What Is the Delayed Discovery Rule in California?

What Is the Delayed Discovery Rule in California?

In California, the state-mandated statute of limitations for most personal injury claims is two years from the date of your injury. That means you have two years to file a lawsuit against the person who caused your pain and suffering, and the court will dismiss any suit filed after the deadline.

However, there is one exception. The delayed discovery rule in California allows you to file a civil lawsuit after the statute of limitations passes. The California personal injury team at LA Century Law can guide you through the civil process where the delayed discovery rule applies.

When Can You Invoke the Delayed Discovery Rule in California?

You may need the delayed discovery rule if your injuries were not immediately apparent after an accident or if you were reasonably unaware that you have a personal injury claim. In California, you can invoke this rule only if you can prove the following:

  • You did not discover or know the elements of your case that would lead any reasonable person to assume another party’s wrongful actions harmed you.
  • No one could have discovered or known the elements of your case that would cause a reasonable person to assume they suffered harm because of someone else’s wrongful actions.
  • No reasonable investigation or diligence led to the discovery that a product or event contributed to your injury or loss.

You may apply the delayed discovery rule to any case in California where you can rightfully pause the statute of limitations. If you are unsure how this may apply to your case, our experienced personal injury attorneys will evaluate your claim and help you take the next step toward recovering compensation.

Examples of the Delayed Discovery Rule in Use

Delayed discovery can apply to any type of personal injury case. The most common claims include:

  • Motor vehicle accidents, including collisions involving cars, trucks, motorcycles, pedestrians, and bicyclists
  • Slip-and-fall accidents occurring on someone else’s property
  • Animal attack accidents
  • Product liability accidents, where the manufacturer is responsible for harm caused by defective products
  • Wrongful death cases, where the victim suffered what would otherwise constitute a personal injury claim had they survived

You would typically seek medical attention immediately after one of these accidents. However, if the full effects of the injury did not show up in your evaluation, you may need to invoke the delayed discovery rule in California to seek compensation for those latent losses.

Similarly, in a wrongful death case involving a defective product that slowly caused harm over time, the victim’s family may not know what caused their loss for months or years.

Why Does the Statute of Limitations Exist?

The statute of limitations protects those accused of wrongful actions from facing unfair legal consequences. When a substantial amount of time passes after an incident, it can impact the validity of evidence.

For example, a car accident resulting in significant property damage and bodily harm warrants filing a claim and holding the at-fault party accountable. However, the claim is less reliable if the victim knowingly waits more than two years to seek damages, calling on eyewitnesses to pull details of the accident from long-term memory.

Additionally, they may lose access to valuable evidence over time, much of it becoming irretrievable, lost, or obscured. Most statutes of limitations for civil and criminal claims serve the evidence and its preservation.

How Do Delayed Discovery Rules Work?

When the delay discovery rule applies to a case, the victim can file a lawsuit as long as the time between discovering the injury and filing their claim is within the deadline. The deadline still exists but at a later date. According to the delayed discovery rule in California, you have one year from the date you discovered the formerly unknown injury to file your lawsuit.

The difference between delayed discovery and tolling/suspending

Tolling is a broader term used to describe situations that permit the court to pause the statute of limitations. Delayed discovery is just one form of equitable tolling. Other examples include:

  • If the victim in a personal injury case is a minor
  • If the victim was not cognitively capable of making decisions or evaluating the aftermath of their accident
  • If the victim proved legally insane through an evaluation
  • If the defendant was in prison or out of state after the accident

Tolling provisions effectively suspend the statute of limitations on a wrongful act. The delayed discovery rule stops the clock specifically because the plaintiff did not or could not know that they had a reason to file a claim or lawsuit.

Contact Our Firm About the Delayed Discovery Rule in California

You should contact our legal team if you have questions about a personal injury claim. If the delayed discovery rule in California applies to your case, you may still have time to build a claim and recover damages for your losses. You must act promptly.

Our team of experienced attorneys can help you understand the value of your case and how to navigate the legal process. Contact us at LA Century Law by phone or online to schedule your free consultation. We keep the phone line open 24/7.

What Is a Loss of Consortium Claim in California?

What Is a Loss of Consortium Claim in California?

Loss of consortium is a type of loss experienced by spouses of traumatic accident victims. These losses are non-economic in nature and are filed by the spouses of the victims. However, they must prove they have a right to financial compensation due to the accident.

The California personal injury lawyers at LA Century Law are skilled in pursuing loss of consortium claims. Get in touch anytime to discuss your case.

The Legal Basis for a Loss of Consortium Claim

The California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI) provides an in-depth explanation of the law. CACI 3920 states two issues that can lead to loss of consortium under California law. A spouse may file the claim following an injury or the wrongful death of a spouse.

The spouse may seek compensation for the following:

  • The loss of comfort, companionship, care, assistance, affection, affection, moral support, and protection
  • The loss of the ability to have children with the injured and enjoyment of sexual relations.

CACI goes on to say that no standard amount is set aside for such damages. The court decides the right amount to be awarded to the spouse of the injured or deceased based on the evidence provided, common sense, and reasonable compensation. Since this area is open, the onus is on the spouse to prove to the court the amounts that they are entitled to.

In addition, the amount awarded does not include any payments concerning injuries or treatments suffered by the victim. Therefore, it does not cover the following:

  • The loss of income for they take time away to take care of the accident victim
  • The costs associated with taking care of the injured, such as cleaning, nursing, and household services,
  • Loss of financial support from the spouse

While the above rules appear in the CACI, it is unnecessary for spouses of accident victims to go to court to recover these amounts. Sometimes, the same can be done through the insurance negotiation process. Only if one cannot get the rightful compensation should one consider going to court.

How to Calculate the Loss of Consortium Award in California

Non-economic damages are intangible losses that cannot be directly quantified in cash. For example, you will estimate the monetary value of your spouse’s ability to engage in sexual enjoyment or bear children with you. The court may also reduce the amount to be recovered if the victim was partially to blame for the accident.

A judge’s jury will attempt to estimate the value of all aspects you bring up as things you will not enjoy with your injured or deceased spouse. Most of these aspects relate to marriage. For that reason, the court will check the stability of the marriage before the accident occurs to ascertain the value you would have gotten from it had the spouse been in perfect health.

The amount you get as compensation may also be affected by the insurance policy compensation limits. An example is if the policy has a $20,000 limit per person per accident, it will not pay more than that for the damages to the injured spouse and your loss of consortium claims. A court case will bring up the amount that it has already compensated for the injuries or loss of the loved one before an estimate is made.

There is also a cap on the maximum amount you can be compensated for non-economic damages in medical malpractice at $250,000 per victim. Spouses of such victims can recover up to $250,000 for loss of consortium.

How to Prove a Loss of Consortium Claim

Loss of consortium is compensation for the services you will no longer receive from your spouse. Your attorney will work with a marriage counselor, a therapist, or a physician to help prove that the accident has had a profound effect on your marriage.

You will need to answer the following questions:

  1. How has the injury to your spouse impacted the daily running of the relationship with your spouse?
  2. Has the injury affected your quality of life in any way?
  3. Has the injury affected their ability to show affection or love?
  4. Has the accident affected their ability to provide companionship or moral support?
  5. Is the spouse unable to enjoy sexual relations with you due to the injury?
  6. Is the spouse unable to bear children with you due to the injury?
  7. Are the effects of the accident and the injury likely to remain for their lifetime? If not, how long are they likely to last?

Other Areas to Check When Proving a Claim

There are four other elements that are likely to come into play when proving a loss of consortium claim.

Validity of the marriage

You must have been legally married to the spouse by the time of the accident or have entered into a registered domestic partnership. A cohabiting partner is not entitled to make a claim.

Tortious injury to the spouse and proximate cause

The spouse must have suffered an injury due to the negligent conduct of another party. In this case, the spouse makes a separate personal injury claim against the other party. If both of you were injured in the accident, you are still eligible to file loss of consortium claims if another party was negligent.

You cannot make a claim for issues like stress at work, challenging assignments, or a rude boss. The issue must be caused directly by the defendant.

Loss of enjoyment

The spouse making a claim must prove that they cannot enjoy some of the services they used to get from the spouse. The spouse may have been incapacitated so that they cannot partake in sexual relations or relational activities, or they may have become moody and do not give emotional support or affection.

Discuss Your Loss of Consortium Damages Claim with LA Century Law

Reach out to LA Century Law for loss of consortium damages in California. Our experienced lawyers will handle your case and guide you on the way forward. We have years of experience handling different aspects of accident-rated claims.

Loss of Consortium Claim FAQs

Is there a time limit for loss of consortium claims?

The California personal injury statute of limitations applies, which gives a two-year time limit to a loss of consortium claim.

Can you make a claim for loss of consortium alongside other claims?

Loss of consortium is regarded as a separate claim from other accident-related claims. You can make a claim for it even if you were compensated for the loss of the loved one or the spouse was compensated for their injuries.

Understanding T-Bone Accident Fault in California

T-bone accidents result in approximately 8,000 fatalities each year in the United States alone, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Such an accident can cause life-altering injuries that may affect the victim’s ability to continue working, raising a family, or even living independently.

If you’re a T-bone accident victim, you may be unable to afford to pay your medical bills, meet your financial obligations, repair your vehicle, or live life normally. If you or your loved one has been injured in a T-bone accident in California, it is vital to seek legal representation as soon as possible to recover compensation for your damages.

Understanding T-Bone Collisions: What Are They?

Also known as a side-impact or broadside collision, T-bone accidents occur when two vehicles collide, and one strikes the other from the side. These collisions often result in severe damage to both cars, which can lead to significant injuries.

The driver of the vehicle that’s hit from the side usually suffers the worst injuries, including broken bones, internal organ damage, brain trauma, spinal cord injuries, and neck injuries. The driver of the other vehicle also faces similar risks.

Understanding Scenarios Where T-Bone Accidents Happen

Here are a few common scenarios that may lead to you getting T-boned in a car accident:

  • Failure to yield the right-of-way: When motorists fail to yield the right-to-way to oncoming traffic, they place themselves and others around them at risk of severe injuries.
  • Running red lights: If a motorist runs a red light at an intersection, they risk colliding with a vehicle traveling with the right-of-way.
  • Ignoring stop or drive slow signs: Motorists should always obey all traffic signals and signs meant to warn them against cross-traffic.
  • Texting while driving: The law forbids texting and driving, and this behavior is especially risky when approaching an intersection with heavy traffic.

Establishing T-Bone Accident Fault: Who May Be Responsible?

For a plaintiff to establish fault in a T-bone accident injury case, they must prove that the defendant was negligent. Negligence refers to failing to act as a reasonable person would have acted under the same circumstances.

When determining who is responsible for a T-bone accident, the investigators usually examine the following forms of evidence:

  • Traffic camera footage
  • Presence of stop signs and other traffic signals
  • Eyewitness statements from the observers of the incident
  • Statements from both drivers
  • Skid marks
  • The findings of the police report, if available

Note the burden of proof rests with the plaintiff and not the defendant. Hiring a personal injury lawyer is an important decision that any accident victim should make to collect and compile every last piece of evidence.

While one driver may be at-fault in a T-bone crash for breaking traffic laws, in other circumstances, both drivers may be at fault.

At-Fault Driver Breaking the Law

As we mentioned earlier, several scenarios may lead to a T-bone accident. Most of these situations involve the at-fault driver breaking the law. Below are a few examples of laws the at-fault driver may have broken:

  • Entering the intersection illegally
  • Running the red light or rolling through the stop sign
  • Failing to yield the right-of-way when making a left turn
  • Mistakenly thinking the light is green and cruising through
  • Drunk driving or distracted driving

Both Drivers At-Fault

In certain circumstances, you may share liability with the other motorist in a T-bone crash. For instance, if you were speeding but the other driver failed to yield the right-of-way, the prosecution may find both of you responsible for the incident. Since California is a comparative negligence state, you may still collect compensation for your T-bone accident injuries even as you bear partial fault for the collision.

Contact LA Century Law If Injured in a T-Bone Accident in California

It is vital to seek legal representation from determined attorneys with considerable car accident experience. Our team at LA Century Law will help you recover maximum compensation for your injuries. We know how to navigate the complex court and insurance system and ensure that you receive fair treatment throughout the process. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

T-Bone Accident Fault FAQs

Why does fault determination matter?

Determining fault in a T-bone accident is a must, as it helps establish whether the other motorist is directly liable for the crash. Also, it helps determine the percentage of how much money of your settlement or award you should get paid for your injuries.

How do I prove fault in a T-bone car accident?

You need to gather all the evidence possible to support your claim. These include witness statements, police reports, medical records, photographs, etc. The more information you have, the better.

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

When you’ve been injured due to someone else’s negligence, you may wonder how much your injury claim is worth. Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer to this question.

It can be difficult for someone unfamiliar with the legal system to accurately assess the value of their claim. Fortunately, an experienced attorney will have a good understanding of how to calculate the value of a claim and will fight for the full amount of compensation that you deserve.

Factors That Affect the Value of Your Personal Injury Settlement in California

The amount of your settlement will depend on several factors, including:

Severity of injuries

There are two primary ways that the severity of your injuries can impact the value of your injury settlement:

  1. Medical bills: The more severe your injuries, often the higher your medical bills will be. Since your medical bills are typically one of the most significant expenses you incur as a result of an accident, they have a major impact on the value of your settlement.
  2. Pain and suffering: Your pain and suffering can depend on the nature of your injuries (e.g., whether they’re permanent or not). If a severe, long-term injury resulted in emotional distress, you may be able to recover more money for your pain and suffering.

Level of property damage

In California, personal injury settlements are based on a principle known as “comparative fault.” This means that the court will compare the level of fault between the plaintiff and the defendant. If the plaintiff is found to be more than 50% at fault, they will not be eligible for compensation.

However, if the plaintiff is less than 50% at fault, their damages will be reduced by their degree of fault. For example, if a plaintiff is awarded $100,000 in damages but is found to be 40% at fault, their settlement will be reduced to $60,000.

Lost wages if a victim cannot work

If you’ve been injured in an accident and cannot work, you may be entitled to lost wages as part of your personal injury settlement. Lost wages can be a significant portion of your overall damages, so it’s important to ensure you recover all the wages you’re entitled to.

In California, there are two primary ways to recover lost wages: through economic damages and through loss of earning capacity damages.

  1. Economic damages are intended to compensate you for your lost wages due to your injury.
  2. Loss of earning capacity damages, on the other hand, are intended to compensate you for the loss of future earnings.

To recover lost wages, you will need to provide documentation of your injuries and their impact on your ability to work. This may include:

  • Medical records
  • Pay stubs, and
  • Expert testimony

If you’re able to return to work but are earning less than you did before the accident, you may also be able to recover lost earnings through a vocational rehabilitation assessment.

Level of emotional and psychological trauma

The value of your personal injury settlement may be affected by the emotional and psychological trauma you experienced due to your accident. In California, pain and suffering damages are capped at $250,000, but this does not include emotional distress damages.

To maximize the value of your injury settlement, it is important to document how the accident has affected you emotionally and psychologically. This can include anxiety and depression to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Keep a journal documenting your symptoms and how they impact your day-to-day life.

A personal injury lawyer can advise you on ways to maximize the value of your settlement and get the compensation you deserve.

How to Calculate a Personal Injury Settlement

A personal injury settlement in California is typically calculated by considering the total amount of damages sustained, including economic and non-economic damages.

There are two methods of calculating a personal injury settlement in California.

Multiplier method

The multiplier method considers not only your medical bills and lost wages but also the pain and suffering you’ve endured. In California, the multiplier is typically between 1.5 and 5, depending on the severity of the injuries.

When an insurance company uses the multiplier method to calculate a personal injury settlement, they will take the total amount of your medical bills and other damages and then multiply that number by a figure between 1.5 and 5, depending on the severity of your injuries. For example, if you have $10,000 in medical bills and other damages and the insurance company uses a multiplier of 3, your settlement would be $30,000.

Per diem method

A per diem method for personal injury claims is when an injured person is compensated for each day they are affected by their injuries. For example, if someone is in the hospital for a week after a car accident, they would be compensated for each day that they were in the hospital. This compensation method can also be used for other damages, such as lost wages due to being unable to work.

For example, you sustain a brain injury and other economic damages amounting to $200,000 and experience pain from the injuries for 120 days after the accident. Assuming you were making $200 a day, your damages will be estimated at $24,000 ($200x$120), and a fair settlement amount would be $224,000.

A personal injury lawyer can help you determine the right formula for your case.

What Will Reduce the Compensation You receive?

There are a few things that can reduce the amount you receive as compensation for damages in California.

Shared fault rule

If you are found to be even partially at fault for an accident, your compensation will be reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, if you are awarded $10,000 in damages but are found to be 20% at fault, you will only receive $8,000.

Damage caps

California has laws limiting the amount of money awarded for certain damages, such as pain and suffering or emotional distress. This means that even if a jury awards you a higher amount, the court will reduce it to comply with the cap.

Insurance availability

If the person at fault for an accident does not have insurance or does not have enough insurance to cover all of your damages, you may only be able to recover what their insurance policy limits are. This can often be much less than the full amount of your damages. In some cases, you may be able to recover from your insurance policy if you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.

Maximize Your Personal Injury Settlement

If you’ve been injured in an accident, working with a personal injury lawyer is essential to ensure you receive the full compensation you’re entitled to. An experienced lawyer at LA Century Law will know how to maximize your settlement by considering all of the above-mentioned factors. If you have any questions about your case or want to discuss your options, contact our office today to schedule a free consultation.

Frequently Asked Questions About Personal Injury Settlements

How long does it take to settle a personal injury claim?

The amount of time it takes to settle a personal injury claim varies depending on the circumstances of the case. Some claims can be settled relatively quickly, while others may take months or even years to resolve.

What are the most important things about settling a personal injury claim?

Never accept the first offer from the insurance company. You should also be aware of your state’s statute of limitations for personal injury claims. This is the deadline for filing a lawsuit, and if you miss it, you will be unable to recover any compensation for your losses.

What Are Demand Letters in California Personal Injury Cases?

A demand letter is an important aspect of personal injury claims. Personal injury demand letters outline the extent of the injury and the damages incurred and also propose the compensation needed for the damages incurred.

If you are injured and need to make a personal injury claim, you need to write a winning demand letter to the at-fault party or the insurance company. To write an excellent personal injury demand letter, you should hire a personal injury attorney to help you draft the letter and follow up on the whole process.

This article explains everything you need to know about personal injury demand letters in the state of California.

What is a Demand Letter?

A demand letter can be defined as a formal request by the victim to the insurance company or at-fault party seeking compensation for the injuries sustained and the expenses incurred.

A demand letter is an attempt to settle informally instead of filing a lawsuit, and it can be submitted directly by the injured party or their attorney. Since it seeks compensation for injuries and damages sustained, a demand letter should be factual and truthful. A poorly written and exaggerated demand letter can hurt your chances of fair compensation.

For this reason, accident victims hire a skilled and experienced personal injury lawyer.

What Information Should be Included?

A personal injury demand letter should not necessarily be long, especially in small claims cases, but precise, factual, and truthful. A well-written demand letter sets forth a solid case and arguments on why the at-fault party is liable and why the injured party warrants compensation.

The following is the most crucial information that must be included in your personal injury demand letter:

  • The time, date, and location of the accident.
  • The name(s) and contact information of the at-fault party and their insurer.
  • Details of the injuries the plaintiff sustained from the accident
  • Summary of damages the injured party incurred, including medical bills, lost wages, and explanation of non-economic damages
  • Other supporting documents like X-rays, MRIs, and other test results, photos, and or videos of accident scenes and injuries sustained.

This information must be documented and organized correctly in your demand letter to increase your chances of compensation by the at-fault party or an insurance company.

What Are Some Best Practices for Writing a Demand Letter?

The most crucial component of successfully resolving your injury claim is the submission of a well-written demand letter. We have compiled some best practices to help you draft and submit a winning demand letter to the at-fault party.

1. Review your medical records

Medical records are vital in settling personal injury claims since they establish your injuries. Medical records also explicitly explain the cause of your injuries, and this is important because the insurer or at-fault party may try to attribute your injuries to other events.

Most importantly, medical records establish an important link between the accident and the injuries. For your demand letter to be thorough, you will need to attach the medical records and emphasize what they explain. You need to have a general idea of what the records say about the extent of the injuries sustained.

2. Present your expenses

Before even drafting a demand letter, you need to know that you are not likely to be compensated for any undocumented expense. Therefore, it is imperative that you document and keep track of all expenses related to the injuries you have sustained.

For instance, you can document the amount of money you have incurred on gasoline as you honor a doctor’s appointment to treat your injuries. Documenting your expenses will make it easier for you to write an excellent demand letter.

3. Be organized

A well-organized and precisely written demand letter can guarantee you timely compensation from the at-fault party. You can group your expenses and damages into categories and make your demand letter look as professional as possible.

4. Do not exaggerate

You might be desperate to maximize your compensation, making you exaggerate your claim. However, such a move is counterproductive and will work against you during negotiations. Never try to appeal to the insurer’s or at-fault party’s sense of pity because you are not likely to influence them.

What is the Timeline for When You Should Receive a Demand Letter Response?

Ordinarily, after submitting a demand letter, it takes roughly two weeks to two months to receive a settlement check. This happens if the insurance company or the at-fault party agrees to your injury claims. Importantly, insurers are not allowed to unnecessarily delay the settlement process, but they often do so using strategies like:

  • Settlement negotiations: An insurer might delay their replies if they feel you are owed less than you are claiming. They might send you a lower offer after some time, and since they believe you desperately need the compensation, you will agree to their proposal.
  • Paperwork not filled out: The claim response and settlement process may be delayed by insurers by claiming that you failed to complete the necessary documentation,
  • Planning for court: The insurers or at-fault party may delay their response if they are planning to take the issue to trial.

These aren’t the only reasons that necessitate a delay in response and settlement. Fortunately, if you don’t hear a response by a reasonable time, there is a recourse for the injured party as they can file a lawsuit and pursue compensation through the courts.

Need an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer in California?

A demand letter is an important part of your personal injury claim, and it is best produced in the hands of a skilled and experienced personal injury attorney. If you or your loved ones are injured in California, contact LA Century Law for a consultation and legal advice. Speak to us today by phone or online.

FAQs About Demand Letters

What should I include in a personal injury demand letter?

You must include information about the date and location of the accidents, the name and contact information of the at-fault party, injuries sustained, and other supporting documents.

How long will it take to get a response from the insurance party, and what should I do when I don’t receive the response?

The response takes approximately two weeks to two months to be received. If you don’t receive a response, you have the legal recourse of filing a lawsuit.

The Timeline of a Personal Injury Lawsuit

Personal injury claims can be complex and time-consuming. When you get a personal injury attorney, they take on the whole litigation process for you, which involves discovery, negotiation, mediation, settlement, and trial.

For every personal injury lawsuit, there is a timeline. We’ll provide a general overview of personal injury lawsuit timelines and answer some common questions you might have.

What is a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

Under the law, all states require victims to pursue legal action against those who have harmed them. Personal injury claims involve the negligent act of someone else causing harm or damage to other individuals. What constitutes negligence varies state by state.

During a lawsuit in court, a personal injury lawyer will represent you before a judge or jury and take testimony from witnesses who saw what happened. Personal injury lawyers will handle filing motions to get the best possible outcome for your case.

Most personal injury lawsuits require a plaintiff to prove three things;

  • That they suffered damages from the incident
  • That the defendant’s negligence caused these damages
  • That the defendant had the opportunity to prevent the damages

Depending on the type of injury and the circumstances surrounding the incident, victims may be eligible for various types of damages, including medical bills and lost wages.

How Do Personal Injury Lawsuits Work?

The first steps before filing a personal injury lawsuit involves getting medical attention and an experienced attorney. You should seek out any injuries immediately after being injured at work or elsewhere.

Once you have received proper medical care, your attorney can gather what’s necessary to file a personal injury lawsuit against the person who caused your accident. The attorney will also review the law and be available to answer your questions.

The factors that determine how long a personal injury lawsuit will take include:

  • Whether or not you have insurance
  • What type of injuries you sustained
  • Whether you have legal representation

1. Discovery Phase

In personal injury lawsuits, the discovery phase may last between 60-180 days. Both parties gather evidence and information about each other’s case at this stage. It is also known as pre-trial litigation.

During this stage, you should gather information regarding the defendant’s insurance coverage, medical records, and any witness statements taken by the police. It helps to determine if they have enough financial resources to pay you what you deserve.

2. Settlement and Mediation

Mediation is a way for the two sides to find a settlement out of court instead of going to trial. If mediation fails, each party will have 30 calendar days to file a motion with the court asking them to accept or reject the settlement negotiated during the mediation session.

If the settlement is rejected, the lawsuit moves to trial. However, if the settlement is accepted, the paperwork must be signed and filed with the clerk’s office.

You can file a motion for summary judgment if you do not settle before the deadline. It means that the trial court will decide whether the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law without going to trial.

If there is no dispute over the facts, the judge may grant summary judgment in favor of the moving party. When there is a dispute of fact, the court will issue a ruling after holding a hearing. This decision may affect the number of damages awarded.

After the judge decides the case, they send the decision to the plaintiffs and defendants’ attorneys. Each side gets 30 days to appeal the decision.

3. Pre-Trial Conference

This conference aims to select a jury, set a trial date, and ensure that the judge has everything they need to hear the case. In addition to setting a trial date, the parties decide whether the case will go before a judge alone or a jury. Most cases go to a jury trial.

The judge decides whether to postpone the case due to scheduling conflicts. They also decide on the hearing of any motions filed in the case. If the case proceeds to trial, the parties give opening statements to the judge and jury, where applicable.

4. Trial Phase

During this phase, the lawyers for the plaintiff and the defendant present their arguments to the jury. Afterwards, both sides give closing arguments and ask the jury questions about the presented law.

Depending on which side gets the favorable verdict, the other party pays them. After the trial, the judge writes their opinion based on the jury instructions given during the trial.

5. Appealing the Decision

If a side disagrees with the results of their case, they can appeal the decision to a higher court. They will request a rehearing to provide additional evidence or testimony previously not considered by the court. After the rehearing, the judge can make a different ruling.

Where Do You Find Information About a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

If you have sustained injuries due to the fault of others, it is essential that you seek medical care right away. Your medical records will hold valuable information about the accident and are an excellent place to start looking for clues about your lawsuit.

What are The Typical Damages Awarded to Victims of Personal Injury?

In a personal injury case, the victim can seek monetary compensation in addition to other forms of relief. Typical remedies include:

  • Compensatory damages
  • Punitive damages
  • Non-economic losses and costs
  • Emotional distress damages
  • Lost wages
  • Future earnings
  • Pain and suffering
  • Attorney fees

Get Legal Guidance for Personal Injury Lawsuits

Personal injury lawsuits can be complicated, time-consuming, expensive, and stressful. You probably want justice if you’ve been injured due to someone else’s negligence or recklessness to get compensation for your injuries.

Our lawyers at LA Century Law have extensive experience working on behalf of accident victims seeking compensation for personal injuries. It is always best to speak to an attorney before making any decisions about your case since there could be legal implications if you act without counsel. Contact us for a free consultation today.

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

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.

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?

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.

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