A personal injury claim is not the same as a personal injury lawsuit. According to personal injury attorneys at Roberts | Jeandron Law, a personal injury claim is simply the first attempt at receiving justice for the injuries and other losses you may have suffered without the need to go to court.
In California, once an injury claim is submitted, the at-fault party must respond to your claim within forty-five days. If they do not respond, you can issue a personal injury lawsuit against them, but this is rare.
Understanding Personal Injury Claims in California
Let’s say you were injured in a car accident in Orange County, California. In that case, you will need to file a personal injury claim to receive some form of compensation for your losses, which can include medical bills, lost wages, property damage, pain and suffering, and more.
To do this, you must inform authorities of the accident and wait for medics to arrive at the scene. At the accident scene, you will need to start gathering evidence if you are able. This means talking to eye witnesses, taking photos of the damaged cars from different angles, your injuries, looking around for CCTV cameras, and so on.
When the medics arrive, it is imperative to perform a check-up so that you can use the documents as proof of your injuries. Everything you do in an accident is interpretable and can be used against you and if you refuse medical assistance, it might be argued that the injuries you sustain weren’t all that serious.
To understand how car accident claims work in California, you must consider that you can sue the other party only if their liability insurance coverage cannot cover the expenses. The at-fault party’s insurance company will review police reports regarding the accident and all the evidence to determine fault percentage and then negotiate the claim.
California follows the comparative-negligence system. If you are found to be, for example, 30% at fault for the accident, then you will not receive 30% of your total compensation amount. But, this is where it gets tricky and you might want to file a personal injury lawsuit instead.
Reasons to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit
The key in any personal injury claim is to hire a personal injury lawyer that can prepare your case. This includes talking to eye witnesses, examining police and medical reports, consulting with other experts to determine fault, and negotiating with the insurance company.
A personal injury lawyer can build you a solid case as to intimate the other parties and not go to court. Still, if you go to court there isn’t any downfall, except for the simple reason that you might receive your compensation later than you would if a settlement is reached in your claim.
You will want to file a personal injury lawsuit if the other parties unjustly attribute more fault to you, don’t accept the amount negotiated by your lawyer which is knowledge about personal injuries, or simply deny/not respond to your claim.
A personal injury claim is a more amicable solution than a lawsuit, but if the at-fault party and their insurance company doesn’t want to reach a settlement outside the court, then you should bring your case to the court through a lawsuit.
Your personal injury lawyer will know if you have a strong case on your hands and will advise you on this decision. Apart from this, insurance companies might try to use certain legal tactics to intimidate you into accepting a lesser compensation amount. However, with a lawyer by your side, this won’t happen.