Best Personal Injury Lawyers Sacramento, CA Of 2024 – Forbes

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If you want to file a personal injury lawsuit in California, it is crucial for you to be aware of the rules and regulations to navigate the legal system. We have prepared a guide to help you understand the personal injury laws applicable in your state, including the statute of limitations and the process of determining compensation.

California Statute of Limitations

Every state prescribes a time limit within which a lawsuit can be filed against the negligent party in personal injury cases. This time period is called the statute of limitation. The statute of limitation in California for filing a personal injury lawsuit is two years. However, if your injury was not discovered right away, you can take action against the negligent party within one year after the injury was discovered.

This time period can be suspended in certain exceptional circumstances. They are:

  • If the plaintiff is a minor
  • If the defendant is out of the state
  • If the plaintiff is mentally disabled

The statute of limitation resumes or begins once the disabilities are remedied, when the plaintiff becomes an adult or when the defendant returns to the state.

If the defendant is a government agency, you must file an administrative claim with that agency within six months from the date of the injury. If you fail to file this notice, you cannot sue the agency in the future. Once you have filed the claim, the agency will reply to you within 45 days. If your claim is rejected, you can file a lawsuit within six months from the date of rejection. Otherwise, you may file a case within two years from the date of the accident.

California Personal Injury Laws

If you are hurt by someone’s negligent act or omission in California, you can claim compensation as a remedy for your suffering. In some cases, you may have to follow additional procedures to successfully claim damages, for example in medical malpractice cases, you need to give a 90-day advance formal notice to the healthcare provider with your intention to sue.

In most cases, you can recover damages for the entirety of your losses, both economic and non-economic. But the state does put a cap on non-economic damages in certain cases.

  • Uninsured Drivers. If you do not have valid insurance for your vehicle, you will not be eligible to receive noneconomic damages in California. This does not apply in cases where the at-fault party was intoxicated and is convicted of DUI.
  • Medical Malpractice. You cannot recover more than $350,000 as non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases. This means that even if you were awarded a higher amount during the trial, the final non-economic compensation will be reduced to $350,000. This cap is $500,000 in wrongful death cases.

The state law also caps the attorney’s fee in medical malpractice cases. They can only take 40% of the first $50,000; 33% of the next $50,000; 25% of the next $500,000 and 15% of anything over $600,000 as their fee.

Identifying Fault in a Personal Injury Case

In California, the party at fault for causing the injury is liable to pay for the resulting damages. Identifying the negligent party can sometimes be extremely simple, for example in dog bite cases, most often than not the owner will be held liable.

But it can get complicated in certain cases, like a multiple-vehicle crash. Sometimes, you may need the help of a personal injury lawyer in Sacramento to find the negligent party in seemingly straightforward cases, like a slip and fall case where the owner of the property was only partially at fault because the maintenance company did not fulfill their duty.

If you contributed to the act that led to your injury, your compensation amount will be determined by the comparative negligence rule. This means, your claim will be deducted by the percentage of your negligence in causing the injury. Since California follows the pure comparative negligence principle, you can recover damages even if you are more than 50% at fault responsible for causing the accident.

How Can an Attorney Help You?

As soon as you reach out to an experienced personal injury lawyer in Sacramento, they will help you identify the negligent parties you can take action against. They can then proceed to send out the necessary notices and help you file insurance claims.

Your lawyer can negotiate with the insurance companies to obtain the best possible compensation offer. If you are happy with the settlement, you can accept it. Otherwise, your lawyer can take your case to trial and represent you in court.

They will also build a strong case by hiring other experts, collecting witness testimony, gathering evidence and compiling your expenses to fight with the insurance company before and during the trial.

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