4 Key Facts About Personal Injury Law in California
Having an accident with injuries is an extremely stressful event. In addition to having a lot of pain, you also have to miss hours to go to multiple doctor’s appointments.
Expenses for medications, housekeeping and childcare can be high, and you may miss important life events. If you were injured due to the negligence of another person, you are entitled to recover medical expenses and money for damages. There are a few facts you should know about insurance in The Golden State.
California is a Tort State
When it comes to personal injury, there are two kinds of insurance; fault and no-fault. In a no-fault state, a person’s own insurance company pays for their medical bills and damages. In a fault state the person or persons responsible for the accident are also responsible for paying the bills related to the accident. California is a comparative fault state. This means that a person is responsible for the percentage of the accident they caused. If you are responsible for 20 percent of an accident, you can recover 80 percent of your auto damage and medical expenses from the other driver’s insurance company.
Rules for Insurance Companies
When you are injured in an accident, you should call the at fault driver’s insurance company and file a claim right away. They have 15 days to acknowledge the claim. An actuary will call you and ask you questions about the claim. They will ask to record your answers, but you are under no obligation to let them. They then will have 40 days to accept or deny your claim. If they accept the claim, they will make you a settlement offer; chances are, they will try to underpay you. You should never accept a settlement offer without speaking to an attorney first.
Your attorney will negotiate with the insurance company to get a better deal. If you come to an acceptable agreement, the insurance company will have 30 days to pay you. If you are unable to reach an agreement, you may proceed with a lawsuit.
Statute of Limitations
In the state of California, you have three years to file a lawsuit for damages to your property and two years to file a lawsuit for medical expenses. The clock starts ticking the second you have the accident.
There are only a few circumstances under which you may get an extension. If the at-fault driver left the state and was unable to be served with a summons, if you were under 18 when the accident happened or if your injuries were not initially apparent, your attorney may be able to convince the court to give you an extension.
You Need an Attorney
Insurance companies are staffed with teams of lawyers whose entire job it is to make sure that you do not get the money you are owed. You probably do not know enough about insurance law, to combat such a team. You need a professional lawyer, like the ones at Grossman Law in Fresno.
A law firm staffed with hard-working researchers and attorneys who are well versed in personal injury law can help you recover your money and get on with your life.