If you or a loved one suffers an injury in a preventable accident in California, you may be able to recover financial compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. While the best way to navigate the legal system is by hiring an experienced Orange County personal injury attorney to represent you, learning how these cases work can help you better understand your rights.
Fault Car Accident Law
California is like the majority of states in that it uses a fault-based or tort-based insurance system to determine financial responsibility, or liability, in an Orange County automobile accident case. Under this system, the party responsible for causing a car accident is required to pay for a victim’s damages. All drivers in California must carry minimum amounts of bodily injury and property damage liability insurance to pay for at-fault accidents. An injured victim must prove negligence or fault to recover damages from another driver’s car insurance provider.
Strict Product Liability Law
If a consumer in California gets injured by a defective product, he or she may be eligible for compensation without having to prove negligence under the strict product liability law. This law holds product manufacturers strictly liable, or legally responsible regardless of negligence, for injuries caused by defective products.
If a product contains a manufacturing, design or marketing defect and is proven to have caused a consumer’s injury, the victim does not need to prove negligence to qualify for compensation from the manufacturing company. If the strict liability law does not apply, proof of negligence or a breach of warranty can still make the victim eligible for compensation.
Strict Liability Dog Bite Law
In California, a dog owner is held strictly liable for injuries or property damage caused by his or her dog. An injured victim does not have to prove that the pet owner was negligent to qualify for compensation. California Civil Code 3342 states that if a dog bites someone while in a public place or lawfully in a private place, the owner of the dog will be liable for damages suffered by the victim, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner’s knowledge of such viciousness.
Comparative Negligence Rule
California is a pure comparative negligence state. This means that an injured accident victim can still receive financial compensation if allocated a percentage of the fault. The victim’s comparative negligence will not bar him or her from financial recovery. However, the amount of compensation awarded will be diminished by a degree equivalent to the victim’s percentage of fault. In California, the “pure” comparative negligence rule means that a victim can be any percentage of fault, short of 100 percent, and still qualify for partial compensation.
California’s Statute of Limitations on Personal Injury Lawsuits
California has a strict filing deadline for all personal injury cases. If you miss your deadline, you will most likely forfeit the right to hold someone responsible for your injuries and losses. A law known as the statute of limitations gives accident victims no more than two years to file personal injury claims. In most cases, this means two years from the date that the accident took place. However, if the victim does not discover his or her injuries right away, the deadline is two years from the date of reasonable discovery.
For more information and personalized advice regarding California’s personal injury laws, contact Bridgford, Gleason & Artinian for a free case consultation.