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December 11, 2023

Considering a Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawsuit? Here’s What to Expect

Legally reviewed by: Jessica Anvar Stotz, JD, MBA

We’ve spoken to thousands of people about filing Los Angeles personal injury lawsuits. What we often hear with most people is that they think lawsuits and settlements are the same thing. They ARE NOT.

A lawsuit is a formal legal action initiated by filing a complaint in court, seeking resolution through a trial. A settlement, on the other hand, is an agreement reached outside of court between parties involved in a legal dispute, typically resulting in the withdrawal of the lawsuit in exchange for negotiated terms.

Lawsuits can typically result in more money in your pocket, but they take more time and they are not always necessary. Below we’ll talk about what you can expect if you’d like to file an LA personal injury lawsuit.

Common LA Personal Injury Lawsuit Settlement Amounts

If you were you were injured driving due to another party’s negligence here’s how much you could expect once your lawsuit settles:

Severity of Injury Average LA Personal Injury Lawsuit
Minor Approximately: $20,000-$75,000
Moderate Approximately: $75,000-$250,000
Severe Approximately: $250,000-$500,000+

Settlement vs Trial Negotiations to Consider

Opting for the quicker resolution of an out-of-court settlement may mean our driver gave up the potential for a higher award. Settling, though faster, often results in reduced compensation in personal injury cases.

Parties agreeing to a settlement typically agree to a lower amount than what could be obtained through a court trial, aiming to avoid the uncertainty and unpredictability of trials.

While accepting a lower sum might seem unfavorable, some view it as a reasonable compromise for the certainty of a fixed amount, rather than the risk of a trial with the potential for no compensation. Despite settlement advantages, the risk of insufficient compensation remains a notable drawback.

Example LA Personal Injury Lawsuits

Use the website below to read about the top 100 personal injury lawsuits in Los Angeles County:

Filing a Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawsuit in 90 Seconds

  1. Deadline to Sue: Understanding the Statute of Limitations
  • Learn about the 2-year time limit for filing a lawsuit after an injury.
  • Different rules apply when suing the government, with shorter timeframes.
  • Ensure you file within the correct time period to avoid dismissal.
  1. Identifying Responsible Parties: Who to Sue for an Injury
  • Explore the complexity of determining liability in personal injury cases.
  • Consider suing multiple parties involved, such as the driver, car owner, or employer.
  • Research business ownership to accurately identify the responsible individual or corporation.
  1. Venue Selection: Where to Sue for Personal Injury Cases
  • Understand the importance of choosing the right county for your case.
  • Generally, file where the injury occurred, where the defendant lives, or where they do business.
  1. Insurance Coverage: Checking for Injury Coverage
  • Consult your insurance company to explore coverage options for injuries and treatment.
  • Determine if your insurance can cover costs, potentially eliminating the need to sue.
  • Consider reporting incidents per your insurance policy to prevent legal action.
  1. Causes of Action: Understanding Legal Grounds for Lawsuits
  • Grasp the concept of causes of action as legal reasons to seek compensation.
  • Examples include negligence and battery; each must be proven by the plaintiff.
  • Defendants should be aware of the plaintiff’s burden of proof and how to defend themselves.
  1. Damages Assessment: Evaluating Suffered Losses and Compensation
  • Assess the damages suffered, from medical expenses to emotional distress.
  • Understand the complexity of calculating damages, especially for ongoing issues.
  • Recognize the legal requirement for compensation, even for intangible losses.
  1. Proof Gathering: Collecting Evidence for Your Case
  • Collect and safeguard evidence, including accident scene photos, medical bills, and witness statements.
  • Understand the rules of evidence to ensure the court considers your supporting materials.
  • Be prepared to demonstrate the validity of your claims through a well-documented case.

Documents You May Need

According to the California Courts Self Help Guide, below are a few documents you may need to file a personal injury lawsuit. Certain types of injury cases will call for certain documents, while others call for completely different ones.

For Plaintiffs

As a plaintiff, you always need a Summons and a Complaint. The complaint must include at least one cause of action.

  • You must use the Summons (form SUM-100) and a Civil Case Cover Sheet (form CM-010)
  • You can use Complaint–Personal Injury, Property Damage, Wrongful Death (form PLD-PI-001) plus at least one case of action or create your own.

There are several causes of action forms you can use if they fit your situation:

Compensation You Could Recover

Determining the possible compensation in Los Angeles personal injury lawsuits can vary widely depending on the specific circumstances of each case.

Compensation, often referred to as damages, is designed to address various losses and hardships experienced by the injured party. Here are common types of compensation in personal injury cases:

Medical Expenses

Compensation for past and future medical bills related to the injury, including surgeries, treatments, medications, and rehabilitation.

Lost Wages

Reimbursement for income lost due to the injury, covering the period of time the injured person was unable to work.

Property Damage

If applicable, compensation for damage to personal property, such as a vehicle in a car accident.

Pain and Suffering

Non-economic damages to compensate for physical pain, emotional distress, and the overall suffering caused by the injury.

Loss of Consortium

Compensation for the negative impact the injury has on the injured person’s relationship with their spouse, including loss of companionship and intimacy.

Punitive Damages

In rare cases, punitive damages may be awarded to punish the at-fault party for egregious behavior and to deter others from similar conduct.

Wrongful Death Damages

In cases of wrongful death, compensation may cover funeral expenses, loss of financial support, and emotional distress experienced by surviving family members.

It’s important to note that California follows a comparative negligence system, meaning the compensation may be adjusted based on the degree of fault attributed to each party involved. Additionally, caps on non-economic damages can apply in certain cases.

Why Delaying a Lawsuit Could Be a Bad Idea

Waiting until the statute of limitations to file a personal injury lawsuit is unwise as it can jeopardize your case. The statute sets a legal deadline, often two years, to initiate legal action after an injury.

Delaying filing can result in the loss of your right to seek compensation. Evidence may degrade, witnesses could forget details, and crucial documentation may become harder to obtain.

Swift action ensures a stronger case, increases the likelihood of a favorable outcome, and avoids potential dismissal due to missed deadlines, preserving your ability to pursue rightful compensation for damages incurred.

Why Hiring an Attorney Can Be Beneficial

Filing a personal injury case with an attorney significantly improves your chances of success. Attorneys bring legal expertise, navigating complex procedures, and ensuring proper documentation.

They assess the true value of your case, negotiate with insurance companies, and advocate for fair compensation. Attorneys also understand applicable laws, deadlines, and potential challenges, preventing costly mistakes.

Their experience strengthens your position, enhances negotiation leverage, and, if necessary, they can skillfully represent you in court. Having a legal professional by your side maximizes the likelihood of a favorable outcome and ensures your rights are protected throughout the entire process.

Get Connected with an Attorney

Looking to file a personal injury lawsuit, but not sure where to start? Contact LawLinq today to get connected with some of the best personal injury attorneys in the state. All consultations are free and they can make sure you file your lawsuit properly.

About the Author

Jessica Anvar

California Consumer Litigation Attorney Jessica Anvar, Esq. is the Founder and Managing Partner of Lemon Law Experts California’s leading lemon law firm. She has multiple years’ worth of experience working with both state and federal lemon laws. Her practice focuses exclusively on consumer protection cases. Ms. Anvar received her J.D. from Loyola Law School. She also earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Loyola Marymount University. Jessica is very active in her local legal community and has helped thousands of clients across the state of California. She has an outstanding record as a true advocate for consumers.

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