Your California Personal Injury Case, Step by Step

California is a beautiful place to live, but it’s no paradise. Like anywhere else on Earth, it can be dangerous. With nearly 40 million other people sharing this state with you, you can never be truly sure that the poor decisions and negligence of others won’t hurt you. There’s always a chance that a bad driver will run a red light, or that bad dog owners will fail to secure their aggressive dogs. Unfortunately, these risks become realities for thousands of Californians every year.

But injured Californians do have options, explains a personal injury attorney in Orange County. Under California law, you have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit. Under the right conditions, you could be compensated for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.

The personal injury lawsuit process can be bewildering at times, though. That’s why you need a great lawyer. It’s also why we’re here to walk you through things step by step.

The accident

If you’re considering a personal injury lawsuit, it’s because you were injured. But not all injuries make a good foundation for a strong personal injury lawsuit.

The idea of a personal injury lawsuit is to give justice to a victim and to demand that a negligent party pay for the harm that they caused. That means that there’s no strong personal injury case without negligence. If you are hit by a drunken driver and are hurt, you may have a great case. But if you crash your own car because you were negligent, you’re going to have a hard time successfully suing anyone else.

Acting fast

Nobody is going to take action for you. If you want justice, you have to go find it. That means that you need to reach out to a local personal injury lawyer.

And you need to do so quickly, because time is of the essence in personal injury cases. Though such cases can take a while, you need to start fast; statutes of limitations could cut down on your options later on, and important evidence could disappear.

Find an attorney who specializes in personal injury law and, ideally, your specific sort of accident. Call to set up an initial consultation.

Your initial consultation

Your lawyer is not “your” lawyer until you both agree to that. Your initial consultation is your chance to size up the attorney, and it’s also the attorney’s chance to see whether you have a case. Show up prepared. Bring any documentation that you have related to your accident or your injuries. That means police reports, medical bills, pay stops that show your decreasing wages, and anything else you can think of. Lay out your situation clearly and stick to the facts. Talk to the attorney about your hopes and goals for the case. Hopefully, you’ll both see that a successful personal injury case can be made here.

Filing suit and beyond

From here, your attorney will be your guide to the personal injury law process. But you should know that there are further steps. Your attorney will gather the evidence needed to make your case and may negotiate with your insurance company or the other party before filing suit. If that goes nowhere, the suit will be filed. The process may drag on a bit here, but don’t be surprised if the long negotiations lead to settlement that keeps you out of court. Most personal injury cases are settled, largely because going to court is expensive (and that will eat into your potential court award) and risky.

Make sure you keep in touch with your attorney throughout the process. You should be involved in all key decisions. Hopefully, your personal injury case will help you begin to put your life back together again after a terrible accident.