How to File an Injury Claim in California

How to File an Injury Claim in California

Personal injuries are always stressful situations, both physically and mentally. Regardless of the cause, they can leave you in an unfit state to work and rack up all kinds of debt in medical bills and other expenses. That said, particularly if your injury was due to the negligence of another party, you may be entitled to compensation for your expenses. The following are some ways you can increase your odds of a successful claim.

Finding the right lawyer

If you were injured in a car accident that you don’t believe was your fault, you could contact an attorney regarding the possibility of an injury case. California is a comparative fault state, meaning that all those involved in a car accident may be held responsible for a percentage of the damages. Even if they were considered at fault, a victim  can still seek compensation in damages. And you’ll want a lawyer who understands specific local laws, so an Orange County accident needs an Orange County car accident attorney.

Even if your accident wasn’t traffic-related, you can still have a chance for compensation if you’re able to argue the negligence of another party. This could be improper notifications leading to an accident at work, for instance. While it’s possible to file for such a claim on your own, it’s generally recommended to hire an attorney, especially since most injury attorneys work on a contingency basis. Filing a claim on your own can get complicated, and many insurance companies and other entities are likely to deny your claim without an attorney.

Either way, California’s statute of limitations dictates that you’ll have two years following a personal injury to make your case. There may also be some special limitations when filing a claim. When filing against a government entity, for example, you’ll have to file a special claim to said entity within six months of the accident before being able to file in court.

Medical affairs

When it comes to any injury, it’s important to seek immediate medical care primarily for your own safety. This serves an additional purpose if you believe you could have an injury claim. Seeking medical attention as soon as possible can help prove that all damage suffered was due to your accident, whereas waiting gives the defendant an opportunity to diminish your claim by arguing the injuries came from another source.

Immediate attention also ensures that you’ll have consistent medical records from the start of your process. Be sure to attend any follow-up appointments and adhere to any recommended treatments, so your documentation can be kept up-to-date. Any inconsistencies in medical records can lead to the quick unraveling of an injury case.

Evidence

You’ll need to gather evidence regarding your accident to strengthen your claim. Video or photographic evidence of the accident itself is always preferable, but even returning to the scene and documenting it later can provide some valuable context in some cases.

Any documents you can gather in addition to your medical records, such as police/accident reports or witness testimonies will be valuable. Contact information for any witnesses willing to talk is also good to have. If you’re planning on hiring an attorney, having all of this evidence gathered beforehand goes a long way toward showing an attorney that you’re a serious client fully prepared to cooperate.

Avoid complicating matters

Once an attorney takes your case, you still can’t afford to stop working yourself. You’ll need to be meticulous about providing your attorney with any updates in your case.

You’ll also need to avoid making any social media posts that could be used against you. That generally means refraining from mentioning anything whatsoever related to the case online or posting any pictures that could make your injury appear less severe than it is. If you wouldn’t be comfortable with something being shown in court, avoid making it public for the duration of the case.

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