Yes, you can sue someone personally after a car accident. A Los Angeles car accident lawyer can walk you through the process and help you determine your next steps.
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Suing Someone Personally
Regardless of whether you are filing an insurance claim or suing someone, you must prove the other party was negligent. In doing so, there are four main components that must be shown for negligence, per the Legal Information Institute (LII):
- Duty of Care: The other driver was responsible for keeping you and other road users safe.
- Breach of Duty: The other driver acted irresponsibly and failed to abide by the road rules and conditions.
- Causation: You sustained injuries and other damages due to the other driver’s irresponsible behavior.
- Damages: The other driver’s behavior resulted in an accident that led to your injuries and damages, which affected your life physically, financially, and emotionally.
Even though it may be obvious that the driver caused your injuries, you still have to show evidence. This evidence may include such things as:
Photos and Video Footage
The photos of the accident scene can demonstrate the conditions of your vehicle, the weather, and the road. Video surveillance from businesses in the area or even along the road will show all the events leading up to the accident and how it happened.
If you suffered any physically visible injuries, like bruises or lacerations, take photos of them to show that the accident caused them.
If you do not go to the hospital after the accident, consider going to a doctor as soon as you can. A doctor can do a complete examination and determine if you are suffering from any underlying injuries. They can run different tests and evaluations, like X-rays, blood tests, and MRIs. Keep copies of the results of these tests, as they can be used as evidence in your compensation claim.
If you collected the contact information of those who saw the accident happen, they could give their testimony. If you could not get any witnesses’ names, then an expert reconstructionist can review the photos, videos, and any other documentation you may have to determine who was at fault.
Another key piece of evidence includes the accident report. In this document, the police officer notes the facts and each party’s statement of the accident. Make sure you obtain copies of the accident report to add to your file.
A car accident lawyer can help you gather all this information to prove the other party’s negligence. They can also communicate and negotiate with the other party on your behalf to help you receive compensation for your losses.
Meeting California’s Statute of Limitations
According to California Code of Civil Procedure (CCP) §335.1, you have two years to file a personal injury lawsuit. You need to make sure you bring your personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party before this two-year deadline passes. If you miss this deadline, the court may not allow you to pursue compensation for your injuries and damages from the accident, so paying off your accident-related expenses will be up to you.
If you were involved in a car accident caused by another person, you could be entitled to compensation that includes:
- Medical expenses: This damage includes any medical tests or treatment you had to have done as a result of your car accident. You could also be compensated in advance for any future medical treatment you may need.
- Vehicle damages: If you were driving your own vehicle, you could be compensated for the cost of repairs or replacement of your vehicle if it were totaled.
- Loss of income: If you had to miss work due to the accident, you could be compensated for the time you had to take off work, including time for recovery and medical treatment.
- Decrease in quality of life: You could be compensated for the effect the car accident had on your everyday life.
- Salary decrease: If you had to switch careers due to your injury, you could be compensated for the decrease in income.
- Pain and suffering: This damage is the physical or mental hardships you have gone through as a result of the accident.
- Domestic assistance: If you are injured, you may be able to be compensated to obtain help doing household chores.
Contact a Law Firm Today
You have every right to sue someone personally after a car accident. When you hire a lawyer, they can explain the process, assess your case, gather the evidence necessary, and represent you while you recover from your injuries. Not only can a car accident lawyer walk you through all your options, and you could be eligible for more compensation than you realize.
Talk to our team at Jacoby & Meyers Law Offices to go over your possible options. We work on contingency, so you owe nothing unless we are able to get you compensation for your damages. Dial (866) 559-7223 today to get started with a free case evaluation.