, plaintiffs could invoke the legal theory of “res ipsa loquitur,” which means, “the thing speaks for itself.”

Under this theory, it can sometimes be clear that defendants acted negligently without any further proof. For example, a child is injured by a bag of grain on a sidewalk. The grain producer would clearly be negligent because it was wrong for the bag to be consciously placed there.

There are many other considerations that victims need to be aware of before they pursue a personal injury case. The other side may aggressively oppose the claim, and if they do not have legal representation, victims may easily be forced into a low-ball settlement. They may want a lawyer to assist them, especially a lawyer with a network of third parties like investigators and medical experts. In the end, victims may be compensated for their medical bills, lost wages and other losses.