7 Keys to Winning a Personal Injury Case in California
When you are in pain and suffering after a serious accident caused by another party’s negligence, winning a personal injury case can mean a world of difference. Successful litigation can provide critical financial relief to account for medical expenses, surgeries, medication costs, loss of income, physical therapy, disability, and other damages that have undermined the quality and stability of your life.
Making a claim for personal injury compensation in California seems relatively straightforward. Plaintiffs have two years from the date of the injury to file suit, and are tasked with proving that the defendant’s negligent actions or inactions were responsible for their harm.
However, there are key steps you can take to help leverage allegations in your personal injury case and support theories of liability. By following these guidelines, you stand a much better chance of winning your lawsuit and fair compensation.
Gather every shred of evidence
Gather all physical evidence that speaks to the extent of your injuries and who was at fault. If you slipped on a freshly-mopped supermarket floor, bring in the bloodied or torn clothing that you wore that day, as well as detailed photos of the accident scene. Make sure to preserve all physical evidence as soon after the accident as possible, so it is not lost or destroyed.
Get professional medical treatment
Always seek medical treatment from a qualified doctor for your accident-related injuries. Valid medical records that outline your injuries, diagnostic tests, and medical care are crucial for establishing the nature and severity of your injuries. It is equally important to follow your physician’s orders regarding follow-up appointments and activity restrictions. If you’ve been ordered on bed rest but post Instagram photos of a ski trip with friends, your case may be lost.
Be very detailed about your injuries
Be candid and descriptive when explaining your symptoms to your health care professional. This will not only assist in making a more accurate diagnosis, it may also augment the value of your claim for physical pain and suffering. If you tore a ligament in your knee, is the pain a dull throbbing ache that keeps you up at night, or a sharp burning sensation that comes and goes. Your medical team should be able to describe how your injuries have negatively impacted your life.
Be honest about prior medical conditions
Always be truthful with your doctor about prior conditions, surgeries or health issues before your accident. Under California law, you can still file a legal complaint if the accident exacerbated a pre-existing medical condition, but the courts will not look favorably upon plaintiffs who are not forthcoming about a previous injury or problem.
Keep all injury-related receipts
To recover full reparations for hospital bills and medical care, it’s vital to keep all receipts for injury-related expenses. This includes doctor visits, prescription medications, travel costs to and from the hospital, rehabilitation and surgery costs, etc. It’s also wise to keep an “injury journal” that logs your daily experiences as you recover.
Communicate with your lawyer
Your personal injury attorney should stay abreast of any changes in your prognosis and recovery process. If you have been referred to a new specialist, or have been scheduled for an MRI or other diagnostic tests, keep your legal counsel in the loop at all times. Your attorney can connect you with qualified health care professionals and may even be able to help you file for disability benefits.
Be patient – do not jump at first settlement offer
Insurance companies prefer to settle injury claims out of court and generally offer a dollar figure that is much lower than the value of your claim. While it may be tempting to take a quick payout, your attorney will know if the settlement accurately reflects the full nature of your losses— both past and future. Heed your lawyer’s advice and let him pursue maximum damages, whether through counter negotiations or taking the case to trial.
Ellis Law Corporation
Ellis Injury Law has more than 25 years of experience handling personal injury actions in California, securing over a quarter of a billion dollars on behalf of our clients. Align yourself with a talented team of award-winning personal injury attorneys in Los Angeles, who boast a long record of multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements.
Call our L.A. office at 1-800-INURED for your free case evaluation today.
California Personal Injury Lawsuit Resources:
- Courts.ca.gov., Statute of Limitations http://www.courts.ca.gov/9618.htm
- Courts.ca.gov, Going to Court http://www.courts.ca.gov/1094.htm