In our busy lives, it’s easy to forget that we and our loved ones may be injured in an accident or incident caused by someone else’s careless behavior. Then, if such an accident occurs, we are left feeling confused and in need of clear answers about our legal right to pursue financial compensation from those whose actions caused our injuries. Like every other state, California allows injured accident victims to seek compensation from the at-fault party, provided that you can prove that their actions resulted in your injuries. So, what happens during the personal injury claims process? Let’s take a look at what you can expect at each step of the proceeding.
Document Your Injuries
As soon as you are injured, you need to assess whether you need immediate medical attention. If so, call an ambulance and make sure you receive the treatment you need. As you wait for help to arrive, the more you can document your the scene of the accident, the more information you’ll have later on to file a successful personal injury claim. If you decide that your injuries are minor, or if the symptoms don’t set in until hours (or even days) later, make sure you still consult a doctor to receive a professional assessment of your condition. The more documentation you are able to gather, the stronger your case will be when it comes time to file a personal injury claim.
Collect Useful Evidence
In addition to gathering medical documentation relating to your injuries and taking photographs of the scene of the accident, there are other ways to increase your chances of building a successful claim. At the scene of the incident, make sure you write down the name, contact information, and insurance information of the other parties involved in the accident. If there were any witnesses to the event, ask for their names and contact information as well. Take photos of any damage to your vehicle, property, or person. If a law enforcement officer was called to the scene—which is highly recommended, no matter how severe the accident seems—there will be a police report on record with details about the incident. Make sure you ask for a copy from the responding officer, as this report can offer an accurate account of what happened.
Strategize With Your Personal Injury Attorney
Once you are ready to pursue a personal injury claim, reach out to an attorney to discuss your options. As a general rule, you must file a personal injury claim in California within two years of the date of the accident. If you fail to take legal action within this time frame, you forfeit your legal right to pursue compensation. Your lawyer will help you develop a sound legal strategy for seeking financial compensation, and you’ll likely be advised to pursue a settlement with the responsible party. By negotiating the settlement outside of the courtroom, you are more likely to resolve your matter in a more timely and cost-effective manner. However, in some cases, you and your attorney may find that a trial is the better (or only) option. Together, you’ll prepare for a hard fight, working hard to develop and present the strongest possible case.
Achieving a Resolution
Eventually, the other party and their legal team (and, in many cases, their insurer) will offer you a specific amount of compensation. If the figure is reasonable, it’s highly recommended to accept the offer and move on with your life. However, you still have the right to reject the offer and take your case to court, which may end up becoming stressful, time-consuming, and expensive. Discuss your options with your attorney and make your decision based on your best interests.
Want to learn more about the personal injury claims process in the Temecula or Murrieta area? Call Hales & Associates, A Professional Law Corporation today at 1-888-WORK (9675) to get started with a skilled and helpful personal injury lawyer who is committed to ensuring that you receive the compensation you deserve.