Everything about Personal Injury Claim

Everything about Personal Injury Claim

Table of Contents

Everything about Personal Injury Claim

When navigating a personal injury claim, making costly mistakes can be very easy.

To avoid being in this situation and risking your compensation, we’ve covered the common mistakes you should be aware of before it’s too late.

Failure to undergo a medical examination

You must see a doctor immediately after a personal injury accident. This may seem obvious if you have a serious injury, but even if you think your injuries are minor, get checked out.

Getting medical care if the first signs of a serious injury aren’t visible can save your life and provide documentation that links your injuries directly to the accident.

An official statement about your injuries provided by a doctor may protect your right to file an insurance claim.

Plead guilty

Even if you believe you may have contributed to your injury accident, it is important not to admit fault.

Do not downplay the accident or tell other parties involved or, when applicable, the police that you may have caused it.

Your speculation may not be correct, and saying so may eventually become evidence and be used against you in your case.

Failed to collect evidence

As a claimant, you must prove negligence to recover compensation. An essential part of a personal injury lawsuit is showing the exact amount of your financial loss due to the accident.

Therefore, the more evidence you collect after your injury, the better. Take as many photographs and video footage as possible at the scene of the accident.

Your San Bernardino personal injury attorney and insurance adjuster can interpret these images and videos.

Still, your only chance to capture some of them is at the scene of an accident. In addition, ask for contact information for any witnesses, keep a detailed journal of the incident, your injuries, and symptoms daily, and keep track of expenses related to the accident.

Talking to the at-fault party’s insurance company

The at-fault party’s insurance company knows that if they can get a lot of information from you, they can spin it to make it look like you were responsible for the accident.

They will look for inconsistencies in your story or ask confusing and misleading questions about your injuries or accident to suggest that you exaggerate your losses.

If they are successful, they may avoid paying your claim or will reduce your compensation significantly. (Personal Injury Claim)

Accepting the initial settlement offer

Insurance companies often try to settle personal injury claims quickly and in the shortest possible time.

If there is evidence of the other party’s fault, their insurer will likely send you an offer letter within a few weeks or months after the accident even though the letter will have instructions to sign and return, wait until you have an attorney review it.

If you sign this form, known as a release of liability, you give up your right to sue the at-fault party.

Settling your claim before you know the full extent of your injuries may prevent you from recovering the full compensation you are required and entitled to by law.

Not hiring a lawyer

Personal injury claims are difficult to navigate. Having an experienced legal advocate with a deep, complex understanding of the law to advise you on how to avoid the insurance company trap can make a huge difference in the compensation you recover.

Should You Hire a Lawyer After an Injury?

After a preventable injury, you may wonder whether you should hire an attorney.

A personal injury attorney can help determine whether you have grounds for a claim, which parties are responsible, and how much compensation you are entitled to.

One is not required in every case, but some accidents are complex. Here are some situations when hiring an attorney would be in your best interest. (Personal Injury Claim)

Your injuries are serious

You may walk away with minor cuts and scrapes in some personal injuries, such as a car accident or a slip and fall accident.

While you should still be examined by a medical professional, legal representation may not be required in these situations.

However, there are cases when accidents result in temporary or permanent disabilities that affect the victim’s ability to perform their job or lead their former lifestyle.

But it should be taken. If your injury is serious and has resulted in extensive medical bills and loss of income, and you are unable to do your job the way you used to, you should talk to and hire a personal injury attorney.

They will ensure you get the compensation you need to pay your bills and fully recover from your injury.

Your claim is denied

Insurance adjusters have used tactics to undervalue or deny legitimate claims altogether. If this happens to you, you may need to contact a qualified attorney to ensure you receive the compensation you need.

It is important to note that you do not need to talk to the at-fault party’s insurance company. A solicitor can handle the claim for you and deal directly with the insurer to negotiate your claim.

Liability not clear

The fault may not be immediately apparent when multiple parties are involved in an accident. You may be forced to file multiple claims, or you may not be sure against whom to file a claim.

In this situation, an attorney can help you investigate your accident to determine which parties should be held responsible and navigate the claims process. (Personal Injury Claim)

Liability is disputed

If the responsible party denies liability, contact an attorney. Because of California’s “pure comparative negligence” rule, whatever they charge you can significantly reduce your compensation.

This law allows multiple parties to be liable for an accident and reduces each party’s compensation by a percentage of their fault.

For example, if you are awarded $50,000 and are found 80 percent guilty, you will only receive 20 percent of the award, or $10,000.

When a fault is disputed, your attorney will conduct a thorough investigation to gather evidence that supports your claim and ensure that liability falls on the appropriate parties.

What is the timeline of the case?

If you are considering or pursuing a personal injury claim, a common concern is how long it will take to resolve.

Unfortunately, there is no exact answer because each case is different. However, a timeline of what happens and when can help you understand what to expect.

The average length of time: weeks to months

After selecting an experienced injury attorney you trust, your legal team will begin the investigation of your claim.

You will be asked to describe every detail of the accident, how you were harmed, the extent of your injuries and medical treatment, and how your life has been affected and will be affected in the future.

To help their investigation, give your attorney any reports and relevant documents you have, such as:

  • police report
  • witness statements
  • medical bills and records
  • pay stubs

Receipts for any accident-related expenses etc.

Your attorney will obtain any documents you cannot supply, collect additional evidence to build your case, and consult with experts, if necessary, such as medical experts or accident reconstruction specialists.

The amount of time this process will take will depend on your unique situation and the type of case. (Personal Injury Claim)

Step 2: Demand Letter and Negotiation

The average length of time: weeks to months

After reviewing all the documents and evidence in your case, your attorney will provide a professional opinion on how much the opposing side would be willing to settle.

Based on that estimate, your lawyer will draft a demand letter that details the facts of the accident and demands a specific amount by a set date to settle the claim.

Your attorney will recommend holding off on sending demand letters until you have fully recovered or reached the point of “maximum medical improvement” (MMI).

Waiting will give you and your attorney the most accurate information about the value of your case.

Negotiations will then begin, and if both parties reach an agreement, the matter will be settled, and there will be no need to file a lawsuit.

Your lawyer should inform you about the realistic possibility of resolving your case in settlement discussions and negotiations. (Personal Injury Claim)

Step 3: Filing a Lawsuit

The average length of time: One to two years for trial

Each state varies in its pretrial procedures, but a personal injury lawsuit typically takes one to two years to trial in California.

The suit must be filed within two years of limitations. Otherwise, the court will dismiss your case.

Step 4: Discovery

The average length of time is six months to a year, depending on the case’s complexity.

In this phase, each side will review the opposing side’s evidence and legal claims, send document requests to each other, and take testimony from all relevant witnesses and parties, often starting with you as plaintiff and defendant.

Step 5: Mediation and Negotiation

The average length of time: weeks to months

Discovery provides each side with more information about the case’s value, the strength of the evidence, and the likely outcome of the trial.

As a result, a second attempt at solving the case will usually be at the end of the search. More than 95 percent of civil cases are settled before trial, so there is a high probability that these discussions will lead to a settlement. (Personal Injury Claim)

Step 6: Testing

The average length of time: days to weeks

Testing can take a day, a week, or sometimes even longer. Remember that just because you have a test date doesn’t mean it will start on that date.

Scheduling conflicts with judges often cause delays, resulting in the rescheduling of trial dates. The cases not settled during the discovery stage should be prepared for trial.

Step 7: A Decision, Collecting Post-Trial Motions and Appeals

The average length of time: months to years

Even if the jury has returned an award awarding you compensation, it may take months or even years for your injury to be resolved.

Parties are entitled to file post-hearing motions and appeals from various decisions arrived during the litigation process.

What Questions Should I Ask My Personal Injury Lawyer?

Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer After a Serious Injury

It could be, but it doesn’t have to be. A personal injury lawyer will help you get the compensation you deserve and make the claims process more manageable.

Once you meet with a lawyer, here are some important questions to ask so that you understand your options.

Will you be a lawyer handling my case? Or will other team members be working on it? Knowing who will handle your case and how experienced they are is always good.

How many cases do you usually handle at a time? If a personal injury lawyer takes on too many cases at once, your lawyer may not get the needed attention.

How long have you been practicing personal injury law? Some people prefer experience, or you don’t mind a hard-working beginner.

Has your license ever been revoked or suspended? This question may be uncomfortable, but it is important to know if you are hiring someone with integrity and respect for the legal profession.

Have you ever had a personal injury case like mine? What was the result? You should know that your attorney has experience handling a case similar to yours successfully.

How does pricing work? Although it is the attorney’s responsibility to discuss pricing, be sure you know the exact terms of your contingency fee agreement, how much, and what you will be paying for.

Will I pay if I lose my case? It generally isn’t, but it’s still important to discuss before hiring a lawyer.

How many personal injury cases have you heard of? If your claim has to be taken to court, it is best to have a lawyer with litigation experience.

How long will it take to settle this matter and receive compensation for my injuries? In some cases, it can take years, depending on the severity of the injury and the unique circumstances. An attorney can give you an approximate timeline for a similar case.

Will my case need to go to trial? If you don’t want to go to trial, express your concerns.

What will the outcome of my case be? An experienced personal injury lawyer will be able to offer their professional opinion.

Are any potential issues or difficulties already apparent in my case? Choose an honest attorney who can explain your options for overcoming any potential problems.

What is the cost of my case? How much compensation would you recommend? It may be difficult for a lawyer to give you a precise answer to this question, but they should be able to give you an idea of what your case is worth.

If I hire you, can I contact you at any time? Communication between you and your attorney will be critical, so it’s important to know how you’ll stay updated about your case.

Do you have references? It’s a good idea to talk to some past clients to get a sense of the attorney’s track record and working style, and an attorney should be happy to provide this information.

Personal injury case

One of the most common questions when pursuing a personal injury case:

How long will it take for California to settle down? The answer is unique to each case and its specific circumstances.

Nevertheless, claims follow a predictable process that gives you a general idea of when you can expect compensation.

First six months

The first six months of a personal injury case will usually be devoted to your recovery and initial investigation.

Medical treatment

Seeking medical care after a serious accident is a top priority. This is important for your health and when it comes time to file your claim.

An insurance company may view any delay in medical treatment as an indication that your injuries are not serious or were not caused by your accident.

We will also advise you to wait until you have fully recovered or reached Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) before sending your demand letter to the insurance company.

This way, you have a complete picture of the extent of your injuries and any future effects.


Once you hire a personal injury attorney, they will conduct an independent investigation to gather evidence and build your case.

This will include visiting the accident site, taking photographs, collecting physical evidence, obtaining police reports, interviewing witnesses, reviewing medical records, pay stubs, receipts for expenses related to the accident, hiring experts, and more.

The amount of time this process takes depends on the complexity of your case.

Letter of demand

Once your lawyer understands the extent of your injuries and your current and future financial losses, they will draft a demand letter and send it to the at-fault party’s insurance company.

The letter will detail the facts of the accident and ask to resolve the matter by sending a specific amount of compensation by a certain date.

The insurer will typically respond with a counteroffer, and negotiations begin. The matter will be settled if both parties can agree on a settlement amount. If not, you and your attorney may choose to file a lawsuit. (Personal Injury Claim)

Months 6 to 12

Under California’s statute of limitations, you generally have two years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit.

File a lawsuit

Once your attorney files the proper paperwork with the courts, the documents should be served on the defendant (the guilty party) within 30 to 60 days.

About 60 days after filing the suit, both parties shall send inquiries (written questions) for further investigation and clarification of the facts of the case.

Inquiries should generally be answered within 35 days, but this stage can take several months. The defendant has 30 additional days to respond and deny the allegations.

Months 12 to 18

The discovery phase will take up a large portion of the first year of your lawsuit, which typically includes:


Lawyers for both sides cross-examine each other’s victims and witnesses, which can take an average of three months. (Personal Injury Claim)

An independent medical examination

You may need to check with a doctor of your choice to be safe. These doctors are working to rescue you and may try to find ways to discredit your injuries or how they occurred. Your attorney will prepare you for this examination and may be present.

Expert witness

If your case is not settled at this point, around the 16th or 17th month, both sides will usually hire expert witnesses to support their side of the story at trial.

Each side must disclose who their expert witnesses are and the subject of their testimony and must have an opportunity to make additional statements. This process can take up to six months.

After this stage, each party is aware of the strength of the evidence involved in the case and the likely outcome of the trial.

Months 18 to 24 and beyond

The rest of the time will involve further negotiations and, eventually, a trial.


More than 95 percent of civil cases are settled before going to trial. The court will usually order a settlement conference conducted by a mediator. The mediator will try to help the parties to resolve the matter through negotiation.


If mediation fails, your case will go to a hearing, which usually takes four days and two weeks. However, in complex cases, it may take up to two months.


Any financial recovery is typically forwarded to the victim within 30 days of a successful arbitration or favorable award.

Factors affecting compensation for a personal injury claim

A variety of factors can affect your injury case and the amount of compensation you ultimately receive. Here are the most common. (Personal Injury Claim)

Severity of injury

If your injury is permanent, or if you cannot resume the lifestyle you had before the accident, the value of your case can increase dramatically.

For example, an injury that affects your daily life or causes you to depend on others you previously didn’t need has a much higher claim value than a broken arm.

Shared blame

If there is strong evidence to support your claim that the other party is at fault, this can increase the value of your claim exponentially.

On the other hand, if there is insufficient evidence of the other party’s liability and you are primarily at fault, you may struggle to recover adequate compensation.

California operates under the pure comparative negligence system. This means that your percentage of fault will reduce the amount of personal injury compensation you can recover.

For example, you may be awarded $20,000, but if you are found 60% responsible for your injury, you will only receive $8,000.

Insurance policy limits

Is. Most personal injury claims are settled between the injured party and an insurance company.

However, the policy limits of the at-fault party can play a significant role in the compensation you receive.

An insurance carrier usually will not pay more than the policy limit, which means that if your damages exceed the maximum amount allowed, you may have to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party for the difference. (Personal Injury Claim)

The gap in medical treatment

You must have medical documentation to prove that your injuries directly resulted from your personal injury accident.

If you didn’t seek medical care immediately after the incident, the at-fault party or their insurance company might contest that the accident caused your injuries.

Similarly, if you stop treatment or follow your doctor’s orders too soon, the at-fault party can argue that you have recovered. All of these can reduce the value of your claim.

Partnership with the insurance company

How you negotiate with the at-fault party’s insurance company can directly affect the compensation for your personal injury claim.

The company knows that anything you say can be used against you later in your case.

An insurance adjuster may tell you they need a recorded statement to verify the facts and process your claim.

This is a common tactic to get information from you before you have time to consult with a personal injury attorney.

If the insurer admits liability, they may force you to settle your claim early, but this amount is often much less than the actual value of your claim.

It is always best to consult an attorney before speaking with an insurance adjuster or have your attorney handle the conversation on your behalf. (Personal Injury Claim)

What are Miscellaneous Damages in Personal Injury Cases?

The extent of your other financial losses will also be included in the overall value of your personal injury claim. An insurance claims adjuster or jury will typically consider the following:

Special damages: the amount of current and future medical expenses, your current and future lost income and impaired future earning capacity, and property damage (when applicable).

General damages: The physical pain and suffering you suffered and any emotional distress, such as depression, anxiety, insomnia or PTSD, humiliation, loss of reputation, etc. Personal injury victims should always keep a diary or notes about their pain, symptoms, and recovery.

Plaintiff characteristics: Your age, occupation, past medical history, etc.

Where Is Your Personal Injury Lawsuit Filed?

Different cities or counties may impose higher values on different aspects of a personal injury claim, meaning that the physical location where your claim is filed in California may affect your compensation.

Thanks for visiting US Map of State

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *