California residents must battle heavy traffic and congested highways every day, which makes accidents occur frequently. While not all car accidents are serious, those that are leave victims with injuries that can affect them the rest of their lives. The following is an overview of California personal injury law and how it can help accident victims obtain a settlement to compensate them for their injuries. If you have been injured in an Anaheim car accident, consider consulting a personal injury lawyer for information.
While automobile collisions can happen many different ways, some are more likely than others. According to the California Office Of Traffic Safety, 3,182 people were injured or killed in Anaheim car accidents in 2014 alone. The most common causes of these accidents include:
- Driving At A High Rate Of Speed
- Operating A Vehicle Under The Influence Of Drugs Or Alcohol
- Aggressive Driving
- Failing to Yield The Right Of Way
- Failure To Watch Out For Pedestrians
- Driving While Distracted By Mobile Devices Or Vehicle Occupants
To obtain compensation for your injuries, the law requires proof that the at-fault driver did not take due care or was negligent and caused you to be hurt. Since it can be difficult to prove negligence, it is best to seek legal counsel to explore all of the options available to you under California law.
Damages You May Be Awarded
If your personal injury lawsuit is successful, you may be able to obtain a settlement for certain damages related to your car accident. Some damages the court may award you are:
- Emergency Room Bills
- Cost Of Ambulance Service
- Outstanding Hospital Bills
- Cost Related To Surgery
- Medical Device Fees
- Alternate Transportation Cost
- Lost Wages
- Pain And Suffering
- Emotional Distress
- Cost Of Physical, Occupational Or Speech Therapy
When determining how much your car accident injuries are worth, your lawyer must accurately calculate your expenses, outstanding medical bills and lost wages. While the vast majority of personal injury lawsuits are settled with the at-fault party’s insurance company out of court, it is important to hire a lawyer with trial experience. This way you are prepared if a settlement cannot be negotiated.
Statute Of Limitations
After an accident, you only have a certain amount of time to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party and their insurance company. In California, the statute of limitations is 2 years from the date of your car accident. If you intend to file solely for damage to your vehicle or other personal property, the law allows you 3 years from the accident date. There is an exception if the at-fault party is driving a government issued vehicle. In these instances, you may have as little as 6 months to file your claim.
After An Accident
Many people are understandably traumatized after a car accident, but it critical to keep a calm, clear mind and focus on protecting your interests. After an accident you should:
- Seek Medical Attention
- Ask For The Other Drivers Drivers License And Insurance Information
- Call The Police For A Report
- Obtain The Contact Information Of Any Eyewitnesses
- Report The Accident To Your Insurance Compay
- Never Admit Fault In The Accident To Witnesses Or The Other Driver
- Contact A Lawyer
How A Lawyer Can Help
Hiring a lawyer can increase the likelihood of obtaining a fair settlement for your injuries sustained in your car collision. Your lawyer may help prove your case by:
- Hiring Accident Investigators
- Obtaining Police Reports
- Speaking With Your Doctors
- Entering Into Negotiations With The Insurance Company
- Filing Your Lawsuit In Court
- Representing You At Trial
Insurance companies typically offer lower settlements to accident victims who do not have legal representation. They know you may be suffering financial hardships due to medical bills and lost wages, making it hard to turn down an offer. However, a lawyer may be able to negotiate a settlement that will not only cover your current expenses, but loss of wages in the future if you are disabled and cannot return to work.
Being injured in a car accident is a traumatic experience, but it can be minimized by having an experienced car accident lawyer on your side. Once a lawyer has examined your case, he will let you know the best way to obtain a fair settlement for your injuries.