Know Your Rights and Deadlines
If you’re hurt and it’s someone else’s fault, knowing what to do next can be tough. We at M&Y Personal Injury Lawyers get this and are here to help. This guide will show you the steps of a personal injury case in California, focusing on the important law called the statute of limitations. This law affects when you can start a lawsuit to get justice.
What is the Statute of Limitations in California?
The statute of limitations is a rule about time. It says how long you have to start legal action after you get hurt. In California, for personal injury, you usually have two years from when you got hurt. This time limit is really important. If you miss it, you might not be able to get money for your injuries.
Why This Time Limit Matters
This rule helps in two ways:
- It’s fair for the person you’re suing: Everyone makes mistakes and at some point, even though you made a mistake and caused a car accident, you want finality and the sense of knowing your mistake is behind you and you can move on. The statute of limitations gives this peace of mind by saying that if legal action isn’t commenced against you within 2 years from the accident date, the matter is closed and you will not face liability.
- It encourages quick action: This rule pushes people who are hurt to act fast and not wait too long. It helps expedite resolution.
The Steps of a Personal Injury Case
It’s good to know what to expect in a personal injury case. Here are the usual steps:
1. The Injury Happens
Your time to sue generally starts on the date of the accident.
2. Get Medical Help
Your health comes first. Getting medical help right away is good for you and your case.
3. Talk to a Lawyer
You should talk to a lawyer quickly. Our experienced lawyers at M&Y can tell you how strong your case is and what to do next.
4. Gather Evidence
Your lawyer will get all the evidence, like medical records, witness statements, and reports, to make your case strong.
5. Make an Insurance Claim
This will always be handled by your lawyer. You should not say anything to an insurance company because they will use anything you say against you. Remember, they are adverse to you and are always trying to pay you as little money as possible.
6. Maybe Sue
If you can’t agree with the insurance company, your lawyer will sue, but within the time limit.
In this step, both sides share information through written questions and examinations under oath called depositions.
8. Try to Settle
Many times, you can settle without going to court. A mediator (a neutral person) will try to help you agree.
9. Go to Court
If you can’t settle, you’ll go to court. How long the trial takes depends on how complex your case is. It is worth noting that less than 3% of cases actually go to trial.
10. The Outcome
The trial ends with a decision. If you win, you’ll talk about how much money you get.
How Long a Case Can Take
The time a personal injury case takes can vary a lot. It depends on:
- How complex your case is: Harder cases take longer.
- How the insurance company responds: If they don’t cooperate, it can take longer.
- Court schedules: Sometimes courts are busy, which can delay things.
What Do You Do Now?
At M&Y Personal Injury Lawyers, we stress acting fast after you’re hurt. Knowing about the statute of limitations and what happens in a case helps you make smart, quick decisions. Every day is important for protecting your rights and getting what you’re owed.
Hurt in an accident? Don’t delay. Call M&Y Personal Injury Lawyers today for quick and expert help with your case.