Car accidents are one of the leading causes of death and catastrophic injuries in California. These accidents can be devastating, especially when the negligence of another person causes them. Many factors can play a part in creating an accident and results in injuries. If you are injured in a car accident in California, you are entitled to compensation from the party liable for the accident. When filing a personal injury claim, you will need to deal with insurance adjusters sent by the responsible party’s insurance provider. Unfortunately, the insurance companies will want to make as low of a settlement as possible. If you are seeking compensation for your injuries after a car crash, it would be wise to seek legal guidance from Orange County Personal Injury Attorney.
Claiming Compensation for Car Accident Injuries
Car accidents are painful and traumatic for both the victim and the family. Most car accidents in California are a result of negligence from drivers and other road users. There are several ways in which car accidents occur, including:
- Head-on collisions - Head-on collision car accidents happen when two vehicles hit each other from the front side. Depending on the speed and type of vehicle involved, these accidents are often very fatal.
- Rear-end car collision - Rear-end car collisions take place where a vehicle hits another from the rear end. This type of accident could involve two or more vehicles. Fault in rear-end collisions is not easy to establish due to the numerous factors that can contribute to the crash. In most cases, the responsibility may be shared between several parties. Even when you are partially at fault for the accident, you are entitled to compensation for the injuries.
- Broadside crash - Broadside collisions, also known as T-bone accidents, are a result of one vehicle colliding with another from the side. Due to the short distance between the impact and passengers, broadside collisions result in serious injuries or death.
- Pedestrian accident - Vehicles hitting pedestrians on the roads or sidewalk is a common occurrence in California. These accidents have the most fatalities and leave a trail of severe injuries and death.
- Rollover accidents - Most rollover accidents are single-vehicle crashes resulting from a collision with obstacles or losing control of a vehicle. The fault for this type of accident is often on drunk drivers or individuals who fail to yield the right of way. If you are injured in a rollover crash caused by another person, you can claim compensation from the liable parties.
- Hit and run collisions - Hit and run accidents are often very devastating. This is because fault parties are likely to flee from the scene, making it challenging to identify liability and get compensation for your injuries. Therefore, if you are injured in such an accident, it would be wise to enlist the help of a competent personal injury attorney.
Most of these accidents are often fatal and result in serious injuries or even death. Immediately after an accident, you need to call emergency responders to attend to any injured parties. Also, you need to inform the police so they can come and assess the nature of car accidents. If you or your loved one is injured in a car crash, you are entitled to compensation for the injuries. By filing a personal injury lawsuit, you will have an opportunity to recover some compensation benefits.
At the accident scene, it is crucial to avoid talking to any insurance personnel without guidance from an attorney. This is because insurance providers aim at proposing deals that result in compensation lower than what you deserve.
Dealing With Insurance Adjusters After a Car Accident
If you want to recover compensation for the injuries you suffered, there are two ways through which this can be achieved. You can either settle out of court with insurance providers or file a personal injury claim and battle in court for compensation. Settlement outside court will be agreed upon by your injury attorney and insurance adjuster of the fault party. If you cannot agree upon an agreement, you will have to file a personal injury claim where the judge determines the amount of compensation.
When you file a claim against a party you believe was at fault for your injuries, you will deal with their insurance providers. Insurance adjusters are individuals who represent the insurance company when dealing with your claim. Sometimes the adjuster could be from an independent firm if the company lacks its own claim offices.
However, all insurance claim adjusters aim at offering the lowest amount of compensation for the benefit of the fault party’s insurance providers. If you are filing a compensation claim against a government entity, you will deal with government insurance adjusters. It is essential to be very vigilant when dealing with a government insurance adjuster. This is because should you claim to end up as a lawsuit in court, the judge could be reluctant to award you maximum benefits.
Insurance adjusters work to ensure that the company spends as little as possible for your compensation. Also, they are expected to ensure that your claim does not go to court. In most cases, you may be suffering from psychological trauma or physical injuries as a result of the accident. Therefore it would be wise to contact a personal injury attorney who will deal with the insurance companies on your behalf.
The insurance adjusters are tasked to evaluate your claim to help the insurance company make a compensation offer. During the first interview, you may be asked a series of questions to help them understand the nature of your claim. Some facts an adjuster will want to understand is which way you were driving at the time of the accident.
Also, the nature of the accident will be essential, so it can be clear who was at fault for the accident. The insurance company will want to assess the vehicle and understand the extent of damage that occurred from the accident. Also, the presence of injured parties and the extent of injuries will be of interest to the adjusters. Injuries will be certified by videos of the accident or medical records for treatment of injured people.
Although insurance personnel understand more about the evaluation and compensation matters, you know more about your case. Therefore, it is crucial to have all the facts of the case before speaking to the adjusters. Everything that you say will be used against you by these individuals to ensure they provide a settlement lower than you deserve. It would be wise to ensure that your injury attorney does any negotiations between you and the insurance company.
After a car accident, there are many things that you need to take care of while still dealing with trauma from the accident. Anything you say to the adjusters could be turned around to the benefit of the insurance company. This will make it difficult for you to recover maximum compensation for your injuries. The following are some essential things you should put in mind when dealing with insurance adjusters:
Do Not Admit Fault For The Accident
All drivers are expected to carry a minimum amount of personal injury protection to cover minor injuries. If you get injured in an accident involving multiple parties, the fault for the accident must be determined. California works on comparative negligence, and the percentage of responsibility for the accident will determine the amount of compensation you receive.
When an adjuster contacts you, they try as much as possible to make you admit fault for the accident. This is by making you believe that responsibility for the accident does not play a part in your claim. Even when you had a role to play in the accident, don’t let them take the statement from you. Victims who are partly at fault for a crash also have a right to some form of compensation.
Avoid Giving Recorded Statements
Most insurance companies will require you to make a written statement if you get injured in a car accident. However, you are only obliged to do this for your insurance company. Insurance adjusters from the fault party’s insurance provider have no right to get a statement out of you. When an adjuster seeks to get an account of how the accident happened, ensure that you do it verbally. This will make it difficult for these individuals to use the statement against you. Also, before you say anything, you will require competent legal guidance.
Do not Discuss the Damages After The Accident
Insurance adjusters are trained to ensure you receive little or no compensation for your injuries. Unless you are getting benefits in court or the company of your attorney, you need to avoid discussing your injuries with the insurance adjusters. You may end up mentioning a past trauma that gives them a basis to deny your claim. Also, the adjusters may want to turn anything you say as an excuse to dismiss your claim.
Inform the Insurance Adjusters of your Legal Representation
After identifying the party liable for your injuries, it is common that an insurance adjuster will be the first person to contact you. The insurance company works their best to discourage you from seeking legal representation. This is because your attorney will negotiate better compensation, which is away from what the adjusters wish to offer. By informing them that you have sought legal representation, they may stop trying to get more information out of you.
Evidence Required When Claiming Compensation for Car Accident Injuries
If you or your loved one suffers injuries from a car accident, you can choose to either settle outside or file a personal injury lawsuit. Regardless of the method you use to pursue compensation, you will require evidence to prove to you that you deserve the amount you are seeking.
Insurance adjusters will only contact you after showing your interest in seeking compensation. They will then start their investigations on the accident and your claim. Before this happens, you need to have gathered as much evidence as possible about the nature of the crash. This will give you an upper hand against the adjusters, and you will have a chance to recover maximum compensation for the injuries. Evidence that can be of great importance in a car accident compensation claim include:
Photographs and Videos
After involvement in a car accident, you need to call the police and emergency responders as soon as possible. If you are conscious and in a stable condition, it is crucial to look around for any evidence you can gather from the accident scene. You can gather evidence by taking photographs or a video of the accident scene. When these photos are reviewed, you can discover an aspect of the accident that you don’t remember due to trauma.
Also, the photos can be used to reconstruct the occurrence of the accident and aid in identifying parties at fault. If you are not in the right health condition to take pictures, you can decide to come back to the scene later. With the help of your injury attorney, you can still gather some evidence from the scene.
When you call the police at the scene of a car accident, they will come to assess the nature of the accident. After making an assessment, an official report will be written on the police account of the accident. Since the officers may record their thoughts on liability for the accident, the story can be used as an objective view of the accident facts. Also, if the other driver or road user who caused the accident was driving under the influence of alcohol, it will be indicated in the report. A police report will contain information that could be useful to your claim, increasing your chances of compensation.
Several types of witnesses can testify for your claim. Eyewitnesses are individuals who were present at the accident scene, and they have an idea of how the car accident occurred. Before you leave the accident scene, it would be wise to get contact information from potential witnesses and request them to give testimony in your claim.
You can also count on expert witnesses to testify in your civil suit. Expert witnesses will include accident reconstruction experts or police officers who were called at the scene. If you suffered significant injuries and sought medical treatment, your doctor could give testimony on the extent of your injuries. Before presenting evidence to the court or insurance company, it will be crucial to consult your attorney.
Your medical reports after an accident is a crucial piece of evidence required when claiming compensation for the injury. Immediately after an accident, it is vital to seek medical attention. Your medical bills start accumulating as soon as emergency responders start attending to you. When you get to the doctor, ensure all your injuries are recorded. Getting a medical checkup will ensure that even the minor injuries are treated and documented.
Ensure your medical records are properly stored and can get retrieved to be used as evidence for your claim. This will help show the extent of your injuries and the amount you spent on medical bills. Also, the record of injuries can indicate how the accident is likely to affect your life. Medical reports are considered official, and the insurance adjusters will find it difficult to dispute.
Car Accident Compensation Benefits
Insurance adjusters are barriers between you and the compensation in your claim. The adjusters will try their best to dispute your evidence for the accident and deny your request. However, if you get injured in a car accident, you re deserving of the following compensation benefits:
Most car accidents are often fatal. If you are involved in the accident, it is crucial to seek immediate medical attention. Your medical bills will start to accumulate as soon as the ambulance takes you to the hospital. Some injuries arising from a car accident require you to spend a long time in the hospital, thus increasing the amount you spend on medical bills.
Fault parties are reluctant to accept fault for the accident, and you will need to cover your bills. You can decide to cover your bills using a medical insurance cover or on a lien basis. By seeking compensation from the fault party, you have a chance to get back the amount you spent. Sometimes insurance adjusters may try to make a quick settlement even before you complete treatment. This would be a disadvantage to you since the amount you recover may not be enough to cover your bills.
Before you receive compensation from the insurance company, they will want to get proof of your medical bills. By ensuring that all your injuries and treatment are documented, you can strengthen your claim against the party liable for your damages. With the help of a competent attorney, you can fight to recover compensation for present and future medical bills.
When you suffer severe injuries from a negligent car accident, you are likely to spend a significant amount of time nursing your wounds. This will prevent you from going back to work and earn a living. Lost wages are the amount you lose for not going to work as a result of the injuries. Although an insurance company will want to make a quick settlement, avoid accepting the first offer you get.
In California, lost wages can be proven by obtaining a lost wages letter from your employer. A lost wages letter indicates details of your employment, including:
- The nature of your contract
- The number of hours you work per day
- The amount you earn
- Any prospects of a promotion
Also, you can use your tax returns to prove the amount you have lost in wages. Establishing lost wages when seeking compensation could be complicated, especially when you do not have permanent employment. Therefore, it is crucial to navigate the process with guidance from a competent attorney.
Lost Earning Capacity
Lost future earning capacity is the loss of your ability to earn money in the future. Some injuries from a car accident leave you with long-lasting or permanent injuries. This can make it impossible for you to do the work you used to before the accident. If you can show the adjusters that the accident compromised your ability to work in the future, you can recover these benefits.
When settling a claim outside of court, the insurance adjusters will want to ensure that you don’t recover these benefits. Since the loss has not yet occurred, it is difficult to prove lost earning capacity. When seeking compensation for future repercussions, you need to outline the expected effect on your earning ability.
Pain and Suffering
Unlike the medical bills and lost wages, pain and suffering cannot be quantified. In most cases, insurance adjusters will try to avoid your claim for pain and suffering. This is because proving this element of compensation is quite complicated. However, it is essential to understand that you don’t need to have a physical injury for you to claim compensation for pain and suffering.
Getting into an accident is likely to cause shock, which results in psychological pain and suffering. A statement from a psychologist may be used to prove that you deserve compensation for the suffering you endured from the accident.
Find a Personal Injury Attorney Near Me
If you get injured in a car accident, you are entitled to some form of compensation for your medical bills, lost wages as well as pain and suffering. However, you will be required to prove negligence for the accident and show why you deserve compensation. By filing a personal injury claim, you have a chance to receive compensation from the insurance company of the liable party. Insurance companies are reluctant to provide appropriate compensation for your injuries. Therefore, it is crucial to contact an attorney. At Orange County Personal Injury Attorney, we will work hard to ensure you receive maximum compensation. Contact us today at 714-876-1959 from any location in Orange County, CA, for legal guidance and representation.