Personal injury law book

California’s Rules on Personal Injury

Accidents do happen. The gravity, though, stops being non-essential when a person suffers an injury or even dies because of it. While the victim or their family may file a criminal suit, they also have the option to claim for personal injury or wrongful death.

Personal injury claims allow the beneficiary to receive financial compensation due to damages, which can be physical and emotional. The money can provide a significant relief for families who might have lost their breadwinner or individuals who cannot work anymore because of the disability. However, a lack of knowledge can derail your claims. To avoid that, pay attention to the personal injury laws, especially if you’re in California:

Statutory Filing Period

Old man with legal adviser

You cannot file a California personal injury claim anytime you want. It has a time limit of two years since the date of the accident or the wrongful death. If you’re going against the state, the period is even shorter at six months.

There are exceptions to the rules. You may still file a case if:

  • the doctors were able to relate your illness to the injury only after two years
  • you didn’t know the reason for the death until the two years were up
  • you were below 18 years old during the onset of injury, which means you don’t have a legal capacity to make decisions
  • the person who injured you or your family member left the country or the state at the time of filing

Wrongful Death Lawyer

In reality, you can choose not to work with a wrongful death lawyer. You can negotiate directly with the insurance adjuster. Still, the benefits of having a wrongful death attorney in Los Angeles outweigh the potential fees. For one, you can have a strong legal representation whether in court or the presence of the insurance companies. They can give you all types of leverage so that you can get the compensation due to you. Second, they can spare you from more emotional or physical pain. They can appear in court on your behalf.

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In many cases, these attorneys will perform a thorough assessment of your case. It helps determine if your situation has merit and, most of all, whether you have a significant chance of winning. If you do, they will take the case, and you don’t even have to pay for them immediately. They will receive compensation only if they can win your case. If not, you can walk away without having to settle any attorney’s fees.

Comparative Negligence

One of the essential questions in any personal injury law claim is who is at fault. In this case, the court can decide according to contributory or comparative negligence. Contributory negligence is the older kind of the two. Many also call it harsh since it takes an all-or-nothing approach. If there’s an ounce of reason to believe you, the victim, is at fault, you receive no compensation.

California is one of the states that follow comparative negligence. It determines the victim’s participation in their injury and awards damages based on the percentage. For example, if the damages are worth $200,000, but your contribution to your injury is 20%, the defendant pays only 80% or $160,000.

The personal injury laws in California can be tricky. If you wish to pursue a case, it’s always best to rely on experts who can increase your chances of receiving compensation.