Garden Grove Personal Injury Lawyer
Accidents cause very serious injuries in Garden Grove quite often. In many instances, these accidents are caused by the negligent, careless, or reckless actions of another person. Accident victims should never have to pay for their medical care or lose income because of someone else’s wrongdoing.
If you have been hurt, you can file a personal injury claim against the negligent party to recover damages. Many people are hesitant to file a claim even though they need compensation. They do not know what the process entails, and few people want to file a lawsuit. However, it may be the only way you can claim the fair compensation you deserve. Below, our Garden Grove personal injury lawyer explains the process so you are properly prepared.
The Personal Injury Process in Garden Grove
The personal injury process in Garden Grove involves many steps. It is important to work with a lawyer who is familiar with the process so no mistakes are made that could jeopardize your claim. The most important steps in the personal injury process are as follows:
- The investigation: Before filing a claim or even speaking to the insurance company, a lawyer will conduct a full investigation. They may visit the accident scene, speak to witnesses, and collect evidence to support your case.
- The demand letter: Once your lawyer feels as though they have a strong case, they will send a demand letter to the negligent party, or the insurance provider of the negligent party. The demand letter will allege why they are liable, outline the nature and severity of your injuries, and include a request for a certain amount of compensation. The negligent party or their insurer may respond to the letter, or they may ignore it.
- Filing a lawsuit: If the demand letter is unsuccessful, your lawyer will file a lawsuit against the liable party with the court. Once the lawsuit is filed, it will notify the court of your intention to request damages, and who you believe is responsible for paying compensation. The defendant will also be served with notice of the lawsuit and they have a legal obligation to respond. If they do not, a judge will likely issue a default judgment in your favor. In most cases, the defendant responds and refutes the claims made against them.
- Discovery: The discovery process is often the longest when filing a personal injury claim. During discovery, both sides will exchange information and show the evidence they plan to use. This allows both sides to see and hear the arguments that will be used against them. Discovery can be done using written questions or oral depositions.
- Negotiations: The vast majority of personal injury claims settle outside of court during negotiations. This is another part of the process in which working with a lawyer is very useful. Lawyers are skilled negotiators and will know the effective strategies that will work to get you the full compensation you deserve.
- The trial: Five percent or less of personal injury cases go to trial. They are necessary when the negligent party or the insurance company will not provide the fair compensation you are entitled to. Whether or not to take your case to trial is a big decision and one you should only make after obtaining sound legal advice from a lawyer.
The Statute of Limitations
Although you can file a claim and hold negligent parties liable for paying the compensation you deserve, you only have a limited amount of time to do so. In Garden Grove, as throughout the rest of California, the statute of limitations, or time limit is just two years from the date of the accident. If you do not file your claim before this time limit expires, you will likely forfeit your legal right to claim any compensation at all.
While the law on the statute of limitations is quite strict, there are some exceptions. For example, if a child is hurt as a result of someone else’s negligence, the clock on the statute of limitations may not start until their 18th birthday. Minors are not considered to have the mental capacity to file a personal injury claim. If an adult, such as their parent or legal guardian, does not file a claim on their behalf, the child would have until their 20th birthday to file a claim on their own.
In other instances, the statute of limitations may be shortened. For example, if a negligent government entity caused your accident, the timelines to file a claim and different notices are much shorter. It is always advisable that you speak with a Garden Grove personal injury lawyer who can advise on the applicable statute of limitations in your claim.
Steps to Take After an Accident
The steps you take immediately after an injury can greatly help or hurt your claim. The most important steps to take after an accident are as follows:
- Get medical attention: Your safety and well-being are the most important priority after any accident and so, it is important to see a doctor who can provide medical treatment. If you do not see a doctor after being injured, the insurance company and negligent party will likely argue that you were not hurt because you did not get medical help.
- Report the accident: Whether you were in a car accident or slipped and fell in a store, you should report the accident. Report it to the police if appropriate, or report it to the person in charge of the location.
- Collect evidence: While still at the accident scene, you should take pictures that indicate how the accident happened and ask witnesses for their contact information. These are all important pieces of evidence when filing a claim.
- Speak to a lawyer: The personal injury process is often complex and you may not understand the law or how it applies to your case. A personal injury lawyer can provide sound legal advice that will help with your claim.
Our Personal Injury Lawyer in Garden Grove Can Help with Your Claim
If you have been hurt due to someone else’s carelessness, you only have a certain amount of time to file your claim. At Fisher & Talwar, our Garden Grove personal injury lawyer can guide you through the process and give you the best chance of recovering full damages. Call us today at (213) 891-0777 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.