Who Can You Sue in a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
If you’ve been injured in an accident in Riverside, CA, then you may wonder whether you have an actionable personal injury claim under California State Law. California entitles you to damages if you were harmed due to the negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct of another party. Diving into the facts of a personal injury case can be challenging, even for first-time plaintiffs. As such, it’s worth consulting an experienced Riverside personal injury attorney near you for an injury case evaluation, and for guidance on how best to proceed.
Contact our team here at 1-800-THE-LAW2 for a free consultation with an experienced Riverside personal injury attorney in our legal network. We’ll get you started and give you clarity as to what you’ll have to do next to secure the financial compensation you deserve.
There Are Many Potential Defendants
When an accident has occurred, most injury victims believe that if they do have a damages claim, it would involve the defendant they consider obviously at fault for the car accident accident. For example, in a motor vehicle accident, the defendant-driver who caused the collision with your vehicle.
Often, personal injury disputes involve other, multiple defendants who aren’t obvious. It is worth evaluating who you can sue, as it is strategically advantageous to bring in defendants who have the financial resources to cover your damages (i.e., it’s strategically advantageous to sue a business with substantial insurance coverage, as opposed to suing a driver who has a low value auto insurance plan).
Let’s take a brief look at potential defendants who might be relevant to your case. Bear in mind that whether you can sue the defendant depends on the specific facts of your case, and so you’ll want to consult an attorney for a thorough and case-specific analysis.
If the defendant who caused your accident was acting within the “course and scope” of their employment at the time of the accident, then you can impose liability on their employer under a theory of vicarious liability. This enables you to recover all the damages owed by the defendant, but from the employer, who is likely to have substantial insurance coverage to pay out from.
Oftentimes, an accident is caused, or at least partially caused, by a defective product. For example, a car accident may be caused by defective brakes. In these scenarios, it may be possible to sue the product manufacturer for damages.
Government (i.e., a Public Agency)
The government is a challenging defendant to sue, as there are a number of restrictions on litigation (i.e., shorter statute of limitations period, certain statutory immunities attach to the government). Still, it’s worth suing them if they are potentially responsible for causing your injuries.
For example, if a tree falls on your car, the city government might be responsible if they failed to properly inspect and maintain the treeline in a safe condition.
In many accident cases, there are other defendants in the “chain of causation” who also contributed to your injuries — they just aren’t obvious until you dive deeper into the facts of the case. These defendants can be sued, and can be made to pay compensation for the portion of fault they’re responsible for.
For example, in a rear-end accident, you might think that the defendant-driver who collided with your car is the only person responsible — but diving into the case further, you may discover that another car collided with the defendant’s, causing them to lose control and rear-end yours. That third-party driver can be sued.