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Not all injury accidents will warrant filing a lawsuit. Understanding the factors that may trigger taking legal action and the time limits that apply to personal injury lawsuits in California is vital to the success of your case. But, when should you sue for personal injury in California?

Generally, you should sue for personal injury when another party’s negligence or intentional actions caused you to suffer injuries and the defendant or his or her insurance company is refusing to pay fair compensation for your losses. Typically, you should take legal action within 2 years of the date of the injury. In some situations, the time limits that apply to personal injury claims may be shorter or longer.

Our personal injury lawyers at Kuvara Law Firm can evaluate your circumstances to determine when and if you should file a lawsuit. Call us at 1-800-4-INJURY to schedule a free consultation.

California Accident Statistics

Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows California recorded about 4,407 motor vehicle accident deaths in 2022. The number of related deaths recorded in the state in 2021 was around 4,285. About 70% (2,992) of motor vehicle accident deaths in 2021 happened in urban areas, with around 30% (1,291) happening in rural areas.

55% (2,362) of the vehicle crash fatalities in 2021 involved single vehicles, with 45% involving multiple vehicles. 40% of the 1760 drivers killed in motor vehicle crashes in California in 2021 had blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limits greater than 0.08.

What Types of Incidents Trigger Personal Injury Lawsuits in California?

Motor Vehicle Accidents

Most personal injury lawsuits in California stem from motor vehicle accidents. Car accidents often occur due to a driver’s negligence. Speeding, not giving the right of way, ignoring traffic signage, and engaging in distracting activities behind the wheel are some forms of negligent driving conduct.

Motor vehicle accidents could involve several cars, large trucks, motorbikes, bicycles, and pedestrians. They can result in serious, long-term injuries like head trauma, traumatic brain injury, and spinal cord damage. You may have strong grounds to sue for damages if you suffered injuries in a motor vehicle crash that was another person’s fault.

Slip and Fall Accidents

Property owners and businesses have a duty to keep their premises and buildings in good condition if they are open to the public. You could sustain a slip-and-fall injury if a property or business owner does not take reasonable steps to keep the property well-maintained and safe.

Slip-and-fall accidents could stem from broken staircases, uneven floors, missing railings, poor lighting, slippery floors, and other unsafe conditions. They could happen at apartments, shopping malls, hotels, restaurants, and private residencies.

You may pursue compensation for your injuries and damages if the accident happened because of dangerous conditions on another person’s property. Your lawyer can help you determine all at-fault parties in your personal injury case involving premises liability.

Medical Malpractice

Medical practitioners have a legal obligation to provide patients with a standard of care acceptable within their medical community. Any deviation from the established standard of care could result in serious injuries or fatalities.

Causes of medical malpractices include prescribing incorrect medications or doses, surgical errors, and misdiagnosis, among other incidents. You can seek monetary compensation if a medical provider’s negligence caused your injuries or worsened your health condition.

Workplace Accidents

Workers’ comp insurance covers most injuries at work. You may, however, have valid grounds for a personal injury case against a negligent third party in some instances. An example is when a contractor fails to keep a construction site safe, and you get injured. Another example is when you get injured because of defective products.

Defective Products Accidents

A defective product could trigger a personal injury lawsuit in California if it leaves a user with serious injuries. The lawsuit could cite an error in the product’s design or manufacture. It could also cite missing or inadequate safety instructions.

Manufacturers or distributors of defective products are often the liable parties in personal injury lawsuits involving defective products.

Dog Bites

Dog bites often leave victims with serious injuries, ranging from deep cuts and wounds to broken bones and facial trauma. A dog attack could also result in long-term nerve damage, permanent scars, and disfigurement.

You might qualify to pursue compensation for medical expenses and long-term effects arising from a dog bite against the dog owner.

When to Sue for Personal Injury in California

California has a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury cases. The “timer” for this deadline starts counting from the accident or injury date. The state understands that some situations can keep you from filing a claim within the imposed deadline. As such, exceptions may apply to the two-year deadline.

Delayed discovery is one example of an exception to the two-year filing timeline in California. This rule covers circumstances where you do not immediately notice that you have sustained injuries or your accident resulted from another party’s negligence. In such instances, the “clock” for the filing deadline starts when you recognize you are hurt or notice another party’s negligent actions. When the discovery rule is applied, the deadline to file is one year from the date of the injury’s discovery.

The statute of limitations can be paused or suspended for a while if the defendant is a minor or legally insane. The suspension ends when the defendant turns 18 years old or is no longer insane.

Situations Where Suing for Personal Injury Is Necessary

While some situations require a lawsuit, others are better resolved differently. As such, you should understand your case and weigh the options. The following are common scenarios where suing for personal injury may be necessary:

Your Injury Is Severe

You may consider suing if your injury is serious. The injury may include broken bones or damaged tissues that require surgeries and cause persistent pain. Medical bills and lost wages associated with the injury can make you consider legal action.

The injury may affect every aspect of life. It may make work impossible and daily activities difficult. In these situations, seeking compensation through a lawsuit to help rebuild your life and regain a sense of normalcy is in your best interest.

The Other Party Has Insufficient Insurance Coverage

The other party’s insurance might offer some financial relief, but it may not cover all your losses. The coverage might be limited, leaving you with unpaid bills. A lawsuit can help you recoup the difference between your recoverable damages and available insurance coverage from the liable party’s personal assets.

How a Personal Injury Attorney Can Help

Following an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you may ask, “How can a personal injury attorney help me?” An attorney with a proven record of winning personal injury cases can guide you through the legal landscape and fight for maximum compensation on your behalf. You, however, need to know how to get the most out of a free personal injury attorney consultation to better your chances of hiring the right attorney for your situation. A good attorney can do the following for you:

Evaluate Your Case and Protect Your Rights

A lawyer can assess the accident, determine if negligence was involved, and guide you on your legal options. The lawyer will also ensure you meet deadlines and file the necessary paperwork correctly. He or she will protect your legal rights throughout the claim or lawsuit process.

Investigate the Accident and Gather Evidence

Developing a strong case requires evidence. Your lawyer will dig into the accident, compile witness statements, and work with experts to reconstruct events and get a comprehensive picture of what happened. He or she will also communicate with insurance companies and other parties involved.

Negotiate for a Fair Settlement

Insurance companies might try to offer a lower settlement amount. Your lawyer knows the law, your rights, and the true value of your claim. As such, he or she will negotiate with the insurer on your behalf, allowing you to focus on recovery.

The personal injury landscape can be confusing for those without legal training. Your lawyer will discuss everything you need to know about personal injury claims, answer your questions, and keep you informed. He or she will also handle all legal paperwork, court appearances, and communication with the other party or the other party’s insurer, allowing you to focus on your overall physical and emotional well-being.

Provide Emotional Support and Advocacy

Accidents can be traumatic, and the confusing legal battle can add to the stress. You can count on your lawyer for support and understanding. The lawyer will also listen to your concerns to ensure you feel heard and valued.

The decision to sue is personal, and it’s best to involve a personal injury attorney with a proven history of representing personal injury victims.

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