Overview of California Personal Injury Claims Process
The specific process for personal injury claims typically varies from state to state. However, the general steps of the process remain similar for most types of personal injury claims.
Here at The Geller Firm, our personal injury attorneys can review your accident and outline how you can seek compensation. Call us today at 415-840-0570 or fill out an online form to schedule your free consultation.
Initial Steps Following an Accident or Injury in California
Following an accident or injury, it is crucial to seek immediate medical attention to treat any injuries. Medical treatment is important for the injured person's well-being, but a failure to seek treatment could also be viewed as a sign that the injuries were not serious.
Additionally, an injured person should consult a personal injury attorney as soon as possible following an injury. This allows the attorney to start the investigation early, request the required records, and review any insurance policies. The Geller Firm attorneys know the required factual circumstances to establish liability and the records needed to secure compensation in a settlement or at trial.
Demand for Compensation and Negotiations
A demand for compensation is commonly submitted to the insurance companies or responsible parties' attorneys after the injured person reaches their maximum level of recovery and the necessary facts and documents have been collected. Once submitted, the parties generally enter into the negotiation process, which could involve additional interviews and document requests.
If the parties agree on an amount of compensation for any damages, they will enter into a settlement and the claim will be resolved without proceeding to court. Many personal injury claims result in settlements prior to filing a lawsuit; however, negotiations can stall if the parties view the case's value or circumstances differently.
California Personal Injury Lawsuit Process
It is important to understand that filing a personal injury lawsuit does not mean a claim can no longer be resolved through a settlement. Rather, cases are typically filed to comply with the state deadline, known as the statute of limitations, which could bar recovery if not met.
There are several stages that make up the lawsuit process, including the pleadings, discovery, and trial. The pleadings stage includes the injured party's complaint and demand for judgment as well as the other parties' answers and defenses. The discovery phase includes written questions and depositions for further investigation of a case. The trial is generally the final step in the lawsuit where each side presents their case, and a judge or jury determines fault and the amount of compensation, if any.
When to Hire a Personal Injury Attorney in California
A personal injury attorney is not required to pursue a claim; however, the process is often complex and requires significant knowledge and understanding of the laws and rules. For this reason, it is typically a good idea to discuss a personal injury claim with an experienced attorney even if it is a minor claim that might seem straightforward. That's where The Geller Firm steps in.
If a personal injury claim involves severe damages or contention from the involved parties, it is unlikely that the case will be settled in a quick manner for a fair amount. When there is significant compensation at stake, the responsible parties commonly attempt to shift the blame or do everything in their power to avoid paying what the injured party deserves. As such, a personal injury attorney could help effectively use the settlement process with insurance companies or the trial process through the courts to fight for fair compensation. Call us at 415-840-0570 or fill out our contact form to schedule a free consultation.