California Car Accident Laws
Were You Involved In A Car Accident? Here Is What You Should Know
You are a good driver. You keep your focus on the road and what is going on around you. But this is not always good enough to prevent an accident. Someone else’s negligence and carelessness may involve you in a car crash. When it happens, you should hold the person responsible for damage to your vehicle and injuries to yourself.
To get the money you deserve, you will need to take certain steps after the accident. And at some point, you will need to hire a Los Angeles car accident injury lawyer. A Los Angeles personal injury attorney is the only professional qualified to help you through the legal waters of an injury case.
Know Your Rights—And Your Obligations
California law makes it mandatory for the driver of any vehicle involved in an accident to report the accident within 24 hours. In most instances, you will call emergency services after an accident and a police officer will be dispatched to the scene to take your statement. If you were hit by a car and the driver took off immediately—a classic hit-and-run case—then you should still call the authorities and remain at the scene until they arrive. In any case, you will need to submit a written report to the police department of the city where the accident occurred.
California law also requires you to make a report to the Department of Motor Vehicles within 10 days if anyone involved in the accident was harmed or killed or the crash caused more than $1,000 in property damage.
When an officer arrives at the scene of a crash to investigate it, they will ask you certain questions. You should be honest about what you know. However, you are not obligated to say anything that puts you at fault for the crash. If you are asked a question that you would rather not answer, you can tell the officer that you want to consult with a lawyer before proceeding.
You also have the right to gather your own evidence at the scene. Using your cell phone, you can take photographs of the damage done to your vehicle and the other one. You can also use your phone to record the statements of people who witnessed the accident. Be sure to get their contact information before you leave them.
See a Doctor
You should see a doctor immediately after the crash. Even if you are not in pain and see no obvious signs of injury, you should get yourself checked out by a trained physician. You must do so to ensure there were no internal injuries. You must also do so to get documentation of your physical condition. You may need this later on for the purposes of insurance or a lawsuit.
Reporting the Accident to Your Insurance Company
Most insurance policies require the policyholder to report the accident immediately after it has occurred. The sooner you report the accident to your insurer the sooner you can submit your claim and get your money. The longer you wait the greater opportunity the insurer will have to deny your claim.
If the other driver was at fault for the accident, then their insurance may be required to pay for your injuries. In fact, they may contact you soon after the crash to offer you a low-dollar settlement. You should not accept this money until you have spoken to your lawyer for car wrecks. In such instances, it is better for you to refer all such inquiries to your car wreck attorney in Los Angeles. It will save you from saying or doing anything that may undermine your ability to get a higher settlement.
Getting a Fair Settlement
Insurance companies are not always fair about how they process and settle claims. Their main aim is to minimize the amount of money they must pay out. To this end, they will find ways to deny coverage or offer miserly settlements. It is the job of your car wreck compensation lawyer to ensure you get the money you are entitled to.
To do this, your lawyer will need to prove that you were injured in the accident, that the accident was caused by the negligence of the respondent, and that you are therefore owed a certain amount of money in damages. Your attorney will launch their own investigation into the crash. They will employ professional investigators to go back to the scene and review traffic camera footage and any other evidence that was overlooked by police and the claims adjuster.
The investigator will also track down people who witnessed the crash. There may be someone who captured the entire thing on their cell phone. Getting this kind of evidence can go a long way toward proving the veracity of your version of events.
If you were seriously injured in the crash, it is up to your lawyer to prove that your debility is a direct result of the accident and the carelessness that led to it. Your attorney will bring in an independent medical expert to assess your injuries and make a statement about the cause of them and the prospects for your recovery. If you have suffered a permanent disability because of the crash, the expert brought in by your car accident attorney will firm up the link between it and the accident.
It is important to start this process soon after your accident. California does have a statute of limitations for bringing suit against the person who caused you injury or their insurance company. To meet this deadline, you will need to gather all the evidence and expert testimony you can before initiating a lawsuit.
The auto accident lawyer in Los Angeles that you hire will make getting you the right amount of money their top priority. They will do their utmost to prevent the case from going to trial. With the right evidence and negotiating skill, your auto accident lawyer can compel the respondent to settle the case in your favor.
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