Most of us don't think much about our car insurance policy until that dreaded day when we get into a car accident. In the aftermath of a car accident, we get anxious about what this traumatic event might bring – mounting medical expenses, lost income as you recover from the injuries and other unforeseen expenses. This time period after a car accident can be daunting and you may be wondering how to pursue a claim.
The experienced Los Angeles car accident attorneys at the Vaziri Law Group are eager to help you find a way to secure monetary compensation for your losses. We aim to assist injured victims like you as well as families of victims navigate their way through a complex legal process. Our goal is not just to give you peace of mind, but also to equip you with the knowledge and understanding of how to file a claim for compensation after a California car accident.
Comparative Negligence in California: What it Means
Under California law, the responsibility for an accident is divided between the parties involved and the amount of the claim is dependent on the degree of fault on the part of each driver. For example, if someone failed to yield the right of way and struck you, they are responsible for your damages and often, could be found 100% at fault.
However, if it is determined that you were driving at an unsafe speed, you may be assigned some fault. So, you could still receive compensation for your losses, but a small percentage may be deducted from the total account to account for your share of fault in the accident. So, under this law, you could seek compensation for a car accident even if you are partially at fault.
What Should You Do After the Car Accident?
Swift action is necessary after a car accident in order to protect your rights. First, make sure you seek and obtain medical attention soon afterward. It is crucial to seek help even if you feel “fine” after a crash. Internal injuries and other types of injuries may not surface immediately afterward. Waiting too long to see a medical professional after your crash could work against you in the claims process.
File a claim with your insurance company as soon as possible. Your claim could be denied if you wait too long to file an accident report. In addition to physical injuries, you may also be undergoing emotional suffering and stress, because a car accident is a traumatic event.
What Does Filing a Claim Do?
When you file a first-party claim with your insurance company, your collision coverage will cover the cost of damage to your vehicle. Medical payments coverage will pay your medical bills up to your policy limit. This might include visits to the emergency room, doctor's office visits, cost of medication, etc.
California law requires all motorists to carry insurance. At the very least, drivers must carry $15,000 in personal injury insurance for one person, $5,000 for property and $30,000 for injury to more than one person. You could choose to get insurance through private insurance companies or if you qualify, you can also buy auto insurance through a program set up for low-income drivers.
What Happens if the Other Driver is Uninsured or Underinsured?
Even though driving without auto insurance is illegal, there are a number of motorists statewide who don't have insurance or don't have sufficient insurance. If you are involved in an accident with an uninsured driver, you do have the option to retain the services of a lawyer and file a personal injury lawsuit to get financial compensation from the driver's assets. However, those without auto insurance typically won't have significant assets to recovery.
You should be able to get coverage for collision damage and medical bills from your insurance policy. Also, if you have uninsured/underinsured motorist protection, which we strongly recommend, you can file a claim with your own insurance company. Our car accident lawyers will explore other avenues of compensation in your case as well.
How Long Will It Take to Get Money from a Car Accident Claim?
Insurance companies in California are required under the law to open a good faith investigation within 15 days of being notified of a claim. You do not have to inform the insurance company in writing. You can do so with a phone call. The insurance company has 40 days to accept or deny the claim after it has been proved.
A car accident claim could take longer to resolve when fault is at issue. It could also take longer if serious injuries or deaths are involved. You can expedite the process by reaching out and seeking the help of an experienced California car accident attorney who has a thorough knowledge of the claims process and can put you in the best position to receive maximum compensation.
Why You Need a Car Accident Lawyer
You may not need a lawyer if your claim is simple and straightforward. However, if you have suffered serious injuries, it is imperative that you get an experienced California car accident lawyer on your side early on in the process. A knowledgeable lawyer can help you collect, compile and present evidence. He or she can also keep you from making mistakes that could potentially jeopardize your car accident claim.
At the Vaziri Law Group, our car accident lawyers have a long and successful track record of fighting for our injured clients' rights. We are here to help you and your family through this challenging time. Call us to obtain more information about pursuing your legal rights.
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