If you want to file a personal injury lawsuit, then there are quite a few things that you need to know before you get started. Each state has different laws regarding how you are supposed to file your personal injury lawsuit. Here is a guide for how the process works in California:
What is the statute of limitations?
Many states have different windows in which you are able to file a personal injury lawsuit. Many states have a general rule that you need to file within 2 years of the injury, and California is no exception. However, California also has other requirements for several common exceptions.
- First of all, if you don't discover the damage of the personal injury lawsuit immediately, then you have 1 extra year to file your lawsuit from the date that you discover the damage.
- Secondly, under most circumstances, lawsuits against the government must be filed in under 6 months.
Are there damage caps in California?
California has a series of laws that dictate the maximum amount of damages that may be pursued in personal injury lawsuits:
- If an uninsured driver gets into a car accident and wants to file a personal injury lawsuit, then they may not pursue non-economic damages. This means that pain and suffering and loss of companionship may not be used to get damages. If an insured driver is in the same situation, then they may seek non-economic damages.
- There is a single exception to the above rule, and that is when the other driver in the accident was under the influence. However, it isn't enough that the other driver was suspect of being the under the influence. Instead, it must have been proven and they must have been convicted for the DUI. In such a case, an uninsured driver may pursue non-economic damages, as stated in California Civil Code 3333.4.
- Finally, there is a strict cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice lawsuits: $250,000. If you are filing a medical malpractice lawsuit, then you may pursue as much as you want in terms of economic damages, but you cannot ask for more than $250,000 when it comes to the pain and suffering aspect. This is listed in California Civil Code 3333.2.
That being said, this is not an all-encompassing description of how personal injury lawsuits work. For that, you should talk to a personal injury attorney about your case. They have the expertise to help you, and can provide valuable insight. Even if you don't end up hiring a personal injury lawyer, a simple consultation can help you immensely.