People who suffer serious injury due to the fault of another person can file a lawsuit in California courts. The judge will hear all the details and determine the appropriate compensation for damages. This will generally cover the medical bills, the lost wages, and the reduced quality of life. A wide variety of situations can trigger a personal injury suit including car accidents, product defects, assault, work accidents, medical malpractice, and so on. Suing for a serious injury in California will require a great deal of preparation. Plaintiffs must mount a strong case to reap a favorable judgement or get a good settlement.
Standing and Capacity
Before you file a suit, you should make sure that you have the legal standing to do so. The court can throw out the case if you don’t. In California, you should be directly affected by the dispute in order to have standing. This means being the actual person who suffered the injury. Your family cannot sue on your behalf. You cannot by a mere witness to the accident. You must prove that you incurred damages due to the actions or inactions of the defendant.
The law also states that you must have the legal capacity to mount a lawsuit – that is, you must not have a legal disability. If you are under the age of 18 or are mentally incompetent due to illness, infirmity, or age, then the suit may be filed by a legal representative.
Statute of Limitations
Be aware of the deadlines for filing a personal injury suit in court. Different states have their own time limits when it comes to these cases. In California, the courts will only accept filing for up to two years after the incidence of the injury. Those who are unable to meet the deadline will forfeit their right to compensation. Note that there are exceptions, such as suits against cities, counties, and state agencies. The grace period is much shorter at only six months. The rules are also stricter for these cases to protect the government from frivolous lawsuits.
Suing the Right Entity
You must ensure that you are suing the right entity for your case to prosper. This can be straightforward in some cases such as assault where the attacker should be the defendant. In traffic collisions, logic dictates that the driver should be sued for injuries. However, it is possible that this driver does not own the car if he was only hired for the job or lent a ride by a friend. The insurance is usually in the owner’s name, so those who want to get compensation should name both the driver and the owner in the suit.
Suing a commercial establishment is another potentially confusing scenario. The design of a building may have a key flaw that led to your injury. Negligent upkeep might also contribute. It will not be right to sue the employees of the establishment or berate the manager. All of them are only working for the owners. If the establishment is just a part of a large business group, then those at the very top might be held accountable. The actual owner can be a sole proprietor, a company, or a partnership. Note that companies are considered as separate legal entities.
Getting a Personal Injury Lawyer
The complexities of a personal injury lawsuit should be apparent by now. The process can be long and arduous. The help of an experienced San Diego injury lawyer will prove invaluable as you navigate your way towards a judgement. Make sure that you listen to legal advice and follow court instructions to get the best results.