Unfortunately, injuries are a common part of our daily lives throughout California. According to 2015 data from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), there were more than 235,000 injuries statewide.
When you find yourself injured in an accident in California, whether it be a car crash, a slip-and-fall incident, or due to someone else’s negligence, you’ll inevitably face several challenges. Typically, this means dealing with medical bills, enduring severe pain and discomfort, and potentially experiencing a loss of income if you’re unable to continue working.
Although you can’t undo the results of accidents, like injuries from car crashes or falls, you can overcome the difficulties by making sure the person or other party responsible is held responsible. In order to do that, it’s important to know what the personal injury case process is in California.
Experienced Support and Guidance From California Personal Injury Lawyers
Going through an accident and injury can be extremely difficult, but you don’t have to go through it alone. Our committed team of California personal injury lawyers at Maison Law is here to help you. Throughout our years of practice, we have a proven track record of assisting clients with various types of claims, and we have a system in place to guide you through your personal injury case. We can make sure you get the benefits and support you need to get on the road to recovery.
If you’ve been injured in California, don’t hesitate to contact us for a free consultation.
Accidents and Injuries in California
In California, with its large population and diverse opportunities, there are plenty of chances for fun and recreation. However, this also means there’s a risk of accidents and injuries. Throughout our years of practice, we have a wealth of experience in handling personal injury cases. These cases usually involve harm caused by someone else’s negligence, resulting in physical injuries, and financial and emotional damages. As a result, accidents and injuries can occur in a wide variety of different types of incidents, like:
- Car accidents – These happen when two or more cars collide. They are the most common type of accident in California, and they can cause serious injuries or death.
- Motorcycle accidents – When a motorcycle collides with another vehicle or object, they are more likely to result in serious injuries or death than car accidents, because motorcyclists are not as protected as car occupants.
- Bicycle accidents – Bicycle accidents happen when a bicycle collides with another vehicle or object. They are less likely to result in serious injuries or death than car or motorcycle accidents, but they can still cause significant injuries.
- Truck accidents – As a key transportation and distribution hub, there are thousands of large semi-trucks on the road in California. In these accidents, because trucks are much larger and heavier than other vehicles, more serious injuries can occur.
- Slip and fall accidents – Another common type of accident happens when a person slips or trips and falls on a dangerous surface. They can happen anywhere, but they are most common in businesses and other public places. Often, these accidents can cause a variety of injuries, including broken bones, head injuries, and spinal cord injuries.
- Workplace accidents – Workplace accidents happen when a worker is injured on the job. They can be caused by a variety of factors, including unsafe equipment, hazardous materials, and inadequate training.
- Product and premises liability accidents – These happen when a person is injured by a defective product or because of a dangerous condition on someone else’s property. These accidents can cause a variety of injuries, including burns, cuts, and poisoning.
- Nursing home abuse – Nursing home abuse is any type of mistreatment or neglect of a nursing home resident. It can include physical abuse, emotional abuse, financial abuse, and neglect. Nursing home abuse can cause serious injuries or death.
No matter what type of accident you’re in, they can result in fairly common injuries, like:
- Fractures and broken bones
- Soft tissue injuries
- Head injuries
- Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)
- Back and spinal cord injuries
- Cuts, bruises
- Psychological/emotional injuries
Regardless of what caused your accident and led to your injuries, there is a specific process in place when it comes to personal injury cases. First and foremost, though, you need to think of your health and safety.
What Should You Do After an Accident in California?
After an accident, it’s really important to do certain things to keep yourself safe and address any injuries. If you’re hurt badly, you’ll probably need to do more to take care of your health. This can also help you if you want to make a claim later on. In general, if you’re involved in an accident as an injury victim, here are the steps you should take:
- Get medical help – If you or anyone else in the accident is injured, call 911 or go to a doctor right away.
- Report the accident – If you can, tell the local authorities about the accident and wait for them to come to the scene.
- Get information – Get the contact and insurance details from the driver of the vehicle that was involved in the accident. Also, collect information from any witnesses who saw what happened.
- Gather evidence – Use your phone or camera to take photos and videos of the accident site. Capture the location, any damage to property or vehicles, and any injuries you or others have.
- Follow medical advice – Do what your doctors tell you and go to all your follow-up appointments. Not doing so could harm your health and your chances of winning a legal case later on.
Remember, it’s crucial to talk to our experienced personal injury lawyers as soon as possible to protect your rights and find out more about what you can do.
How Will an Insurance Company Get Involved in Your California Personal Injury Case?
After an accident, insurance companies will most likely be involved. These companies have a responsibility to protect their customers and others who are insured by paying for damages resulting from your accident, covering things like injuries or property damage. However, their main goal is often to pay out as little money as possible.
To achieve this, insurance companies often employ a strategy called “delay, deny, and defend.” This strategy has three parts:
- Delay – First, they try to delay paying you for as long as they can. They might ask for lots of paperwork or use the wrong forms to make it harder for you. Sometimes, they give you a short time to file a claim. They might even offer you a very small amount of money at first, hoping you’ll refuse it and make the process longer.
- Deny – If their delaying tactics don’t work, they move on to deny your claims. They make car insurance policies complicated on purpose, and their agents might try to confuse you about what really happened in the accident. They might say it’s your fault or that you didn’t report it properly or get medical help in time. They do this so you feel like you have no choice but to accept a settlement offer that’s way less than what you deserve.
- Defend – If all else fails and you take them to court, the insurance company will use their money and resources to fight against you. Lawsuits are risky and expensive, which can make it hard for you to keep going, no matter how strong your case is.
So, insurance companies try to delay and deny your claims, and if needed, they defend themselves in court. They do this to pay you less money for your injuries and damages. That’s why it’s important to talk to our lawyers before you say anything to the insurance company. They can use what you say against you in their investigation. With that said, it’s helpful to understand what the actual process is for a personal injury case from start to finish.
Frequently Asked Questions
Two years from the date of your injury. That is the statute of limitations–or deadline–in which you have to file a personal injury claim in California.
This depends on the extent of your damages. If your accident was more severe, generally the better chance you have at securing more in a settlement.
Any person that’s been injured can file a personal injury lawsuit in California. In some cases, surviving family members of people who have been killed can file an additional lawsuit called “wrongful death”. In other cases, like nursing home abuse, you can file on behalf of your elderly loved one.
What Our Team of California Personal Injury Lawyers Can Do For You
If you’re dealing with an accident or injury and feel overwhelmed, it can be a lot to handle on your own. Our team of experienced and dedicated personal injury lawyers takes a great deal of pride in our approach to our cases. We strive to give each client a personal, tailored approach that fits their needs. With our experience and approach, we know how to build a strong case for compensation and will take care of important tasks for you. Here’s what we can do for you:
- Investigate the cause of the accident and determine who is responsible
- Gather necessary evidence
- Interview witnesses and experts
- Handle communications with the insurance company and lawyers representing the at-fault party
- Work to obtain a fair settlement for you
What is the Personal Injury Case Process in California?
While every accident is unique, every subsequent California personal injury claim follows the same general procedure once you or any other injured person decides to pursue legal options. Before you decide to move forward with the process, it’s extremely important to take advantage of our free, no-obligation consultations. Our team can review your case details and evidence, and then guide you toward the best plan of action, all at no cost to you.
Generally, a personal injury case takes two separate, but similar paths toward your compensation: an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit. Most of the time, an injury case starts with an insurance claim and then proceeds into a lawsuit, but ultimately what route your case takes depends on the facts and circumstances of your accident. That said, there are important differences between the two processes.
Again, when there is an injury resulting from an accident, an insurance company is going to get involved one way or the other–either through your own insurance or, more likely, through filing a claim with the insurance company of the at-fault party.
Once the claim is submitted to the insurance company–or companies–for review, you will be contacted by an adjuster. At that point, they will utilize the above tactics to make their determination on how much your claim is worth. While the process can be frustrating, there are a few benefits to settling a personal injury claim out of court:
- You won’t pay as much in court costs and additional attorney fees.
- You are likely to receive compensation faster.
- There is less involvement in the process—thus, less hassle.
- Because you are dealing with the insurance company directly, you have a better idea of what your case is worth.
However, there are a few drawbacks to negotiating with the insurance company:
- An insurance company will likely try to drag your case out, leaving you in a poor financial situation.
- The settlement offer likely will not cover all of your damages.
- The insurance company alone has the final say in how much you’ll get for your losses.
While you have every right to take the insurance company’s offer, it’s important to understand the full range of your options, especially if you have more significant injuries and damages. If you decide you want to keep going, our team can guide you through the litigation process.
Filing a personal injury lawsuit means taking your case to court, also known as “litigation”. The main difference between an insurance claim and a lawsuit is the investment of your time and resources. While a lawsuit typically takes longer to wrap up, it also offers the prospect of more extensive compensation. That said, you will have to be much more involved in the litigation phase of your case, but with our team by your side, we handle the following responsibilities:
- Filing a Complaint with the Court.
- Keeping up with and filing other legal documents, like motions.
- Helping you gather and respond to requests for evidence, known as “discovery.”
- Preparing you for depositions and other court hearings.
- Taking depositions of key witnesses and other people involved in the case.
- Finding and preparing testimony of expert witnesses.
- Negotiating with the other side to achieve a settlement.
- Entering into mediation and other discussions about your case.
- Preparing your case for trial and then presenting it in front of a judge and jury.
What’s important to remember is that there’s no guarantee that you’ll get a positive result if your personal injury case goes to court. While litigation can take a long time, extending several months or even years beyond the initial claim, it’s a vital option if you want to get the benefits and support you deserve under California law.
What Damages Are Available in a California Personal Injury Case?
When you file a personal injury claim in California, you are seeking compensation for the injuries you have suffered. These injuries often require medical treatment and can cause emotional distress. The compensation, called compensatory damages, aims to repay you for what you have lost because of the accident or injury. Here are some damages that are available in a personal injury claim:
- Medical expenses – You can be compensated for the costs of medical treatment, such as hospital bills, surgeries, medications, rehabilitation, and ongoing care.
- Loss of income – If the injury has made you miss work or affected your ability to earn money, you may be able to recover the wages or income you have lost, as well as any future earning potential that has been impacted.
- Property loss – If your personal belongings were damaged or destroyed in the accident, you can seek compensation for the costs of repair or replacement.
- Pain and suffering – These damages aim to compensate you for the non-financial impact the accident has had on your quality of life, like the physical pain, discomfort, and emotional distress caused by the injury.
- Emotional distress – Along with pain and suffering, you may be entitled to damages for psychological or emotional trauma resulting from the accident, such as anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
- Loss of enjoyment of life – If the injury has affected your ability to participate in activities or hobbies you used to enjoy, you can seek compensation for the loss of pleasure in life.
- Loss of companionship – If the injury has strained your relationship with your spouse or family members, resulting in a loss of companionship, love, or support, you may be eligible for damages.
The amount of compensation you can receive depends on the skills and experience of your lawyer. They will work to build a strong case and negotiate on your behalf to secure fair compensation for your damages. At Maison Law, our team of experienced personal injury lawyers in California is dedicated to achieving the best possible outcome for our clients.
It’s important to act quickly so that we can meet all the legal requirements of your personal injury case. This will also allow us to represent you and your claim more effectively.
Experience and Guidance You Can Trust
When you’ve been injured in an accident in California, you need legal experience and guidance you can trust. At Maison Law, our team of skilled and experienced personal injury lawyers understands the importance of taking prompt action to restore your physical health and safeguard your legal rights. When you’re injured, you don’t have to face these difficulties by yourself. Contact us today to arrange a free, no-obligation consultation to get started.