Yes! We can’t stress this enough. Your health is the most important thing and you only get it once. Trying to convince yourself you’re not injured doesn’t help. Seeing a doctor is also important for another critical reason. It documents the accident and injuries in your medical records. This is extremely important when proving your claim. If you don’t see a doctor, the insurance company will say you weren’t injured and won’t pay.
Yes! This is something you need to do right away. Not only is it required by law, but also by contract with your own insurance. Most insurers will handle the reporting requirement to the DMV for you.
Under California law, you must file a lawsuit within 2 years of your car accident. But this can be misleading. Insurance companies send form letters out to accident victims that they have 2 years to pursue their claim. This doesn’t mean waiting a year and then seeing a doctor. It specifically means filing a lawsuit. Insurance companies do this so people don’t think their claim is urgent or time sensitive, however, it very much is. This is just one reason among many we recommend seeking immediate medical attention. We know how insurance companies operate and this is just one of many tricks they’ll use to devalue or deny your claim.
The answer to this depends on where your accident occurred and which police department shows up. A helpful list of police departments, CHP, and other offices can be found HERE.
The more evidence you have, the better chance there is of receiving compensation. This includes things like a police report, medical records and bills, photos/videos of the accident, and witness statements.
Car Accident Attorneys take on many different responsibilities when they represent you. From the get-go, they’ll become the point of contact for the insurance so they won’t bug you. They’ll investigate your case to collect evidence and prove the other party is at fault. They’ll review documents and negotiate with the insurance company to reach a settlement. If the insurance company refuses to pay, they’ll file a lawsuit on your behalf seeking damages.
The value of your car accident claim will vary based on many different factors. It will depend on the circumstances of each case. Some of the things taken into consideration for case value are the extent of injuries, medical treatment, and missed time from work.
Car accident attorneys work on a “contingency fee.” A contingency fee is a percentage of the total outcome. This means your lawyer isn’t paid until there is a settlement or jury verdict in your favor. The fees charged will vary from office to office and will depend on when the case settles or if it goes to trial. If they aren’t able to get you a settlement or win your case at trial, they won’t be paid for legal services.
Once a claim is settled and all the paperwork is signed, the checks usually come in 4-6 weeks.
This will depend on the extent of your injuries, if liability is disputed by the insurance company, and if a lawsuit has to be filed. Car accident claims can settle in as little as a few months or go up to 2 years or beyond if the case goes to trial.
No, your medical bills and pain and suffering are separate types of damages. In a personal injury case there are two main types of damage: economic and non-economic. Economic damages are hard costs like medical bills, lost wages, and property damage. Non-economic damages are subjective or intangible. These are difficult to put a number on like pain and suffering or mental anguish.
It’s very easy to get caught up in big names and billboards. But it’s important to remember that good marketing doesn’t mean good lawyering. Many large firms are “mills” or “farms.” This means they treat their clients like numbers and don’t seek full value for their claim.
If a family or friend recommends a lawyer, make sure they have experience with car accidents. “General practitioners” handle a bit of everything. They may not have the knowledge to correctly work your claim. These situations can end up hurting you more than helping. Before choosing a car accident lawyer, make sure to research them online to see if they’re the right fit. Reviews on Google or other social media platforms are valuable while researching the best attorney for your case.