At Garcia Preciado Law, we get a lot of questions about the personal injury process in California. We answer some of the most frequently asked questions here, but if you need further information, don't hesitate to call us at 661-495-0084 to schedule a FREE consultation with an attorney.

What's the Difference between a Claim and a Lawsuit?

Many people interchange the words personal injury claim and lawsuit. All personal injury lawsuits were once claims, but not all personal injury claims become lawsuits.


Are legal demands for compensation. This means a demand letter is sent, typically, to an insurance company for payment following an accident. There can be negotiations, an investigation, and more, before a settlement is offered.


Are legal actions where one party, the plaintiff, sues another party, the defendant, for compensation. Though a settlement can still be negotiated prior to trial, the claim becomes a lawsuit once it enters the court system.

Do I have to go to Court for a Personal Injury Claim?

No, filing a case in court and going through the court process are not required in every personal injury claim. In fact, a large majority of personal injury claims settle prior to filing a case in court or before a trial if a case must be filed.

A trial in a personal injury case is often the last resort for all parties involved because of the increased costs associated with a trial. Unfortunately, insurance companies and negligent parties do not always present fair offers for settlement, so a trial is always a possibility following an accident.

What Types of Damages can I get for a Personal Injury Claim?

The common types of damages available for recovery in a personal injury claim include economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are intended to compensate you for your losses from the accident, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and property damages.

Non-economic damages are intended to compensate you for the pain and suffering experienced during and after the accident and any loss of your ability to enjoy your life. In some cases, you might also be entitled to punitive damages for especially careless or reckless actions of the responsible parties. The amount and specific types of damages available in a personal injury claim vary significantly based on the case's circumstances.

Can I Still Recover Compensation if I Contributed to the Injury?

Your role in causing an accident could potentially limit your recovery of damages in a personal injury claim. Generally, in settlement negotiations or if the case goes to trial, the parties will argue the percentage of fault of all parties. If you are determined to be partly at fault for the accident, any damage award could be limited by your percentage of fault.

What Happens to my Personal Injury Claim if I have a Pre-Existing Condition?

Pre-existing conditions can play a substantial part in a personal injury case. In general, you are not entitled to compensation for pre-existing injuries that were not affected in the accident. However, you could be entitled to damages if your pre-existing condition was exacerbated or aggravated by the accident.

Proving an exacerbation or aggravation commonly requires determining the severity of the pre-existing condition prior to and following the accident. As such, pre-existing conditions often lead to significant contention and lower monetary offers from the insurance companies.

Do I need a Personal Injury Lawyer?

You are not required to have a personal injury lawyer following an accident; however, a lawyer will explain your legal options and help secure a more favorable result. Often, insurance companies will try to take advantage of unrepresented individuals in the claim process with low settlement offers.

A personal injury lawyer understands the value of a case and when an offer is appropriate for the damage and harm caused in an accident. Additionally, a lawyer could handle the complex court process through its conclusion if a claim does not settle prior to the state deadline for filing a claim.

How much will a Personal Injury or Accident Attorney Cost?

At Garcia Preciado Law, you don't pay any attorney fees unless we win. 

What Happens if I File a Lawsuit after the Statute of Limitations?

When the insurance company does not settle, and you want to file a lawsuit, you must do so within your state's timeframe. Generally, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit. Insurance adjusters know this, and many will take advantage of it. They may try to stall or lead you on with promises they never intend to fulfill. By the time you catch on and try to file, time is up.

Meeting with a personal injury lawyer from Garcia Preciado Law soon after you suffer the injury, even if only for a FREE consultation, can help you understand your rights. If you do not file timely, you may miss your chance to receive just compensation.

Contact Garcia Preciado Law Today

If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident and are considering whether to pursue a claim, contact us to schedule a FREE consultation. Call us at 661-495-0084 or fill out our online contact form today to get started on your road to recovery.