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Filing a Personal Injury Claim in California

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident in California, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. You will need to file a claim against the driver responsible for your personal injuries to recover economic and non-economic damages – depending on the circumstances of your accident and the severity of your injuries.

California has strict laws regarding personal injury lawsuits, often varying depending on the circumstances of an individual case. That’s why it’s important to consult with a Southern California car accident attorney to determine if you have a case to pursue compensation for your damages. We understand the importance of filing your claim quickly so that it does not lapse under California’s statute of limitations (CCP § 335.1). 

Auto Accidents in Southern California 

Auto accidents are a very common occurrence in Southern California. In fact, there are over 64 auto accidents every day on the roadways of Los Angeles County alone, despite the city’s Vision Zero policy aimed at reducing and eventually eliminating traffic deaths. The reason for the high number of crashes could be due to more aggressive driving habits as people rush from place to place and pay less attention to their surroundings. 

The most common type of crash in California is single-vehicle collisions. There were over 1 million such crashes in 2016 alone and they accounted for over 80 percent of all crashes reported in the state. On average, these types of accidents result in roughly $1,100 worth of damage per vehicle. More importantly, these crashes can lead to serious injuries or death (especially if occupants are not wearing seatbelts or alcohol is involved).

Another type of crash that commonly results in injury or death is a high-speed, head-on collision between two vehicles. Injuries caused by these types of accidents typically require immediate medical attention since they may include broken bones. 

Distracted driving (which includes texting or talking on your cell phone while driving) has also contributed to bad regional crash statistics. Unfortunately, many distracted drivers often try to deny their part in causing the accident. In such scenarios, a personal injury lawyer in Southern California comes in handy in determining the liable parties according to law. 

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), older drivers tend to be safer behind the wheel because they have more experience driving on busy highways. In contrast, younger drivers have a higher rate of fatal accidents per mile driven because they tend to take risks that other motorists typically avoid. 

Common Causes of Car Accidents in Southern California 

In Southern California, there are many reasons why car accidents happen. Some of the common causes of auto collisions include:

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is an epidemic in the United States, and Southern California is no exception. Many people use their cell phones while driving, whether it’s talking on the phone or texting. This can lead to accidents and injuries that are often serious or fatal. According to the NHTSA, distracted driving accidents claimed 3,142 lives in 2020 alone. 

Drunk Driving

Drunk driving is also a huge problem in California. The state has strict laws regarding alcohol consumption while driving, but they aren’t always followed. Many people consume alcohol before getting behind the wheel, which sometimes leads to fatal crashes.

Speeding

Speeding is another factor that may cause an auto accident in SoCal. Speeding may not seem as serious as other factors like drunk driving or distracted driving, but it can lead to serious injury or death. 

Failure to Yield

Failure to yield is a common cause of car accidents in California. This occurs when drivers fail to yield when it would be reasonable for them to do so under the circumstances (for example, stopping at a stop sign or stop light). 

Drowsy Driving

Drowsy driving is another common car accident cause in California. Drowsy drivers often make mistakes behind the wheel that could result in an auto accident involving serious injuries or even death.

Working With a Southern California Car Accident Lawyer

A car accident can be a traumatic experience, especially if you’re injured. When you’re involved in a car accident and you believe that another person was at fault, a lawyer can help. 

The Southern California car accident lawyers at our firm can help ensure that your rights are protected. They can guide you through the legal process so that nothing is overlooked or miscommunicated. If you’re unsure about whether or not you should hire an attorney, here are some reasons why you might consider doing so:

  • The insurance company may try to settle for less than you deserve — because they want to avoid paying higher costs associated with litigation and jury awards.
  • You could lose out on benefits from workers’ compensation if your employer contests liability.
  • It’s possible that the insurance company won’t pay for all of your medical bills and other expenses related to your injuries.
  • Sometimes these cases involve corporate giants which are hard to challenge. Your lawyer will ensure that the liable party is held accountable.
  • A personal injury lawyer can rightly interpret and apply California law to your case.

Possible Outcomes

The best outcome for a car accident victim is compensation for their damages. This means that the at-fault driver pays for all medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. However, this outcome is not always possible.

In some cases, insurance companies will try to settle with you before the case goes to court. If you are unable to reach an agreement with your insurance company, the case may proceed to trial. The jury hears both sides of the story and decides who is liable for the accident and how much money to pay as compensation.

An arbitration hearing is similar to a trial in that both sides present evidence and testimony about what happened in the accident. However, unlike a trial, there is no jury involved in an arbitration hearing. Instead, it is up to the arbitrator (or panel of arbitrators) to decide who was at fault for causing the accident and how much money should be paid as compensation. 

Recoverable Damages 

The purpose of a personal injury lawsuit is to obtain compensation for your injuries. The amount you receive in damages will depend on the type and severity of your injuries. If you can prove that someone else was at fault for your accident, you can file a personal injury lawsuit against them.

Here are some recoverable damages you can pursue for injuries in California:

  • Medical Bills: Car accidents often lead to serious injuries requiring serious medical attention. The liable party is required to pay for the medical bills associated with the accident.  
  • Lost Earnings: If you miss work because of an accident, you may be entitled to compensation for those lost wages. The amount awarded depends on how much money you would have earned if not injured in the crash.
  • Pain and Suffering: Pain refers to physical pain experienced by someone who has been injured. Suffering refers to emotional distress caused by the injury itself. 
  • Wrongful Death: If a family member dies as a result of an accident, you may be able to recover damages for the wrongful death of your loved one.
  • Property damage: If your property was damaged in the accident (for example, if another driver hit your vehicle), you may be able to recover the cost of repairs or the replacement value.

Common Injuries Sustained in Southern California Car Accidents

If the at-fault party is found liable for your injuries, you should be able to recoup these costs from them. Some of the injuries sustained in car accidents include:

  • Broken bones
  • Head trauma
  • Internal organ damage
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Brain damage
  • Paralysis

Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations is important to keep in mind when you’re involved in an accident. If you don’t file your claim within the time frame allowed by law, you may be giving up your right to seek compensation.

The statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit in California is two years. This means that if you are the victim of a car accident, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a claim against the responsible party.

In addition, those who have lost loved ones may also file a wrongful death claim. In these cases, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of death or injury.

Get Help for Your Personal Injury in South California

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, a South California car accident attorney can help. Car accidents can be very serious. The stress of dealing with insurance companies can be overwhelming. Our lawyers at KJT Law Group can help you get through this difficult time and do all they can to help you pursue fair compensation. 

Call us at (818) 507-8525 to schedule your free case evaluation. 

If you or someone you love was injured due to another person’s negligence, contact KJT Law Group at (818) 507-8525 for a free consultation to discuss your legal rights and options.

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