Car accidents that involve injuries are not uncommon. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, on average, 6,465 injuries occur from car accidents each day. The most common form of car accidents are collisions at intersections. This can occur when another driver fails to yield or runs through a red light. Other forms of accidents involve lane changes, failure to provide enough assured clear distance, and single vehicle crashes that include a roadside object or even a pedestrian or cyclist. When an injury accident happens to you, it can be life-changing. An injury accident sets a string of events in motion that can lead to lengthy physical and mental stress. It will likely involve the police, medical personnel, the courts, and your employer. It can also lead to devastating financial losses. It is why it is so critical to get legal representation as quickly as possible following an injury accident.
Car Accident Injury Compensation in California
When you suffer losses from a car accident, California law allows you to seek monetary compensation from the responsible party. These damages encompass both economic and non-economic losses. Economic damages refer to tangible items, like property and medical bills. Non-economic damages are less concrete, and deal with things like pain and suffering. Common car accident damages include the following:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages/profits
- Car rental fees
- Property damage
- Emotional distress
- Mental suffering
- Loss of affection/companionship
California, unlike most other states, does not cap the amount of damages a car accident victim may recover. Restrictions do apply, however. The length of time you have to file your claim is an important one. The state allows personal injury victims up to two years to sue for damages.
Steps to Take After a Car Accident
Safety is your first priority following a car accident. Immediately assess your physical condition and that of any passengers in your vehicle. Don’t move severely injured victims unless absolutely necessary. When possible – without suffering additional injury – move the vehicles that were involved in the collision out of traffic. Seek medical attention, even if you don’t believe that you suffered serious injury. Physical consequences from a car accident may not manifest until days, or even weeks, following the incident.
If the accident has resulted in injury, call 911. If you are able, exchange your driver’s license numbers, contact information, and insurance details with the driver of the other vehicle. But don’t engage any further. On-scene arguments do more harm than good. If there are witnesses on-scene, get their contact information. Use your cell phone to document the scene with photos and video.
Once you have taken care of any injuries with medical attention, it’s time to move forward with the legal issues. Contact your insurance company to inform them of the accident and file a claim. While you are not required to retain a lawyer, it’s advisable to seek legal counsel before negotiating with any insurance adjuster.
Items to Prove in Your California Car Accident
To receive compensation for your car accident in the state of California, you must prove two main points. First, it’s necessary to demonstrate that the negligent behavior or inaction of another person contributed to the accident. That individual’s negligence doesn’t have to be the sole cause, but there must be partial responsibility allotted to that party. However, if they are not fully responsible, recovery for your damages will be reduced – it correlates to the percentage of fault.
Second, you must prove that you suffered serious physical injury, and that the accident was the direct cause of these injuries. There are key pieces of evidence that can help you make your case.
- Police Report – While not definitive in a civil claim, a traffic citation can help prove fault
- Visual documentation – Pictures and video of the damage and the scene of the accident may help in the accident analysis. If your legal team includes an expert witness in accident reconstruction, this documentation will be helpful.
- Witnesses – Statements by passengers involved in the accident and bystanders who observed the collision are important to your case. The claims of unbiased witnesses generally have more impact.
- Type of accident – There are some types of crashes that identify fault more easily than others, such as rear-end collisions and crashes in an intersection when one driver was making a left-hand turn or ran a red light.
- Medical records – These records will back your claim of injury and, when necessary, a medical expert witness can determine the likely cause of the physical harm you suffered.
- Medical bills – To recover damages, you need to demonstrate actual losses. Medical expenses are one of the most common damages in car accident claims.
- Other bills/receipts – Keep any documentation that demonstrates accident-related expenditures.
The Effects of Car Accidents
Even if there is no injury involved, car accidents can be a significant distraction in your life. Traffic citations, insurance companies, traffic courts, repair shops and legal actions may result. When injuries are involved, there are also medical bills and the chances of legal action increase substantially. Injury accidents can lead to temporary loss of work, or even permanent disability. An injury accident not only affects those involved, but their families as well. They are serious events that need serious attention.
Get a Free Case Review
To get the results you desire, you need a legal representation with experience and one dedicated to pursue every available legal avenue. The Ledger Law Firm has experience residents can count on. We handle personal injury cases and in cases where an accidental death may have occurred. The Ledger Law Firm is large enough to have appropriate resources, yet small enough to be able to provide the personal attention you deserve. With your initial consultation we will discuss the specifics of your situation. Ultimately, you will be given the legal options available. While we consult with you and provide the needed expertise, the final choice of how to proceed is your decision. Yes, experience counts. Feel free to call us at (800) 300-0001, send an email through our contact page, or the use of our “Chat Now” feature on our website.