At the Law Office of Catherine Chukwueke we get a lot of questions about California personal injury lawsuits. We answer some of the most frequently asked questions here, but if you need further information, don't hesitate to call us at 310-213-7711 to schedule a free consultation with an attorney.
I was in an accident in California, do I need a personal injury lawyer?
You are not required to have a personal injury lawyer following an accident; however, a lawyer could explain your legal options and help secure a more favorable result. Often, insurance companies will try to take advantage of unrepresented individuals in the claim process with low settlement offers.
A California personal injury lawyer understands the value of a case and when an offer is appropriate for the damage and harm caused in an accident. Additionally, a lawyer could handle the complex court process through its conclusion if a claim does not settle prior to the state deadline for filing a claim.
Do I have to go to court for a personal injury claim in California?
No, filing a case in court and going through the court process are not required in every personal injury claim. In fact, a large majority of personal injury claims settle prior to filing a case in court or before a trial if a case must be filed.
A trial in a personal injury case is often the last resort for all parties involved because of the increased costs associated with a trial. Unfortunately, insurance companies and negligent parties do not always present fair offers for settlement, so a trial is always a possibility following an accident.
What types of damages could I receive in California?
The common types of damages available for recovery in a personal injury claim include economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are intended to compensate you for your losses from the accident, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and property damages.
Non-economic damages are intended to compensate you for the pain and suffering experienced during and after the accident and any loss of your ability to enjoy your life. In some cases, you might also be entitled to punitive damages for especially careless or reckless actions of the responsible parties. The amount and specific types of damages available in a personal injury claim vary significantly based on the case's circumstances.
What happens if I was also at fault?
Your role in causing an accident could potentially limit or bar your recovery of damages in a personal injury claim depending on where the accident occurred. Generally, in settlement negotiations or if the case goes to trial, the parties will argue the percentage of fault of all parties. If you are determined to be partly at fault for the accident, any damage award could be limited by your percentage of fault.
In some states, if you are found more than 50 percent at fault or responsible in any percentage, you could be barred from recovering any damages, no matter how significant your damages were following the accident. This is why hiring a [Location 1] personal injury attorney is imperative.
What happens to my case if I have a pre-existing condition?
Pre-existing conditions can play a substantial part in a personal injury case. In general, you are not entitled to compensation for pre-existing injuries that were not affected in the accident. However, you could be entitled to damages if your pre-existing condition was exacerbated or aggravated by the accident.
Proving an exacerbation or aggravation commonly requires determining the severity of the pre-existing condition prior to and following the accident. As such, pre-existing conditions often lead to significant contention from the insurance companies.
Experienced California Personal Injury Attorneys
If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident and are considering whether to pursue a claim, you should contact the Law Office of Catherine Chukwueke to schedule a free consultation. Call 310-213-7711 or fill out our contact form to get started on your road to recovery.