Getting injured in any kind of an accident means a lot of physical pain, lost wages, and piles of bills. If your injury was caused by another person’s actions, you have the added stress of wondering if you will ever be reimbursed for all the money you have had to shell out and all the time you have wasted taking care of your injuries.
If you are in the Los Angeles area and have been injured in a car accident, you will be comforted to know that California is a fault state, meaning that the insurance company of the at-fault driver is liable for your expenses. If the at-fault party does not have insurance, you may have to sue them personally in civil court. If you have been injured at work or at a business due to the negligence of the business owner, and you have significant medical bills, it may be worth your while to sue. It is important to get a competent personal injury lawyer in Los Angeles. It is also important to take a few critical steps to build and preserve your case.
Documenting your Claim
The first thing any insurance company or judge is going to want to see is documentation of your claim. Save a record of every bill that is related to your injury including all medications both prescription and nonprescription. Get a record of your time off work from your supervisor or HR specialist. Bring everything with you to your first meeting with your attorney and continue to document every bill and a new piece of evidence as the case moves forward.
Although a traffic report is not usually admissible as evidence, it may contain witness names and other important facts that will help your case. You must read the accident report carefully if the time or date on it is wrong, it could adversarially affect your case or the time you have to file a lawsuit. Make sure to get a copy of the accident report. If you see that the police officer on the scene has taken pictures, you are entitled to a copy of the pictures.
Testimony from Doctors
In the case of an auto accident or a slip and fall accident at a business you are patronizing, the doctor or doctors who treated you may be called upon to testify. If you are filing a claim for workers compensation, your attorney and your insurance company will mutually decide on an Agreed Medical Evaluator to gauge your medical records and provide testimony in court. If you file your lawsuit pro se, a Qualified Medical Evaluator who is appointed by the Division of Workers Compensation will examine you and review your medical records.
Statute of Limitations
It is important to be fully aware of the statute of limitations in the state of California. According to state law, you have two years from the date of your accident to file a lawsuit for personal injury and three years to file a suit for damages to your vehicle. There are some exceptions to the rule. If you or one of your car’s passengers was under 18 when your accident took place, you will have until you are 20 to file a lawsuit. In the event that a woman is carrying a baby at the time of the accident, the claimants will have until the child is six years old to file a claim for personal injury to the child.
If the defendant is out of state for a period of time, you may be able to delay the lawsuit for that period of time, as it would be difficult to serve them with papers. This exception does not apply to out of state drivers, corporations or those individuals participating in interstate commerce.
Finding Legal Representation
The law firm you hire should have the time, staff and resources to research and evaluate your case thoroughly. Bauman Law has reached settlements for over 6000 clients in the state of California. It has a staff of over 30 personal injury professionals who will work tirelessly to get you the money you deserve.
- Compensatory Damages in California Personal Injury Cases
- Personal Injury Law & Statutory Rules in California
- How Is Fault Determined in California Personal Injury Cases?
- Types of Personal Injury Compensation in California
- Limits on Injury Damages in California