If you’ve been hurt in an accident in Los Angeles, CA, you may be wondering how to file a personal injury claim. If you were hurt because of someone else’s negligence, you might be able to get compensation for your injuries and medical bills.
It’s always best to hire a lawyer to help you navigate the personal injury process. A Los Angeles personal injury lawyer can explain and advise you of your rights. However, a few basic steps are necessary for most people before filing a personal injury claim.
When Should You File a Personal Injury Claim?
You should file a personal injury claim if you got hurt because of someone else’s negligent behavior.
Personal injury law exists to compensate people when someone else hurts them, even if it was unintentional. All of us owe a duty of care to the people in our communities and around us. When we breach our duty and act negligently or recklessly, we are required to pay for the harm that we caused.
If you are filing a personal injury lawsuit, you typically have two years from the date of the accident to file in California. If you are filing a personal injury claim with an insurance company – like after a car accident – you should file it as soon as possible.
Steps for Filing a Personal Injury Claim in Los Angeles, CA
When you are ready to file your Los Angeles personal injury claim, here are a few steps that you should follow.
Get Medical Treatment
It is important to seek prompt medical treatment after an accident or discovering your injury. Your medical records are the foundation of your personal injury claim.
You will use your medical records to prove your injury and as evidence in your personal injury case. You may need to provide the medical records to the insurance company or the defendant. If you don’t get medical treatment as soon as possible after an accident, the other side may argue that your injuries aren’t that severe.
Make sure that you have collected all of your evidence before filing the claim. Evidence may include:
- Photographs and video recording
- Medical records
- Outstanding bills and receipts of payments
- Witness statements
Depending on the facts of your case, the type of evidence may vary. Your lawyer can help you identify important and favorable evidence.
Document Expenses and Losses
You must document your expenses and losses to prove your damages. Damages can include monetary and non-monetary losses, like pain and suffering. You should keep track of every payment, bill, and out-of-pocket expense. You can also keep a diary of the emotional impact of your injury or seek therapy. This may all be used to support your personal injury claim.
File an Insurance Claim and Negotiate a Settlement
If the defendant is insured and the policy covers the accident, you will file a claim with the insurance company before filing a lawsuit. The insurance company may agree to pay for your losses.
Types of insurance include:
- Auto insurance
- Homeowners insurance
- Medical malpractice insurance
- Corporate insurance
- Umbrella insurance
If you can reach a settlement agreement with the insurance company, you may avoid having to file a personal injury lawsuit and going to trial.
File a Personal Injury Lawsuit
If you can’t reach an agreement with the insurance company, or if there is no insurance policy in your case, you will file a personal injury lawsuit in a Los Angeles civil court. This includes filing a complaint and notifying the defendant of the lawsuit. The defendant will have a chance to respond, and then you will start the discovery process.
Contact a Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer for Help Filing Your Claim
The personal injury claim process can be time-consuming and challenging. Seek help from an experienced Los Angeles personal injury attorney to navigate the process and recover maximum compensation.
If you were injured in an accident in Los Angeles, CA or you lost a loved one and you need legal assistance, please contact us to schedule a free consultation. One of our Los Angeles personal injury lawyers at M&Y Personal Injury Lawyers will get in touch with you soon.