Tag: Litigation

LAWSUIT DEADLINES – STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS

A statute of limitations is the deadline for filing a lawsuit. Most lawsuits MUST be filed within a limited amount of time. Once the statute of limitations on a potential case has expired, you do not have a valid legal claim any longer.

The period of time during which you can file a lawsuit depends on the type of legal claim. Here are the statutes of limitations for some common legal matters:

  • Personal injury: Two years from the injury.
  • Medical malpractice: Three years from the date of the injury but shortened to one year from the date of reasonable suspicion when you knew or should have known.
  • Breach of a written contract: Four years from the date the contract was broken.
  • Breach of an oral contract: Two years from the date the contract was broken.
  • Property damage: Three years from the date the damage occurred.
  • Claims against government agencies: You must file a claim with the agency within 6 months of the incident. If the claim is denied, you can then file your lawsuit in court and the regular statute of limitations applies.

Determining the statute of limitations on a claim is not easy. If you have any doubts about how to calculate the time you have, you should talk to an attorney.

Bicyclists Beware!

The California Vehicle Code 21650.1 section states that “[a] bicycle operated on a roadway, or the shoulder of a highway, shall be operated in the same direction as vehicles are required to be driven upon the roadway.”

Traffic collisions involving automobiles and bicyclists are frequent. You must be careful to obey this law. Motorists are usually looking in the opposite direction as they are merging onto the roadway and not expecting traffic from the opposite direction.

Nevertheless, you may still have a claim if you were injured in the crosswalk or the sidewalk due to the negligence of a motorist. An argument can be made that the crosswalk or sidewalk are not considered as a roadway where vehicles are driven. Bottomline, be careful!

If you are the unfortunate bicyclist who is injured due to the negligence of a motorist, call us at Berglund & Johnson (1-800-443-4878) for a free consultation.

Happy biking and be safe.

Small claims limit increase in 2012 … with exceptions!

Finally, California has increased its small claims recovery. A natural person (an individual) can get up to $10,000 in a lawsuit. Businesses and other entities (like government entities) can only get up to 5,000. This limit on businesses does not apply to sole proprietors, who are treated as natural persons. You can file as many claims as you want for up to $2,500 each. But you can only file 2 claims in a calendar year that ask for more than $2,500.

There are some exceptions to the $10,000 limit for individuals:

If you are filing a claim for bodily injuries as a result of a car accident against a person who has car insurance that includes a “duty to defend,” you can only sue that person for $7,500.

So if you are involved in a automobile accident and the damages including exceed $7,500.00 call us for a free consult.

‘Rock-N-Roll’ and Ice in Flight

Over 50 years ago in 1959, a small private single engine plane took off from Clear Lake, Iowa shortly after 1 a.m. bound for Fargo, N.D. It did not get far. A cold northeasterly wind gave way to heavy snow, reducing visibility to almost whiteout conditions. One wing hit the ground and the plane crashed. The accident claimed the lives of Rock-N-Roll legends Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, J.P. “Big Popper” Richardson and the pilot, Roger Peterson.

The cause was most likely pilot error due to inexperience with instrumentation flight. When visibility is lost due to heavy snow and high winds, it is easy to get disoriented and fly into the ground. While some have said that “Rock-N-Roll” died that day, the “Rock-N-Roll” genre of music lives on and has infiltrated country, religious and even classical music!

Dave Berglund, Senior Litigation Attorney at Berglund & Johnson is an instrument-rated pilot and understands the significant weather conditions and how the pilot’s experience can make for a safe flight. Berglund & Johnson has handled several aviation accident cases from single engine light airplanes to commercial passenger airliners, such as Southwest flight #1455, which over-shot the runway at Burbank Airport and crashed into a gas station. Berglund & Johnson’s experience as seasoned litigators, combined with having a licensed instrument rated pilot on board, makes for the right combination to represent aviation accident victims and/or their families.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of an aviation accident, call us at 1-800-4-IF-HURT (1-800-443-4878) for a free, no-obligation evaluation.

Litigation Procedures

Once you speak with a lawyer about the complexity of your case, you must make a decision on whether or not to file a lawsuit immediately or endeavor to settle your case at some point prior to formal litigation. If you decide to file a lawsuit, there are different deadlines and procedures you must adhere to:

To file a law suit, papers must be filed in court and a fee must be paid. These papers are called a “Complaint or Summons and Complaint.” The person who files the lawsuit is called the plaintiff, and the company or person being sued is the defendant. You are allotted a certain amount of time from date of the accident to file and serve a copy of the Summons and Complaint to the defendant. This is called the statute of limitations. Claims against a government entity must, normally, be filed within a much shorter period of time or you may lose your right to do so. You should consult with an attorney as soon as possible after being injured to insure your rights are fully protected.

It is important to allow yourself enough time to file your lawsuit before the statute of limitations or claims filing deadline. Waiting too long can jeopardize your case resulting in it being dismissed. Click here to read about a case that is currently dealing with issues of these limitations.

You should retain an attorney as soon as possible as many attorneys will refuse to accept your case if there is not enough time to investigate and file a timely lawsuit.

Once the case is filed with the court and the defendant is served, the discovery process begins. Discovery is the exchange of information and evidence that may be used in trial. It will include sending and responding to interrogatories that are relevant to the case. Requests for documents and retrieving materials relevant to the case are also a part of the discovery phase. Medical records, work history and financial records are allowed to be accessed by either side.

Depositions are a part of discovery. Depositions are face-to-face meetings with a party, witnesses, experts, family/friends, etc. where questions are asked under oath, and a reporter documents the session. This information can be referenced in trial so it is essential to prepare for your deposition with your attorney.

The discovery phase can take months or even years before it ends. Settlement discussions may occur if both sides want to resolve the case before a trial. Both parties will, many times, consent to participate in a Mediation process where a professional Mediator attempts to assist the parties to resolve the case prior to trial. Proper trial documents must be filed within 30 to 60 days before the trial date, depending on the state. These documents can include motions, trial memorandums, jury instructions and exhibit lists.

Most of the above information is discussed with your lawyer during your case, but I thought it would be relevant information for those thinking about pursuing a lawsuit. Berglund & Johnson has a very high success rate in resolving cases prior to trial because we are very prepared and utilize state-of-the-art litigation and courtroom techniques.