California Car Accident Attorneys
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Why Car Accidents Happen in CaliforniaIf you live in California, you probably spend several hours a week behind the wheel of a car. You may even pride yourself on being a safe, defensive driver. That helps, of course, but it might not be enough to shield you from a car accident. Many of the factors that lead to auto accidents are beyond our control. They can be the result of someone else’s irresponsibility. If you’ve been injured in a car accident, through no fault of your own, don’t wait! Call the car accident attorneys at Wilshire Law Firm right away. The following are some of the most common reasons for car accidents:
A Disregard for the LawMotorists who speed, blow stop signs, or drive under the influence all show a complete disregard for the law and the lives of others. Their actions can have severe consequences for their victims. If you’ve been injured in an accident as a direct result of someone else’s recklessness, it’s important to speak to an accident attorney as soon as possible. Waiting can jeopardize your case and the potential settlement amount you should be entitled to.
Negligence/Distracted DrivingTexting, applying makeup or even eating are all examples of distracted or negligent driving. All of these are a leading cause of car accidents here in California. In spite of all the laws and public safety campaigns against distracted driving, statistics show that many still engage in these dangerous habits. That’s why it’s important to remain vigilant on the road. Even if the distracted party didn’t mean to cause the accident, you should still contact a firm that specializes in car accident cases, such as the car accident lawyers at Wilshire Law Firm. Intentional or not, you want to make sure your rights are protected if you’re injured in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence.
MalfunctionsOf course, human error is not always to blame for a car accident. Sometimes, auto accidents occur due to poorly maintained vehicles. If you’ve been injured in an accident with a vehicle that you suspect wasn’t properly maintained, talk with the accident attorneys at Wilshire Law Firm to see what your options might be. Remember, it’s every motorist’s responsibility to make sure their vehicle is safe to drive. Mechanical defects can range from faulty brakes and steering systems to tire blowouts and broken wipers. Personal injury law firms deal with all types of car accidents and they can help you sort out the details of your particular situation.
What to Do After a California Car AccidentAn auto accident is always a stressful experience. In these situations, it’s important not to panic. First, check yourself and any passengers in the car for injuries. If there are injuries, call 911 immediately. If possible, move all vehicles out of traffic for everyone’s safety. If you’re well enough, take photos of the accident scene, license plate(s), street signs, signals and any other notable landmarks that show the exact location where the accident occurred.
Reporting the Car AccidentOnce you’re certain the police and/or an ambulance are on their way, exchange the following information with the other driver.
- Driver’s license
- Insurance company and policy number
When to Report an Auto Accident?Some of the most common car accidents are low-speed “fender benders”. These types of accidents typically occur in parking lots or while sitting in traffic. Initially, you may be too shocked to notice any pain after such a minor auto accident. For example, if you were rear-ended, you may not feel any pain at that moment. However, the next day you could wake up with neck and back pain. That can happen even in a minor impact. If that’s the case, call a personal injury lawyer right away to see what your options are.
How and Where to Report?If police arrived at the scene of a car accident and filed a report, you do not need to file your own separate report. If the police arrived and did not file a report, which is rare, but can happen, then you would have 24 hours to notify the California Highway Patrol of your accident. This is only if there were injuries or deaths involved.
The Police ReportPolice reports usually take some time to complete. Don’t expect to be handed a completed report while you are still at the scene of your car accident. The officers involved will give you their business cards so you can contact them once the report is ready. In some cases, it can be several weeks before that report is ready. At Wilshire Law Firm, obtaining a copy of the police report is just one of the many details that we handle for our clients.
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim?In California, you have two years from the date of a car accident to file a claim if the accident resulted in injuries. If the accident resulted in a death, you have two years from the date of the person’s death (not the accident) to file a claim. If the accident only resulted in property damage, you have three years from the date of the accident to file a claim. It’s very important that you consult with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after an accident. Unfortunately, if the time limits (Statute of Limitations) outlined above aren’t met, you cannot file a claim no matter how severe the accident and losses involved.
What Not to SayAfter an auto accident, some drivers begin rehashing the events of the accident with the other driver. That’s never a good idea. Immediately after an accident, you’ll probably still be disoriented or in shock. Your thought process might be a bit rattled and you may not have a clear idea of the events that led to the accident anyway. Exchange information but do not discuss the accident itself and certainly don’t apologize under any circumstances.The best thing you can do is to call Wilshire Law Firm as soon as possible. Any missteps can end up costing you dearly. We have over 10 years of experience dealing with all types of auto accident cases and we can help you at this difficult time. Never Admit Fault. Again, never admit fault. Often, emotions are running high. That can result in speaking before thinking. Let the police sort out the details while you contact an attorney at Wilshire Law Firm.
Words or Statements Can Be MisunderstoodAfter a car accident, using words such as “I’m sorry”, “I apologize” or worse, “It was my fault” will only be used against you in court by the other party’s legal team. The best thing to do is stick to the facts. Gather important information from the other driver, take pictures of the cars, and remain at the scene if the police are on the way.
Never Say That “You’re Okay”One of the biggest mistakes many people make after they’ve been in a car accident is to tell the other driver, witnesses, or the police that they’re okay and that they don’t need medical attention. Even in a minor collision, you need to see a doctor. There may be internal bleeding or other underlying issues that haven’t manifested themselves yet. This is important because the insurance company may try to avoid compensating you for your medical care if you delayed seeing a doctor after the car accident. The attorneys at Wilshire Law Firm can help you navigate the legal process so that your rights are protected from unscrupulous insurance companies who only care about their bottom lines. Go to a doctor ASAP after a car accident because:
- Your body will be in shock and you may not feel the pain until a day or two later
- Injuries may not be immediately apparent
- You need to find out the long-term effects of a car accident
Forms and StatementsMany accident victims don’t realize this: you are not required to give an oral or written statement to the other driver’s insurance company. You are also not required to sign any documents given to you by the other driver. Be cautious when discussing the accident with the police especially if they or the other driver ask you if the accident was your fault. The best option is to call Wilshire Law Firm. We deal with insurance companies, accident reports and at fault drivers every day. Don’t take everything on by yourself. It could end up costing you dearly.
Witness StatementsA statement from a witness to the crash could be used as a key piece of evidence when trying to prove fault in cases involving car accidents. The witness statement or report will contain information from someone who has no interest or stake in the outcome of a personal injury car accident case. It is an unbiased point of view, which will include only the facts of what happened. It is important to get the contact information of any and all witnesses who were present at the scene.
Car Accident Check ListIf you’ve been involved in a car accident, you should do the following:
- Check for injuries to yourself and everyone involved
- Call the police or ambulance if needed
- Take pictures of the damage
- Exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver
- Consult with an accident attorney
- Cooperate with the officer and provide them with the information they need, (but do not admit to any possible mistakes)
- Obtain the names of any witnesses who saw the accident
- See a doctor
- Notify the insurance company
- Make no promises to the other party for any payments
Common Car Accident InjuriesThe most common auto accident injury is whiplash. That’s due to the sudden, unrestrained and rapid movement of the head and neck. But, there are many others such as:
- Degenerative disc disease
- Memory loss
Dealing with Insurance After a Car AccidentThe insurance company will assign a claims specialist to deal with your accident. The adjuster will take over discussions with the other party’s insurance provider. They’ll investigate the circumstances which led to your auto accident. If the damage to your vehicle exceeds the total value of the vehicle itself, you will have to file for a total loss claim. If your vehicle is totaled, a skilled personal accident attorney can negotiate with the insurance company to make sure you don’t suffer a significant financial loss as a result.Car insurance claims can be complicated and difficult to deal with. Having a car accident attorney by your side will help you obtain the results you deserve. The attorney can gather information about the accident, determine the total damages, and negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf. Remember that the job of an insurance company is to pay out the least amount of money possible. A good auto accident attorney can expertly counteract those tactics and fight for what you rightly deserve.
How Can a California Car Wreck Lawyer Help with the Process?If you’ve been in a car accident, let Wilshire Law Firm deal directly with insurance providers, defense attorneys and anyone else involved while you concentrate on healing and getting your life back in order. Insurance adjusters are trained to make low ball offers and scare accident victims into accepting them. Our car accident lawyers know all the insurance adjustor tactics and how to make sure you receive the compensation that you’re entitled to.
How Does a Car Accident Affect Insurance?When it comes to car accidents, each insurance company sets its own criteria to determine the amount of money you can claim in an insurance policy, including the type of claim. While determining how an accident affects your insurance rates, the insurance company will consider the severity of the accident, who was at fault, and your driving record.
Fault, Not at Fault Vs No-FaultCalifornia is a Fault state. You cannot add No-Fault insurance to your auto policy here. All parties involved in a car accident are assigned a percentage of the fault for the collision. Then, each driver is responsible for the damages corresponding to their percentage. Usually, the police report is the main piece of evidence in determining that. However, police reports aren’t always accurate. If you’ve been the victim of a car accident and are unhappy with the police report findings, call the attorneys at Wilshire Law Firm to make sure your rights are protected.
Car Accidents Resulting in a TicketThe police will not issue a ticket just because you were in a crash unless any laws were violated that resulted in the accident.
Dealing with the Other Driver’s InsuranceYou should avoid speaking with the other driver’s insurance company. Don’t risk it, or they might trick you into admitting that you were responsible for the accident, which gets them off the hook. The best way to deal with the other party’s insurance carrier is to consult with the personal injury attorneys at Wilshire Law Firm first.
California Car Accident Lawsuits and SettlementsWorking with a car accident lawyer will help you obtain reasonable compensation, which could well exceed the initial offer from the insurance company. When it comes to settlements, the insurance industry doesn’t use an exact formula, so if you only sustained damage to your car, you will be reimbursed based on the policy’s limits. If you have been seriously injured during the accident, hire Wilshire Law Firm. We’ll file a lawsuit on your behalf and fight for your rights.
What Type of Compensation is Common in a California Car Accident Case?
- Compensatory damages: This is one of the most common damages awarded after a car accident. This is money awarded to a plaintiff for injuries and losses resulting from a defendant’s negligence.
- Specific Damages: refers to specific amounts of money lost due to auto accident injuries, such as the cost of medical treatment after the accident, loss of earning capacity and lost wages.
- General Damages: are more subjective and will include any pain or suffering due to the car accident. Emotional distress, loss of consortium (damages suffered by the spouse or family of a person injured or killed in an accident) or inability to have children are examples of this.
How to Make a Car Accident Injury ClaimFirst, hire a car accident attorney who will arrange for a medical examination to assess the severity of your injuries. The second phase involves the collection of evidence. This is where the car accident attorney will gather any information regarding the accident, including statements and pictures of the accident, which will be presented to the insurance company.
What is the Average Car Accident Settlement in California?The average car accident settlement is larger if you are not at fault. But, while considering your settlement amount, the court will take certain factors into consideration such as, the type of injuries sustained due to the accident, the kind of treatment, the duration of therapy (if needed), any pre-existing medical conditions, the severity of the crash, and lost income due to time spent in the hospital. A winning car accident claim will entitle you to a settlement which will cover the following:
- Pain and suffering
- Discomfort due to your injuries
- Medical bills
- Treatment bills
- Income loss
- Auto repair bills
Are Car Accident Settlements Taxable?While receiving a just settlement can go a long way towards helping an accident victim recover, some worry about the tax implications of that settlement amount. There are no simple answers. This is because each person’s situation is different, plus tax laws are always changing. It’s best to speak with a tax professional for the clearest, most comprehensive answers regarding this topic.
Are Car Accident Settlements Part of Public Record?Some people might be concerned about revealing the details of a prior car accident to complete strangers. Typically, when a personal injury claim is settled out of court, the amount and particulars of the case are not going to be part of the public record.
Car Accident Resources
Overall experience with Wilshire law firm was greatThe overall experience with Wilshire law firm was great. Scarlett and her team were very informative, professional and helpful. I had a car accident and the firm helped me along the process and let me know what to expect. They helped me with medical treatment and even provided me with a cash advance when I needed it to get by. Bobby and his team are excellent and I’m glad they represented me for my case.
I would definitely recommend this law firm.Mr. Saadian and his team are very professional and respond to inquires in a timely manner, via phone, E-mail of even Web Chat. I’m very glad we were referred to Wilshire Law firm. After my car vs commercial truck accident, they help me deal with the medical bills and the insurance company. Very happy with my settlement and I would definitely recommend this law firm.
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