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Personal Injury Law conceptCalifornia allows certain individuals to pursue claims against negligent or reckless parties who caused them to suffer damages. Compensation from a personal injury claim can help victims who suffered harm due to a variety of situations. However, there are requirements and other factors that you should be aware of if you plan to pursue a claim. Our San Jose injury attorneys have compiled a brief guide that can walk you through some of the general questions we receive on a regular basis.

You can also ask us questions about your personal situation during a free consultation. We can help determine your eligibility for filing a claim for damages.

  1. What can I file a personal injury case for?
  2. Can I file a personal injury lawsuit?
  3. How long do I have to file a personal injury lawsuit?
  4. What damages can I recover in a personal injury case?
  5. How much is my personal injury case worth?
  6. How long will my personal injury case take?
  7. How much does a personal injury lawyer cost?
  8. Do I need a personal injury attorney?
  9. How do I find a personal injury attorney?
  10. What is mediation?

What can I file a personal injury case for?

If you or a loved one were injured in an accident due to the negligence of another person or entity, then you may have a viable personal injury claim. There are many types of personal injuries for which you could file a claim in California. Reasons for filing a claim include, but are not limited to:

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Can I file a personal injury lawsuit?

It depends on the circumstances. Not everyone can file a personal injury lawsuit because there are specific requirements. For example, there is a statute of limitations or deadline for filing a lawsuit. The statute of limitations varies depending on the circumstances surrounding your case.

Generally, you must have evidence that the other party was negligent or caused intentional harm before you file a lawsuit. There may also be specific laws relating to your particular situation. For example, California has specific laws for cases involving dog bites. Owners are strictly liable for dog bites under the right circumstances. You would not need to prove that the owner was negligent.

There are also specific rules for filing a personal injury claim against a government entity. You have significantly less time to file. We strongly encourage you to speak with one of our San Jose personal injury attorneys as soon as possible if you suspect a government entity caused your damages.

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How long do I have to file a personal injury lawsuit?

Determining the statute of limitations that applies to your case can be complicated. In general, California’s personal injury lawsuit statute of limitations is two years from the date of the accident. However, this time limit can vary. For example, cases involving a public entity and cases involving a minor child have different time limits.

You should speak with one of our San Jose personal injury lawyers as soon as possible after an accident. We can help to prevent the statute of limitations from becoming an issue for your case. The sooner you contact us, the sooner we can begin investigating your case, preserving evidence and complying with the relevant deadlines.

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What damages can I recover in a personal injury case?

The damages in a personal injury case vary on a case by case basis. There are economic damages, which cover tangible expenses related to your injury. There are also noneconomic damages that take your pain and suffering into account.

Damages often include:

  • Past, present and future medical bills
  • Lost income or lost wages
  • Loss of future earning potential
  • Pain and suffering caused by the injury or loss

Punitive damages are also possible in certain situations if your case proceeds to a trial and the jury finds the defendant’s actions were particularly egregious.

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How much is my personal injury case worth?

It is impossible to assess your claim’s potential value until we can collect the essential information about the case. Often, it is necessary to complete an investigation and some discovery before we can determine your case’s value. We also base our evaluation on our knowledge of the trends in recent trial results.

However, the amount of compensation you can recover depends on many factors. These factors include:

  • Severity of your injury
  • Pain and suffering caused by the injury
  • Amount in medical bills
  • Amount in lost wages
  • Present and future earning capacity

Keep in mind that you can also be found partially responsible for your damages. While California’s pure comparative negligence rule allows you to recover compensation even if you are partially liable, this would limit the amount of compensation you could recover. The amount you can recover depends on your percentage of fault.

Our San Jose personal injury law firm can review the specifics of your situation to get an idea of what your damages might be and how much you may be able to recover.

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How long will my personal injury case take?

The speed with which a lawsuit can be completed depends on many factors. These factors include:

  • Court’s schedule
  • Specific circumstances of the case
  • Amount of involved parties
  • Complexity of discovery
  • Extent of motion practice
  • Age and health of injured party

Your attorney may attempt to reach a settlement on your behalf with the defendant’s insurance company. Unfortunately, insurance companies may refuse to offer a settlement that can cover your damages. For instance, they may claim that you are partially or fully responsible for the accident to reduce the value of or deny your claim. In this case, it may be necessary to seek a trial to force a fair settlement or to get a jury verdict.

It will take longer to receive compensation if your case proceeds to a jury trial. However, it may be the only means of obtaining compensation that can cover your damages in full.

Additional options for pursuing compensation include mediation and arbitration. These are options, where ideally, a neutral third party helps resolve differences between the defendant and plaintiff.

Our San Jose personal injury lawyers are committed to keeping you informed about the progress of your case and the anticipated date of resolution.

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How much does a personal injury lawyer cost?

Our San Jose injury attorneys handle all personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that you do not pay personal injury lawyer fees unless you receive compensation through a settlement or trial. We will also pay for all up-front associated costs with litigating your case.

If we get a settlement or verdict, then we are reimbursed for the paid costs spent on the case and a percentage of the remaining compensation covers our fees. Under California law, the fee arrangement is negotiable. We will discuss it with you before you agree to retain us.

Almost all personal injury law firms and attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. This is because contingency fees allow all members of the public to access our nation’s justice system, regardless of income.

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Do I need a personal injury attorney?

Not all people need a personal injury attorney. If your case resulted in very minor injuries and you did not suffer extensive damages, then you may not need a personal injury attorney for your situation. However, you should still speak with an attorney before making a decision.

Certain types of injuries can leave you and family members with damages in the tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars. You want to give yourself the best chance of recovering a settlement or verdict that can pay for those damages. An experienced lawyer can increase the odds of obtaining compensation that can cover the expenses associated with your injury or loss.

Recovering after an accident or loss is an emotionally and financially difficult process to go through. We have the experience and resources necessary to handle your case. For instance, we may work with medical experts or accident reconstruction specialists if needed. We can negotiate a settlement or try a case before a jury. These tasks would be extremely difficult, or perhaps even impossible for the majority of people to do alone.

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How do I find a personal injury attorney?

You have a couple of options for finding a personal injury attorney who can meet your needs. Asking friends on social media or asking another attorney for a referral could work. Many people use Google, Bing and other search engines to find an attorney.

You should look for a personal injury attorney near you who has experience with cases that are like your own. If you were in a motorcycle accident, then it helps to have an attorney who is familiar with motorcycle accident cases. The same is true for car, truck and bicycle accidents, as well as elder abuse and/or neglect cases.

You may be able to pull anonymous information about a law firm’s prior cases by looking at their website. Additionally, you can check the content on the firm’s site to look at the types of cases they take.

Finally, you should also determine whether the client has good online ratings. Yelp, Google, Facebook, Martindale and Avvo ratings could factor into your decision.

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What is mediation?

Mediation is a process for resolving a case that takes place outside of court. As a type of alternative dispute resolution, mediation relies on a neutral third party to help resolve cases. You can use mediation for many types of disputes, including personal injury claims.

Mediation is cost-effective, less stressful than litigation and very effective at solving difficult disputes. Depending on the circumstances, you may save thousands of dollars by using mediation for your case.

With the help of a mediation, you and the other party can come to a mutually beneficial resolution. The attorneys at Needham Kepner & Fish LLP offer mediation services.

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About Our San Jose Injury Attorneys

Needham Kepner & Fish LLP is a San Jose personal injury law firm with extensive experience handling a variety of personal injury cases. We can help with all types of auto accident cases as well as premises liability and nursing home abuse cases.

For more information on filing a personal injury case in California, please call us at (408) 956-6949 or use the contact form on our website. We offer free initial consultations that can help explain your potential legal options for filing a case.

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