Personal injuries vary in how and why they occur, their severity, and the lawsuits or claims that may follow them. Nonetheless, most personal injury lawsuits comprise similar details and needs.
Essentially, personal injury accidents are those that result from the carelessness, recklessness, negligence, or intentional conduct of another person. As a result, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and losses.
Of course, the most common injury claims focus on car accidents. Considering that California has one of the highest rates of traffic-related fatalities and is among the top three states in terms of traffic deaths, this is especially pertinent in the Golden State.
But regardless of the origin of your injury, the process of filing a claim is generally the same. And no matter the circumstances of your incident, it’s important to see a lawyer as soon as you can in order to safeguard your legal rights.
So, how do personal injury lawsuits work in Orange County and in California at large? Read on to learn more and safeguard your legal rights in the aftermath of an accident that’s left you with injuries or other damages.
What to Do After an Injury-Causing Accident
After an accident that results in injuries, filing a personal injury claim may not be your first inclination. Yet, the decisions you make and the steps you take at this time will be crucial.
For example, even if you don’t believe your injuries are serious, you should seek medical attention immediately following an accident. From there, keep in mind that evidence is king when it comes to personal injury claims.
In the event of a car accident, for example, you should take photographs of the accident site and your injuries. Document your surroundings, and jot down the details or circumstances surrounding the crash while they’re still fresh in your mind. Preserving every detail and piece of evidence you can is invaluable.
Finally, ensure that the accident is reported as quickly as possible. The investigating authority (such as the police or employer) will make an official record of the incident.
California’s Personal Injury Statute of Limitations
While California permits accident victims to collect damages, the law restricts the amount of time they have to bring a claim. Generally, accident victims who experience a bodily injury have two years from the date of the incident to bring a claim for compensation. If you do not make a claim within this timeframe, you will likely be barred from receiving the compensation you are entitled to.
There are certain instances in which California’s statute of limitations may vary. When the government is at fault, the statute of limitations may be expedited or extended under certain exceptional circumstances. If you consult an attorney quickly after an accident, he or she will ensure that your claims are submitted within the necessary timeframe.
Drafting a Demand Letter For Personal Injury
After conducting a preliminary investigation and determining who is responsible for your injuries, your attorney will draft a demand letter. This letter will be delivered to the person at fault and/or their insurance provider and will inform the party (defendant) of your intention to seek damages. This letter will explain why the defendant is responsible, describe your injuries, and detail your request for compensation.
The defendant (or their insurance provider) can either respond or completely disregard this demand letter. If your letter of demand is unsuccessful, your attorney will file a legal claim for damages and serve it on the defendant.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim in Orange County
As previously mentioned, your attorney will submit a formal claim for damages if the defendant rejects your demand or does not respond at all. Your claim informs the court of your intention to obtain damages from the party responsible for your injuries.
Your attorney will base the claim on a comprehensive investigation and extensive research or findings. From there, your lawyer will combine the facts and evidence of your case with the corresponding or related laws to construct a persuasive argument for why you should be compensated for your injuries and other damages.
At this point, the defendant is required by law to reply to your claim. If they do not, the court will automatically issue a judgment in your favor.
The discovery process will commence when your claim has been filed and the defendant has responded. Discovery permits both parties to review the other’s potentially relevant evidence and information. Depositions also enable both parties to interrogate witnesses officially.
Due to the fact that depositions are taken under oath, they’re particularly useful for obtaining convincing evidence. Your attorney will utilize the facts acquired during discovery to enhance the original case built at the beginning of the injury claim process in California.
Settling or Going to Trial For Personal Injury
Most (around 95%) personal injury claims are resolved out of court, privately. When you consent to a private settlement, you also consent to dismiss your case. In these situations, your attorney will leverage the defendant to provide a reasonable settlement using the facts and evidence that are included in your claim and uncovered during discovery.
Some defendants may refuse to negotiate or will make proposals that are insufficient to compensate you for your damages. If you are dissatisfied with the settlement offers you receive, you have the option to go to trial.
During a trial, a judge or jury will determine whether you should get compensation and how much you should receive. You and the defendant may appeal both the judgment and the award.
Contact Beckerman Anderson in Orange County
Have you been hurt as a result of someone else’s carelessness or negligence? If so, please get in touch with us to see whether you have a claim.
At Beckerman Anderson, our legal team specializes in personal injury throughout Orange County and can provide you with crucial guidance about the aftermath of an accident and preparing your case. No matter what type of personal injury you’ve suffered, our team at Beckerman Anderson is well-versed in these types of claims.
If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident at the hands of a careless party, do not hesitate to seek counsel from attorneys specializing in personal injury cases to safeguard your legal interests. You may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Our Orange County-area personal injury attorneys can be reached at 949-409-4242 for a free first consultation and review of your claim.