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How Serious Does an Injury Have to Be to File an Injury Claim in California?

Many people injured in an accident in California wonder if their injury has to have a certain level of severity before they can file a claim. The answer is no level of injury qualifies you to be able to file an injury claim. What usually matters is whether you suffered economic losses due to your injury and who is at fault. If you are at fault for your injury, you might not be able to file a claim, or an insurance company or court may reduce your recovery.

 In California, parties involved in an incident that leads to injury usually try to resolve things through the insurance process. However, if an insurer won’t offer a fair settlement or the insurance coverage is insufficient to deal with your injury, you may have to file a lawsuit. Our California personal injury attorneys can assist you with evaluating your claim and determining your options.

At-Fault Versus No-Fault

Some states follow a “no-fault” personal injury policy in the United States. In contrast, other states follow an “at-fault” policy. California is an at-fault state. At-fault is also known as comparative negligence. This means that if both parties involved in an incident have some degree of fault for what happened, a percentage of fault is allocated to each party in evaluating the claim.

So, how does this affect your ability to file a claim? An injured person could file a claim or lawsuit to recover money for their injuries even if they contributed to the accident. However, their damages can be reduced to account for their percentage of the blame.

An Example of How Comparative Negligence Works

It can be helpful to understand how the process works by looking at an example. Let’s say you were in a motor vehicle accident and suffered a total of $100,000 of damages from medical bills, lost income, property damage, and other economic losses. Let’s also say that the insurance company does an investigation and agrees with the amount of your damages but believes you were partially responsible for the accident at 20%. 

If this is a fair assessment of the situation after your analysis, you would be able to recover 80% of your damages from the other party’s insurance company. If you disagree, you would have to consider whether you wish to file a lawsuit and have a jury decide who is responsible and at what percentage. 

Speak With An Attorney

Dealing with an injury can be overwhelming. A personal injury attorney can help take this stress out of your hands. But you need to act promptly. In California, you have two years from the date of your injury to sue on a claim, with some exceptions. In addition, if your claim is against a government entity, special rules must be followed, or you may lose your right to pursue your claim entirely. Our attorneys understand these rules and deal with these issues regularly. Contact our office today for a free consultation about your case.