Car accidents are common in California, and the consequences for injured victims can be devastating. The financial implications include skyrocketing medical bills and lost wages, but you may also endure pain, suffering, emotional distress, and other harm. Under state law, you may be able to recover monetary damages to compensate you for these losses, but your success depends on taking certain actions after the crash. A California auto accident attorney can guide you in handling these tasks, but you should also be aware of some Do’s and Don’ts that could affect your claim.
DO Seek Proper Medical Care Right Away. Your health should be your first priority, so make sure to get treatment for your injuries as soon as possible after the accident. Some helpful information can direct you on whether to go to the ER or an urgent care center. In addition, seeking medical care right away is important because it supports the claim that you file with the responsible driver’s insurance company. If you want too long, the insurer will assume your injuries were not too serious.
DON’T Make Statements to an Insurance Company. When you seek compensation for your losses, your claim is in the hands of an insurer that’s motivated by profits – not your best interests. Immediately upon receiving your paperwork, the claims adjuster will be looking for reasons to deny or reduce the amount you request. In making statements about the accident, you could inadvertently admit fault or otherwise hurt your claim.
DO Document the Circumstances of the Crash. If you’re physically able, you should take images and video of the scene of the accident. Note any businesses in the area, as their security cameras may have captured important images regarding the crash. Talk to any witnesses and obtain contact information if their statements could support your claim. Plus, it’s also important to write down your own notes about what happened, especially if the other driver was in violation of California’s Rules of the Road.
DON’T Overlook Your Time Restrictions. Under California’s statute of limitations, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit in court. If this time period expires, you’re prohibited from ever recovering compensation for your losses. Two years may seem like a long time, but the statute of limitations can go by quickly as you’re engaged in settlement negotiations with an insurance company.
DO Retain a Riverside, CA Auto Accidents Lawyer to Represent Your Interests
It’s tempting to think you can tackle the claims process yourself, but you put your rights at risk by taking matters into your own hands. It’s essential to work with an attorney who brings extensive experience, in-depth legal knowledge, and courtroom skills to the table in an auto accident claim.
For more information on your rights as the victim of an auto accident, please contact Wagner & Pelayes, LLP to set up a no-cost case assessment. One of our experienced attorneys can review the details of your case and provide more information on your legal remedies.