Being involved in a car accident is a horrible thing to happen, however not knowing how to go to court and file a car accident lawsuit makes the situation even worse. Ideally, you will be able to resolve the issue through an insurance company and get a settlement done quickly and efficiently in order to take care of any damages that took place. However, there will be many times you will have to file a case in civil court with the help of a knowledgeable attorney.
Knowing California Laws
One of the first things to be aware of when filing a claim after a car accident is the amount of time you have in order to file your complaint or lawsuit. Even if you do not plan on filing a lawsuit, all drivers in California who are involved in a car accident must make a written report of the crash to the California Highway Patrol or to the police department of the city where the incident occurred. This, especially, must be done if any injuries or fatalities resulted from the car accident.
If you do plan to file a lawsuit in California, you have up to two years to file in a case where someone was injured or killed in a car accident. In the case where someone was injured, the start date for your claim would be the day the accident occurred. If someone was killed, the date of their death would be the start date in your case.
If there were no injuries or fatalities, then the time period you would have to file a case would be three years, which would start from the date of the accident. Despite how strong of a case you may have, if you miss the deadline for filing, you will not be able to do anything about it. Be mindful of these dates to ensure you do not miss a deadline.
Beginning Your Case
Your case will officially start when you, as the plaintiff, file your initial complaint in court, which is a document that lists all of the arguments in your case that you are making against the other driver for what occurred. All of the parties involved including the witnesses will be included in this, along with the facts that concur with your allegations on what happened. With this, you can bring up various causes of action such as pain and suffering, emotional distress and negligence, which can all be separate claims in your lawsuit. Your complaint will then request a certain amount of compensation for the extent of your damages.
Fees, Filings, and Pretrial Procedures
Depending on the type of complaint you are filing, there will be a fee that you will have to pay ranging from $100 to $300. Regardless of the amount you may win from your case, this fee can be something that is added back into your total compensation as part of the damages you requested. Once the court file is created for your incident, the person you have the suit against or the defendant will get served papers and have a specific amount of time in which they need to respond. At this point in the lawsuit process, the defendant will file a response that will have all sorts of legal defenses listed which is typical in these types of cases. It is more important to focus on the next phase of the lawsuit process, which is the discovery phase. This is when both parties exchange information through written questions and depositions under oath as well as the inclusion of relevant documents. This can be a complicated process, but it’s important to remember that negotiations will be going on throughout the entire process so it’s a possibility that both sides can reach an agreement prematurely if they are both satisfied.
Contact Our Experienced California Car Accident Attorneys
If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident, you will want a knowledgeable lawyer to get you the compensation you deserve. Contact the Paris Law Firm by phone or fill out our online contact form to schedule an initial case evaluation.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.
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