Filing a personal injury lawsuit can be stressful, and you may have many questions about how the process works. Generally speaking, a case is not filed immediately, and your attorney will first try to negotiate a resolution of your claim. However, if negotiations are not productive, or if you must file to avoid missing your window of time to file a claim, a lawsuit may be necessary. Our California personal injury attorneys can help evaluate your situation, explain the process and determine if you need to file a personal injury lawsuit.
What is a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
A personal injury lawsuit is a legal filing in court that occurs when a person has been injured in an accident caused by the negligence of another person or business. The goal is to recover compensation for your medical expenses, pain and suffering, and any property damage from the responsible party’s insurance company. It is not uncommon for your attorney to try and negotiate with the insurance company to reimburse you for these amounts before filing a lawsuit. But, if the insurance adjuster is unwilling to take your case seriously or denies the severity of your claims, a lawsuit may have to be filed. Many cases are settled out of court and never go to trial.
The Steps to Filing A Lawsuit
The first step in the process is speaking with an attorney. The importance of this cannot be overstated. An experienced attorney can determine the strength of your case, who is at fault, and what the best way is to proceed. Your attorney may need to investigate your injury and gather information to evaluate your case and determine whether you should file a lawsuit. This may require the services of an investigator. You may also need to seek medical evaluations and gather other information.
If a lawsuit is to be filed, the next step is filing a civil complaint against a defendant or defendants. The case will allege that the defendant was negligent, owed you a duty of care, breached this duty and that the defendant’s negligence caused your injuries. The defendant may be a person, business, or government entity. You will also have to quantify the damages you have suffered or will continue to suffer.
In some instances, such as where a government entity is involved, you must file an administrative claim first. You must do so in order to file a lawsuit, and you must file the claim within six months of your injury. The government then has forty-five days to respond to your claim.
Speak With an Attorney Promptly
Dealing with an injury can be challenging, and your focus may be on trying to recover emotionally, physically, and financially. However, you should not delay speaking with an attorney because you have limited time to file a claim in California. The statute of limitations for personal injuries is two years, with certain exceptions. Our firm knows how to deal with insurance companies and help individuals protect their rights. Contact our office today for legal help, we gladly offer a free consultation.