A motor vehicle accident can be a terribly upsetting experience. The serious injuries many individuals sustain can take a toll on them financially and emotionally, in addition to the physical pain they must endure. Even after the initial pain and suffering subsides, the worrisome questions of how long it will take to recover and whether you will ever fully heal can be mentally exhausting.
On top of the physical injuries an individual may sustain in a crash, additional stressors such as the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle while also dealing with extensive medical bills can make it seem as though you will never get caught up. In most cases, there is sure to be an intense battle with the insurance company and the individual who caused the accident. With so much to worry about, it is crucial to have the representation of a skilled Elk Grove motor vehicle accidents lawyer. The Professionals at The Ward Firm have extensive knowledge and experience going up against the big insurance companies to ease your stress and make the process easier.
What Is the First Thing You Should Do After a Car Accident?
The very first thing you should do after an accident is to exchange information with the other driver and gather any evidence and witness information that you can if you are physically able. This may not be possible if you are seriously injured, and even if it is, you should seek medical attention immediately. You may be suffering from injuries that will not be apparent until days or even weeks after the crash, so it is vital to have a medical professional evaluate your condition and document your progress during this time.
Some individuals are hesitant to seek medical care because they don’t have medical insurance, but it is extremely important to get the care you need. Your Elk Grove motor vehicle accident lawyer will be able to help you recover compensation for the medical expenses that result from your accident.
You should also avoid talking to the insurance companies before you have spoken to an attorney. These companies have techniques aimed at getting you to say something that may incriminate you or minimize the compensation you are entitled to, so it is vital to speak to a lawyer first and let them deal with the insurance. Your attorney will be able to ensure that your legal rights are respected and help to maximize your claim against these corporations.
Is It Worth Getting an Attorney for a Car Accident in Elk Grove?
Most individuals who have sustained property damage and personal injury in a traffic accident initially call their insurance company as well as that of the at-fault party to seek compensation for their losses. The big question that always remains, however, is whether it is worth seeking the counsel of an injury attorney or an accident lawyer to get the most out of your case.
In most cases, especially regarding car accidents that resulted in bodily injury or costly material damage, it is worthwhile to seek the advice of a knowledgeable injury lawyer or car accident attorney. They will have the expertise to advise you on how to proceed and let you know whether you have a case that is likely to go to court or one that can be settled without a lengthy legal battle.
The Elk Grove car accident lawyers at The Ward Firm can ease your worries and advise you on the various facets of complicated insurance claims. Most importantly, they have the experience to guide you through the legal process and help you to avoid paying for expenses that should not be your responsibility if another individual caused your accident through reckless or careless behavior.
Is It Worth Getting a Lawyer for Minor Car Accidents?
If you have been in an accident that didn’t result in major damages or injuries at first glance, it may seem pointless to invest in legal counsel, but many people find that this is a terrible mistake in the end.
In the state of California, drivers are legally obligated to report any crash that results in injury, death, or collective property damage that amounts to more than $1,000. In some cities, you are also obligated to report more minor accidents. Since there may be injuries or damages that are not immediately apparent, it is vital to report the accident and wise to contact an attorney right away.
Don’t Let the Details Get Murky with Injury Law
Another factor to consider is that it is best to report the accident and seek legal representation while the facts of the case are still fresh in your mind. Once you leave the scene of the crash and go about your day, the facts of the case, even for a minor accident, start to fade. This can be especially difficult to pursue when you sustain injuries that you are unaware of for several days after the crash.
When most people think of injuries, they picture head wounds, lacerations, and broken bones. What accident victims fail to take into consideration is the fact that they may have contusions, stretched ligaments, strained tendons, and other physical injuries that they don’t notice in the first moments after a car accident occurs. For this reason, you should always be evaluated by a doctor just after an accident to ensure that you haven’t sustained any injuries that may be hard to prove in court if you haven’t filed a police report and an insurance claim.
Don’t Risk Being Surprised by a Lawsuit Against You
When you have been in a minor collision, and you exchange information with the other driver and drive off without filing a police report, you place yourself at risk of being sued. Many individuals who do this are shocked weeks later when they get a summons to appear in court for a claim the other party has filed against them.
Part of the reason this is so shocking is because when the other party was at fault, and each of you knew that at the time of the accident, you make the “reasonable” assumption that they are not going to try to sue you. However, there are many unsavory characters out there who will fabricate injuries and claims of property damage with no regard for you. This can create a complicated situation in which you must face the hassle of appearing for court dates and defending yourself for an accident that you know you did not cause.
When Should You Get a Lawyer for Accident Injuries?
When you have been involved in a car accident, it is always best to speak to an attorney as soon as you are able to, after receiving any necessary medical attention. There is a two-year statute of limitations on personal injury claims and a three-year statute of limitations on property damage in California, but the longer you wait to seek legal counsel, the more difficult it may be to gather evidence and prove your case. If the other party in your accident was a federal, state, or local government entity, there is only a six-month statute of limitations, so the need for an attorney is even more pressing. These types of accidents include those with vehicles such as public buses, municipal refuse trucks, city and state police vehicles, and any other vehicle owned by a government agency.
In the event that you were in a crash that resulted in the death of a loved one, you will want a skilled Elk Grove motor vehicle accident attorney to help you pursue a wrongful death claim. As the representative of the survivors, you must remember that the same statute of limitations applies in these cases. Having a knowledgeable legal professional to walk you through this type of case during such a difficult time is also essential because there are certain government entities that are immune from wrongful death claims.
A skilled attorney will be able to advise you on the best time to file your personal injury case, as you may want to wait until you have a detailed treatment plan in place with your medical providers. Since it may take an extensive time to recover from your injuries, you will want to know as much as you can about the costs of your treatment before you proceed. For this reason, you don’t want to be hasty in settling your claim. Your legal team will be able to determine the best time to file your case that is neither too soon nor too close to the expiration of the statute of limitations.
Can You Sue for Negligence in a Car Wreck?
In the state of California, there are certain elements that you must prove to file a valid claim and prove negligence, including the following.
- The crash directly caused monetary losses or injuries
- The other driver’s actions caused the accident
- The at-fault driver had a duty to operate their vehicle in a safe manner
- The at-fault driver breaches their duty
To prove that the other driver was negligent may not be as easy as you think. This is why it is imperative to have an Elk Grove motor vehicle accidents lawyer on your side. These experienced professionals know the details of the law and can put their skills to use in identifying negligent acts of drivers who have caused accidents. Through in-depth investigations, identifying and interviewing witnesses, collecting evidence, and even employing accident reconstruction specialists, they can build a strong case for you. Some of the various types of driver negligence Elk Grove car accident lawyers have encountered include:
- Failing to maintain a vehicle properly
- Aggressive driving
- Failure to signal for turns and lane changes
- Illegal turns
- Failure to yield right of way
- Failure to obey traffic signals
- Fatigued driving
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Reckless driving and speeding
- Texting while driving and distracted driving
Be Aware of Comparative Negligence in Elk Grove, California
In the state of California, the determination of liability in a car accident is based on a system of comparative negligence. This applies to situations in which more than one driver shares some degree of responsibility for a crash. In these cases, the courts decide on the portion of fault each driver is liable for.
For instance, consider a situation in which an accident occurs due to one driver making an illegal turn while the other runs through a red light. In this case, the courts may rule that the first driver is 20% at fault, while the second is responsible for the other 80%. Once the case is settled, a scenario in which the first driver had $100,000 in damages, they would only receive $80,000 from the second driver while also being responsible forpaying 20% of the second driver’s losses.
What If You Are Injured by a Driver Who Doesn’t Have Insurance?
Although all drivers in California are required to have auto insurance, there are many who do not follow the law. In these circumstances, the best line of defense is to have uninsured motorist coverage on your own insurance. This is a safeguard against being injured by an uninsured motorist and allows you to file a claim against your auto insurance policy within two years after your accident. This will also help to make up the difference in what you are owed if you are injured by a driver who has insurance but lacks the coverage to meet the required minimums.
Even if you carry this type of coverage, you will want to have an experienced attorney to go up against your insurance company. These companies are out to deny claims wherever possible and offer the most minimal settlement they can whenever they must honor a claim. When this happens, you are able to contest their offer through arbitration. This process can be complicated, but a legal professional can help you to fight for your case and get the compensation you deserve.
When you don’t have uninsured motorist coverage and you are injured in an accident, you can still file a personal injury claim against the other driver, but the unfortunate truth is that they may not have the necessary resources to cover your medical expenses. You may be able to recover these costs from the negligent party’s assets, but if they do not have substantial assets, it can be very difficult. Your Elk Grove car accident lawyers will help you to determine whether the other driver will have the ability to compensate you for your damages by means of a legal case.
Get a Motor Vehicle Accidents Personal Injury Lawyer for Your Case
If you have sustained injuries and damage to your vehicle in a car accident in the Elk Grove area, you may be facing an uphill battle against powerful insurance companies and lawyers who have mounted a strong defense for the at-fault party. This can be an emotionally overwhelming circumstance, especially when you are trying to heal and recover physically. That’s why you should call on the compassionate legal experts at The Ward Firm to handle your case. Reach out to us today to find out how we can help you.