Recovering after a car accident can take a long time. Hospital stays can take weeks, while physical therapy can take months or years. Processing and overcoming the trauma and pain of a car accident can take even longer. However, if you plan to file a lawsuit because of the accident, you can’t wait forever. California has a strict deadline for filing claims called a “statute of limitations.” In most cases, the statute of limitations in a California car accident case is only two years. Therefore, if you or a loved one have been involved in a car accident, you need to act quickly. Don’t let the statute of limitations in California make your claim untimely. Contact a knowledgeable Long Beach car accident attorney today. What Is the Statute of Limitations for Car Accidents in California? Section 340.8 of the California Code of Civil Procedure contains the statute of limitations for car accidents. For most civil lawsuits for losses caused in a car accident, the statute of limitations in California is two years from the date of the accident. If you do not file your lawsuit within the statute of limitations, the court will most likely throw out your case. That said, this two year statute of limitations does not apply in every situation. One exception applies to car accidents involving government entities. For example, if you were rear-ended by a police vehicle and suffered injuries as a result. Since this is a claim not against a private citizen but a government entity (i.e., the police), a different statute of limitations would apply. Instead of two years, you would have only six months after the accident to file your claim. Other circumstances can extend the statute of limitations. If a minor child is injured in a car accident, the statute of limitations clock doesn’t start ticking until they are 18 years old. Two years may sound like a long time, but claims take time. Injuries may need time for treatment plans and diagnoses, and determining fault may need the consultation of experts to parse through the data and witness statements. Your attorney has a lot of work to do gathering evidence and building your case. So it’s never a good idea to wait. Instead, you should reach out to a qualified car accident attorney right away. Why Is the Statute of Limitations Only Two Years? There are several good reasons why the state limits the statute of limitations to two years. For one, limiting the time period to two years helps ensure that sufficient evidence is available. As any attorney or police officer can tell you, evidence degrades over time. Witnesses move, pass away, or simply forget key facts because memories fade over time. Physical evidence, like documents and photographs, can be lost or destroyed. As the amount of evidence decreases, it becomes harder and harder to get a fair outcome in a case. Capping the statute of limitations to only two years also gives people a sense of finality. If there were no statute of limitations, people could bring lawsuits over events that occurred 5, 10, 20, or even 30 years ago. What If I Didn’t Know I Was Injured Until a Long Time After the Car Accident? Sometimes, people feel perfectly fine after a car accident. Because they don’t see or feel any effects after the crash, they assume that they’re healthy and don’t go to a doctor. However, car accidents cause all kinds of hidden traumas, like spinal trauma and closed head injuries. Some of the injuries take months or even years to develop. If you were injured in an accident and waited too long to bring your claim, you may be ultimately barred from receiving recovery from the negligent party. Consequently, if your injury appeared months or years after the accident, you will need to consult with a qualified legal professional who will help determine whether your claim is still viable and able to file a lawsuit. I’m Short of Cash Right Now. How Can I Afford an Attorney? Many people wrongly assume that they have to pay attorneys an hourly fee. Although attorneys are sometimes paid by the hour, you can sometimes hire them on a contingency fee basis. In a contingency fee arrangement, you pay only when the attorney resolves your case in a favorable monetary outcome. Your attorney will receive a certain agreeable percentage of the payout. This method allows you to get legal representation even if you don’t have a lot of extra money available to pay upfront fees. It also means that the attorney gets paid only if they win money for you. After damages award money comes in, the attorney takes the agreed-upon percentage as their fee and the rest after disbursement of costs and medical bills will be given to you. Don’t Wait Another Day to Get Justice. Contact Us Today. Surviving a car accident is incredibly stressful. It can also be devastating to your finances and physical and mental well-being. However, do not miss your opportunity to recover compensation for your losses. You deserve to be compensated for your pain, suffering, and lost wages. So act quickly and call an attorney today. Michael A Beliz, Esq. is a dedicated and experienced personal injury attorney who can help you obtain justice. Over the course of almost two decades, Mr. Beliz has represented clients in countless car accident cases. Thanks to his stellar representation, his clients have received some amazing results over the years. If you want a qualified and compassionate attorney to represent you, look no further. Give us a call or contact us online to set up an appointment.Keep Reading
Helping Clients Navigate Injury Claims
We’re ready to help with a variety of case-types, here’s just a small example of how we can help:
Large Firm Results & Representation with Small Firm Personalized Attention & Care
Michael is determined to provide each of his clients with personal, one-on-one legal attention. With the Beliz Law Firm, you’re not a number. Each case is important to us, and we promise to treat our clients with respect. We firmly believe in providing you with a voice in your time of need. At the same time, our Long Beach Injury Lawyers focus on maximizing the value of your case - we’re ready to handle tough negotiations with the insurance company. Finally, we won’t hesitate to take your case to trial if that’s what’s needed.
I would highly recommend The Beliz Law Firm and should I need legal counsel or a personal injury lawyer in the future, Michael Beliz has become my new go-to guy.- M.M.
Long Beach Personal Injury Lawyer Michael Beliz
Small Firm Attention, Big Firm Results
Michael A. Beliz, Esq., established The Beliz Law Firm in the spring of 2011. Michael has been a practicing attorney since 2006 and worked for two of the most prominent plaintiff’s personal injury law firms in Southern California. He has extensive experience with personal injury claims and has worked on and handled hundreds of cases as an attorney in all types of accident and injury cases, including car accidents, pedestrian accidents and dog bites, and successfully recovered millions of dollars for his clients.
At the University of San Diego School of Law, Michael was a multiple-year recipient of the Delroy Richardson Endowed Law Scholarship and attained the high pass in Negotiation. In addition, he was a semi-finalist in the ATLA Intramural Mock Trial Competition. Prior to graduating from law school, Michael earned a master’s degree in economics from the University of California, Santa Barbara and his undergraduate degree from California State University, Long Beach where he was a member of the Omicron Delta Epsilon, the International Honor Society for Economics. Michael A. Beliz is admitted to the State Bar of California and United States District Court, Central District of California.
"I was referred to the Beliz Law Firm by a family friend and was not disappointed. I was a passenger in a vehicle that was hit by a drunk driver and when I needed the services of an attorney, Michael Beliz came to my work to discuss my options. He is very friendly and explains everything in effectively and in detail. He recommended a great chiropractor whom I then sought treatment from and who helped me recover from my injuries. Michael created an excellent report used in my case which allowed me to receive the maximum return in my settlement. I have already referred a family friend and recommended another long time friend to seek his services. God forbid I ever get in another serious accident, but if I do I will for sure contact Michael again to seek his help. He’s a great guy who does great work!"Y.R.
Long beach personal injury lawyer Michael Beliz represented my personal injury case this year and I’m glad I found them. In summation Michael Beliz came across as intelligent, effective, friendly, and genuine. An excellent people person and well versed attorney is a hard combination to find. Michael walked us through everything; spoke to me like a person and not a case number. He just pretty much made the whole ordeal so much easier. Michael was extremely helpful, patient and responsive with my family and me the entire time. Michael regularly checked in on me during my recovery and kept me up to date on the status of the case and conversations with the other parties’ insurance company. My case wasn’t large but he treated me as if I was one of his only cases. I would highly recommend the Beliz firm to family and friends as the highest recommendation I could offer.”M.G.
"No one wants to involve an attorney in an auto claim, but sometimes you have no choice. Michael made an unpleasant situation so much easier. He really took the time to understand everything that was going on and always gave me prompt and personal attention. He was involved immediately and took over all the interactions with the insurance companies. He became the only one I had to deal with and there were never any games with him, only sound advice. My only mistake was not calling Michael sooner. I now recommend an attorney anytime an injury is involved in an auto accident, if only so they can deal with the insurance companies’ games, and you would be hard pressed to find someone better than Michael Beliz."T.V.
Recent Results & Settlements
Michael has a long history of getting his clients the compensation they deserve. Here are a few of his recent results:
Recent Blog Posts
Although we see semi-trucks all of the time, few of us consider how incredibly dangerous they can be. And trucking accidents are very different from car accidents. Due to the enormous difference in size between a truck and a normal vehicle, it’s all too common for a semi-truck accident to cause life-altering injuries and death. Furthermore, trucks are often owned by corporations rather than individuals. This often makes trucking accident lawsuits more complicated than regular car accident lawsuits. If you or a loved one have recently been in a semi-truck accident, a lawsuit could be the best way to receive compensation for your losses. Take a moment to review some of our most frequently asked questions about these kinds of cases and contact a truck accident lawyer to discuss your specific case. FAQ #1: What Should I Do After a Semi-Truck Accident? You’re driving along the highway after work one day. Then, out of nowhere, you’re struck by a semi-truck. Things are moving fast but you need to take a few key steps to ensure your potential claim. The first thing you need to do is get yourself and your passengers to a safe place immediately. However, stay near the scene of the accident. Be sure to call the police and wait for an officer to arrive. After that, get medical attention right away either through emergency personnel arriving at the scene or going to your nearest medical provider, because many times after a collision injuries are not always apparent. If possible, you should also: Exchange information with the truck driver, Collect evidence of the scene of the accident (i.e., photos, dashcam videos), and Get the contact information of any eyewitnesses. FAQ #2: What Is My Semi-Truck Accident Lawsuit Worth? Our team gets this question all the time, but there isn’t an easy answer. You see, no trucking accident is the same under the law. The value of your case depends on several factors. One factor is the severity of your medical injuries. Were you left with a bruise, a concussion, or multiple broken bones? The more serious your medical injuries, the higher your potential compensation. Another factor is whether you missed any work because of the accident. Your damages will be greater if you miss a year of work rather than just a few hours. Yet another factor is who was at fault for the accident. Since 1975, California has followed the doctrine of pure comparative negligence. What this means is that your recovery will be limited if a judge decides that you were partially at fault for the accident. For example, let’s say you sue the truck driver’s employer after the accident. The jury decides in your favor and awards damages of $100,000. However, if a jury decides that you were 25% responsible for the accident, you will only recover $75,000. Another factor is the amount of insurance the semi-truck is carrying while being on the road. FAQ #3: How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Lawyer for a Semi-Truck Accident Lawsuit? There are two main ways that attorneys charge for their services. One way is an hourly rate that allows the client to pay over time. With this fee arrangement, the client has to pay regardless of whether they win or lose the case. The second way of paying an attorney is called a “contingency fee.” With a contingency fee, the client pays the lawyer for their services only if the client wins the case. For their fee, the lawyer takes a percentage of the client’s recovery, usually between 30% and 40%. FAQ #4: Why Should I Hire An Attorney? The reason for this is that very few people understand the full extent of their rights. The goal of the semi-trucks insurance is to resolve your potential claim as quickly as possible for as low as possible. A truck accident attorney can fix this. They can assess your case and help you understand what legal concepts are at play and sometimes even give you a rough estimate of your chances of success. Once you’ve hired an attorney, they can do several other vital tasks. First, they can collect valuable evidence, like medical records, police reports, and witness statements. Second, they can assist you with seeking medical treatment. Third, they can negotiate on your behalf with the insurance companies, the truck driving company, and other third parties. Third, they can persuasively present your case to a jury so that you can receive the compensation you deserve. FAQ #5: What Should I Do If the Truck Driver’s Insurance Company Offers Me a Settlement? Most people assume the best of others. So if an insurance company offers you a seemingly generous settlement right after the accident, you might be tempted to accept it as a nice gesture. However, you must always remember that insurance companies are not on your side. Their goal is to pay as little as possible. As such, their settlement offers may be far less than you deserve. In many cases, the initial offer may not be based on your lost wages, medical expenses, or emotional trauma. The amount is just enough for you to close your claim against the negligent driver. In addition, accepting the offer is irrevocable and prevents you from filing against the truck driving company later on. Once you hire an attorney, they will negotiate with the truck driver’s insurance company to help get you a fair recovery amount. FAQ #6: Is It Okay For Me to Just Speak with the Truck Driver’s Insurance Company? We recommend that truck accident victims avoid speaking with an insurance company unless they have an attorney. There is no law or statute that forces you to have to speak to their insurance company. In many instances talking with them is harmful to your interests. The insurance company will try to get information out of you that will help them later on. In extreme cases, they may even try to misrepresent your words and misconstrue your statements...Keep Reading
Many people think that accidents involving pedestrians mean that the driver is always at fault. However, that is not always the case. Understandably, prospective clients want to know, Can a pedestrian be at fault? Liability differs in every case, and yes, a pedestrian can be at fault in a car accident. You often hear the saying that “pedestrians have the right of way,” but that isn’t necessarily always the case. Drivers and pedestrians have a duty to act as a prudent person with reasonable care. Failure to do so could result in potential negligence against a pedestrian in an accident claim. If you sustained injuries in an accident caused by a negligent party, speak with an experienced California pedestrian injury lawyer at the Beliz Law Firm. Pedestrian Accidents in California Pedestrians have the right-of-way at marked and unmarked crosswalks in California. When a pedestrian fails to comply with the crosswalk or pedestrian laws, the driver may have the right-of-way. The law doesn’t protect pedestrians when they violate the law, such as jaywalking between vehicles. That means pedestrians can be legally at fault for causing a crash. An example would be a pedestrian who darts out between two parked cars in front of a vehicle, causing the driver to crash into the parked cars. In this case, the pedestrian might be liable for the damage to those parked vehicles. Other examples of situations where pedestrians might be liable in an accident include: Crossing at a crosswalk, but violating a traffic law such as crossing on a red light when it says don’t walk; Walking on a bridge or highway where pedestrian traffic is prohibited; or Acting recklessly, negligently, or while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. While pedestrian traffic is prohibited in places such as a highway or freeway, it doesn’t mean a driver can hit someone and have no fault. A motorist may break down and walk to a call box or get off the highway to get assistance. Drivers still have a duty to be cautious and avoid striking them. Shared Fault for Pedestrian Accidents Pedestrian accident liability is sometimes split between the driver and pedestrian, where both parties are deemed to be partially responsible for the accident. California is a pure comparative negligence state. That means you can collect a portion of your damages in an accident, even if you are primarily at fault for the collision. Even in cases where it might appear a pedestrian is clearly at fault, it’s possible the driver will still have some liability. For example, maybe a pedestrian jaywalked, but the driver was distracted and speeding or under the influence of alcohol. The defendant’s insurance company will do their best to put some if not all the liability on you, whether you’re the driver or pedestrian. Even if they can prove only 10% or 20% liability, it means they can reduce their exposure and potential payout. For example, if a jury finds you 15% at fault, you would collect 85% of your damages. It also means the other party would be able to pursue 15% of their damages from your insurance. How a California Pedestrian Injury Attorney Can Assist You If you sustained injuries in a pedestrian accident, retaining a skilled California pedestrian injury lawyer is essential. You need a legal advocate on your side who can protect your rights and help you fight for the maximum compensation in your case. When you retain the Beliz Law Firm to represent you, we will immediately open an independent investigation. Our team will order your medical records and police report, speak with witnesses, and do a scene investigation. In some cases, we may need to hire an expert, such as an accident reconstructionist. This expert will review the facts of the accident. They will prepare a report deciding whom they believe to be at fault for the collision. They can also testify on your behalf should your case eventually go to trial. An accident reconstructionist’s report can be a crucial part of your case. We will also handle all communication and settlement talks with the other party’s insurance or legal practitioners. Insurance companies rely on the fact that you don’t do this for a living. Adjusters will rarely ever offer you the total value of your claim. Instead, they will do their best to minimize your payout and put the majority of the blame on you when investigating pedestrian accident liability. Should the other party’s insurance fail to negotiate or refuse to accept any liability, we will file a lawsuit on your behalf. Contact a California Pedestrian Attorney Today If you or someone you love sustained injuries in a California auto accident with a pedestrian, contact The Beliz Law Firm. We have nearly two decades of experience assisting injured victims just like you. We understand the applicable laws and tactics insurance companies use to avoid paying damages. Our firm has the skills and resources available should you choose to proceed with preparing a case for trial. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation. We will review your case, help you identify the liable party, and assess what your case is worth. Let us determine the best course of legal action and help you fight for the compensation you deserve.Keep Reading