How To File a Personal Injury Claim in California

Posted on 12/22/23

in Personal Injury

If you or somebody you love sustains an injury caused by the negligent actions of another party, you may be able to recover compensation through a personal injury claim against the at-fault party. The process of filing a personal injury claim can seem complicated, so we want to explain the basic steps of this process for you as you begin this journey. We strongly encourage you to reach out to a skilled personal injury lawyer in Oakland who can help you with every aspect of your claim.

Understanding Whether You Have a Claim

You may actually wonder whether you have a personal injury claim that could be successful, and we encourage you to contact a personal injury lawyer for assistance with determining the best steps to take moving forward for your situation.

No two personal injury situations are exactly alike, but individuals are typically able to file a claim against any other party whose negligent or careless action caused them harm. This other party can include an individual, business, or various types of entities, including government agencies.

Filing an Insurance Claim

The first step involved with filing most injury claims is filing a claim against the at-fault party’s insurance carrier. However, exactly which insurance carrier you would file a claim with will depend on the situation. For example, if you are harmed in a vehicle accident, you would file a claim with your auto insurance carrier first, and they would, in turn, file a claim against the at-fault party’s insurance policy.

However, if you sustain an injury on another person’s property, you may have to file a claim against a homeowner’s insurance policy, a renter’s insurance policy, or the insurance policy for a company or landlord.

Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit

In California, injury victims must file their personal injury lawsuit against an alleged negligent party within two years from the date the injury occurs. If they fail to file a lawsuit within this time frame, they will lose the right to move forward through the civil court system.

When a personal injury lawsuit gets filed, the case goes into the discovery process, which is when attorneys for both sides exchange evidence and take depositions from potential witnesses. Depositions are given under oath and give all parties involved a chance to question witnesses and understand more about how a case may proceed at trial.

It is not uncommon for a claim to settle before a trial begins, sometimes through mediation ordered by a judge.

Preparing for Trial

In the event that the claim is not settled during the discovery process, the claim will need to move forward to a jury trial. Injury claims rarely go this far, but your attorney will understand what to do in order to fully prepare you for this process.