If you have been injured in an accident in California, or you have been a victim of someone else’s negligent or careless action, you have a right to be compensated for your injuries and also for the loss of wages you have incurred, your medical bills and your pain and suffering.
However, there are some limitations you have to bear in mind if you decide to file a lawsuit.
Limitations Regarding the Lawsuit
The first limitation involves time limits for litigation. All states set limits on the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit in court after you’ve suffered some type of harm.
In California, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases is typically two years from the date of the injury. If the injury was not discovered right away, then it is one year from the date the injury was discovered. But to file an injury claim against a government entity, you are governed by a statute of limitation of only 6 months. It is important to know the differences because they can change the outcome of your case.
The other important limitation regards the maximum damages cap. For personal injury victims, the amount of economic damages that a victim can receive is not limited. This amount of damages is based on the amount of funds that the victim requires to be restored to his/her physical or mental condition prior to the injury. This includes medical expenses, lost wages, compensation for disability and loss of earning capacity.
However, a limitation exists regarding the non-economic damages in the claim. These damages include pain and suffering, mental anguish and inconvenience. In California, personal injury victims can only receive a single-digit multiplier of the economic damages that they are awarded. For example, if a personal injury victim is awarded $20,000 in economic damages, the maximum amount of non-economic damages that he or she can receive is $180,000 if the number 9 is the single-digit multiplier that is used.
“Pure Comparative Negligence” Rule
You should also be aware of the fact that in some personal injury cases, such as car accidents for example, the defendant may make the argument that you were the one responsible (at least partially) for causing the accident that forms the basis of your claim.
In that case, if you do share some level of liability, it can affect the total amount of compensation you’ll end up receiving. In shared fault injury cases, California follows a “pure comparative negligence” rule. What this means is that the amount of compensation you’re entitled to will be reduced by an amount that is equal to your percentage of fault for the accident.
If you need help navigating the often complex California injury laws or need help with starting a case, please contact our Los Angeles personal injury law firm at (323) REAR END.