What to Know Before Pursuing a Personal Injury Claim in California
Accidents can happen at the most unexpected times, and when they do, they can turn your life upside down in the blink of an eye. Whether it’s a car crash or a slip and fall, these incidents can be extremely traumatizing. If that was the case, would you know how to proceed with filing a California personal injury claim?
They can lead to severe injuries, hefty medical bills, and, at its worst, death. During such challenging times, a personal injury claim can help you get the compensation you deserve for your losses.
If you want to learn how to pursue legal action for your injuries, you’ve come to the right place. In this blog, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about filing a personal injury claim in California.
The Basics of California’s Personal Injury Laws
Before we discuss how you can file a personal injury claim in California, it’s important to understand the basics of its laws.
California is one of the country’s pure comparative negligence states, which means that a personal injury victim can recover damages even if they’re at fault for the incident.
The compensation they’ll receive will then be reduced depending on their level of fault. For instance, if you filed a $100,000 claim for a car accident and were found at fault for 20% of the incident, you will only receive $80,000 in damages.
Statute of Limitations
Most personal injury claims filed in California have a two-year statute of limitation from the day you were injured. Once this period ends, you’ll lose your right to compensation.
However, there are certain exemptions to this rule. For example, if it took a couple of days for your injuries to be discovered, your statute of limitations will be extended.
The same rule applies if the defendant moves out of state. Your statutory clock won’t start running until they return to California.
California has no compensatory damage caps for personal injury cases, except those involving medical malpractice.
According to the California Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA), you can only claim up to $250,000 in non-economic damages. This limit excludes economic damages like medical expenses and lost wages.
How to File A Personal Injury Claim in California?
There are five steps to filing a personal injury claim in California:
Establish Your Right to A Claim
In California, there are certain things you must prove to establish your right to file a claim:
- The defendant harmed you through their actions or lack thereof.
- You’re an individual or entity with a legal status.
- You have the legal capacity to file a claim.
Once you demonstrate these three factors, you can pursue a personal injury claim.
Now that you can establish your legal standing, you must gather evidence to support your claim, like your medical records, proof of lost wages, and other similar documents. You can also include any photographs of property damages you’ve sustained.
Hire A Lawyer
There’s no denying that filing a personal injury claim in California can be tedious and challenging, especially for first-timers. With this in mind, we recommend that you hire a lawyer.
Even if you’ve only sustained minor injuries, a proficient attorney will help you file your claim and increase your chances of winning the compensation you deserve.
They’ll guide you through the entire process, ensuring you understand your rights. If your claim is not settled, your attorney will take your case to court and represent you.
How Long Can A Personal Injury Claim Take?
Personal injury claims vary, depending on the nature of the case. However, these claims typically take a couple of months to be settled.
Under California law, insurance companies must settle personal injury claims within 85 days of the filing date. It could take even longer if you decide to take your case to court.
The Dos & Don’ts of Filing A Personal Injury Claim in California
If you want to increase your chances of winning a favorable settlement, you must avoid a few things when filing your claim.
Don’t Refuse Medical Attention
Even if you think that your injuries are relatively minor, you should not refuse medical attention. Certain injuries can only be seen after a proper evaluation, which could help you should you decide to file a personal injury claim in the future.
Do Follow Your Doctor’s Advice
After receiving a proper medical evaluation, you must follow any treatment your doctor prescribes. Failure to do so could severely impact your claims.
Don’t Admit Fault
You must never admit guilt, even if you think you’re partially at fault for the incident. Allow the authorities to conduct their investigation and let them determine who must be liable for your injuries.
Do Notify Your Insurance Company
If you have an insurance provider, you must notify them immediately of your injuries.
Don’t Accept The First Offer
While you may be tempted to resolve your claims quickly, you must avoid accepting the first offer you’ll get. Most insurance companies initially propose a settlement with low value, hoping you’ll accept it immediately.
However, doing so without careful consideration could result in inadequate compensation. So, before you accept any offers, wait until your lawyer has made a full assessment of the extent of your damages.
If the other party’s offer is too low, your attorney will negotiate until they can secure a fair amount for your claim.
File A Personal Injury Claim in California Today
In conclusion, filing a personal injury claim in California can be challenging. But with enough knowledge, you’ll be able to find your path to rightful compensation.
Gathering evidence, hiring a skilled attorney, and being patient are key steps to ensure your claim has the best chance of success. If you’ve suffered injuries due to someone else’s negligence, don’t hesitate to take action. Seek the legal advice of Adamson Ahdoot’s team of lawyers.
Adamson Ahdoot is a California civil litigation firm with over 100 years of combined legal experience. Our team of experienced lawyers will take care of your case with the intimacy of a boutique firm and the expertise of a larger one.
We’ll help you determine how to best resolve your personal injury dispute and increase your chances of getting justice.
With Adamson Ahdoot’s assistance, you can focus on what matters most: your recovery. Call us at (800) 310-1606 and file your personal injury claim today.
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