Accidents happen every day in California, and when they do, they change the lives of accident victims. Most accidents are preventable and are caused by one careless or negligent action of another individual. After an accident occurs, you can file a compensation against the liable, or at-fault, party. Unfortunately, the personal injury claims process is not easy, and one mistake could cause you to forfeit the compensation you desperately need after an accident. Before filing your claim, consider the following four quick facts about personal injury law in California.
California Follows Tort Law
Along with most other states in the country, California is a tort state. This means that if you are injured in an accident caused by the negligence of another person, you must file a claim directly against the liable party, or with their insurance company. If you contributed to the accident and are found to be partially at fault, you can still file a claim to recover a portion of the damages available. California follows pure comparative fault law, meaning that even if you are assigned 99% of fault, you can file a claim for the remaining 1% of damages you sustained.
Insurance Companies are Governed Under the Law
Insurance companies try many tricks and tactics to deny valid claims. After an accident, you must file a claim with the negligent party’s insurance company and they must reply within 15 days. Once the insurance adjuster contacts you, they may try to get you to admit fault, which is why it is important to say as little as possible to them. They may also ask you to record the conversation, which is not illegal, but you are also under no legal obligation to comply.
The insurer then must approve or deny your claim within 40 days. If the insurer approves your claim, they will still offer you a lowball settlement that is not enough to prove your claim. You should never accept any offer until you have spoken to a California personal injury lawyer.
You Have a Limited Amount of Time
All personal injury claims are governed by a statute of limitations. This is the amount of time you have to file your claim. The statute of limitations on most personal injury cases in the state is two years from the date of the accident. If you do not file your claim within this time, you will likely forfeit your right to recover any damages related to the accident. Although the statute of limitations is quite strict, there are some exceptions to it that could allow you to file your claim after the three year mark.
You Should Work With a Personal Injury Lawyer in California
Although you are not required to work with a San Francisco personal injury lawyer, their legal knowledge is invaluable when filing a claim. At Brod Law Firm, we know how insurance companies work and will work hard to ensure you recover the fair settlement you deserve. Call us today at (800) 427-7020 or fill out our online form to schedule a free case review so we can advise on your claim.