The state of California has numerous specific laws pertaining to personal injury and wrongful death. While these laws can be fairly complex, there are several key things you should know about filing a personal injury claim in Los Angeles or anywhere in the state.
First and foremost, it’s important that you understand whether you have grounds to file a claim. Just because a person is injured does not necessarily mean they are owed compensation; rather, an individual must prove that he or she was harmed as a direct result of another person or party’s negligent or wrongful conduct.
When Can You File a Personal Injury Claim in California?
Once you have determined that you do have grounds to file a personal injury claim, the next important thing you need to know is that there is a time limit for filing. This is known as the statute of limitations and, in California, it is generally two years from the date of the accident (or the date of death in cases involving wrongful death). There are some variations and exceptions to this rule, but they are rare. If you were injured or lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligent or wrongful actions, you will generally need to file your claim within two years to avoid being barred from seeking compensation.
Types of Personal Injury Cases We Handle
At Bral & Associates, we have helped more than 5,000 clients successfully pursue justice and fair compensation in the wake of serious accidents, injuries, and tragedies.
Over the years, we have successfully recovered more than $10 million for our clients, both in settlements and verdicts. When it comes to personal injury litigation, every situation is different and every case is unique. Because of this, we do not follow a cookie-cutter approach but, instead, take the time to meet with you, listen to your story, and understand your goals from the legal process.
In order to file a personal injury claim and seek compensation for your damages, you will need to prove all of the following elements:
- Duty of Care: First, you must prove that the other person or party involved owed you a “duty of care.” This means that they had a responsibility to act in such a way so as to not put you at risk of being injured or harmed. For example, anyone who drives a car or motor vehicle owes an implied duty of care to others on the road; motorists must follow all traffic laws and drive with reasonable care in order to prevent accidents that could injure or kill others.
- Breach of the Duty of Care: The next step in your claim involves proving that the other person or party who owed you a duty of care failed to uphold it. Typically, this involves showing that the other person/party was somehow negligent or acted unlawfully. An example of this is a motorist who uses a cell phone to text while he or she is driving. Not only is this illegal in California, but it also is considered a form of negligence.
- Causation: You will also need to prove causation, meaning you will need to show a direct link between the breach of the duty of care and your injuries. In other words, you must prove that because the other person/party was negligent, you were injured and that, had the other person/party upheld their duty of care to you, you would not have suffered harm.
- Damages: Lastly, you must demonstrate that your injuries led to measurable damages. Damages are the losses you have incurred as a result of the accident and/or your injuries. These losses can be either financial or non-economic in nature, including but not limited to expenses associated with medical treatment and care, lost wages from time taken off work, lost future earnings if you are disabled, pain and suffering, disfigurement, and inconvenience.
At Bral & Associates, we are committed to always being available for our clients. Our team is ready to answer your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. As a client of the firm, you will receive attentive service, fast responses, and consistent communication every step of the way. When you have questions, concerns, or simply need an update on the status of your case, our Los Angeles personal injury attorneys are always just a phone call away.
Reach us online or call (800) 449-4850 to schedule a complimentary consultation today. If you have already retained another attorney for your personal injury case, we invite you to contact us for a second opinion, free of charge.
What is a personal injury lawsuit?
If another person, company, or entity’s negligence or recklessness has caused you injury, you may be entitled to file a personal injury lawsuit and seek payment for the damages you have endured. Personal injury claims, also referred to as “tort” claims, adhere to certain procedures established by the state in which you are living. However, most states follow the same guidelines for personal injury lawsuits.
What damages can I seek in my personal injury lawsuit?
“Damages” are losses you have incurred as a result of your injuries and/or the event that caused you harm. Though damages vary from case to case, they often include: 1) Physical and emotional injuries, 2) Loss of earning capacity, 3) Outstanding medical bills and out-of-pocket costs, 4) Lost wages, 5) Future medical costs for ongoing treatment, 6) Punitive damages (for willful and wantonly reckless behavior).
How much is my case worth?
Compensation for personalized damage claims will be based on: 1) The cost of your current medical costs and required ongoing treatments, 2) The severity and type of the harm (or whether a victim has died), 3) Whether you are able to earn money after being injured, 4) Payouts awarded in cases similar to yours, 5) Whether or not your injury/condition is curable, 6) Whether your injury was due to deliberate harm or malice (as opposed to merely neglect).
What do I need to prove before I can file a personal injury lawsuit?
In all personal injury cases, the burden of proof falls on the plaintiff. This means that you must show by a multitude of evidence that your injuries were a direct result of the defendant’s negligent actions. If you are able to prove the magnitude of the injuries endured, you can be granted compensation for your losses. In most cases, a qualified personal injury attorney will hire physicians, as well as other professional witnesses, to testify on your behalf and confirm your claim.
What is the statute of limitations for my case?
A statute of limitations limits the amount of time a sufferer has to file a personal injury lawsuit. Statutes of limitations for personal injury cases differ from one state to another. In many states, the time limit begins instantly after the injury occurs. However, there are exceptions to the statute. Generally speaking, in California, the statute of limitations on personal injury claims is two years from the date of the accident, injury, or death.
Can I pursue my case on my own?
Injured plaintiffs don’t need the aid of a personal injury lawyer to pursue their claim; however, they are a great deal more likely to acquire higher settlements if they work together with lawyers. A personal injury attorney will have: 1) An intimate understanding of the legal system, 2) Knowledge of and experience in negotiating with corporate attorneys, 3) Connections with professionals and other courtroom authorities who can facilitate and help prove your case, 4) An understanding of various claims and possible damages for which you may seek reimbursement.
What will it cost me to file a personal injury lawsuit?
The majority of personal injury attorneys provide their services on contingency, meaning that you will not have to pay attorneys’ fees until (or unless) your case is resolved. Once a payout is attained, lawyers typically take a percentage of the award to cover the expenses of legal services.
What should I do if I want to file a personal injury lawsuit?
If you or a loved one has suffered a serious personal injury due to the carelessness or wrongdoing of another party, it is important to seek the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer who will protect your legal rights and maximize your interests. Please contact us today to speak to a qualified personal injury attorney free of charge. Give us a call at (800) 449-4850 or submit an online contact form to get started.
Will my personal injury case go to trial?
You may be wondering if your case will go to trial. In order to answer that properly, it’s important to understand how your personal injury claim operates. When you’re involved in a motor vehicle collision or any other injury-causing incident, the first thing that we’ll do is send a demand to the insurance company to compensate you for your injury. Often, insurance companies are fighting tooth and nail to pay you as little as possible for your injury claim. It’s at that point in the majority of cases that we end up filing a lawsuit. Filing a lawsuit enters us into a phase called litigation. Once we enter into litigation, we’re not just dealing with an insurance company and an adjuster, we’re also dealing with a defense attorney and the process becomes more adversarial. Chances are, your case will be resolved at what’s called a mediation. A mediation is when we sit down with you and the defense, as well as a third-party mediator. A mediator is a person that’s neutral and has no interest in the outcome of your case. It’s at this time that most cases are resolved without having to go to trial.
What questions will I be asked at my deposition?
Generally, the insurance defense lawyer will question you about your past employment history, medical history and records, information about the accident or how you sustained the injury, the severity of your injury, how the injury affects your ability to work and impedes your quality of life, and more. Our litigation attorneys will prepare you in advance of deposition for the types of questions we can anticipate. Additionally, we will review your medical records together to ensure you are not caught off guard.
Experience on Your Side
Our highly qualified legal team brings more than 50 years of combined experience to every case that we take on.
A Record of Proven Results
We are committed to maximizing the value of every case and have recovered more than $10 million for our clients.
We leave no stone unturned in the pursuit of the justice that our clients need and deserve after an injury.
Service With Substance
We believe in standing up for the underdog and use our platform to advocate for the betterment of our community.
Availability & Accessibility
We are prepared to make ourselves accessible to you when you need us, including by email, phone or video conference.
We are a highly focused boutique law firm that prides itself on treating every client like our only one.