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 the 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 other 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.

Do You Need A Personal Injury Lawyer?

Many people wonder if they need a personal injury lawyer after being involved in an accident.  The answer really depends on the severity and circumstances of the accident.

If the accident caused injuries it is always a good idea to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer to ensure you fully understand any legal issues that may need to be considered.

It’s also important to remember that some injuries may not be immediately noticeable right after an accident.  Even if you do not immediately feel as though you were injured, it is a good idea to see a doctor for an examination, just to make sure.

Personal injury laws are complex and an experienced injury accident lawyer will be able to ensure your legal rights are protected.

A good personal injury lawyer can help handle all aspects of the aftermath of a serious accident.  Below are a few things they will be able to help you with after an accident:

  • First and foremost they will be able to advise what your legal rights are and if you are entitled to compensation for your injuries.
  • Most personal injury lawyers will be able to investigate the accident and determine exactly who or what caused the accident and what parties may be responsible.
  • They will be able to help arrange medical treatment and negotiate with medical facilities regarding charges.
  • Injury lawyers will negotiate with all insurance companies involved and will ensure your legal rights and well-being are protected.
  • If a fair and just settlement can not be reached out of court, a good injury attorney will prepare your case and take it to trial in an effort to ensure you are compensated according to current personal injury laws.

There are numerous other aspects of a personal injury case that a good injury lawyer will help with, but the bottom line is that you should definitely consult with a qualified injury lawyer as soon as possible after an accident.

Below are a few online resources that can help you understand personal injury laws, lawsuits and how to find a local personal injury lawyer: