California ranks first in the number of automobile registrations in the country. As such, it isn’t uncommon to spot a car accident on the busy roadways and interstate highways of the Golden State. These accidents may be caused by carelessness and poor road conditions. Where negligence by another driver causes an accident, you may receive compensation for your losses.
Car accident claims are mostly handled by insurance companies. Most insurers deny auto accident claims to maximize their profits, at the expense of the driver who has suffered losses due to the accident. Before starting your claim process, you should consider hiring an experienced Coachella Valley car accident lawyer to guide you through the murky claims process.
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Car Accident Statistics
California drivers logged fewer miles in 2020, but there was a significant increase in the number of deaths due to car crashes from the previous year. The state reported about 3,723 fatalities, with most of these involving passenger cars and light trucks, and motorcycles as well.
How Much Does a Coachella Valley Car Accident Lawyer Cost?
At Crockett Law Group, our car accident lawyers handle cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that you don’t pay anything before your case is won and you receive a compensation award. Reach out to us today to discuss lawyer fees and other costs that may accrue.
What Should I Do After a Car Accident?
If you’ve been involved in a car crash, doing the right things will help prevent denial of your claim and also improve the odds of receiving maximum compensation for your damages. Hers’s what you should do after a car accident:
- Contact the police to inspect the scene and write a crash report.
- If you’re unhurt, don’t leave the scene – check on the other parties involved in the accident.
- Exchange vital information with the involved parties and eyewitnesses.
- Record the scene by taking photos or videos of the damaged cars and your injuries.
- Don’t admit fault as this could take away your right of receiving compensation.
- Even if you feel okay, ensure that you seek medical attention.
- Reach out to a Coachella Valley car accident lawyer to start your claim process.
What Is the Average Settlement for a Car Accident?
Various factors are considered before determining the settlement amount in a car accident case. However, every case is different. Car accident cases can settle for a few thousand dollars to millions of dollars.
When Should I Get a Lawyer for My Auto Accident?
There are various steps you should take after a car accident, and getting a lawyer is one of them. However, not all car accident cases need an attorney. So, when should you get a lawyer for your car accident? Below are circumstances that will necessitate a car accident lawyer:
- When there is a need to determine who’s at fault for the accident.
- When you have to deal with the insurer.
- When there are serious injuries or death due to the accident.
How Much Can I Expect to Receive for My Damages?
The compensation amount you receive will depend on the losses you’ve suffered, and a lawyer can help estimate the value of your settlement. Most car accidents result in property damage and significant injuries to the involved parties. In cases that involve severe injuries or death, parties may expect to receive significantly more in damages.
What Type of Damages Can I Recover?
Car accident victims in Coachella Valley can receive any of the following damages:
- Economic Damages: These cover actual financial losses and include property damage, medical bills, and lost wages.
- Non-Economic Damages: These are awarded for losses that are difficult to quantify, including pain and suffering.
- Punitive Damages: Courts may award the plaintiff punitive damages if the defendant disregarded the safety of others and if their actions amount to outrageous conduct.
How Is Fault Determined?
California is a fault state – the person who caused the car accident will have to pay for the damages. But how do insurance companies determine the at-fault party in a car accident case? Here are some of the ways in which fault is determined.
Proving Violation of Laws or Rules
One way to determine fault in car accident cases is to find out whether or not one party violated the law. If one of the drivers violated a provision in the California Vehicle Code, then it is presumed that that driver was at fault. Proving fault is easy if the driver violated a traffic rule. Such violations include running a red light, speeding, and driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
Insurance Adjuster Reports
After calling the police to the accident scene, drivers will likely reach out to their insurance companies to report the car accident. The insurers will have an insurance adjuster handle that claim. The adjuster will speak to the parties involved, go through the police report, and review medical records and bills. With this information, the insurance adjuster will write a report indicating the party they believe is at fault for the accident.
Police and eye-witness reports aren’t used to determine fault as they are considered hearsay. They are statements of opinion and may not always be factual. After all, law enforcement officers aren’t recognized as expert witnesses. However, these reports can be used to determine fault if one of the drivers admitted fault at the accident scene or was arrested following the accident.
How Can a Lawyer Help Me File My Insurance Claim?
If you have suffered significant damage following a car accident, you’ll have to file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company. Insurance companies don’t always have a client’s best interests at heart, and you may need a lawyer to get the compensation you deserve. Here’s how an attorney can help with your claims process.
Documentation of the Insurance Claim
Your lawyer will want to go through your insurance policy. They’ll then reach out to your insurance company to determine your claim’s status. By looking at your insurance policy, your attorney will understand your claim’s basis. Further, they’ll find out whether there is a need to further investigate or take legal action.
Investigate Contributing Factors to the Accident
While the main cause of the car accident may be known, your lawyer will take time to look into all of the potential contributing factors. Particularly, they will consider factors like harsh weather conditions, lack of proper road signage, poor road conditions, or vehicle malfunction.
By working with an accident reconstruction expert, your lawyer may also understand all the contributing factors and how the accident happened. With this knowledge, your attorney will know the right cause of action to pursue and gather the necessary evidence to back legal action.
Negotiating With the Insurance Company
By going through the adjuster’s report and estimating the future medical costs and other related costs, your lawyer will know the worth of your claim. If the insurance company’s offer is far less than your claim’s worth – which is likely to be the case – your lawyer will negotiate with the insurance company to get you a reasonable settlement amount.
What Can I Do if Insurance Denied My Claim?
An insurance company may deny your car accident claim for various reasons, including policy coverage and limits. Whatever the reason, denial of claim doesn’t mean you can’t recover the compensation you deserve following a car accident.
Here’s what you can do if your claim has been denied:
Reach Out to the Department of Insurance Claims
The Department of Insurance Claims can help individuals negotiate a denied or disputed claim with the auto insurer or file a complaint against the insurer.
Send photos of the accident scene, the police report, and eyewitness statements to support your claim if you feel that it was denied unfairly.
Ask for a Reason
Request a letter from the insurer stating the reason for denial. The letter may be a valuable piece of evidence if you decide to take legal action.
Hire an Attorney
Hire an attorney to help you file a bad-faith lawsuit. You can call Crockett Law at (800) 900-9393 or use our online contact form to schedule a free case review.
Do I Have a Case?
An issue that most car accident victims are faced with is establishing whether they have a case. Your attorney will consider the following factors to determine whether or not you have a case:
Who was responsible for the car accident? If you can prove that another party was at fault for the accident, then you may have a case. Otherwise, you won’t successfully pursue a claim.
Did you suffer significant losses due to the car accident? Your lawyer may help evaluate the damages to determine whether you have a case. If the damages are significant, then you have a case.
How Can I Obtain an Accident Report?
An accident report is a crucial piece of document to obtain after a car accident, especially if you’re going to file an insurance claim or a lawsuit to seek compensation for your damages. Your car accident attorney can contact the Department of Motor Vehicles or the police department to collect a copy of the crash report. You can also contact the California Highway Patrol office via mail or in-person and request the accident report if ready.
Contact an Experienced Coachella Valley Car Accident Lawyer Today
Car accident claims can be difficult to handle by yourself as insurance companies will always find reasons to deny your claim. Hiring an experienced auto accident attorney can help you determine that another party was at fault for the accident and that you deserve a fair compensation amount for your losses. If you’re ready to begin your claim process, reach out to the Crockett Law Group at (800) 900-9393 for legal counsel and representation.