Many car accidents result in small claims lawsuits. Here’s what happens if someone sues you after a car accident.

Determining Liability

The primary objective of the involved insurance companies is to identify which party is liable for the accident. The percentage of fault is determined by your insurance company’s investigation, alongside your attorney’s investigation of the event.

Since California is a pure comparative negligence state, it allows injured parties to collect damages even if they are 99% at fault.

Negotiating Insurance Companies

A lawsuit tends to occur post-insurance company negotiations. Since California is not a no-fault state, this means the other party is able to sue for additional damages external to medical bills.

At-Fault Driver

If the individual is the at-fault driver, a lawsuit brought against them is likely to reward a portion of the requested compensation. The compensation varies based on the severity of the plaintiff’s injuries. If you are being sued, you will be served and required to appear in court at the time and date mentioned in the provided court documents. Failing to attend court can result in the judge ruling in the favor of the opposing party.

Not At-Fault Driver

It is required that an individual show up to court, even if they are not at fault. Since California is a comparative negligence state, a not-at-fault driver can still end up compensating the opposing party. In car accidents, fault typically does not fall fully onto one party. Most car accidents will be 50/50, 75/25, 80/20, etc. If you are sued but the insurance companies have found you to be less liable than the plaintiff, you should still attend court.

Summary of Car Accident Lawsuit Process

  1. Insurance companies negotiate
  2. Defendant wants to claim more damages
  3. Defendant files a lawsuit at their local courthouse
  4. Defendant serves the plaintiff
  5. Defendant and plaintiff must go to court at the assigned time and location
  6. The judge considers both the defendants and the plaintiff’s evidence
  7. The judge rules on the case

Related: How to Find a Good Personal Injury Attorney in California

Can I counter sue someone who is suing me for damages from a car accident?

Yes, both parties are able to file a lawsuit after a car accident, unless one party is 100% responsible.

How long do I have to file a lawsuit after a car accident in California?

In order to file an injury claim, an individual has two years to do so under California Code of Civil Procedure section 335.1. You only have three years to file for property damages under the California Code of Civil Procedure section 338.

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If someone sued you or a loved one after a car accident, get your free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys in California today!