In California, car accidents cause over 200,000 injuries and over 3,000 deaths every year. Car accident injuries can leave you with large medical bills, lifelong injuries and disabilities, property damage to your vehicle, and cause emotional pain and suffering.
If you have been in a car accident, YMPK Law Group’s experienced Los Angeles car accident lawyers can help fight for you.
Motorist Accidents in Los Angeles
It is estimated that each year over 160,000 people experience a car accident in the state of California. Being informed of the law, steps to take when reporting an accident, and filing an insurance claim are crucial to getting the most out of your car accident claim.
Things to Do In California Following a Car Accident
According to the California Department of Motor Vehicle, it is state law that you must report any accidents involving an automobile. This includes hitting animals and property. You have ten days to report an accident regardless of who is at fault.
Drivers in California are expected to act responsibly, notify the police of the incident, and call for medical assistance if anyone is injured. Here is a checklist of what to do if you are ever involved in a car accident:
- First check to make sure it is safe
- Call 911 and offer help to anyone injured
- Turn on your hazard lights
- Exchange driver’s license and insurance information
- Get the name, address, and phone number of the other driver
- Take photos of both vehicles and the area of the incident
- Talk with witnesses if possible
- Do not admit fault
- Give a full statement to the police
- Accept medical help
Who to Contact Following an Accident
After an accident, you will want to contact your auto insurance company. You will have to give a statement to your insurance company. Seek medical treatment even if you were uninjured in the accident. You could have an injury that you are unaware of such as whiplash.
Some additional steps that should be taken after a crash are:
- Getting a copy of the police report
- Retrieving an evaluation of property damage
- Keeping track of lost wages and medical treatments
Following these steps will protect your best interests and help you recover damages you have suffered. Before contacting the other driver’s insurance company, you should consult with a car accident attorney for legal advice.
When You Have an Insurance Claim
Having costs greater than the settlement being offered is one of the hardships people experience when dealing with car insurance companies. The goal of insurance companies it to pay the claimant as little as possible when settling a claim. It’s imperative that you don’t agree to the settlement until you have reviewed the full extent of your losses.
Statute of Limitations Concerning Car accident Claims in California
There is a two-year statute of limitations for car accident claims in California. The term for the two-year period starts from the moment the accident occurs. This law is covered under California Code of Civil Procedure Section 335.1.
Property damage caused from auto accidents has a three-year statute of limitations.
California Is an At-fault Insurance State
A motorist in California is not required to carry no-fault insurance. California’s Compulsory Financial Responsibility Law requires its drivers to be financially responsible for injury or damage caused by an accident, regardless of who caused the incident. This means drivers are obligated to carry liability coverage insurance.
Pure Comparative Negligence Rule in California
In California both drivers share some blame in an accident. This is called “apportionment of fault”. Recovery for damages is reduced by the percentage of fault that is proportionate to negligence. For example, you are hit by someone who was drinking and driving, but they file a claim for injuries because you didn’t completely stop at a stop sign, he or she may be able to recover diminutive damages.
Determining if You Need a Personal Injury Car Accident Lawyer
You are entitled to recovery for any damages you have suffered from a car crash. Seeking advice from a car accident lawyer can help determine your compensation. Things to take into consideration when determining if you need a car accident attorney are:
- If you have suffered major casualties
- Medical debt
- Significant loss of wages due to trauma from your accident
- Permanent disabilities from injuries sustained
Insurance adjusters’ minimum settlement claim and disputes
Insurance companies want to pay a minimal amount a settlement. Adjusters may label your claim as a “nuisance value settlement.” Reasons your claim may be evaluated this way are:
- You are at fault for the crash
- The claimant has no real physical trauma or injuries were not caused by the incident
- Another party is completely at fault
If an insurance adjuster finds any of these reasons as justification when evaluating your claim, they may deny your claim completely.
Personal Injury Attorneys in Los Angeles Specializing in Car Accident Law
California’s laws regarding car accidents are complex. Taking the proper steps after an accident are important in protecting your rights and preserving your ability to file claim. Insurance companies try to settle claims quickly and you may not receive what you need to cover your damages. At YMPK Law Group, we can assist you with investigating your claim and negotiating on your behalf. We will pursue the full compensation that you deserve.