If you were injured in an accident that was caused by the City of Los Angeles or an employee thereof, California law doesn’t require you to retain an attorney for this purpose. If you choose to proceed on your own, you’ll likely drastically devalue any settlement or award that you might be entitled to though. That’s because the City of Los Angeles has its own attorneys representing it in personal injury claims against it. They’re talented and experienced civil litigators.
The Notice of Claim Requirement
Even most lawyers don’t know that a condition precedent to filing a personal injury lawsuit against a California municipality requires that a Notice of Claim be filed with it within six months of the date of the occurrence. If you fail to properly file it within the six-month time limit, or you fail to provide all necessary information, your claim will be denied. An experienced and effective personal injury lawyer from Maison Law will be sure to provide all required information and make a timely filing of your claim notice.
After Your Notice of Claim is Filed
The City of Los Angeles has 45 days to respond to a proper and timely Notice of Claim. It might ask for more information, approve the claim, approve it in part and reject it in part or reject the claim in its entirety. It might even fail to respond to the claim within the 45-day time limit. That operates as a rejection. If your claim is denied within that 45-day time period, you have only six months from the date of mailing or personal service of a rejection letter to file your lawsuit. If the city didn’t respond to your claim notice within the 45-day limit, it’s considered denied. You then have two years from the date of the occurrence to file your personal injury lawsuit. Obviously, the best practice is to file your lawsuit immediately after the city has denied your claim.
Traps Will be Set
The fact that California gives anybody the right to represent himself or herself is often translated by accident victims into the misimpression that they’ll achieve a better net result by leaving a quality personal injury law firm out of the equation. Unfortunately, far more often than not, a decision to proceed without the benefit, knowledge and advice of an experienced personal injury lawyer puts the injury victim at risk of perfectly avoidable mistakes that bring disappointing results. Legal pleading and practice requirements and deadlines can be misunderstood or missed, and the claimant must walk through the minefield of defensive traps that a skilled personal injury defense lawyer has set in efforts to devalue a case or even deny liability. Such pitfalls are perfectly legal, and unrepresented accidents fall into them every day.
Contact a Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer.
You’re confronted with far more risk than reward when you try to represent yourself against an entity like the City of Los Angeles. It’s highly likely that you’ll only get hurt again, but this time, it will be in the case against the City of Los Angeles. Serious injuries require focusing on your physical recovery and not a financial one. We can take care of the financial recovery while you’re giving 100% of your effort to your physical recovery. According to the Insurance Research Council, accident victims who are represented by a lawyer obtain compensation that is 3.5 times higher than victims who represent themselves. After being injured in an accident that was caused by the City of Los Angeles or one of its employees, contact us right away at Maison Law for a free consultation and case review. You can tell us what happened, and we’ll be pleased to answer your questions. No up-front charges are necessary to retain us either. Upon being retained to represent you, our objective will be to obtain the highest settlement or award for you that you deserve.
Martin Gasparian is the founder of Maison Law, a California Personal Injury Law Firm. Martin is a graduate of Georgetown University Law School and has been practicing law in California 2004. His practice focuses on helping injury victims know their rights and recover just compensation.