Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About California Personal Injury Cases
Call Our San Diego Personal Injury Lawyers for More Information
Nield Law Group, APC has decades of combined experience representing people in San Diego and the surrounding areas in personal injury claims and lawsuits. Our experience allows us to speak in detail about how California laws could apply to your potential case. Due to state laws, there are multiple requirements for filing a lawsuit and several possible outcomes to a lawsuit.
If you or a loved one suffered serious harm due to the negligent or reckless actions of another person, then we can help you determine if you have the option to seek compensation through a lawsuit.
Nield Law Group, APC is a San Diego personal injury law firm that takes cases for medical malpractice, auto accidents, wrongful death, catastrophic injuries, injuries on properties, pedestrian accidents, bicycle accidents, motorcycle crashes, and other acts of negligence.
- What Are Examples of Personal Injury Lawsuits?
- What Are Examples of Catastrophic Injuries?
- Do I Need to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
- Who Can File a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
- What Are Possible Personal Injury Lawsuit Damages?
- What If I Am Partially At Fault for the Accident?
- Do I Need a Personal Injury Lawyer?
- How Long Does a Personal Injury Case Take in California?
- What Is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
What Are Examples of Personal Injury Lawsuits?
There are many reasons why someone may file a personal injury lawsuit or personal injury claim. Below are some examples of when it may be appropriate to file a lawsuit for yourself or a loved one:
- Suffering injuries caused by a negligent motorist, either as a pedestrian, bicyclist or while driving.
- Suffering injuries caused by a drunk driver.
- Suffering damages caused by medical malpractice, such as a misdiagnosis or never event.
- Suffering injuries caused by dangerous conditions on another person’s property that the property owner should have known about.
- Suffering injuries caused by an assault.
- A work accident involving a negligent third party that led to injuries.
- A defective product, such as an airbag or seatbelt, caused your injuries.
This is not an exhaustive list of when it may be appropriate to file a personal injury claim or lawsuit. However, the point here is that these are situations caused by negligent or reckless actions, so it could be possible to seek compensation.
In California, there is an exception for cases involving dog bites. The owner’s negligence or lack of negligence would not necessarily factor into your ability to seek compensation.
What Are Examples of Catastrophic Injuries?
Victims of catastrophic injuries need all of the help they can get, so it is important to seek out an experienced attorney who has handled cases involving these types of injuries.
A “catastrophic injury” is likely to result in permanent disabilities, disfigurement and a loss of enjoyment in life for the victim and the victim’s immediate family members. Many individuals with catastrophic injuries will incur extensive medical bills and may be unable to seek employment or return to their prior careers. Brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, severe burn injuries and disfigurement (including amputation) are examples of what may be considered a catastrophic injury.
Catastrophic injuries can lead to millions of dollars in damages. Insurance companies may not provide you with the compensation you need to pay for these damages, so you may need the help of an experienced attorney to prove the extent of your damages. Personal injury law firms, including our own, work with medical experts and accident reconstruction specialists to give you the best possible chance of recovering compensation.
Do I Need to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
Not everyone needs to file a lawsuit after an accident. If your injuries are minor, then it may not be necessary to seek compensation by filing a lawsuit in court. More serious injuries require more compensation and skilled legal assistance.
Insurance companies are involved with personal injury claims, such as claims resulting from a car accident or medical malpractice. However, insurance companies are not in business to compensate victims of negligence in full for their damages. Many insurers will try to reduce the value of your claim. For example, an insurer may argue that you are partially at fault for your accident and resulting injuries.
Fortunately, you can appeal an insurance company’s decision to devalue or deny your claim under the right circumstances. You can do this by filing a lawsuit in court. By filing a lawsuit, you may be able to obtain a successful settlement or jury verdict that adequately compensates you for your damages.
Who Can File a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
California requires you to be within the statute of limitations to file a personal injury lawsuit. You should speak to one of our attorneys to determine if you are within the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations may vary depending on who you are suing, your age and possibly other factors.
If you are filing a wrongful death lawsuit, then there are certain requirements specific to those types of cases. Only certain people close to the decedent (the deceased person) can file a lawsuit. Our attorneys can help you determine if you are eligible.
Your personal injury lawsuit will need to show the party who caused your damages was somehow negligent. An attorney may be able to help preserve and uncover evidence that can show the other party’s negligence caused your injury or loss. There are exceptions to some types of cases, such as dog bites, where the other party’s fault may not factor into your case.
What Are Possible Personal Injury Lawsuit Damages?
Damages from a personal injury claim or lawsuit vary from person to person. However, most if not all people will have medical bills stemming from their injuries. Lost income, loss of future earnings and funeral expenses are other possible damages that may factor into a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.
There are also noneconomic damages, which are associated with pain and suffering. Finally, you have punitive damages. In California, only a jury can award punitive damages and only in certain cases.
Compensation for your damages can help pay for the costs associated with your injury. If you have a catastrophic injury, then compensation is essential for your ability to maintain a decent standard of living.
What If I Am Partially At Fault for the Accident?
Even if you are partially at fault, you may still be able to recover compensation. California’s comparative negligence/comparative fault rule allows you to recover compensation if you were partially at fault for your accident, but the amount of compensation you receive may be reduced by your percentage of fault.
Do I Need a Personal Injury Lawyer?
You should never make the mistake of trying to represent yourself in court. Not only would this be especially difficult after a serious injury or loss of a loved one, attorneys bring a lot to the table.
An attorney may work with medical experts, accident reconstruction specialists and other experts to provide an accurate assessment of your damages and to show the other party’s negligence caused your damages. In California, it is especially important to have an attorney. You may have the amount of compensation you can recover reduced if found to be partially at fault for the accident.
An attorney can also represent you during settlement negotiations and a jury trial. Simply put, there is a lot of work that goes into a personal injury lawsuit.
How Long Does a Personal Injury Case Take in California?
There is no way to determine how long the settlement negotiation process will take, or what could happen if it becomes necessary to file a lawsuit. If you need to file a lawsuit, then it will increase the amount of time before your case is resolved. For instance, the discovery process may take time.
Personal injury cases can take months or years depending on the circumstances. While a lawsuit will take longer if a jury trial is involved, it may be the only way to obtain compensation that can cover your damages in full. Insurance companies are in business to make money, not to ensure you’re fairly compensated. There are no guarantees the other party’s insurance provider will offer a fair settlement.
What Is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
California law also allows you to obtain damages if you lost a loved one due to the negligent or reckless actions of another party. Wrongful death claims and lawsuits can help pay for medical bills incurred before your loved one’s death, funeral expenses, lost future income and expenses associated with pain and suffering.
However, as we mentioned earlier, only certain people can file a wrongful death lawsuit. Spouses, children, domestic partners, parents of minors, and sometimes siblings and stepchildren can seek damages through a wrongful death claim or lawsuit.
You would need to show that the other party’s negligence led to your loved one’s death. Otherwise, it would not be possible to pursue a settlement or jury verdict.
About Our San Diego Personal Injury Law Firm
Nield Law Group, APC can answer questions you have about how California laws apply to your potential case. We are happy to answer any of these questions during a free consultation. You can schedule a free consultation with our San Diego personal injury law firm by dialing (866)335-1860 or by using the contact form on our website.