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Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney in California

Sometimes, an accident is just an accident. And sometimes an accident could have been prevented by someone taking a few extra minutes or just a few extra steps to ensure that they were following the rules or duty of care for what they were doing.

In instances where a person or entity contributes to an accident through poor choices or incorrect actions, there may be injured victims who deserve financial compensation.

If you or a loved one were injured in California through someone else’s actions or decisions, you may want to contact a personal injury law firm to determine if you can receive compensation for those injuries.

Accident at work and negligence with first aid team support at construction site in California

Why Hire A California Personal Injury Lawyer?

The legal system is a vast establishment with many elements to know if you’re trying to accomplish a goal within it. Without a law degree, it can be hard to understand how California personal injury laws at each level will affect your case.

You run the risk of missing deadlines which can mean the difference between successfully pressing charges or footing the bill for everything on your own.

Law offices in personal injury practice areas usually work on a contingency fee basis, so you often won’t owe legal fees unless your legal representation wins your case.


Personal Injury Statistics In California

Injuries can happen anywhere, from your preferred jogging route to your work site and more, and accident victims should receive compensation for damages.

To help you understand California personal injury law, here are a few statistics about it:

  • Medical treatment for dog bites at California hospitals has steeply increased for the past 20 years.
  • Out of 40,000 motor vehicle cases filed in the state of California for property damage, personal injury, and wrongful death, 2,000 were dismissed for failure to prosecute.
  • Workplace injuries reported in California for 2022 exceeded 400,000, while just over 500 workplace fatality incidents were listed by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.


Types Of Cases California Personal Injury Lawyers Accept

In California, you can represent yourself in a personal injury case. If your anticipated compensation is below $12,500, you can file a claim in small claims court but you can’t have a legal team present.

Personal injury can cover many accident types, so you must know if your case qualifies.

The top types of accidents that lead to personal injury lawsuits are:


Common Injuries In California Personal Injury Cases

Certain types of injuries in California are more commonly cited in personal injury lawsuits.

Some examples of serious injuries are:

  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Spinal damage
  • Crush or loss of limb
  • Broken bones
  • Pain and suffering

Catastrophic injuries like those included in the list above result in high medical bills and ongoing medical expenses, so it’s important to find a law firm with years of experience and an excellent track record to ensure maximum compensation.

While insurance companies cover a portion of medical treatment, they always aim to pay as little as possible.

Experienced personal injury attorneys can help ensure that all responsible parties compensate your medical expenses and non-economic damages.


Eligibility For Personal Injury Lawsuits In California

To sue someone for personal injury in the state of California, you must meet certain criteria, such as being only partly at fault for an accident or experiencing damages for someone else’s negligence.

Remember that California is an at-fault state, meaning that each party involved in an accident is assigned a percentage of fault.

Your level of fault in a situation can negatively impact the compensation you’re eligible to receive, even if it’s proven that the other party bears responsibility for a dog running loose, poor driving decisions, or defective products.

Verdicts in personal injury trials can include the assignment of punitive damages in addition to other damages if it’s proven that the at-fault party was specifically negligent.

Legal Options For Victims Of Personal Injury In California

Suing someone for injuries due to an accident in California usually falls under one of two types: personal injury and wrongful death. Find out more about each below.

Personal Injury Lawsuits

For standard personal injury lawsuits, you’re suing someone because a choice they made or an action they took led to you or a loved one being injured.

The level of injury can vary without invalidating your case as long as it meets the baseline of proving that it was caused by negligence or failure to follow the duty of care.

Wrongful Death Lawsuits

If you’re suing someone for wrongful death, it means that their choices or actions led to your loved one’s death.

For example, if a loved one has passed away due to a car accident or the use of a medication, you may have legal grounds to file a case against the other driver involved in the accident, the doctor who prescribed the medication, or the manufacturer of the medication.


Factors In California Personal Injury Cases

In California, certain factors can affect whether you have a personal injury or accident case and whether injury victims should work with a law firm.

Fault & Negligence

There are two fault types for different states: at-fault and no-fault. California is an at-fault state, which means that in any lawsuit, you’ll be responsible for a percentage of the blame, though that percentage may be zero.

Within these guidelines, proof is required. In a lawsuit for premises liability, there has to be evidence that the property owner was neglectful, for example.

If you have a slip and fall accident because there was water on the floor, there has to be proof that they were aware of the water and failed to place proper signage.

California also has pure negligence, meaning that a person can be awarded damages for any percentage of damages, even if that number is 1%.

Using the example above, say you pulled down a product display when you fell, damaging half of it. Or maybe the owner did have signage but in an inconvenient place. They may be awarded some damages because you destroyed inventory or failed to read the sign.

Accident Severity

Most of the time, the dollars that can be assigned to your accident case will determine whether you have a case, whether an accident attorney will take the case, and what court your case can be argued in.

Injury Severity

Minor injuries will usually not validate your case. You need to be able to prove that you sustained serious injuries that significantly impacted your quality of life in some way because of the accident.

Amount Of Damages

Damages can be for any amount for a lawsuit in California. Damages under $12,500 can be filed in small claims court, but you can’t have legal representation.


How To Get Legal Help If You Are Injured In California

You must file in the correct county and courthouse in California for personal injury if the accident occurred in the state, regardless of your residency status.

For example, you can’t file in your home state of Oregon if you were injured at a vacation house in southern California.

You also can’t file where you live in San Diego if you have an auto accident in Los Angeles. You have to spend hours in traffic to file at the appropriate courthouse in the county where the incident happened. Failure to do so can mean that your case isn’t heard.

1. Get A Free Consultation With A California Personal Injury Attorney

LegalFinders can help you locate a California personal injury attorney who will give you a free consultation to help you determine if you have a case and answer some questions about the legal process.

2. Gather Documentation Of Your Injury

Once it’s determined that you can legally sue another party, you’ll need evidence to provide to the courts on your own or through your attorney.

Evidence may include:

  • Photos and video of the motor vehicle accident scene and vehicles involved
  • Medical records of treatment of any injuries caused by the accident or symptoms presented due to malpractice
  • Interviews with witnesses
  • Police reports
  • Any communication to or from the other party (i.e., your doctor’s office or insurance company)

3. File Your Personal Injury Claim

If you’re filing your personal injury claim on your behalf, ensure you know the filing deadlines for all relevant documents.

California gives you two years for most personal injury claims unless you’re suing the government, in which case you have six months to a year, depending on why you’re suing.


Can A California Personal Injury Lawyer Get You A Higher Settlement?

Absolutely. While working with a personal injury law firm does not guarantee you’ll win your case, it does increase the chance that injury victims will be better compensated.

The statute of limitations in California varies by months to years for personal injury cases, as do the requirements for notifying the other party of your intent.

At the very least, you may want to consult with a reputable law group and ask for legal advice on your case. Attorneys with decades of experience will have the knowledge and resources to ensure you receive maximum compensation.


Qualities To Look For In California Personal Injury Lawyers

The best law offices in California may not be the best legal team for your specific personal injury case. However, some qualities will help determine if a personal injury attorney is right for you.

Look for California personal injury lawyers with these qualities:

  • Award-winning in practice areas related to your case
  • Third-party site testimonials that express positive outcomes and great communication skills
  • Contingency fee-based payments
  • A track record of utilizing appropriate resources
  • Strong backing and national presence, if possible


Find A Top California Personal Injury Lawyer Today

Whether you’re looking for accident lawyers, trial lawyers, or experts in other practice areas, LegalFinders is available to help. We’ll walk you through a free case evaluation.

Let us put you in touch with the best California personal injury attorneys to ensure that you feel taken care of for your medical malpractice, workers’ compensation, product liability, traffic accident, or other personal injury case.


Our staff are standing by to help you find the perfect attorney for your case.

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Published: 4 April 2024


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Judicial Council of California. “2020 Court Statistics Report: Statewide Caseload Trends.” Retrieved from:

Los Angeles County Consumer & Business Affairs. “Venue: Filing in the Right Court.” Retrieved from:

Los Angeles Times. “A record number of Californians are visiting emergency rooms for dog bites.” Retrieved from:

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Employer-Reported Workplace Injuries and Illnesses in California — 2022.” Retrieved from:

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Fatal Work Injuries in California — 2022.” Retrieved from: