Car accidents are an unfortunate part of life. As careful as we may be behind the wheel, we may still find ourselves struck by another driver at some point. The aftermath of a Southern California car accident is often overwhelming and chaotic, so it’s important to prioritize your health and seek medical attention as soon as possible. While you focus on your physical recovery, you may worry about how you will be able to afford the expenses stemming from the accident, such as medical bills, physical therapy costs, lost wages, and other unanticipated treatments. California gives car accident victims the right to pursue compensation from insurance companies or the at-fault driver to help cover these costs. However, the claims process takes time, so it’s natural to wonder how long it will take to obtain the compensation you need to support your recovery. Below are some tips for ensuring that the process moves forward smoothly and efficiently so you can recover the compensation you deserve as quickly as possible.
Understanding the Typical Auto Accident Settlement Timeline
When a car accident occurs in Riverside County, there are steps that the parties must take to initiate the claims process. If you suffered an injury, report the accident to your insurance company and the at-fault driver’s insurance company. An insurance adjuster will investigate the accident and determine each party’s role in causing the accident. Since California is a “comparative negligence” state, an injured party may only recover compensation proportional to their percentage of fault in the accident. For instance, if the investigation finds the injured driver 20 percent responsible for the accident, they are only entitled to recover 80 percent of the total award. The final stages of the auto accident claim process can be particularly stressful, as insurance companies will attempt to pay you as little as possible to protect their bottom lines. Enlisting the assistance of an experienced Temecula auto accident lawyer is the best way to ensure you maximize your settlement offer.
How to Streamline and Shorten the Settlement Timeline
It takes time to recover a settlement after sustaining a car accident injury. However, there are some steps you can take to ensure that the process moves forward more smoothly and efficiently. Let’s explore some of these strategies to help you obtain the compensation you need to support your physical and financial recovery.
Seek Medical Attention
Serious injuries at the scene of the accident require a hospital visit, but what about more minor injuries? Unfortunately, many auto accident victims do not believe their injuries are severe enough to warrant a trip to the doctor. Without documentation that details the nature and extent of your injuries, it’s difficult for insurance adjusters to take your claim seriously. Have your injuries evaluated by a medical professional after the accident, and use this paperwork to strengthen your claim. The cost of the visit, as well as the costs for any recommended therapies, surgeries, or medications, can be used to calculate your claim’s worth. Additionally, the doctor can assess you for any harder-to-detect injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries or internal bleeding.
Contact Local Law Enforcement at the Scene
The scene of a car collision is often busy and chaotic. However, it’s in your best interest to report the accident to local law enforcement. The responding officer will compile a police report that includes key details of the accident: the names and contact information of those involved, witness statements, descriptions of the scene, and any other relevant information. Essentially, the police report serves as an objective account of the scene, and you can use this document to build a compelling insurance claim when you start the process.
Avoid Admitting Fault
One of the most common mistakes that auto accident victims make is admitting fault or apologizing for the accident. It’s up to the insurance adjusters to investigate the accident and determine which party should be held accountable for the collision—admitting that you caused the accident will likely make it much harder (or impossible) to obtain compensation. Protect your best interests by refraining from making statements expressing your guilt or responsibility for causing the crash.
Work With a Skilled Attorney to Maximize Your Settlement
Auto accident victims who enlist the support of an experienced attorney are more likely to obtain a favorable settlement offer than those who represent themselves. Your attorney understands how to negotiate with insurance adjusters and push for the best possible outcome on your behalf. They will guide you through each step of the settlement process and address any questions or issues that may arise. Let your lawyer advocate for your best interests while you focus on your physical recovery.
If you need help collecting compensation following an auto accident injury in Temecula or Murrieta, call Hales & Associates, A Professional Law Corporation, at (951) 489-3320 to speak with a trusted and experienced attorney.