When Do You Need to File a Lawsuit in a California Car Accident Case?

car accident case

You have been attempting to get a fair settlement from an insurance company in your car accident case, and things just are not coming together the way you had hoped. The offers you have gotten are below the amount it would take to start making up for the damages done, and you are tired of having to fight and argue just to get the compensation you deserve to try and put your life back in order. Does this sound familiar?

If you feel like you’re getting nowhere with your car accident case, it may be time to elevate it to a personal injury lawsuit. Here’s what you need to know as you make that decision.

California Requires Drivers to Carry Insurance

In the State of California, drivers are responsible for carrying car insurance that will cover minimum amounts of damages in the event that they are at fault in a car accident. The minimum acceptable amounts are often referred to as 15/30/5: $15,000 of coverage for injury or death to a single person, $30,000 of coverage for injury or death to multiple people, and $5,000 of coverage for property damage.

Unfortunately, these minimum coverage amounts may be significantly under the actual damages caused during a serious injury. Some drivers voluntarily opt into insurance policies that cover damages at higher amounts. They do this to protect their personal assets in the event of a serious car accident that exceeds the damages of minimum coverage.

When damages are within the range of the insurance coverage, the process of getting compensation can be fairly straightforward. However, there are factors that can make getting what you deserve from an insurance company challenging. Let’s take a closer look.

Insurance Companies Want to Settle for the Lowest Amount

The insurance company’s job is to provide a settlement that will close the case, but they have a financial interest in doing so for the lowest amount possible. Straightforward damages in the form of medical bills and automobile damage typically come with clear amounts. After all, the bill is right there with the total at the bottom! What can get more complicated in a serious car accident case are factors beyond these clear-cut measures.

If you have been seriously injured and will face lifelong disabilities or impairments because of the damages, you may be entitled to receive compensation for pain and suffering. If your loved one was killed in a car accident, you may be able to seek compensation for wrongful death. These types of damages present legal challenges that can go beyond the typical negotiations with a car insurance company and often exceed the maximum thresholds for coverage.

Whether you are not able to receive an adequate settlement amount because negotiations have stalled out or because the amount of your damages exceeds the coverage, you may be looking at filing a lawsuit to move your car accident case forward.

The Car Accident Case Statute of Limitations is Two Years

According to California law, you have two years from the date of the car accident to file a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible party. The logic behind this restriction is that a car accident case relies on physical evidence, eyewitness testimony, and other elements that become less reliable as time goes on. For this reason, your case may be at its strongest earlier in the two-year window.

As time goes on, it can be difficult for eyewitnesses to remember the details (or to even find the eyewitnesses again in the first place). Evidence such as surveillance camera footage and physical marks at the scene of the accident will also likely be lost over time.

While you do have up to two years to file a lawsuit in your car accident case, doing so sooner can often provide you with the best chance of getting the evidence you need to prove your case adequately and thoroughly.

Your Car Accident Case May Go to Trial

Often, accepting a settlement is the easiest and most straightforward way to end a car accident case. However, you should not settle for an amount that isn’t going to adequately cover your damages. A car accident has the potential to seriously (and sometimes permanently) disrupt your life. You deserve compensation that is going to give you the tools you need to put your life back together.

Getting fair compensation for a complex car accident can be challenging, but our law team at Gammill Law is not afraid to take a case to court in order to see justice served. If you cannot get an adequate settlement agreement for your car accident case, we are prepared to take the case to trial and put the details and evidence before a jury. This move is sometimes the best way to get fair and just compensation for damages that have taken a serious toll.

Getting started is easier than you think. Call us today to tell us about your case during a free case review.