If you’ve been injured in an accident in California, it’s a good idea to be skeptical of any offer from an insurance adjuster, especially early in your case. These days, adjusters are trained to adopt “delay and deny” tactics intended to deny or lower compensation amount. That’s the reason adjusters try to talk to victims into settling their own claim without getting in touch with a car accident lawyer.
If you’re interested in a full and fair settlement in your case, here are few tips that you need to keep in mind if you want to build a watertight case against the insurance company of the party injured by you:
Involve the Police
When the accident occurs, you should immediately call the police even if the accident is minor. The dispatcher will immediately send police officer to help and summon any medical help if necessary. After due investigation, the police officer will issue the police report.
A police record of accident is important for your case, because it will help your accident lawyer in establishing facts. Without a police report, it is very cumbersome to argue with insurance adjuster on how the accident happened or the liability of the driver at fault.
Get Vital Information And Pictures
You should never leave the scene of accident without noting witness name, photographs, and contact information. You can take pictures with your smart phone, including body damage, road conditions and skid marks. In some cases, the police will ask for witness information and photographs, but never trust all this information will end up in police report. To safeguard your interests, it’s best to collect all this information and keep it to yourself.
Consider Talking to a Local Car Accident Lawyer
An experienced car accident lawyer can help you avoid any number of legal mistakes that may weaken even the strongest accident cases. An experienced car accident lawyer is fully aware of the statue of limitations and will definitely ensure that the case progresses within the desired timeline. He or she will properly track your medical treatment so that medical cost remains within limits. And finally, the accident lawyer will represent your interests when demanding a full and fair compensation from the insurance company.
See a Doctor
If you’ve been injured in any way, quickly see a doctor or visit a nursing home. You can ignore a minor soreness after the accident, but you should never ignore serious injuries. In some cases, however, pain emanating from sore soft tissue inures to the muscles, spine, ligaments and joints, or even internal injuries to the organs may manifest weeks after the accident.
A visit to hospital or doctor will also help document your injuries and begin the necessary treatment without any delay. This can also speed up your recovery. In California, Personal Injury Protection (PIP) covers the bills for initial medical visits and treatment. So it makes sense to use this to your benefit and get checked out.
Don’t Miss Your Doctor’s Appointments
You should not allow any gaps in your medical treatment or miss your doctor’s appointment. Your case may get weakened if you skip just one trip to your physical therapist or doctor’s office. The insurance adjuster will argue that you obviously must not have been grievously injured if you didn’t feel the need to keep your appointment. Therefore, you may end up with lower or denied compensation.
Avoid Giving any Recorded Statement to an Insurance Representative
You should not make a recorded statement to the insurance company without the knowledge of your auto accident lawyer. Your lawyer will help prepare you for all recorded statements with the insurance company so that all the recorded facts about the case are fully expressed and that you don’t misspeak when confronted with some confusing questions. The insurance adjusters are trained to ask few “innocent” questions designed to specifically harm your case. Even a simple greeting such as “how are you?” can mar your case if you reply “I’m fine”
California’s Product Failure Clause
Pure comparative negligence rule of California divvies up compensation amount depending upon the degree of fault shared by drivers, auto mechanics and vehicle manufacturers.
For auto accidents, the state maintains a pure form of comparative negligence rule in all types of such personal injury cases. This can get complicated when a vehicle malfunction and two drivers cause an accident. That’s why if you or your loved one has been injured, the following different scenarios may help illustrate how this rule works……………
* Drivers fail to maintain the care, and that car caused most of the damages. The driver of the vehicle will bear full fault.
* Other driver kept the car in poor repair but you drove negligently. In this case, court will decide the degree of fault of each party.
* Car is in poor operating condition. Again, the court would decide whether the second vehicle’s driver’s negligence was responsible for the damage, but negligence for the poorly-functioning car would certainly fall to car mechanic or manufacturer who improperly serviced the vehicle.
In pure comparative negligence rule, the responsibility for damages will depend upon the degree of fault of each party. Therefore…………
* The driver with poorly maintained vehicle will be held responsible for your losses.
* If court determined that other driver’s poorly maintained car was 70 percent at fault, you would only be entitled to having only 70 percent of your losses covered by him or her.
* If court decides that 90 percent of fault was due to the car’s malfunction (e.g. its brakes failed), you could easily collect 90 percent of your losses, but not for your suffering or pain.
Clearly, an auto accident can be complicated because full or partial fault must be determined. Timely attention to the accident will definitely help preserve vital evidence that might have significant financial consequence.
And finally, it is important for you to have realistic expectation from your case. With an experienced accident attorney by your side, you can receive reasonable compensation for your lost income, medical costs, pain and suffering. The actual amount will depend upon the seriousness of your injuries, length of treatment, permanent disfigurement, and insurance limits. For this reason, settlement amount may vary widely on a case-by-case basis. As you complete your medical treatment and negotiations with insurance company, your lawyer will have a much better idea on what your case is worth and will also discuss all possibilities with you at that time
Avoiding mistakes is very important in receiving a full and fair settlement. Following these simple tips will ensure that your case remains water tight from start to finish.