Car accidents resulting in serious injuries will require you to file a claim or lawsuit to recover compensation. As you navigate the entire process, you’ll encounter words and terminology repeatedly. You may be wondering what they mean and how they apply to your case.
This article will cover the most common terms that your personal injury attorney may use and explain their definitions. Here’s what you need to know:
These two terms are pervasive in the legal world. The plaintiff is the party pursuing a personal injury lawsuit against the defendant, the party who’s allegedly responsible for the plaintiff’s injuries. Keep in mind that most personal injury cases don’t necessarily go to court because it’s much easier for both parties to negotiate a settlement.
Statute of Limitations
This is the deadline for injured individuals to pursue personal injury claims or lawsuits. The statute of limitations expires after two years in California, but certain exceptions can extend or delay the deadline. In other words, the clock starts ticking as soon as the accident occurs, and you’ll need to take action immediately.
Negligence is misconduct in personal injury cases dealing with the failure to act with reasonable care. All drivers have a responsibility to prevent accidents and prioritize the safety of other drivers. Negligent drivers are legally responsible for covering the damages that they caused.
When it comes to negligence, you’ll have to prove the following:
- The driver had a duty of care
- The driver breached their duty of care
- The driver caused real and tangible damages to you
In slip and fall accidents, proving negligence follows a similar legal standard. Every property owner has a duty of care to provide safe and sanitary conditions for anyone who enters their establishment.
Damages are the financial compensation that you would seek from the at-fault driver. Damages include all the money you deserve to recover fully from the accident. In personal injury claims and lawsuits, you have two different types of damages:
- Economic Damages – These are the financial repercussions that you can quantify. They include medical expenses, loss of wages, auto repairs, etc.
- Non-Economic Damages – These costs aren’t as easy to determine or calculate. They include psychological trauma, suffering, humiliation, and quality of life.
Depending on the severity of your injuries, you can request more money to cover your emotional struggles. Serious car accidents are often life-changing, and you deserve to recover additional compensation for your suffering.
California is a comparative fault state, which means that even negligent drivers can recover damages. For example, if the plaintiff is deemed only 10% at fault, the defendant will have to cover the other 90%. Essentially, California divides responsibility between parties according to specific percentages.
Discovery is a legal process where your attorney will begin collecting evidence and other relevant facts regarding your case. This usually takes place before personal injury cases go to trial. Your lawyers will even request and exchange information with the insurance company’s legal team.
Learn More About Personal Injury Claims
Here at HHJ Trial Attorneys in San Diego, we can answer any questions you have about personal injury law. We handle many different cases and help recover damages for victims of serious car accidents. Schedule a consultation with us today – we can immediately begin reviewing and representing your personal injury claim.
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