How to begin lawsuit and who to sue regarding a car accident?

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How to begin lawsuit and who to sue regarding a car accident?

Going to work guy ran a red light. Have steel body truck, wrecked. Thought, I’m dead. Seat beat on. Car belong to father-in-law, under his insurance. Partial insurance. Lost the car. How am I going to get to work? Went to hospital for removal of class particles in upper body. Ended with cuts, scratches and bruises in face. X- rays in upper body. Days later, my shoulder, arm, neck are in constant pain. Can’t pick up daughter without pain. Feel bad; she cries. Car spun, shaken inside the car, hit head and ear. Constant headaches. Can’t hear well. Work in newspaper factory ; need upper body. Police report done. Should I speak with a personal injury attorney? In Oxnard, CA.

Asked on February 18, 2011 under Accident Law, California

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

It would be advisable to speak with a personal injury attorney.

The property damage and personal injury are separate claims to file against the other driver's insurance.  You can file the property damage claim now.

When you complete your medical treatment and are released by the doctor or are declared permanent and stationary which means that no further improvement is anticipated, obtain your medical reports and medical bills.  Your personal injury claim  should include the medical bills, medical reports, and wage loss documentation.  The medical reports will document the nature and extent of your injuries and will determine the amount of compensation you receive for pain and suffering.  Compensation for pain and suffering is an amount in addition to the medical bills.  Compensation for the medical bills and wage loss is straight reimbursement.

You don't want to attempt to settle your case until you complete your medical treatment because if you settle the case prematurely and then find you need additional medical treatment, you won't be able to go back to the insurance company and ask for additional compensation.

When you submit your personal injury claim and place a dollar value on the case, the insurance company will respond with a lower offer which you can reject.  This is just the beginning of settlement negotiations and you can try to negotiate an additional amount.  If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the insurance company, you can file your lawsuit for negligence against the registered owner and driver of the vehicle that caused the accident.  There is only one lawsuit which names all of the defendants.  If your case is not settled with the insurance carrier, you will need to file your lawsuit prior to the expiration of the two year statute of limitations in personal injury cases in CA or you will lose your rights forever in the matter.


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