Information on Personal Injury Laws in Calfornia

If you have been involved in an accident and sustained injuries, you should make a personal injury claim against the at-fault party. The laws on filing personal injury suits vary depending on the state you reside. The following are some of the fundamental laws on claims of personal injury in California.

Requirements for Damages

Under California law, to recover damages for an injury, you should prove that:

  • The at-fault party was negligent
  • The negligence of the at-fault party was the cause of your injuries

Statutory Limitations

Every state has a set limit of time within which you are supposed to make a claim in case of an accident. According to the California Code of Civil Procedures, a personal injury claim must be made two years from the date of the accident. Failure to make a claim within the two-year period relinquishes your entitlement to damages in future. In claims against a government agency, county, or city, you are required to make a claim within six months from the date of the incident.

Shared Fault

In a personal injury accident in which you are partly responsible, you stand to get a reduced award for damages. In shared fault cases, California applies the “pure comparative negligence” rule. The amount of compensation you will receive in a case of shared fault is equal to your percentage of blame for the incident. For example, if you are involved in a traffic accident in which the at-fault party ran a stop sign, but you were also driving above the speed limit, you are likely to share 10 percent of the liability for the accident while the at-fault party is allocated 90 percent.

Limits on Injury Damages

California law has some restrictions on the damages that you can recover in personal injury lawsuits.

Under California law, uninsured drivers cannot recover non-economic damages after an auto accident even if the another driver is ultimately liable for the accident. Non-economic damages include pain and suffering, physical impairment, and disfigurement. The exception to this rule is when an uninsured driver is involved in an accident with a driver who was driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

The Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act also places a cap on non-economic damages in cases of medical malpractice. According to this Act, you cannot recover more than $250,000 worth of damages for medical malpractice.