California Personal Injury Settlements Overview
With a population of approximately 39 million people, California is a bustling and thriving state.
But with so many people in one place comes the risk of injuries caused by negligence or bad acts.
A personal injury lawsuit is a way to receive compensation, either through a settlement or verdict, for the harm caused by someone else’s actions.
In this post, the Starpoint Law team presents a California personal injury settlements overview, including an explanation of the nuts and bolts of California personal injury laws and some common examples of this type of legal claim.
Starpoint Law proudly serves clients and our community in California out of its offices in Los Angeles and Sherman Oaks.
The Basics of California Personal Injury Settlements
If you suffer an injury in a car accident, slip and fall, or dog bite, it can take an immense toll on your financial well-being and physical health.
By seeking a settlement from the at-fault party, you can recoup your financial costs and receive a monetary award to compensate you for the noneconomic losses caused by your injury, such as pain and suffering.
Depending on the type of accident you were in, the first step is to seek compensation by filing a claim with an insurance company.
For example, if you were in a car accident, you typically file a claim with the insurance company that insured the vehicle you were in when the collision occurred.
The insurance company may send you a settlement offer early on after investigating the incident.
It is important to talk to an attorney about this proposal before signing anything. In many cases, insurance companies submit “quick-fix” settlement offers to victims in an attempt to persuade them to sign away their rights.
Often, the insurance company’s first offer does not reflect a claim’s actual value. A personal injury attorney can help you determine how much your claim is worth and negotiate a fair compensation package based on your unique circumstances.
Factors that impact the amount of your personal injury settlement include:
- The extent of your injuries,
- Your chances of making a full recovery,
- The impact of the injury on your life,
- The financial award received by plaintiffs in similar cases,
- The applicable law, and
- The conduct of the at-fault party.
If the insurance company or at-fault party refuses to negotiate a fair settlement, you can seek compensation by going to trial.
What Do I Need to Know About California Personal Injury Laws?
California personal injury laws dictate how and when you file a lawsuit, what you need to prove to win, and, in some cases, how much you can receive in compensation for your settlement or verdict.
Here is what you need to know about California personal injury laws.
You Have a Deadline to File a Lawsuit
In most personal injury cases, California law imposes a two-year deadline by which you must file a lawsuit against the at-fault party or organization.
This deadline is called the statute of limitations. Sometimes, this deadline may be longer or shorter than two years.
If you do not file before the applicable deadline, you might be unable to pursue your claim. The best practice is to act swiftly to avoid missing this important deadline and losing your ability to seek justice.
You Must Prove the Elements of Negligence to Win Your Case
To have a valid personal injury claim, you typically must prove the elements of negligence, which are as follows:
- The person or business owed you a duty of care under the circumstances;
- They failed to meet their duty of care, which is called a breach of duty;
- Because they breached their duty of care, they caused an accident; and
- You suffered injuries because of the accident and their breach.
Depending on the specific type of personal injury claim you are bringing, you may need to establish additional facts and elements.
California Law Imposes Compensation Limits in Medical Malpractice Cases
In most cases, California does not impose limits on the compensation personal injury victims can receive if they win their cases.
But, as of January 1, 2023, California law sets a limit of $350,000 for noneconomic compensation in a medical malpractice lawsuit.
If a medical malpractice lawsuit is brought because of a patient’s wrongful death, the noneconomic damages cap is $500,000.
The limit is set to increase by $40,000 annually on January 1 for 10 years, then by 2% each year after that to keep pace with inflation.
5 Common Types of Personal Injury Cases in California
You may have heard of the term personal injury but not know what it is. In brief, a personal injury claim is a legal claim that an injured person files when someone else causes them harm.
For example, someone whose arm is broken in a truck accident may have a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver.
Other types of personal injuries include slip and falls, medical malpractice, dog bites, and bike accidents. 5 common types of personal injury cases in California include:
Slip and Falls
Unintentional falls were the leading reason for emergency room visits nationwide in 2020, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
These falls resulted in approximately 6,841,044 hospital visits to treat fall-related injuries. If you slip and fall while you are on someone else’s property, the property owner may be held liable if they are at fault for the accident.
For example, a business may be at fault if it did not properly post a “Wet Floor” sign near a spill.
According to the National Library of Medicine, medical malpractice-related costs skyrocketed by $20 billion in 2021 to $80 billion per year, representing about 2% to 3% of annual healthcare spending.
Surgical errors, failure to diagnose, medication mistakes, and documentation errors are just a few common examples of medical malpractice.
The California Office of Traffic Safety reports that approximately 65,377 people in Los Angeles County were injured or killed in car accidents in 2020.
Collisions can cause devastating long-term injuries, such as brain damage, spinal cord injuries, or severe burns.
Dogs are one of the most common pets in the United States, with approximately 76.8 million dogs kept as pets in American households.
Dogs can bring us joy, but they can also cause severe injuries when they are not properly trained, socialized, or cared for by their owners.
Further, dogs experiencing stress, fear, or anger are at risk of biting, even if they have never displayed this type of behavior before.
According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, 2,601 people were injured or killed in a bike accident in Los Angeles County in 2020.
Of those victims, 151 were children 15 years old or younger. Biking is a common pastime in California thanks to the state’s temperate climate, but, unfortunately, it carries risks, especially when drivers do not adequately share the road with bicyclists.
Contact a California Personal Injury Lawyer Today
Contact a California personal injury lawyer today. The compassionate attorneys at Starpoint Law have recovered millions on behalf of personal injury victims throughout California, and we can help you recover the compensation you deserve.
Our attorneys are dedicated to providing clients with one-on-one attention so that they can craft a strategy that meets each client’s needs and goals.
If you or a loved one suffered an injury, contact us for a consultation with the Starpoint Law team today to learn more about how we can help.