Frequently Asked Questions
Answered by Our Personal Injury Lawyers in Northern California
If you have any questions about your situation, if you are eligible for compensation, or how we can help you, feel free to read through our clients’ most commonly asked questions here. If you do not see your question answered below, or if you have additional questions about the answer we gave, feel free to call us at (707) 549-8166. Our attorneys offer free consultations, and we can help you determine the best way to proceed. You can rely on us to provide you with effective legal services and well-informed advice.
I’ve Been Involved in a Motor Vehicle Accident. What Should I Do?
First, you should make sure that you and everyone else involved in the accident are safe and away from any potential dangers, such as oncoming traffic. Next, it is recommended that you call the police. They can write up a police report, which could be extremely beneficial to your personal injury claim later on. If there were any witnesses, try to get their contact information for later, and see if they will speak to the police for the police report. While the police drive to the scene of the accident, you should gather as much information as you possibly can.
This includes the personal information of the other drivers involved, such as their:
- Insurance company and policy information
- Addresses and contact numbers
- Vehicle identification numbers
- Driver’s license numbers
Once you have collected that vital information, you should take as many photographs of the scene of the accident as possible. Try to get many different angles and show the damage that was inflicted on all vehicles involved. Once you have given your statement to the police, get immediate medical attention. Even if you feel fine, you should see a medical professional right away because many injuries do not become apparent until much later. Also, by visiting a doctor, you will be able to have concrete proof of your injuries, which may be invaluable for your claim later on.
Do I Really Need to Hire a Lawyer?
While it is not necessary to retain an attorney, it is highly recommended. You want someone on your side who has extensive experience dealing with insurance companies and large corporations, both of whom will want to pay you as little money as possible. A skilled lawyer will be able to accurately identify all the parties that are liable for your injuries and work to hold them accountable for their negligence both legally and financially. Also, an attorney can guide you through each stage of the claims process as they defend your rights and help you make sound decisions about the future. At the Law Offices of J.Chrisp, our attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. This means you will not have to pay us anything unless and until we recover compensation on your behalf. We have won millions of dollars for our clients over the years, and we can help you, too.
How Long Do I Have to File My Personal Injury Claim?
California State has a two-year time limit from the date of the injury in which you can file your lawsuit. This applies to slip and fall claims, dog bites, car accident, and most other personal injury claims. However, there are exceptions to this time limit. For example, while the countdown clock begins on the date of the accident for car accident claims, you have three years to sue over damages inflicted on your vehicle. For accidents resulting in the death of a loved one, the clock begins to count down starting from the day of the individual’s death, not the date of their injury. If you are looking to file a claim against the state, a county, or a city, you only have six months to start the proceedings. To learn more about your specific situation, reach out to our attorneys at (707) 549-8166 and schedule a free consultation.
What Is Negligence in a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
Negligence is defined as when an individual’s actions fall short of reasonable standards for protecting another person from harm. For instance, when a person who is texting while driving causes an accident, they are negligent. In order for you to win your personal injury lawsuit, you will need to prove that the defendant was negligent and is responsible for your injuries. In general, there are four required elements to prove another person acted negligently.
These elements are as follows:
- Duty of care. You need to prove the defendant was legally obligated to adhere to or provide a standard of reasonable care. Usually, this is fairly easy to achieve. For example, companies have a duty to ensure their products are not defective, and all drivers have a duty to other drivers and passengers to safely operate their vehicle.
- The defendant breach that duty of care. Once you have proved the defendant owed you a duty of care, you will need to prove that they breached it. For example, your doctor committed a medical error or the other driver was drunk or distracted.
- The breach caused your injuries. You will need to prove a direct correlation between the breach and the injuries you sustained. For example, if the other driver was texting while driving and that caused the accident, their breach caused your injuries.
- Proving monetary loss. You will then need to prove the extent and nature of your injuries in order to justify your sought-after compensation. This is why it is imperative that you visit a medical professional immediately after your accident. This can help definitively prove you suffered as a result of the accident. Without this evidence, it is improbable that your lawsuit will be successful.