Hacienda Heights is nestled in the eastern San Gabriel Valley and a popular California town. Like most of California, traffic is heavy and car accidents are commonplace. While some accidents are not serious, others can lead to injuries that can affect the lives of victims forever. Fortunately, the law provides car crash victims with a way to seek compensation for their injuries. Below is an overview of California personal injury law and what to do if you have an automobile accident.
What To Do After An Accident
Having a car accident can be a stressful and traumatic time. However, it is important to keep a clear head to avoid making mistakes that could cost you money over time. The following are some things you should do right after a car accident to protect your interests:
- Pull The Car To A Safe Location Out Of Traffic But Nearby
- If You Cannot Get Out Of Traffic Place A Flare Or Cone Near The Disabled Vehicles
- Call The Police
- Get Medical Help
- Ask The Other Driver For His Contact Information, Driver License Number And Insurance Information
- Obtain A Copy Of The Police Report
While emotions are typically running high right after a car accident, it is important to keep from admitting fault in the accident. Anything you say right after an accident to the other driver, eyewitnesses or the police can be brought back up in court and used against you.
What If The Other Involved Driver Is Not Insured?
Car accidents are difficult enough without the hassle of dealing with an uninsured driver. If the other driver was at fault and is not insured, you may be able to obtain compensation for your expenses through your car insurance policy. However, this only applies if you have purchased uninsured motorist coverage in your policy.
What Happens If The At-Fault Driver Has Inadequate Coverage?
If the at-fault driver is insured, but does not have enough coverage on his policy to pay for your injuries you may need to go another route. You may be able to cover those losses with your own insurance policy if you carry underinsured motorist coverage.
What If My Expenses Are More Than Insurance Covers?
Filing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver is one way to obtain compensation for expenses that exceed insurance policy limits. While there is no guarantee of success, it may be the best way to cover your expenses.
Statute Of Limitations
Every state has a certain amount of time set aside for drivers who are hurt in traffic accidents to file a lawsuit. If you were injured in a Hacienda Heights accident, you must follow the statute of limitations set forth for the state of California. This time period is 2 years from the date of the accident. There is an exception to this rule if you were injured in an accident involving a government vehicle. In these cases, you have 6 months to file your claim.
Every car accident is different, but the damages awarded to victims in California are similar in most cases. Some of the most common damages recovered in a personal injury lawsuit include:
- Ambulance Bills
- Cost Of Emergency Medical Care
- Hospital Fees
- Doctor Bills
- Pain And Suffering
- Lost Wages
- Emotional Distress
- Physical, Occupational Or Speech Therapy Bills
- Cost Of Mental Health Counseling
How Can A Car Accident Lawyer Help?
Hiring a car accident lawyer may be beneficial in many ways. An experienced lawyer knows how to recreate accident scenes to prove who was at fault. A lawyer may also help you by hiring accident investigators, obtaining copies of police reports, talking with your doctors and negotiating a settlement with the insurance company. Studies have shown that accident victims who do not have representation are typically offered a lower first settlement than those who have a lawyer. If you cannot reach a settlement and must go to trial, your lawyer will represent you and work hard to get you the money you deserve.
Contact a car accident lawyer today if you have been hurt in a Hacienda Heights accident. Once your attorney examines your case, he will recommend the best course of action. Having an experienced lawyer is one way to make the legal process smooth and less stressful. If you are successful and obtain a fair settlement, you can look forward to healing and moving on to a bright future.