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Understanding the San Diego Personal Injury Claim Process

Sustaining an injury due to another party’s negligence can turn your life upside down. While no amount of money can undo the physical and emotional trauma you’ve experienced, filing a personal injury claim can help you secure compensation to cover medical expenses, lost income, and other costs related to your injury. If you’ve been injured in an accident in San Diego, it’s important to understand the local personal injury claim process from start to finish.

Here’s a guide to how the personal injury process works in San Diego.

Investigating the Accident

The first step after any accident is to seek medical attention and focus on your recovery. However, it’s also important to start gathering evidence and documenting what happened as soon as possible after the incident while the details are still fresh.

Take photos of the accident scene, your injuries, and any property damage that occurred. Get contact details for any witnesses who saw the accident take place. Gather police reports, medical records, bills and expenses, and any other documentation related to the accident and your injuries. All of this evidence will come into play when building your injury claim.

Reviewing Liability

In a personal injury claim, you (the plaintiff) bear the burden of proving that the other party (the defendant) is liable for your damages. Their negligent actions, inactions, or violations of safety rules must have directly caused your accident and injuries.

Some of the most common sources of liability in personal injury cases include:

  • Car accidents caused by reckless or distracted driving
  • Slip and falls caused by unsafe property conditions
  • Medical malpractice
  • Dangerous premise liability
  • Defective products
  • Animal attacks

To build a strong liability case, our San Diego Personal Injury Lawyers will thoroughly investigate the accident circumstances, interview witnesses, consult police reports, research regulations and safety rules, and potentially retain expert witnesses to establish negligence. Photographs, video evidence, medical records, and other documentation will help prove the defendant’s legal responsibility.

Proving liability is complex, as the defense will argue other intervening causes or your own contributory negligence. An experienced personal injury lawyer can anticipate these arguments and devise counter-strategies to show the defendant bore primary fault for the accident based on a preponderance of evidence. This convincing liability claim is crucial to securing maximum compensation.

To win compensation, you’ll need to show that the defendant owed you a duty of care, breached this duty through negligence, and directly caused your accident and injuries as a result. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you identify viable defendants and build a strong liability case.

Calculating Damages

Figuring out exactly what your personal injury claim is worth takes some investigation. Damages in injury claims typically include:

  • Medical expenses: This covers the cost of hospital stays, emergency transportation, surgeries, medications, assistive devices like wheelchairs, and ongoing treatments. Keep detailed records and get multiple copies of all bills.
  • Lost income: If your injuries force you to miss work for an extended period, you can seek compensation for lost wages. Provide pay stubs, tax returns, and other earnings documentation.
  • Loss of future earning capacity: For serious or permanent injuries that impact your ability to work long-term, your lawyer can retain experts to project future lost earnings.
  • Pain and suffering: You can receive damages for physical pain, mental distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and other hardships caused by an injury. Keep a journal documenting your struggles.
  • Property damage: In a car accident claim, this would cover repair or replacement costs for your damaged vehicle. Get repair estimates and evidence of vehicle value.

You’ll need to dig up receipts, pay stubs, medical records, and other paperwork to quantify your total damages. Experienced Car Accident Lawyers San Diego can help maximize your payout.

Filing Your Personal Injury Claim in San Diego

In California, you must file a personal injury lawsuit within two years from the date of the accident or injury. This is known as the statute of limitations. The deadline is strict, so don’t delay in consulting an attorney at Karns & Karns and getting your claim on file.

Your lawyer will initiate the case by drafting a complaint laying out the facts of your accident, injuries, and evidence of the defendant’s liability. This complaint must be filed with the San Diego Superior Court and served along with a summons for the defendant to appear in court.

The defendant then has 30 days to respond, typically denying liability and allegations in the complaint. Extended settlement negotiations, discovery, motions, and finally a trial may follow if a settlement can’t be reached out of court.

Having an attorney handle these legal proceedings is highly recommended. Navigating the court system on your own after an injury is extremely difficult.

Settling Your San Diego Injury Claim

Many injury claims settle before trial, as this avoids costly litigation and speeds up the claims process. In settlement talks, your lawyer will negotiate aggressively to secure fair compensation but may compromise if needed to avoid the uncertainty of trial. It can take anywhere from weeks to years for a settlement to be reached depending on the case complexity.

If negotiations fail, then your case will move to a jury trial where you’ll have to prove liability and damages. The jury will award a verdict, although the defendant can appeal. It’s critical to have strong legal advocacy at this stage.

Finally, once your case settles or receives a verdict in your favor, you’ll need to collect payment from the defendant’s insurance company. Your attorney will assist with this final step to get the claim payments dispersed promptly.

Get Help with Your San Diego Injury Claim

Suffering an injury can derail jobs, finances, family life and more. While the claim process takes time, securing fair compensation is invaluable to get your life back on track.

To explore your legal options after an accident in San Diego, contact the San Diego injury Lawyers at Karns & Karns today. Our experienced team is committed to helping injured victims recover and rebuild after accidents caused by someone else’s negligence. We will thoroughly investigate your accident, build a strong case proving liability, and negotiate aggressively with insurance companies to maximize your compensation.

Don’t wait to get the personalized legal help you deserve. Call now or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

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