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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2015

    Default Do You Have to Make a Demand Before Suing Somebody for Injuries from an Accident

    My question involves an injury that occurred in the state of: California

    I was involved in a car accident and have sent a few demand letters to the insurance company of the person who hit me (they were at fault). The insurance company has ignored me, so I am preparing to file suit against the person who hit me. Do I need to write them a demand letter first, and if yes, does the demand letter I wrote to their insurance company satisfy this requirement? The California Court website ( says a demand letter is necessary prior to filing in small claims, but it doesn't mention whether this is also true for limited/unlimited cases (cases above $10,000 and those above $25,000, respectively). My case will be either a limited or unlimited case, not a small claims one.

    Also, speaking of limited and unlimited, after doing some basic research, I've determined that the central difference in procedure between limited and unlimited cases appears to be the discovery process. Since I am planning on representing myself, I am wondering if I should avoid filing a complaint for an unlimited case, since this will probably bring about a more onerous discovery process that I may or may not be able to handle on my own. If someone has any insight as to whether limited or unlimited would be the better choice (assuming, for a moment, that the money difference is not critical), I would greatly appreciate it.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Behind a Desk

    Default Re: Do You Have to Make a Demand Before Suing Somebody for Injuries from an Accident

    There is no comprehensive statute that requires pre-suit notice for all standard civil claims; there are some statutes that require various forms of pre-suit notice for specific types of claims (e.g., medical malpractice, rescission of contract, certain environmental claims), but they don't apply to an ordinary negligence claim arising from a car accident.

    You need to figure out what damages you intend to claim, and whether you are willing to limit your potential recovery by filing a limited jurisdiction civil case. Without that information, it would be premature to suggest filing one type of action or another.

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