When you or a loved one are involved in an accident, you may file a lawsuit to recover fair compensation for accident expenses, like medical care and property repair. In California, Civil Code section 1714 is where you find details for filing a negligence-based Personal Injury lawsuit. The law and associated rights to sue apply to you and to everyone else, equally. To file a lawsuit for Personal Injury claims, you should seek legal advice immediately from an experienced California Personal Injury Lawyer.
This section of the Civil Code states that responsibility lies with each person for any injury that results from their own willful acts and also for injuries that other persons incur when there is lack of ordinary care. In other words, you are responsible for acts you deliberately undertake and for acts that occur because of your negligent behavior. When there is negligent behavior, you may be able to sue for Personal Injury claims.
California Personal Injury Attorney
Special training and experience combine to develop excellent legal skills for a California Personal Injury Attorney. They understand the details of all laws that apply to accident cases, and they know how to file and win Personal Injury lawsuits. This type of attorney can work with you at many levels, from simply reviewing documents you want to file on your own, to handling complex litigation and appeals for you in court.
When you consult with this legal professional, they will want to see all evidence you have to use in preparing a lawsuit. This includes medical records, accident reports, eye witness accounts, your testimony and other facts that apply to your case. This information is essential for creating a sound argument in your favor to the other parties of the case and to a judge and jury in court.
Your attorney may be able to win your claims prior to court, through a demand letter, negotiations with the other parities or in mediation or arbitration meetings. If no satisfactory agreement can be reached, they will continue to represent your best interests through courtroom litigation. If your claims are denied, they can continue to represent you at appeals hearings.
Personal Injury Claims
Once you want to sue for Personal Injury, you have to meet several restrictions and make a decision about who will handle your case – you or an attorney. You can file claims on your own, but there are many details the average person does not know and if anything is incorrect, it could invalidate your entire effort. When you work with an experienced California Personal Injury Attorney, they already are aware of all these important details and how to file a valid claim.
Any time limit that applies to your case is another factor to respect. With most claims, you have up to two years from the time of injury to file your claim for compensation. If you miss this deadline, you will miss this important opportunity to get fair compensation for your injuries. Complete information about the California statute of limitations for personal injury cases is found in California Code of Civil Procedure section 335.1. Time limits may vary, but it is best to act quickly for best results. If your claim is against a government entity, such as a city, county or state government agency in California, you only have a six month time period to file your claim. You also must meet strict regulations found in Cal. Gov’t Code § 911.2.
Filing a Lawsuit for Personal Injury
When you have decided to sue for Personal Injury, you also need to meet these criteria:
- Who can Sue? – According to California courts, you must have “standing” in the lawsuit; you must be the person who is directly affected by the injury. If this is not clear, ask your lawyer if you do qualify to have standing and the right to file a lawsuit. You must be a legal person or entity, and you must have legal “capacity” to file the lawsuit, or you must be the legal representative of someone who has a “legal disability” for capacity qualifications.
- Who can you Sue? – This may be simple or not, depending on the circumstances of the accident. You can sue the person or entity that directly caused your injuries, but you also may have additional defendants to sue. This is where your attorney can be very helpful, to determine who all the responsible parties are. For example, if you were riding with someone else who got in an accident due to texting, but also had a defective set of brakes, you may be able to sue both the driver and the parts manufacturer.
- Information is Essential – you must collect information about the person or entity you are suing, including proper legal name, contact information, insurance policy information and more. If you cannot find this information, your attorney will have excellent resources for locating people and they know how to track down people, even if this requires a formal bit of detective work.
Liability or Fault in Personal lnjury Lawsuits
Establishing liability or fault is an essential element for winning your Personal Injury lawsuit. California has shared fault laws, or pure comparative rules that reduce your award by the percentage you are at fault. In dog bite claims, the state has a strict liability rule, making the dog owner responsible for all actions of the dog. There may be exceptions to this rule, however, as when the victim was trespassing on private property, antagonized the animal to bite, or the dog was working for a government agency like the police department.
Suing for Personal Injury is the best way to recover your injury expenses from an accident due to negligent behavior by another person or entity. Get competent legal advice and representation for best results. You can try to do it yourself, but in most cases, your end result will be much better when you work with an experienced California Personal Injury Lawyer from the start.