How Are Personal Injury Settlements Paid Out?

How Are Personal Injury Settlements Paid Out?

One of the most crucial things to do to get your life back on track after an accident is to pay the outstanding hospital bills and recover lost wages. But unfortunately, many don’t understand the process of getting their lives back to normal, and hence end up struggling with the long-term implications of the accident.

If this is your current situation, this detailed post will answer all your questions. What’s more, the experienced personal injury lawyers at LA Century Law are willing and able to help you receive fair compensation. Attorneys can evaluate your case to ascertain whether you have a valid claim and then guide you appropriately.

How Is a Personal Injury Settlement Issued?

Your settlement’s mode of payment will depend on your preferences. Generally, you’ll choose between a structured or lump sum payment.

Lump-sum payment

With a lump sum settlement payout, you’ll get the full settlement in a single payment at the same time. You’ll get the advantage of liquidity and can choose your preferred way to invest the money. Moreover, you also get to detach yourself from the concluded case, allowing you to recover completely from the incident that caused your injuries.

Structured payment

On the other hand, a structured payment doesn’t offer the benefit of availing your entire settlement amount, and you can’t invest the money earned at your discretion. Instead, a qualified settlement broker may design the qualified funding asset to meet your present and future needs. The most outstanding benefit of this approach is that it offers a sense of financial security.

You should consider your long-term goals and money management skills. If you’re worried about mismanaging a lump sum amount or prefer the more secure long-term, regular payments, you may go for a structured settlement. Reach out to our personal injury attorneys if you don’t know the best payment structure for you.

How Much Should You Expect as Personal Injury Settlement?

Whether you go for a lump sum or structured payment, you’ll receive a tax-free payout. However, your potential financial compensation varies based on various factors, including:

The insurance company’s policy limits

If an insurance company is paying in bad faith, you don’t have to accept their offer. However, your decision will depend on your lawyer’s assessment of your claim, which reflects on the settlement draft. The amount you’ll possibly receive should reflect the severity and scope of the victim’s injuries and any outstanding legal fees.

Amount spent on hospital bills

The amount you’ve already paid to receive medical care after the accident will significantly affect the possible compensation from your personal injury claim. You’ll prove this amount by presenting the relevant treatment documentation and receipts, so ensure you handle all the necessary papers with care. An attorney can negotiate and ensure you recover the amount spent.

The amount of lost income

The settlement fund must also cover the income you lost while recovering from the injury. Compensation may include the time you spent in bed or physical therapy and your future lost income if the injuries force you to stay off work for some time.

Medical bills and liens

After receiving the settlement check, multiple parties may rightfully claim a fraction of your award. For instance, the healthcare facility that paid for your medical services upfront will have a medical lien against your compensation. So it’ll automatically earn their portion from your settlement to clear the debts.

You may also have to deal with health insurance lines, mechanics liens, and employer liens relevant to your settlement. Dealing with all these isn’t a walk in the park, but our attorneys can negotiate with the involved lienholders to ensure you remain with a substantial amount.

Legal and attorney’s fees

After paying all the liens against your settlement, the next step will involve fulfilling any outstanding attorney fees and legal expenses. Reputable law firms like LA Century Law charge contingency-based fees, which means you’ll not pay anything until you get the financial reward. Once you’ve been compensated, your lawyer’s cut will be a percentage of the total award that you’ve already agreed upon.

The payment will depend on your agreement with the personal injury attorney. The remaining compensation will be yours to keep after paying off all your debts and lines.

How Long Does the Settlement Check Take to Arrive?

This will depend on the aspects of your case and other factors like how long the insurance company’s accountant takes to cut the check. However, insurers must meet the time limits and deadlines imposed by state laws.

Generally, you may have to wait for up to two weeks before receiving your check in the mail after it’s been awarded. If it takes longer than this, the insurer may be guilty of prolonging your payment in bad faith.

Frequently Asked Questions

Am I allowed to reject a settlement offer?

Absolutely! You can reject any settlement offer that doesn’t match your expectations after filing an injury claim with an insurer or bringing a lawsuit against the negligent party that caused you injuries.

Can you reopen a settled claim?

Most of the time, the case will conclude after you’ve settled a claim and received your settlement check. Since you can’t legally reopen the case or initiate further negotiations for a different amount, you’ll want to ensure that the settlement can adequately cover your losses and injuries before you accept.

What’s the minimum settlement amount?

There are no maximum or minimum limits to the amount you’ll receive as an injury settlement. Every case has its unique strengths and things at stake, and the amount will depend on the nature of the plaintiff’s injuries, fault, and the time spent on negotiations.

Discuss with A Reputable Personal Injury Attorney

You’re entitled to a fair personal injury settlement if someone hurt you or caused an accident through negligence, but the process may not be as straightforward as you would expect. Involving the experienced personal injury attorneys at LA Century Law can make things simple for you. Reach out to us, and you’ll find an expert to take you through the process.

 

How Much to Ask for in a Personal Injury Settlement

How Much to Ask for in a Personal Injury Settlement

You are entitled to money damages if you were injured in a personal injury matter. After diligently building your claim, it’s time to negotiate a settlement.

It can be hard to know where to begin when approaching your settlement. How much do you ask for, and why?

At LA Century Law, we are a premier personal injury law firm helping clients maximize their settlements and receive justice for their personal injury claims. Let’s talk about how much you should ask for in a personal injury settlement.

How Much Should You Ask for in a Personal Injury Settlement?

When negotiating a personal injury settlement, you should ask for an amount that reflects your damages under the law. The amount should also consider the strength of the legal claim and the likely outcome if you take your case to trial.

Other considerations include severity of injury, the need for future care, liability, and extent to harm to your enjoyment of life.

Factors in How Much to Ask for in a Personal Injury Settlement

The primary factor in how much you should ask for in a personal injury settlement is the amount of your damages. In other words, you should ask for your losses. However, it’s not that simple. In fact, many factors influence how to approach settlement negotiations and the amount you should ask for.

1. Economic losses and damages

Underlying any determination of what you should ask for in a settlement are your economic damages. Your medical bills and lost income are likely your largest economic losses for a personal injury claim. Be sure not to overlook future medical expenses, physical therapy, mental health treatment, and work-related benefits like the value of health insurance.

2. Non-economic damages

It wouldn’t be fair to overlook pain and suffering in a personal injury settlement. An amount for pain and suffering may be included just like it would be claimed if your case went to trial. In fact, pain and suffering can be considerable amounts of your economic damages. Non-economic losses should be added in proportion to the severity of the injuries and suffering that you endure. It should account for the severity of injuries, their duration, and the extent of suffering.

3. Comparative fault

The issue of shared fault may be present in a personal injury case. If it’s a factor in your case, it may impact the amount you should pursue in a settlement. In California, comparative fault doesn’t prevent you from bringing a case, but it may impact the value of your case.

Remember, you’re not at fault just because the other party says so. However, comparative fault may play a role in what to ask for in a settlement. Our lawyers can provide a realistic assessment of comparative fault and how it may impact the amount that you ask for in compensation.

4. Whether any damage caps apply to the claim

Sometimes, there are statutory limits to the amount you can ask for in damages. California doesn’t have damages caps in many situations, but they apply to pain and suffering awards in medical malpractice cases. If damage caps apply, you may ask for your actual damages in a settlement up to the amount of the cap.

5. Cost and expense of going to trial

Every trial has some costs. You may need to pay expert witnesses, subpoena witnesses to be present in court, and prepare evidence to present. All of this comes with a cost. The amount you save should be factored into the amount you ask for in settling the case.

6. Questions of causation

In evaluating the strength of the case, causation is one of the important issues. The accident or wrongful act must be the cause of your injuries. If causation is strong, and there is no question that your injuries are the result of the accident, you shouldn’t lower the amount you ask for because of causation. If there are questions about the nature of your injuries, an experienced personal injury lawyer can help you factor causation into the amount that you ask for.

7. Legal issues that may impact the trial

Legal issues may impact the trial. There are procedural rules for processing the case and the presentation of evidence. For example, suppose evidence that you want to admit may be classified as hearsay. In that case, it may impact the strength of your case and create questions about what may happen at trial. Whether or not there are legal issues impacting the case may impact what you should ask for in a personal injury settlement.

8. Availability of insurance and the defendant’s ability to pay

The defense is more likely to agree to a settlement that they’re able to pay. You should investigate insurance and other sources that may be able to satisfy a settlement. Knowing what resources are available may impact how you approach negotiations.

9. Range of possible outcomes at trial

The amount you ask for in a settlement should consider the possible and likely outcomes at trial. You should base what you ask for and what you’re willing to accept on what is within the range of probable outcomes at trial. Looking realistically at the amount you’re likely to receive by going to trial can ensure that you don’t ask for too much or too little.

10. Whether you want to go to trial

Ultimately, you have a personal choice about how to approach settlement negotiations. You may want to go to trial knowing the risks and the possible outcomes. On the other hand, a trial may not be something that you’re looking forward to. Whether or not you want to go to trial may impact what you ask for in your settlement and what you’re willing to accept to resolve the case.

Consultations for How Much to Ask for in a Personal Injury Settlement

What to ask for in a personal injury settlement is extremely specific. What’s right for one case may not be suitable for another situation. Don’t wonder what to ask for or what your case is worth. Get a personalized consultation from LA Century Law.

LA Century Law has offices in Los Angeles and multiple locations in California. We’re available to personalize your consultation so you know exactly what factors may impact your case settlement. Contact us today to review your case.

elderly man holding knee

Damages In a California Personal Injury Case

If you have been injured in an accident, you may be wondering what types of damages you can recover. Damages are usually monetary compensation awarded to a plaintiff in a personal injury case.

There are many different types of damages that can be awarded, depending on the circumstances of the accident. This post will discuss some of the most common damages awarded in California personal injury cases. 

If you would like more information about damages in a California personal injury case, please get in touch with our office for a free consultation. We would be happy to discuss your case with you and answer any questions you may have.

What is Considered A Personal injury?

In California, a personal injury can be defined as an injury that is physical, emotional, or psychological. This includes injuries resulting from negligence on the part of another individual or entity.

For example, if you are involved in a car accident that was caused by the other driver’s recklessness, you may be able to file a personal injury claim against that driver. Similarly, if you suffer an injury at work due to your employer’s failure to provide a safe working environment, you may also have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit.

In general, any time you suffer an injury due to someone else’s carelessness or wrongdoing, you may be able to seek compensation through a personal injury claim.

Types of Damages in a California Personal Injury Lawsuit

In a California personal injury lawsuit, you may be able to recover two types of damages: compensatory damages and punitive damages. 

Compensatory Damages

Compensatory damages are intended to make you “whole” again by putting you in the position you would have been in if the accident had never happened.

There are two types of compensatory damages: economic and noneconomic.

  1. Economic damages are quantifiable losses such as medical bills, property damage, and lost wages.
  2. Noneconomic damages are more difficult to quantify and may include pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and loss of enjoyment of life.

Medical treatment damages

Medical treatment damages in a California personal injury case reimburse the injured person for paid medical bills and projected future medical expenses. This includes hospitalization, surgery, ambulance transportation, doctors’ visits, prescriptions, physical therapy, and any other necessary medical treatment related to the injuries suffered in the accident.

To recover medical treatment damages, you must have receipts or other documentation verifying the cost of the medical expenses. If you do not have insurance, you may also be able to recover the amount you would have had to pay for health insurance premiums. Medical treatment damages can also include compensation for pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment of life.

Income loss damages

Income loss damages are intended to compensate an injury victim for the wages they’ve lost due to their injuries. This includes both past, and future income that would have been earned had the victim not been injured.

To recover these damages, you will need to provide evidence of past earnings, along with evidence of your projected future earnings. This can be difficult to do in some cases, which is why it’s important to have an experienced personal injury attorney on your side.

Damages awarded for property damage

Property damage can include everything from the cost of repairing a damaged vehicle to the value of lost belongings. In many cases, property damage is the easiest kind of damage to calculate, but there are still some important things to consider.

The first thing to consider is the replacement value of the property. This is what it would cost to replace the property with an identical or similar item. In some cases, this may be straightforward, such as with a damaged car. But in other cases, it may be more difficult to determine, such as with a piece of jewelry with sentimental value. It’s important to get an accurate estimate of the replacement value, as this will be the basis for any insurance claims or legal action.

Another important factor is the loss of use. This covers things like the cost of renting a replacement car while yours is being repaired. It can also include the value of the lost business if your business premises were damaged.

Emotional distress damages

In a California personal injury case, damages for emotional distress can be based on either the plaintiff’s physical injuries or the plaintiff’s mental anguish. To recover damages for physical injuries, you must prove that you suffered some physical injury due to the defendant’s negligence. This can include things like bruises, cuts, or broken bones.

To recover damages for mental anguish, you must prove that the defendant’s negligence caused you to experience anxiety, depression, fear, or other similar symptoms. Damages for emotional distress are usually awarded in addition to other damages, such as medical expenses or lost wages.

Loss of enjoyment damages

Loss of enjoyment damages are intended to compensate the plaintiff for the loss of enjoyment of life that resulted from the accident. This can include physical pain and suffering, emotional distress, and diminished quality of life.

In determining the amount of loss of enjoyment damages, the court will consider the severity of the injury, the expected duration of the recovery period, and any permanent effects of the injury. These damages can be significant in cases where the injury is particularly severe or results in a long-term or permanent disability.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are designed to punish wrongdoers and discourage others from engaging in similar conduct. To recover punitive damages, you must prove that the defendant’s conduct was intentional or showed a reckless disregard for your safety. 

Punitive damages are available in some cases to punish the wrongdoer and deter others from engaging in similar conduct. Generally, punitive damages are not available for mere negligence but only for intentional misconduct or if the defendant’s actions were so reckless that they showed a complete disregard for the safety of others.

In addition, you must usually show that you suffered actual harm. But in some cases, such as when the defendant’s conduct was particularly egregious, punitive damages may be awarded even if there was no actual harm.

California law requires that the court consider three factors to determine whether or not a punitive damage award claim is valid.

  • Reprehensibility of the defendant’s conduct
  • The defendant’s financial condition
  • The actual harm suffered by the plaintiff or the amount of compensatory damages awarded

Damage Caps in California Lawsuits

In California, there are no damage caps for personal injury lawsuits. This means that plaintiffs can sue for any damages they have incurred. The only exception to this rule is in medical malpractice cases, where damages are capped at $250,000 for noneconomic damages. This means that plaintiffs can still recover damages for pain and suffering, but they will not be able to recover any additional damages beyond the $250,000 cap. 

Damage caps are designed to protect defendants from excessive jury verdicts, but they can also limit the amount of compensation that plaintiffs can receive.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the filing deadline for personal injury lawsuits in California?

In California, the filing deadline for personal injury lawsuits is generally two years from the accident date. However, the deadline can be extended if the injured person is a minor or suffers from an incurable disease. If the defendant has fled the state, the deadline may be extended to six years from the accident date.

What is California’s shared fault law?

California follows a “pure” comparative fault rule when it comes to assigning blame in an accident. Under this rule, each party is only responsible for the percentage of damages attributable to their negligence. For example, if Party A is determined to be 60% at fault for an accident, they will only be liable for 60% of the damages sustained by Party B.

Should I hire a lawyer?

If the fault is disputed or the other party does not have insurance, you may need to hire a lawyer to help you recover damages. Additionally, if your injuries are serious, you may also want to hire a lawyer to ensure that you receive full and fair compensation. Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to hire a lawyer is one that only you can make. However, consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney can help you better understand your legal rights and options.

Let LA Century Law Help You

If you have been injured in an accident, it is important to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. At LA Century Law, we can help you understand your legal options and guide you through the process of filing a lawsuit. We are committed to fighting for the best outcome for our clients and will work tirelessly to get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.

What Are Punitive Damages?

What Are Punitive Damages?

Damages are essential elements in a personal injury case to help you recover what you lost in an accident. While most personal injury claims focus on compensatory damages, a plaintiff can also get rewarded with punitive damages in some cases. It is imperative to understand what punitive damages are to help you make informed decisions if you get involved in an accident where the defendant was negligent or reckless. 

At LA Century Law, we have experienced Los Angeles personal injury attorneys who can advise you on how to go about the process. Whether you suffered injuries from a car accident, truck accident, dog bites, pedestrian accident, slip and fall, bicycle and motorcycle accidents, we can help.  Contact us today for a free consultation. 

What Are Punitive Damages in California?

Punitive damages are the monetary award to a plaintiff as a form of punishment to the defendant for wrongful behavior that led to the plaintiff’s injuries. These damages are usually meant to deter the defendant and other people from engaging in harmful activities in the future. The plaintiff files a case against the defendant for the intentional and reckless activities with gross negligence that caused the plaintiff’s injuries. 

If you’ve been injured in an accident due to misconduct from another party, we can help. We are an established, dedicated, and determined law firm with experienced lawyers who can investigate your case and determine whether you can receive punitive damages for the injuries you sustained in the accident. Contact us today to speak to our reliable lawyers with an in-depth understanding of Los Angeles personal injury laws concerning punitive damages. 

Why Are Punitive Damages in California Awarded?

There are two main reasons why punitive damages are awarded to the plaintiff, being that a victim has given valid evidence that the accident happened due to negligence or recklessness. Below are the reasons behind punitive damages:

  • To punish the defendant for their behavior that caused the plaintiff’s injuries, thus, decreasing the chances of repeating the same mistake. 
  • Set an example for other people who may cause accidents by behaving in a harmful manner to others.

If you or your loved one got involved in an accident and did not know whether you should pursue punitive damages, we can help. Our experienced lawyers understand Los Angeles laws concerning punitive damages and can advise you accordingly, enabling you to make informed decisions. 

Types of Punitive Damages in California

There are different types of punitive damages that you can recover following an accident caused due to recklessness, negligence, or intentionally by another party. 

Whether you got involved in a car accident, motorcycle accident, pedestrian accident, dog bites, or any other personal injury-related accident, you can receive a settlement for punitive damages if you prove that the accident occurred intentionally. Speak to us today and let us help you determine what kind of punitive damages you can recover based on your case circumstances. 

How Punitive Damages Work in Los Angeles, California

Punitive damages are an addition to the other compensatory damages such as lost wages, lost earning capacity, medical expenses, and pain and suffering. Not all people get punitive damages. 

It is imperative to work with an experienced personal injury attorney like LA Century Law to guide you on how punitive damages work. You will know whether you are entitled to it and how much you can receive.

Do not assume that you do not qualify to receive punitive damages without consulting a personal injury lawyer. Contact us today, and we will be glad to take you through and help you know whether to pursue compensation or not. 

Determining How Much In Punitive Damages You Can Get in California

Many factors determine how much in punitive damages the plaintiff gets. In California, there is no limit to how much one can receive as punitive damages. However, excessive or arbitrary punishments are prohibited. Below are the factors determining how much you can receive: 

  • The judge’s decision after listening to both sides.
  • The overall behavior of the defendant. 
  • The plaintiff’s awarded amount should be appropriate to the defendant’s wealth. 
  • The severity of the injuries, harm, or damage sustained in the accident due to the defendant’s actions.  
  • The relationship between the harm caused by the defendant and the punitive damages that the plaintiff expects.
  • The amount that will punish the defendant and deter them from behaving in the same manner that may cause future harm. 

It may not be easy to handle the judges if you lack legal expertise. A consultation with an experienced Los Angeles injury lawyer is the most helpful way to determine your worth. The lawyer can handle the court case and do all they can to protect your rights. Contact us today and let us evaluate your case for possible punitive damages rewards worth the injuries or damages you incurred in the accident. 

Why Should You Hire a Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney When Seeking A Punitive Damages Settlement?

Handling personal injury cases can be complicated and time-consuming if you lack legal expertise. The process can be even more challenging if you are seeking punitive damages. 

It is not easy to determine how much you should receive. You may also not know the limits. It is essential to work with an experienced Los Angeles personal injury attorney such as LA Century Law to investigate your case and handle the legal proceedings.  

The lawyer can also help you determine whether you’ve met the right criteria for receiving punitive damages. If you are eligible for compensation, the lawyer can communicate with the relevant parties and negotiate your settlement for a favorable deal.

Contact An Experienced Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney Today 

If you are looking to recover punitive damages you incurred in an accident due to another party’s negligence and recklessness, we can help. Do not let it go unrecognized if you believe that extreme negligence and recklessness from the other party caused your injuries. Contact us for a free consultation. 

Punitive Damages FAQs

When are punitive damages awarded?

When the plaintiff has already received compensatory damages, the court must rule out that the money awarded is insufficient based on the injuries, harm, or damages you incurred. 

Are punitive damages awarded in every case? 

No. Punitive damages vary depending on the circumstances of your case. They are rare, but you can pursue compensation if you believe your case is valid. 

Who gets the punitive damages?

The money goes to the injured person seeking compensation, also known as the plaintiff.

California Personal Injury Statute of Limitations

California Personal Injury Statute of Limitations

When you are hurt by someone else, you may bring a legal claim for compensation. Did you know there is a deadline for victims to bring a personal injury claim for compensation?

 That’s right. In California, there is a deadline to bring a claim for compensation when you are injured by an individual or entities conduct. This is referred to as the Statute of Limitations and it places a strict deadline to bring an action. If you miss the deadline, you may be barred from bringing your claim forever. That is why it is so important to contact an attorney when you’ve been injured in an accident.

What’s the statute of limitations in my personal injury case?

The statute of limitations varies from claim to claim. For example, in a car accident, we are generally seeking compensation under the legal theory of negligence. In California, negligence is subject to a two-year limitation with limited exceptions/deadlines for government claims or claims involving minors. On the other hand, battery (an intentional tort) where someone intended to cause harm to another is subject to a one-year statute of limitations.

Each victim needs to know what deadline applies to them. Let’s explore the California statute of limitations in personal injury claims.

Contact our LA Century Law team for a confidential review of your case, including evaluating the statute of limitations and timeline for bringing your claim.

What is the statute of limitations for a personal injury claim in California?

Generally, personal injury claims are brought under Negligence. Negligence claims are subject to a two-year statute of limitations. This means that if a lawsuit is not filed within two years from the date of the accident, it may be lost forever. However, there is one caveat. If the claim is against a government entity, a “Claim For Damages” must be filed with the proper entity within six months from the date when the accident occurred. Therefore, it is important to contact an attorney as soon as you believe you have been harmed.

Statute of Limitations in California Personal Injury Law – By Type of Case and Circumstances

The most basic explanation of the California statute of limitations is that the time limit is two years for most personal injury claims. However, there are circumstances where the statute of limitations may be much shorter – or longer – based on the type of case and the personal situation of those involved. Let’s talk about some of these exceptions.

Minors – Victims Under 18

  • The statute of limitations begins when the victim turns 18
  • If the cause of the injury is medical malpractice, the victim has three years from the date of the wrongful act, or if they are under six years old, before their eighth birthday
  • If the injury occurs at the child’s birth or before their birth, the claim must be brought within six years
  • These timelines are not applicable to claims against government entities or uninsured motorist claims

(§ 340.4, § 340.5, § 352(a))

Crime Victims

The victim of a serious felony has ten years from the date the defendant is discharged from parole to start their claim. For less-serious felonies, the victim has one year from the date of the judgment against the defendant. (§ 340.3)

Delayed Discovery

There may be circumstances where a victim doesn’t realize that they are a victim right away. Delayed discovery may toll the statute of limitations until the time that the person discovers their injury. Alternatively, if a reasonable person would have suspected harm or a reasonable investigation would have shown that a dangerous product caused harm, that can cause the statute of limitations to run.

California Civil Jury Instructions 45 states that the statute of limitations is tolled when a reasonable person wouldn’t have known that the defendant’s wrongful conduct harmed them and when a reasonable investigation would not have disclosed it.

Government Agencies

When a claim is against a government agency, the statute of limitations is very short. The victim has only six months to initiate their claim. In addition to having a concise time frame, there are unique procedures for initiating a claim against the government. (§ 945.6)

Sexual Assault Victims

  • If the victim is over 18, they have ten years from the last act or attempted act
  • A victim over 18 has three years from the discovery of injury
  • It is not necessary to have a criminal procedure or a conviction
  • Victims under 18 have until age 40 or five years after discovery of the harm, whichever is later

(§ 340.16)

Toxic Exposure/Hazardous Material

For most personal injury claims based on toxic exposure and hazardous materials, the statute of limitations is two years from when the victim should have become aware of the cause of the injury. If the injury or illness is related to asbestos exposure, the statute of limitations is one year after the victim first suffered harm or knew that the asbestos exposure contributed to their disability.

(§ 340.2)

Defendant Absent from the State

In general, the time that a defendant is absent from the state doesn’t count against the statute of limitations. However, there are some circumstances that this rule doesn’t apply. Also, the rule applies only to the defendant’s absence, not the plaintiff’s.

See Dew v. Appleberry, 23 Cal.3d 631 (1979).

Victim Legally Insane

If a victim is incapable of transacting business or understanding their actions, the statute of limitations is tolled. An example of this is where a victim is unconscious following an injury. 

See Feeley v. Southern Pacific Transportation Co., 234 Cal.App.3d 649 (1991).

Plaintiff in Prison

A plaintiff who is in prison at the time their action accrues may have extra time to file their claim. The statute of limitations is tolled until they are released or for two years. There is no tolling while they are on parole.

See Belton v. Bowers Ambulance Service, 20 Cal.4th 928 (1999).

Death of a Victim or Defendant

  • If the plaintiff dies before the statute of limitations runs out, the parties have six months from the plaintiff’s death or the full extent of the original time frame.
  • If the defendant dies before the statute of limitations runs out, the plaintiff has one year from their death. This may make the time limit shorter or longer.

Lawyers to Understand the Statute of Limitations in Personal Injury

As you can see, many possible time limitations may apply. Let our lawyers help you evaluate your situation to see what the statute of limitations is for your case. Never assume that it is too late to file a case. But don’t wait either. 

Contact our team at LA Century Law today for a free case review. We can explore the statute of limitations and how you may receive compensation for your personal injury claim. Call or message us today.

The information above is not intended to be legal advice and should not be accepted as such. Further, these laws may vary from time to time and case by case. Call our attorneys now to discuss your matter and any pending statute of limitations.

How to File a Personal Injury Claim in California

How to File a Personal Injury Claim in California

If you’ve been hurt because of the actions of someone else. You have a valid personal injury claim – but where do you start? To receive compensation, you must file a claim. Where do you even begin?

Our lawyers explain how to file a personal injury claim in California.

Filing a personal injury claim is complex. If you’d like to learn more about how our lawyers can make filing your claim easy, contact us for a consultation.

10 Steps for Filing a Personal Injury Claim in California

    1. Determine if you have standing

The first step to filing a personal injury claim in California is determining if you have standing to bring a claim. If you’re the injured victim, you likely have standing. If you’re a surviving family member bringing a wrongful death claim, you likely have standing. 

There is no standing for near-misses, where a person was close by when something dangerous happened, but they weren’t harmed. A minor may need the help of a guardian ad litem in order to have standing to file. Once you determine that you have standing, you can proceed to the next steps in preparing your claim.

    2. Identify the defendants

You bring a personal injury claim against the party or parties responsible for the accident. The person (or other legal entity) that caused you harm is responsible for damages. 

Remember to investigate the underlying causes of what happened. A driver might be working on behalf of an employer, for example. If you’re injured on someone else’s property, the party in control of the property may be liable. A defendant may be a person or another legal entity like a business or corporation. There may be one defendant or several defendants. 

There are several different standards for legal liability. Our lawyers can evaluate your situation to determine who may be a defendant in your personal injury claim.

    3. See what kind of case you have

There are several causes of actions for personal injury. Your claim may be based on:

  • Negligence
  • Intentional torts
  • Premises liability
  • Product liability
  • Medical malpractice
  • Other personal injury

The legal basis for compensation is called the cause of action. You need to know what causes of action to state in your claim.

    4. Find the court with jurisdiction and venue

In California, most cases begin in Superior Courts. These are trial courts organized by county throughout the state. Cases involving less than $10,000 may be heard in small claims court.

When the value of the case is $25,000 or less, it is a limited civil case. If it’s worth $25,000 or more, it’s an unlimited civil case. Jurisdiction and venue determine where to file the claim. The specific venue may be where the defendant residents, where they conduct business, or where the injury occurred.

As part of our representation, we determine the appropriate jurisdiction and venue to file your claim.

    5. Know how long you have to file

There are time limits to filing a personal injury claim in California. Usually, it’s two years, but there are many exceptions. The type of case or the circumstances may make the timeline longer or much shorter. You must file the claim before the last day of the timeline. If you meet the deadline, even by one day, you’ve fulfilled the requirement, but you should never wait to prepare your claim.

    6. Determine your damages

When you bring a personal injury suit, you’re claiming damages for the ways that you’ve been harmed by the actions of the defendant. California typically allows the victim to claim a wide range of economic and non-economic losses. To bring a claim, you need to know what you’re asking for.

There are many categories of losses. Many of them are overlooked by victims who try to proceed independently. Damages must be identified in the complaint and proven in the claims process.

    7. Prepare your summons and complaint – and other documents

Once you have all the information you need, it’s time to prepare your legal documents to file the case. While there may be local variations, in general, you need a summons, complaint, and a civil cover sheet

A complaint must contain:

  • Court information
  • Type of case
  • Plaintiff information
  • Defendant information
  • Statement of jurisdiction
  • Causes of action
  • Statement of losses
  • Prayer for damages

The California courts have created a form complaint for personal injury claims. There are also reply and cross-complaint forms available. The documents you submit give the court the information they need to process the claim. They also notify the defendant that they are being brought into court on a complaint for personal injury damages. 

    8. File your claim

When all your documents are complete, it’s time to file your claim. You file the claim in the court with jurisdiction. Lawyers filing on behalf of their clients must use the electronic filing system. People who represent themselves do not have to use the e-filing system, but it’s encouraged.

    9. Pay the filing fee

There is a filing fee to initiate a personal injury claim. As of this writing, the filing fee is $435 for an unlimited civil claim. The fees are lower for limited and small claims cases.

    10. Complete other steps involved in beginning a personal injury claim

Filing a personal injury claim is only the beginning. You must serve the defendant with copies of the legal documents. Discovery proceedings can start quickly. It’s important to be prepared for what comes after you begin a personal injury case. You must attend court hearings, prepare evidence and pursue your claim.

Lawyers for help filing a personal injury claim

Filing a personal injury claim isn’t easy. When you represent yourself, you must follow all the legal procedures and know the law just like you were a lawyer. 

Our lawyers represent individuals and families in personal injury claims. We know that being injured is a life-changing experience, and we’re here to help. We’re committed to helping you get fair compensation for your injuries and harms. Contact us today to see how we can help you file your personal injury claim.

Personal Injury Claims Process: Here’s What You Need to Know

Personal Injury Claims Process: Here’s What You Need to Know

The personal injury claims process can seem daunting. As personal injury lawyers, we’re committed to helping our clients receive great legal representation when they’re injured. 

Part of helping our clients is explaining the legal process and what to expect in the road ahead. Here’s what you need to know about the personal injury claims process.

10 Things to Know About the Personal Injury Claims Process

    1. You must file a claim to get personal injury compensation

To receive compensation for a personal injury, you must take steps to claim it. Usually, that means filing a formal legal claim, but it can also mean negotiating payment through an insurance company. Either way, it’s up to you to take the right steps to claim compensation. There are time deadlines, and the victim must file the claim before the deadline expires in their case.

    2. There are procedural requirements to filing a personal injury claim

There are rules for how to go about filing a claim. There are certain documents that need to be filed. There are specific ways that these documents need to be prepared. 

When these documents are accurate and precise, it makes the claims process easier. It can build your claim from the beginning. But mistakes in the procedural requirements can make it harder to pursue your case. It can even result in dismissal of the claim. There are rules to follow from the time you start the claim all the way to trial and resolution of the case.

    3. Discovery can help you get information and narrow the issues for trial

Any personal injury claim is going to involve something called discovery. Discovery allows the parties to exchange information. They can learn about the other side’s evidence and the issues that are contested.

Discovery can take many forms – depositions under oath, exchange of documents and identification of witnesses just to name a few. Part of how your attorney represents you is compiling your information for discovery and determining what to ask for from the other side. Discovery can be an extremely helpful tool for a personal injury plaintiff. It can narrow the issues for trial and help you determine a fair settlement amount.

    4. Expect periodic court hearings

You trial date is probably not going to be your first court appearance. The process of a personal injury case involves preliminary hearings, settlement conferences and motion hearings. These preliminary hearings are critical to getting a fair result for your claim. 

Our lawyers can build a case strategy that may involve filing preliminary motions. We know how to notice and conduct these hearings, as well as respond to motions from the other side. We make sure you understand what to except at each court date.

    5. It’s up to the victim to prove the case

As the victim, you have the burden of proof. You must prove your right to compensation and each element of the claim including causation of your injuries and damages. Gathering proof of each element and responding to the other side is a crucial part of the personal injury claims process.

    6. Most claims don’t go to trial

Only a small percentage of personal injury claims go to trial. Although a trial is possible, most claims reach a resolution without one. But that’s no accident – it’s the result of building a strong claim on your behalf and working to negotiate the appropriate resolution.

    7. You decide whether to accept a settlement

If not going to trial disappoints you, remember that it’s your choice whether to accept a settlement or take your case to trial. Our lawyers build a strong case and negotiate on your behalf. We aim to put you in the best position to make the right choice – for you. You have the right to a trial. You don’t have to accept a settlement, and you can have your day in court.

    8. Trial is an adversarial proceeding

If you choose to have a trial, there are rules that govern the process. It’s important to understand the various stages of trial and how to use each stage to your advantage. For example, you can question jurors to ensure that they are not biased and qualified to serve. The opening and closing statements are a critical part of explaining the case to the jury and making arguments.

There are rules for presenting information, objecting to actions of the other party and questioning witnesses. You must know how to request jury instructions so that the jury is given the right guidance for deciding the case. Knowing how to navigate these rules can ensure that you have a fair trial.

    9. There is an appeals process

Either party can appeal various decisions and rulings that may have impacted the outcome of the case. There is an appeals process where higher courts review what happened at trial or even before trial. 

Winning an appeal begins long before you even file the appeal. It’s important to diligently preserve objections and make a record in the lower court so that the appeals court can understand the issues. Our lawyers can help you understand if an appeal is right for you and what to expect in the process.

    10. Once your case is over, it’s final

You get only one opportunity to get justice in a personal injury case. Once you accept a settlement or exhaust your appeals following trial, it’s hard to go back and try again, even if circumstances change. There may be proceedings to enforce a judgment or clarify minor issues, but for the most part, the outcome is final. It’s important to get the process right – because you have only one chance to get justice for your personal injury claim.

Lawyers for the Personal Injury Claims Process

At LA Century Law, we’re injury attorneys committed to your recovery. We’re experienced trial lawyers – and we’re proud of our reputation as outstanding counselors and guides through the personal injury claims process.

We customize a plan for your case. Along the way, we make sure you know what to expect so that you feel confident and prepared.

If you’ve been hurt in a personal injury accident, we invite you to meet with our team at LA Century Law to learn more about the claims process and how we can help you. Call or message us today.

LA Century Law Launches New Website

LA Century Law has renewed their focus to serve clients in South California by launching their new website.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Los Angeles, CA, April 8, 2022— The award-winning LA Century Law firm is excited to announce the launch of their new website.

The new design of the website is slick and user-friendly, allowing you to navigate the site with ease. In addition to the home page, the website is divided into six subcategories.

The ‘about us’ section provides information about LA Century Law as a whole. Also to be found in this section is the team of attorneys you will be working with when LA Century Law represents you.

The next section is the ‘locations’ section. LA Century Law has offices in Century City, San Bernardino, and Tarzana. All three locations are currently taking new cases, and want to hear from you.

The ‘practice areas’ section is a very helpful one, where you can see all the specialty areas the attorneys at LA Century Law are well versed in. The team can provide you with a California car accident lawyer, a California personal injury lawyer, a California motorcycle accident lawyer, and more.

By clicking on each respective practice area, you can read in-depth descriptions and solutions offered by the team. This section of the website is essential in regards to helping you find the proper representation.

There are also statistics to show the high success of the LA Century Law firm in each area.

In addition to these sections, there is a recent results section where you can see the success of the firm as well as an informative blog. This blog, written by members of the firm, goes into depth about everything related to the law.

“I am really pleased with our new website, it is really pushing us into the modern age,” said the founder of LA Century Law, Ryan J. Daneshrad, Esq.

Contact information on the team is available in multiple sections of the website, and there is even a full section dedicated to it. LA Century Law is interested in taking your case and is available 24/7.

You can find the LA Century Law phone number in multiple areas of the website.

There is also an inquiry form where you can receive a FREE consultation. Simply provide your contact information along with a brief description of how the team can help you.

“We are looking to help as many as we can in South California,” said Marco Reyes, senior case manager.

Check out LA Century Law’s new website today!

About LA Century Law: LA Century Law is a civil law firm located in Century City near Hollywood with multiple locations throughout Southern California that specializes in an array of practice areas that include personal injury, real estate disputes, mold intoxication, habitability issues, employment law, and complex civil litigation. Our firm has a 99% success rate.

Contact Information:

Ryan J. Daneshrad, Esq.

LA Century Law, 1880 Century Park East, Suite 1101, Los Angeles CA 90067

Home

(213) 205-0657

What Does Discovery Mean

What Does Discovery Mean?

Once a lawsuit is filed, each side will have an opportunity to conduct what is referred to as discovery. Discovery gives each side an opportunity to investigate the others’ claims and prepare for trial.

There is oral discovery and written discovery.

Written discovery consists of written questions that must be responded to in writing. Written discovery falls into three types of requests.

1) Request for Production of Documents

This form of discovery requires that a party produce documents relevant to their claim.

2) Interrogatories

This form of discovery consists of written questions relevant to the action.

3) Request for Admissions

This form of discovery requests that a party admit or deny certain questions.

There is also oral discovery. A common example of oral discovery is a deposition. A deposition is an examination of a party or person under oath. There will be a court reporter present to record the deposition. Some depositions are also filmed.  Similar to trial, an attorney is allowed to ask questions of this individual who is referred to as the deponent.

The deponent’s attorney will be present and may object to the questions similarly to trial. The transcript of the deposition may be used at trial subject to certain limitations.

Insurance Companies Do Not Have Your Best Interest

Insurance Companies Do Not Have Your Best Interest

“Like a good neighbor, State Farm is There.” – State Farm Insurance

“You’re in good hands with Allstate.” – Allstate Insurance

“We are Farmers. Gets you back where you belong.” – Farmers Insurance

We have all heard the slogans. We have memorized the jingles.

Insurance companies spend millions annually to market to consumers and build a façade as a reliable, caring “friend”. Nothing can be further from the truth. The reality is insurance companies do not have your best interest at heart.

Jake from State Farm might be wearing khakis and a red shirt but his real goal, if he is speaking to you late at night, is to gather as much information from you to discount your injuries and case.

Insurance adjusters are trained to ask questions that feel harmless. These questions are leading and designed to trap you into a false response. For example, Jake from State Farm might ask a question like: “So, you don’t have any pain from the accident right now, correct?” This is a leading and loaded question. An individual might not have pain that exact moment but that does not mean they were not hurt after the accident or that their injuries will not worsen later.

The questions are designed for you to divulge information that may result in your claim either being rejected or discounted. That is why it is so important to contact legal representation as soon as you are involved in an accident.

Once you retain an attorney, the insurance company and adjuster cannot speak to you directly. They cannot ask you loaded questions designed to belittle your injuries and devalue your case.

Do not fall for the slogans. You pay a premium for insurance and should have it available when you are injured.

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Our Locations

Century City Office

1880 Century Park East, Suite 1101 Los Angeles, CA 90067

San Bernardino Office

473 E. Carnegie Drive, Suite 200, San Bernardino, CA 92408

Valley Office

18321 Ventura Blvd., Suite 800 Tarzana, CA 91356

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