If you were injured in a car accident, the first step you should take would be to call the police. Ask them to come out to do a police report to get the facts of the accident. Take pictures of the accident scene, and if possible, take pictures before the cars are moved. While you can take more pictures of the vehicles after they’re moved, it’s important to get them before they’re moved so you can show how the impact happened. Get the information of the other parties involved (their driver’s license, their insurance card). Don’t forget to take pictures of their vehicle and pictures of them, if possible.
Then, go to the hospital or an urgent care and make an appointment with your primary doctor as soon as possible. It’s important to begin treatment sooner rather than later. A long gap from the time of the accident to treatment doesn’t help your personal injury case. Report the accident to your insurance company, and finally, call an attorney.
If I Was Partially at Fault for the Car Accident, How Would That Impact My Orange County Personal Injury Claim?
In California, if you’re partially at fault, you are still able to recover for your injuries. Your recovery would be reduced by the percentage that you are put at fault. For example, if you are 50% at fault for the accident, you would be able to recover 50% of what your full value of the claim would be. The same would be true if you were 30% at fault; in that case, you’d recover 70% of the value.
How Long After a Car Accident Do I Have to File a Personal Injury Claim in California?
The statute of limitations in California is two years on a personal injury claim, meaning you have two years from the date of the accident until a lawsuit has to be filed. You can file a claim at any point within that two-year timeframe. The only caveat to that would be if a governmental entity is at fault for your claim; in that case, you’d have to file a claim within six months of the accident. They generally deny the claim, and then you’d have six months from the date of the denial to file a lawsuit.
If I Was Hit by an Uninsured or Underinsured Driver in California, Do I Have Any Chance of Recovering Financially from My Injuries?
In California, if you carry uninsured motorist coverage, you would be able to recover from your own insurance, just as if the uninsured driver that caused the accident had insurance. Your insurance would step in for the uninsured driver. If the party that hit you did not have enough insurance—in other words, the value of your claim is worth more than the insurance they carry—then in California, you’re able to use your underinsured motorist coverage, which is included with uninsured motorist, as long as your underinsured motorist coverage limits are higher than the underinsured driver’s limits.
The Insurance Company Offered Me a Settlement Right Away. Should I Just Go Ahead and Take It, or Could I End Up with More If I Continue with My OC Car Accident Injury Case?
Generally, you should never take a settlement that’s offered right away. In order to keep their money, what the insurance companies do is offer these quick settlements, often before you even know what your injuries are. If you accept the offer but then later discover you need surgery or have a significant injury, you’ve already settled your case and you are unable to recover any more than you already settled for.
If you were to continue with your personal injury case, it’s very rare that you would end up with less money than what they offered you originally. Hiring an attorney increases your chances of getting fair compensation for your damages.
If It’s Clear the Other Driver Was at Fault, Do I Still Need to Hire an Orange County Personal Injury Attorney for My Car Accident Case?
It’s still a good idea to hire an attorney. The insurance companies are in the business of making money, and they will try to exploit any advantage that they can. One of the big advantages is people who aren’t represented. The insurance companies do this every day, so they’re able to manipulate people. One of the things we hear often is “The adjuster was really nice and helpful for the first two weeks, and now they are being mean and they are hard to get a hold of.” By that point, they’ve perhaps managed to keep you from going to the doctor. In the end, they’ll offer you a low amount and say, “Well, you didn’t go to the doctor right away, so you couldn’t have been all that hurt.” Your attorney will prevent that from happening.
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