Personal injury law in Southern California is a legislative framework for imposing liability when one is injured due to another person or entity’s negligence or wrongful actions. If you have suffered injuries due to the negligence or recklessness of someone else, understanding the personal injury laws in Southern California is imperative to protect your rights, navigate the legal system and obtain fair compensation for your injuries.

Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Lawsuits in Southern California

A statute of limitations is the time an individual has to file a personal injury claim. California’s statute of limitations for personal injury cases is two years from the accident date, as per CCP section 335.1. However, claims against government entities have a shorter statute of limitations of six months. Consulting with a qualified personal injury lawyer as soon as possible is crucial to ensure you do not miss the statute of limitations deadline.

Pedestrian Laws in Southern California

In southern California, pedestrians:

  • Have the right of way in crosswalks, whether marked or unmarked 
  • Must yield to drivers when crossing a street that is not in a marked or unmarked crosswalk
  • Must wait for an illuminated “walk” sign to cross the street
  • Must exercise due care and not walk or run into the path of a vehicle so close that it is an immediate hazard.

Motorcycle Laws in Southern California

As a popular destination for motorcycle enthusiasts, California law requires motorcycle riders to:

  • Wear helmets when riding, including their passengers
  • Turn on headlights during darkness
  • Be extra cautious and aware of unique risks, such as lane splitting, which is legal in California.

Driving Laws in Southern California 

Driving laws in California are designed to promote safety on the roadways. These are laws concerning:

  • Seat belt: Drivers and passengers must wear seat belts.
  • Following: Drivers must maintain a reasonable following distance behind other vehicles, considering traffic conditions and the speed of other drivers.
  • Passing: When passing, drivers must pass to the left at a safe distance and remain in the passing lane until it is safe to return to the right lane. 
  • Turning left: Drivers must use an appropriate turn signal before turning left. They must also ensure they can make the turn safely.
  • Intersections: If two drivers arrive at an intersection simultaneously, the driver on the left must give way to the driver on the right.
  • Mobile devices: It is illegal for drivers in Southern California to use a mobile device while operating a motor vehicle, except where the device is configured to allow voice-operated and hands-free operation for sending and receiving text messages.

Insurance Requirements in Southern California

California laws require all motorists to carry liability insurance to cover damages they may cause in an accident. The minimum liability insurance requirements are:

  • $15,000 for one person
  • $30,000 for injury or death of two or more people
  • $5,000 for property damage

Strict Liability for Dog Bites in Southern California

California has a strict liability law for dog bites. This means that if a dog bites someone in public or when lawfully on private property, the owner is accountable for the injuries and damages, regardless of whether or not the owner knew of the dog’s propensity to bite or was negligent.

Comparative Negligence in Southern California

Personal injury cases in California are based on a pure comparative negligence rule, which means that even if you contributed to your injury, you could still recover damages from the other party. However, your damages will be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to you. For example, if you are found 10% at fault for an accident and the damages awarded are $100,000, your compensation would be reduced to $90,000.

Premises Liability in Southern California

Premises liability law in California holds property owners responsible for injuries or damages in their premises due to negligence. In addition to showing that the property owner was negligent, the injured person must prove the premises’ ownership, possession, and management.

Burden of Proof in Southern California

Personal injury cases in California are treated as civil cases. This means that unlike in criminal cases where the prosecution carries the burden of proving the defendant’s guilt, the burden of proof in a personal injury case is on the plaintiff, who must prove that the defendant was negligent and their negligence caused the plaintiff’s injury. There are two types of burden of proof in California personal injury cases:

  • Preponderance of the evidence: The most frequent standard of proof required in personal injury cases is a preponderance of the evidence, which means that the plaintiff must show that it is more likely than not that the defendant’s negligence caused their injury.
  • Clear and convincing evidence: This is a more stringent standard of proof used in cases involving fraud, malice, and oppression, among others. With this standard of proof, the evidence must be substantially more likely to be true than not true.

Product Defect Laws in Southern California

In California, the product defect law allows individuals injured by a defective product to seek compensation. To be reimbursed, the victim must prove that:

  • The defendant designed, manufactured, or sold a defective product
  • The product left the defendant’s premises with an unreasonably dangerous defect
  • The victim used the product in a reasonable way
  • The defect caused the victim’s injuries 

Are You Looking for a Personal Injury Lawyer in Southern California?

If you are looking for a seasoned personal injury lawyer in Southern California, look no further than Avaness Law. We can guide you through the claims process and assist you in recovering maximum compensation for your damages. Contact the seasoned Burbank personal injury lawyer today for a free consultation.