Written by: Portrait Photo Of Chad M. Prentice Chad M. Prentice
A Man Stepping Out Of His Crashed Car Holding His Neck

A personal injury case usually arises due to negligence. Injured parties have the right to recover compensation under California law. Accident victims do not file a lawsuit with the defendant directly but with the insurer the defendant has a policy with, whether it’s a car insurance policy or premises liability coverage.

There are different types of personal injury claims that Maho | Prentice, LLP Attorneys at Law can help you file in California. Call now to learn more about how to file a personal injury claim after any of the following:

Many accident victims believe their personal injury lawsuit will take a long time. In fact, if you work with an experienced personal injury lawyer with an impressive track record, then you can get a higher settlement sooner than if you represent yourself. Maho | Prentice, LLP has been representing injured parties in settlement negotiations and at trial for over 30 years.

Our lawyers have recovered millions for Californians in personal injury claims and workers’ compensation claims. Your lawyer from Maho | Prentice, LLP Attorneys at Law will work hard to build a strong case based on thorough evidence and witness testimony.

Steps to Take After an Accident

The moment the accident occurred is the start of the personal injury claim process. Below, we offer a step-by-step guide on what steps to take after a car accident or if you were injured on someone’s personal property.

Report The Incident

After the impact, check on the other driver and call 911. Let the operator know how many are injured. If you are in the middle of the road, then move your car to the side to avoid further impacts and injury. In the first moments after a crash, your safety matters most.

Exchange Contact Information

An important part of filing a personal injury claim is exchanging your name, address, email address, phone number, and insurance policy information with the other driver involved. For other types of injuries, like dog bites or premises liability, you will need to get the contact information for the dog owner or property owner.

It can be hard to stay calm, but try to maintain your composure. Tensions could be high among the involved parties. Debates about fault will happen later in court, but you do not want to speculate or blame the other person, nor should you apologize for the accident.

Take Photos Or Videos

Take pictures of important details such as the extent of the damage, skid marks, nearby street signs or traffic signals, and signs of injuries, like blood stains. Proving liability in a personal injury claim can be complicated, but photographic evidence helps to establish fault.

Treat Your Injuries

Seek medical treatment immediately. A doctor can assess you for injuries before they worsen or before some even show up. Take, for example, whiplash, one of the most common injuries that a person might not feel at first but causes neck and shoulder pain and stiffness several hours later.

Seeking medical treatment early serves as evidence to the insurance adjuster and judge that you needed relief from your worst symptoms.

Talk To An Attorney About Filing A Personal Injury Claim

You usually need to file your accident with the insurance company within 24 to 48 hours of an accident, but when you do, they will ask you questions about the incident. Be careful because they will use anything you say against you when you file your claim.

For example, they might ask you what time the accident occurred, which may seem like an innocent question. However, they will argue that you were looking at your watch or phone when the accident happened, checking the time.

An attorney protects you when you file your suit so that you aren’t taken advantage of.

A Doctor Talking With His Patient And Filing Out Paperwork

The California Personal Injury Lawsuit Process

You want to work with an attorney who will be a strong opponent in court and very experienced with litigation.

Free Consultation With A Lawyer

The first step in a successful claim is to schedule a free consultation with a personal injury attorney from Maho | Prentice, LLP. We provide you with an overview of the personal injury process.

Your attorney will send a demand letter to the insurance company of the defendant. It outlines the reasons why the defendant is liable for the accident, describes the injuries, and states the dollar amount that you are requesting. It also serves as a notice to the insurer that you are ready to file a lawsuit if your settlement demands are not met.

The attorney for the defendant will file a response to your claim. After your claim has been filed and the defendant or their attorney has answered, you can move onto the discovery phase.

The Discovery Phase of Your Personal Injury Claim

During this phase, your attorney examines the evidence that you provide as well as information that the opposing side provides. Some of the steps that are taken in the discovery phase after you file a personal injury claim are the following:

  • Both parties are able to depose witnesses to learn more about what happened. Depositions are recorded and transcribed by a court reporter and can be used in trial hearings.
  • Your personal injury attorney will request records from any doctors that are treating you.
  • Your attorney will also send questions to opposing counsel asking about the defendant’s insurance coverage, any witnesses they plan to call, and other questions that must be answered under oath
  • Each side will submit written requests to the other legal team to produce documents

Ready To Go To Trial

The majority of personal injury cases end with an agreeable settlement offer between the insurance company and the injured person, who then begins to move on from the accident.

Trials tend to be more time-consuming, stressful and expensive. It could be years before a trial wraps up. Meanwhile, the plaintiff is waiting not only for their settlement, but to move on with their life.

Though we strive to resolve your personal injury case and recover compensation for you as quickly as possible, we are ready to represent you at a jury trial. If you decide to move forward with filing a personal injury lawsuit, we will take care of filing all court documents.

The entire legal process can take anywhere from eight weeks to six months, or longer in contentious cases. You can help in the personal injury lawsuit process by cooperating with your attorney and providing all evidence in your possession.

A Man With A Broken Arm Filling Out A Personal Injury Claim Form

Filing a Personal Injury Claim

Different types of damages can be awarded in a personal injury lawsuit. Compensatory damages include economic damages and noneconomic damages.

Economic damages encompass all of your financial losses stemming from your medical bills, lost wages, and property damage, such as car damage.

Noneconomic damages compensate you for your intangible losses like pain and suffering and emotional distress.

Statute Of Limitations

The statute of limitations is a law that sets the deadline by which a plaintiff has to file a lawsuit to recover compensation for damages sustained in an accident. The statute of limitations is set by the legislative body of California for all types of cases, not just personal injury cases.

Your legal claim is no longer valid after the deadline. In the state of California, the statute of limitation is two years from the date of your injury to file a lawsuit. Call us today to get started on your case.

Your case must be filed in the area where it happened. Call us today if you have been injured in Santa Barbara.

Establishing Liability

Establishing fault on the part of the defendant by proving negligence is necessary for a successful injury claim.

Drivers and property owners have a legal responsibility to do everything in their power to avoid causing harm to others. To that end, drivers are expected to be sober behind the wheel, and landlords must remove hazards from their property that could lead to a personal injury claim.

To win your claim, you must prove to the court that the defendant knew of the danger yet didn’t take corrective action.

The workers’ compensation system is different. It is meant to provide insurance coverage for injuries sustained on a job site in exchange for the employee’s right to file a personal injury lawsuit. We can help you with filing a workers’ compensation claim.

No Fee Until We Recover Compensation

Most lawyers, including Maho | Prentice, LLP Attorneys at Law, work on a contingency fee basis. That means there are no fees for filing your claim and lawsuit unless your attorney wins.

Choose Maho | Prentice, LLP Attorneys at Law

Call now to speak to one of our experienced lawyers about filing a personal injury claim after suffering injuries or property damage in an accident. We have successfully handled claims in Santa Barbara for decades and have established our reputation for being a tough opponent in court.

After your claim has been filed, we maintain an open line of communication with you on the status of your case. We are your step-by-step guide through the complicated legal process so that you always feel supported and cared for after all you’ve endured.

Small personal injury claims are easier to settle, and sometimes they don’t require a personal injury lawyer. If you were involved in a serious accident that requires ongoing medical treatment, and your injuries prevent you from working, then you may need an attorney to help you get a fair settlement from the party who is legally responsible.

By Maho | Prentice, LLP Attorneys at Law on February 9, 2023