| Read Time: 2 minutes | Auto Accidents

Were you in a car accident with a minor child who sustained injuries?

If you were in a car accident that involved a minor child, and you and the minor child sustained injuries, you both may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, which may include compensation for your medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other resulting harms or losses from the accident. Often these cases are resolved through a settlement agreement, whether before or after filing a lawsuit.   When the car accident caused injuries to a minor child, there are important factors to consider when reaching a settlement. Generally, the court must approve a settlement that includes a minor child because the minor child does not have the legal capacity to enter into a binding contract as a matter of law. The court can appoint someone with the legal power to represent the minor child and enter into a settlement agreement on his or her behalf. Often though, a formal appointment is not needed because the minor child lives under the care of a parent who is not being sued. Accordingly, the parent can represent the minor child and enter into a settlement agreement on behalf of the minor child.   The court, however, must still approve the settlement agreement, and may schedule a hearing. If the matter is settled before filing a lawsuit, the settlement agreement must be filed with the court for its approval in the county where the child resides. If the matter is settled following the filing of a lawsuit, then the judge assigned to the case would have to approve the settlement agreement. Without the court’s approval, a settlement agreement on behalf a minor child may not be valid and enforceable, so it is important to follow the required procedure.  

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Auto Accidents

Were you injured in a car accident and partly at fault?

If you were in a car accident, sustained injuries, and were partly at fault in the accident, you may still have a right to recover compensation for your damages, which may include compensation for your injuries, property damages, and other losses resulting from the accident. Being partly at fault does not mean that you do not recover any compensation for your injuries; rather, it will depend on how much you were at fault.   California is called a comparative fault state, which means that when there is a car accident for which more than one driver is responsible, each driver’s contribution to the car accident is assessed to determine how much compensation a driver can receive. For example, suppose you are driving on a four-lane street and a driver in the lane next to you merges into your lane. The driver does not signal or look over his shoulder to see if there is a car in his blind spot, and he hits your car. The other driver’s unsafe merger causes you to suffer physical injuries and car damage, totaling $10,000 in damages. An investigation finds that while the other driver was 90% at fault, you were 10% at fault because you were driving 20 miles above the speed limit, which contributed to the accident. Consequently, if your recovery totals $10,000 for the damages you sustained from the car accident, your recovery will be proportionally reduced by your fault, which in this example would be 10% or $1,000, leaving you with a total recovery of $9,000.  

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Personal Injury

Did you suffer an injury directly or indirectly because of a government entity?

You have a right to sue a government entity to receive compensation for an injury you may have suffered directly or indirectly because of the conduct of an employee, agent, or the government entity. However, when suing a government entity, there may be additional steps to follow.   Generally, California law requires that each injured person first file a claim directly with the government entity within 6 months of the injury date before filing a lawsuit in court. This step is required mainly because it informs the government entity about your claim, allows it to investigate and collect evidence, and allows it the opportunity to attempt to resolve your claim with you before litigation. You do not have to accept whatever determination the government entity makes. After allowing the government entity to review your claim, you can file a lawsuit against it in court. If the government entity does not first receive your claim, a lawsuit filed against it in court may be dismissed.   There are time limits to file not only a claim with the government entity, but also a lawsuit in court, so act quickly. The time to file your claim with a government entity may vary, but each entity should make this information available to you. A good rule of thumb is to file immediately because there is generally a 6-month time limit to file a lawsuit in court against a government entity. If you file a lawsuit after the time limit has passed, your lawsuit could be dismissed. Thus, you should file your claim with the government entity immediately, so that you preserve your right to file a lawsuit in court.  

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