Sacramento Personal Injury Law attorney
Here is a very brief overview of Personal Injury laws in California. It is, by no means exhaustive, as this is a very complex area of law. The California Civil Code section 1714 sets out the statutory basis for negligence-based injury actions inthe state of California. In part it says:
“Everyone is responsible, not only for the result of his or her willful acts, but also for an injury occasioned to another by his or her want of ordinary care or skill in the management of his or her property or person.”
Personal injury areas I operate in
- Car (motor vehicle accident
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Wrongful death
- Slips & falls
- Dog bites
- Product liability
- Uninsured/underinsured accidents
- DUI accidents
- Swimming pool accidents/drownings
- Bike accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
Shared fault on Personal Injury cases in California
In some personal injury cases, a defendant may argue (rightly or wrongly) that you, the plaintiff, bear some of the responsibility for causing the accident. If this is proven, it can substantially affect any claim for compensation you end up receiving from the defendant.
California uses the "pure comparative negligence" rule when dealign with personal injury, shared-fault cases. This means, the amount you will receive (if you win) will be reduced by the percentage of your fault for the accident. However, while this applies to courts, who are obliged to follow this rule, in the case of insurance adjusters, working outside the court system, this does not apply. If an adjuster raises the issue of California's comparative negligence rule you are free to negotiate and shouldn't be intimidated by this. Better still, engage an attorney who's skilled in personal injury law.
Statute of Limitations on Personal Injury Claims
California is no different to other states in having a time limit for bringing legal action. There are different time limits dependign on whether you are suing a private person or a business, or a city, county or state Government Agency.
Private individuals or businesses - You have 2 years to bring an action. If you fail to do so within that time, the court will likely reject your case and any right to compensation will be lost.
For more information on California statute of limitations see the California Code of Civil Procedure section 335.1.
Cities, Counties, or California State Government Agencies - There is a six year statute of limitations for filing a claim against these entities, however, very strict guidelines must be followed - Cal. Gov’t Code § 911.2. Also see this page for injury claims against the Government.
Damage Limits on Personal Injury Claims
Personal Injury is not a free-for-all. California law stops most uninsured drivers, for instance, of claiming non-economic pain and suffering damages, even if the other driver was totally at fault. The one exception to this rule is where the other driver was driving while under the influence of alchohol or drugs and is actually convicted of a DUI in connection with the accident.
There is also a cap on medical malpractice cases. The Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act places a $250,000 cap on malpractice cases.
For more information on what you may be entitled to, see this page.
Dog bite/attack case liability
While soem states allow for certain protection from legal liabilityfor dog owners the first time their dog bites or attacks, California law assigns "strict liability" to owners. That means they are legally responsible in most situations where a dog bites. No amount of fault or negligence needs to be shown.
“The owner of any dog is liable for the damages suffered by any person who is bitten by the dog while in a public place or lawfully in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner's knowledge of such viciousness."