California Personal Injury Laws You Should Know

There are personal injury laws specific to every state you must learn if you hope to successfully file a claim and receive a settlement for damages you’ve suffered. California has time limits for filing your claim, laws related to liability, and laws that specify what happens if you share fault in your accident.

Although you can hire a personal injury lawyer in San Diego, Los Angeles, or San Francisco to stand by your side as you recover from your injury and determine who to sue, knowing the basics of the legal process can be helpful. Calculating your claim value before moving forward with a lawsuit is key because you’ll know how much money you deserve and when or if the defendant tries to settle for less, you can stand your ground.

California Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Claims

In the state of California, there’s a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims. If you get injured in a slip-and-fall, car, work-related, or product defect accident, you’ll have two years from when the accident occurred to identify who’s liable for your accident and file a claim with the court.

If you don’t file your claim within this time period, the court won’t hear your argument and you won’t have grounds for a settlement.

Pure Comparative Negligence Law

You may hesitate to sue the negligent party in your accident if you shared fault in causing the accident. However, in California, sharing fault in your accident shouldn’t stop you from taking legal action. California has a pure comparative negligence law in place allowing all at-fault victims in accidents to sue for their damages, no matter what percentage of fault they shared. The court will calculate your percentage of fault and deduct this percentage from your overall settlement. 

Fault Insurance State

Unlike some states in the country that have a no-fault insurance system in place, California is a fault state, meaning if you get into a car accident, you can sue the liable party as long as you can prove negligence against them. In a no-fault state, you would have to file a claim with your own insurance before taking legal action against someone else. 

Strict Liability for Dog Owners

Another personal injury law that varies by state is liability for dog owners, specifically when their dog bites and injures someone. In California, dog owners are strictly liable for any injuries their dog inflicts, regardless of the dog’s history of violence.

Knowing California’s personal injury laws before jumping headfirst into a lawsuit can make you feel more confident when naming a defendant in your case and fighting for a settlement.