If you do not live in a city with a convenient and efficient public transportation system, you likely drive to many of the places that you need to go. While the state of California has cities with some good public transportation systems, many of the state's citizens drive. California, and Los Angeles in particular is notorious for its crowded freeways and rush hour traffic jams. In fact, the Los Angeles Times reported that L.A. area drivers spent the most time idling in traffic last year.
Every year there are a number of people who are injured or killed on the roads in motor vehicle accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that 35,092 people died in 2015 in motor vehicle crashes, with over 3,000 of these deaths occurring in California. In addition, 2.44 million people were injured.
A car accident can occur for any number of reasons. A driver could fail to obey traffic signs, be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, be distracted by a cell phone, or be driving at an excessive speed. When a driver is careless in the operation of their vehicle and injures someone or damages property because of their negligent actions, that driver can be held liable for the damages they have caused.
After A Car Accident
After an accident, there are a number of things to consider and take care of. It is important to try and properly document everything as you go as it can help to preserve your rights should there end up being a dispute over who was at fault for the accident or should you decide to file a lawsuit against the responsible party.
- Seek Medical Attention: If you have been hurt in a car crash, do not hesitate to seek medical treatment for your injuries. Sometimes you may be aware of your injuries right away and sometimes you may not realize you have been hurt until a few days have passed. By going to a doctor you are making sure that you get the care that you need, as well as ensuring that there is documentation of the injuries you sustained from the accident.
- Document Everything: Keeping track of all the documents you receive related to the accident is a good idea. These documents can include things like medical bills, medical records, police reports, letters from the insurance company, and repair bills. Additionally, after an accident, if you are physically able to, you can use your cell phone or camera to create a visual record of the way the accident scene looked and the damage to each vehicle. You can also speak with any witnesses and get contact information should you need to ask them to provide information about what they saw later on.
Three Reports You Can Make After An Accident
- Police: Calling the police to the scene of the accident can be helpful to you as the officers can create a report about what happened. Moreover, calling the police may be required by the law of the state, as it is in California if someone died in the accident. In addition, calling the police is a good idea if you are the victim of a crime involving a motor vehicle such as a hit and run.
- Insurance Company: Your insurance company should be notified that you have been in an accident, whether or not you are responsible for the crash. While you may end up receiving compensation from the responsible party later on, in the meantime, your own insurance company can help you pay your medical bills and car repairs. How much assistance you receive will depend on what type of policy you have and its limits, as well as other factors. In addition, it is important to remember to be cautious about what you say to your insurance company. If you are asked to give a recorded statement, it is a good idea to consult with an attorney first.
- Department of Motor Vehicles: In California, there is one more entity that you are required to report an accident too. The DMV must be notified of the accident within 10 days if someone was injured, if there was a death, or if there was property damage amounting to over $750 to either your vehicle or the other driver's vehicle.
- Exchange Insurance Information: After an accident, it is important to exchange your insurance information as well as your contact information with the other driver or drivers.
- Be Careful About What You Say At The Scene Or Post Online: At the scene of an accident you will need to talk to the other driver in order to exchange information. However, it is important to be careful about what you say, even if you are not at fault for the accident. By limiting your communication with the other driver only to only what is necessary, you can limit any misunderstanding or misconstrued statements on your part. In addition, social media and other online forums are a popular way to update people about the events that are transpiring in your life. However, it is a good idea to be cautious about what you post concerning your accident because these statements could be used against you later on.
- You Can Contact A Personal Injury Attorney Right Away: Contacting an attorney early on can be helpful because you are helping to protect your rights in your accident case. A personal injury attorney, like one of the attorney's at the Woods Law Group, can help you through every step of the insurance claims process as well as represent you in a lawsuit against the person responsible for your injuries.
- Limit Your Contact With The Other Party's Insurance Company: It is important to keep in mind that the statements that you make to an insurance adjustor from other party's insurance company could be used against you in order for that company to reduce the compensation it has to pay you. If you have representation, you can have your attorney will deal with the insurance adjustors.
Statute Of Limitations
There is a time limit to file a personal injury lawsuit. The legal term for these time limits is the statute of limitations. In California, you generally have two years to file a lawsuit for injury or death as a result of the "wrongful act or neglect of another." Code Civ. Proc. § 335.1. However, it is important to note that there are exceptions to this rule. These exceptions can lengthen the amount of time you have to file a claim or they can shorten it. For example, if you were injured by a government employee, there is a six-month time frame to give the government notice that you have a personal injury claim. Gov't Code § 911.2. Failure to give this pre-suit notice can result in a plaintiff being barred from bringing a claim at all. What exception may be applicable will depend on the facts and circumstances of your case. If you or your loved one has been injured because of another's negligence and you are unsure if you are past the applicable statute, you should talk to an attorney immediately to make sure that the time to make a claim has not passed.
Contact A California Personal Injury Attorney
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident in California, contact the experienced and knowledgeable attorneys at the Woods Williford today. We care about our clients and desire to help them recover just compensation for their injuries. The attorneys at the Woods Williford have been practicing personal injury law in California for many years and are dedicated to providing excellent legal counsel to those we represent. We offer a free consultation to all our potential clients, so please do not hesitate to give us a call us today at 888-340-2440 or click here to fill out our online form.