If you suffered an injury in an auto accident, you are far from alone. Every day, people throughout Southern California find themselves involved in an unfortunate and unexpected car collision. Even the most cautious drivers may be struck by a distracted or negligent driver. As you focus on your physical recovery, you may worry about how you will be able to afford the costly medical bills, lost wages, and other unanticipated expenses stemming from your auto accident injury. In California, car accident victims have the right to pursue compensation to help cover these costs. Below are some answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about auto accident injuries in Riverside County.
What Steps Should I Take Following a California Car Accident?
The moments after a collision can be disorienting and overwhelming. First, assess yourself and others at the scene for any severe injuries requiring immediate medical attention. You should also contact law enforcement so the responding officer can compile a traffic collision report. This document will serve as an objective account of the moments leading up to the accident and the details of the scene—elements that will be useful when you initiate your auto accident claim. Be sure to gather the contact and insurance information of the other driver involved in the accident, and gather the names and contact information of any witnesses who may be willing to provide details about the accident. It’s also highly recommended that you contact an experienced Temecula auto accident attorney as soon as possible to discuss your situation and understand how to pursue a successful auto accident claim.
How Do Motor Vehicle Crash Claims Work in California?
As you prepare to recover compensation from the party responsible for the accident and your injuries, you will need to focus on proving four main sets of facts. Essentially, you will have to establish that the other driver had the legal obligation to exercise reasonable care when driving, but this party failed to uphold their duty of care by engaging in careless or reckless acts. Next, you must show a direct link between their breach of duty and the accident causing your injuries, establishing that the crash would not have occurred if the other driver had acted reasonably and carefully. Finally, you will need to demonstrate that you suffered losses (financial or otherwise) because of your injuries. Although some individuals elect to navigate this legal process without legal representation, working with a trusted and experienced Murrieta auto accident lawyer is the best way to ensure you maximize your settlement offer and obtain your desired outcome.
What is Comparative Negligence in California?
Like many states, California follows a comparative negligence system when determining auto accident settlements. Comparative negligence laws recognize that multiple parties may play a role in the accident, so they are only entitled to recover compensation that’s proportional to their degree of responsibility. First, insurance companies will investigate the circumstances and factors contributing to the accident to determine the role each party had played. For example, if the investigation shows that you were 20 percent to blame for the accident, you will only be able to recover 80 percent of the total award.
How Much Can I Recover After an Auto Accident Injury?
It’s natural to want to know exactly how much you can recover from your auto accident claim. However, it takes time to calculate and estimate the value of your claim, as it relies on several factors. Working with a seasoned California auto accident lawyer is the best way to determine your claim’s approximate worth. Together, you can gather any medical bills, physical therapy bills, pay stubs showing lost income, and other documents that illustrate the financial impact your injuries have caused you. Depending on your situation, you may be able to obtain damages for pain and suffering, emotional distress, and other emotional or mental issues the accident has caused you. It’s best to work with your attorney to determine the worth of your claim. With this figure in mind, you can accept a settlement or negotiate it further to obtain a more favorable outcome.
Do I Need to Hire an Attorney After a Car Accident?
One of the most common questions auto accident victims have is whether they need to work with a lawyer to pursue compensation. While the law does not require injured car accident victims to retain an attorney, doing so is highly recommended. The days, weeks, and months after an auto accident can be chaotic and confusing, and the thought of battling with insurance adjusters trying to undermine your claim or deny you the compensation you’re owed can be stressful. Enlisting the help of a skilled attorney allows you to focus on your recovery while they handle these negotiations and work hard to secure a favorable outcome on your behalf. Your attorney is there to answer your questions, address your concerns, and help you make informed decisions with better clarity and confidence.
If you need help recovering compensation after suffering a car accident injury in Temecula or Murrieta, call Hales & Associates, A Professional Law Corporation, today at (951) 489-3320 to get started.