The California Civil Code (CIV) §1714 defines who can be sued in a car accident case in California. It establishes your right to sue the driver who failed to exercise ordinary care on the road and caused you to suffer injuries, injury-related expenses, and property damage in a car accident.
The defendant in your car accident case may vary, depending on who was involved in the accident. In a two-car collision with another passenger vehicle, you might typically expect to pursue the at-fault driver. If the at-fault driver was not the owner of the vehicle, you might also be entitled to sue the vehicle’s owner.
If you were involved in a car accident with a commercial vehicle, you might have the ability to sue the company that owns or leases the vehicle. If the accident involves a municipal vehicle, like a taxicab or city bus, you might have the right to sue the municipality. Additional potential defendants may include a vehicle’s manufacturer if a flaw or other defect caused the accident.
Finally, you might be able to pursue your own insurance company for coverage if the at-fault driver fled the scene or was uninsured or underinsured and if your insurance policy provides this optional coverage. Your lawyer can review the circumstances of the accident and help you determine the right party to sue for financial compensation.
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You Might Be Able to Sue for Financial Damages
By establishing that the other driver’s lack of ordinary care caused the accident, your injuries, and your financial damages, you might be entitled to collect compensation. According to the CIV §1431.2, your recoverable damages might include:
- Medical expenses
- Loss of earnings
- Funeral costs, if applicable
- Burial costs, if applicable
- Loss of use or total loss of property
- Household services, such as childcare and homecare
- Pain and suffering, both physical and mental
You can review the costs of the accident with your legal team, as they might suggest other recoverable damages that are applicable to your case. Your legal team might also help define the comprehensive cost of the accident.
Proving Your Right to Receive Damages
When building your case, you and your lawyer might be required to prove the at-fault driver’s negligence. Your legal team might use the following forms of evidence to prove fault and liability:
- Crash report with accident details
- Statements from witnesses
- Photos of the accident scene
- Available dash or video footage
Your lawyer may help you collect this evidence to support your stance on why you might be entitled to collect compensation for your losses.
A Lawyer May Provide You the Legal Assistance and Support You Need
When you are ready to identify and sue the at-fault driver in a car accident case, a personal injury lawyer might offer the following:
- Support and encouragement while you recover
- Ongoing updates through each phase of your case
- Assistance in collecting evidence for your case
- Guidance on assessing the value of your claim or lawsuit
- Assistance with negotiating a settlement
- Legal representation in court if necessary
While you recover from your injuries, you do not have to attempt to pursue monetary compensation on your own. A personal injury law firm may manage your case on your behalf. This can allow you to handle your personal affairs while your lawyer pursues compensation for you.
Start Preparing Your Case without Delay
Being able to file a car accident lawsuit in Los Angeles has a time limit. Known as the statute of limitations, the California Code of Civil Procedure (CCP) §335.1 generally gives you two years from the date of the collision to file your personal injury lawsuit.
Do not overlook or underestimate the seriousness of the state’s filing deadline. Not complying with the statute of limitations might lead you to lose your right to file a lawsuit in general. If that happens, the at-fault driver might not be legally compelled to compensate you for your injuries and their related expenses.
Avoid putting your right to compensation at risk due to time constraints. Contact a local law firm immediately after you are involved in an accident to ensure they have enough time to prepare and file your personal injury lawsuit in accordance with California’s statute of limitations.
Find Out Who Can Be Sued in a Car Accident Case
Determining who to pursue after a car accident might be challenging if there was more than one car involved in the collision or if a municipal or commercial vehicle was involved.
You do not have to clarify the right party to pursue on your own. Contact our team at the Jacoby & Meyers Law Offices by calling (866) 559-7223 today. We are ready to fight for financial compensation for you.