Car Accident Injury Victim FAQ: Common Questions & Answers

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15 Common Car Accident Questions Answered by a Personal Injury Lawyer

15 Common Car Accident Questions Answered by a Personal Injury Lawyer

Oct 31, 2023

Hopefully you’ll never be injured in a car accident. But unfortunately, motor vehicle collisions happen every day in California. In fact, last year there were 55,979 car crashes recorded here in the Golden State. If this type of unfortunate event ever impacts you or someone you care about, it’s important to know the steps to take which will protect your health as well as your right to financial compensation if you’ve been injured by someone else’s negligence.

Car Accident FAQ: Top 15 Questions Answered by an Attorney

  • What should I do immediately after a car accident? The first thing to do is check for any injuries. Your health as well as the health of anyone who may have been injured in the crash should take precedence. After screening and addressing any injuries, it’s a good idea to call 911 and report the accident to law enforcement. First responders will be dispatched to the scene in the event of any serious injuries.
  • Should I exchange contact information with the other driver(s)? Absolutely – exchanging all relevant and available contact information with anyone involved in the crash is particularly important. This is especially true in terms of gathering all info from the at-fault driver (or drivers). Driver’s license, driver’s license number, phone number, email, and license plate number should all be gathered at the scene.
  • Do I need to contact the police? If an injury or death occurs, California law requires all drivers involved in car accidents to file reports with either the applicable police, sheriff, or highway patrol department within 24 hours. If a driver is unlicensed or someone fled the scene of a hit-and-run accident, contacting the police and filing a report is also required.
  • What information or evidence should I collect at a car accident scene? Taking down all of the above contact information from involved drivers in Step #2 is strongly recommended. But also gathering contact information from any witnesses or injured parties is a good idea – these statements can help corroborate your version of events should you decide to file a California personal injury claim for damages.
  • Should I take photos and videos of the accident scene? Absolutely – taking photos of all aspects of the car accident scene is recommended. This may include any physical damage to the vehicles, any injuries sustained, any roadway defects or debris, as well as the position of the vehicles.
  • When do I need to notify my insurance company after a car accident? Car accident victims are advised to contact their insurance companies as soon as possible after a collision occurs. However, it’s strongly recommended that you never make an official statement (especially one that admits any type of fault) or agree to sign any type of official document. This may include an offer for a settlement – as we’ll discuss more below, speaking with a licensed and experienced personal injury attorney is always recommended after a car accident.
  • Do I need to seek medical attention? What if I feel okay? It’s always advisable to undergo a thorough medical examination conducted by a licensed California doctor after a car crash. This can help screen for any latent injuries. Additionally, a medical exam establishes a record of your case and any treatment you may need. This can be important evidence if you decide to file a personal injury lawsuit.
  • What if the other driver is at fault? When someone is injured by a negligent driver, filing a civil claim for damages can help ensure justice through financial compensation related to any applicable losses – lost wages, medical bills, pain and suffering, and more.
  • What if the other driver doesn’t have insurance? Accident and personal injury attorneys always recommend having uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. This can help protect you in the event that you are hit by a negligent driver who does not have the proper California insurance requirements.
  • How do I get my car repaired after an accident? The repairs process for any physical damage to a vehicle can be daunting – especially if you’ve suffered an injury and are rehabilitating. But we covered all the details on this subject in a recent blog (including what to do if the insurance company offers a settlement lower than the total cost to repair your vehicle).
  • What if I can’t work due to my car accident injuries? Being injured in a car accident may entitle you to compensation for lost wages. This is where an experienced accident and personal injury attorney can help.
  • What is the timeline for resolving a car accident claim? Car accident settlements can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to be reached. In fact, if your injuries were serious or catastrophic and your case requires a trial, the final outcome may not be reached for a year or more. But the good news is that the vast majority of car accident claims can be settled quickly and perhaps without even filing an actual lawsuit (through what’s known as pre-litigation). The best way to determine how long it may take for your car accident case to settle is by speaking with an attorney from Dordulian Law Group for a free consultation.
  • How will a car accident affect my insurance rates? A car accident may increase your rates if you’re at fault (insurance providers typically assess risk factors, including your driving history, when determining fees). But the good news is that in California, if you were not at fault for a car accident, it’s illegal for the insurance company to raise your rates (although most people are unaware of this, and it’s not uncommon for these corporations to increase rates without notice regardless of fault). Speaking with a Dordulian Law Group Glendale accident attorney is a good way to protect your rights after a car accident injury.
  • What if I’m partially at fault for the car accident? California is a comparative fault state, which means that each involved driver is assigned a portion of liability. In many cases, one driver assumes 100% of the fault. Even if you were placed at fault, if the overall percentage is below 50%, you may be able to recover financial compensation by filing a civil claim for damages.
  • Do I need a personal injury lawyer? Hiring a personal injury lawyer is the best way to protect your rights after an unfortunate accident. A recent study by the Insurance Research Council found that injured victims who secured private legal representation recovered 40% more in settlement payments when compared with those who chose to represent themselves.

Injured in a California Car Accident? You May be Eligible to Recover Financial Compensation

Injured in a California Car Accident? You May be Eligible to Recover Financial Compensation

If you’ve been injured in a car accident through no fault of your own, filing a civil claim can be a means of securing much-needed financial compensation. The types of line items in a car accident cash settlement are typically referred to as damages.

There are a few different types of damages that may be recoverable depending on the circumstances of your car accident. A Glendale, California, personal injury lawyer from Dordulian Law Group (DLG) will help you determine which damages should be pursued in under California law and according to the facts of your case.

In most cases, the four types of damages in car accident claims include:

  • Special
  • General
  • Punitive
  • Wrongful death

Special compensatory damages may be pursued for any economic hardships resulting from a car accident. These types of damages will go towards expenses such as medical bills and the cost of any medical care you may require in the future. Special damages are intended to cover the costs accumulated in cases where the victim is too injured to work. They may also cover any expenses deemed to be a detriment to your economic well-being (e.g. rent, mortgage payments, and even relocation costs or property reconstruction necessitated because of an injury).

General compensatory damages may be pursued for losses of the non-economic variety, including pain and suffering and emotional anguish. These are broad terms that encompass abstract issues like diminished quality of life and even psychological trauma. Although general compensatory damages are quite serious, they are also less tangible, more difficult to prove, and therefore can be harder to litigate. However, having a highly qualified DLG personal injury attorney in your corner can help ensure you receive the full compensation you deserve for any general compensatory damages.

Punitive damages are rare and in a separate class. A California court may find that a car accident victim is owed punitive damages in cases where the at-fault party’s behavior is abhorrent, egregious, or reprehensible, such that they intentionally operated a vehicle in a reckless manner with the intent of causing harm. Though atypical, DLG pursues punitive damages in all eligible cases.

Finally, wrongful death damages apply in scenarios involving a car accident fatality. These specific damages can cover costs ranging from funeral and burial expenses to medical bills incurred before a loved one’s death. Wrongful death damages are intended to compensate the bereaved (specific eligible family members or dependents) after the loss of an important person.

Contact a Glendale Personal Injury & Accident Lawyer Today for a Free Consultation

Schedule an appointment online for a free consultation today, or call us directly to speak to our top-rated, expert car accident attorneys.

Dordulian Law Group’s team of experienced personal injury lawyers has the knowledge and skill necessary to secure you the maximum damages you deserve after a car accident injury. Our personal injury & accident attorneys are experts in navigating California car crash law. We’re committed to the well-being of each and every client we serve and are standing by 24/7 to guide you through the various steps within the legal process.

Contact us today at 866-GO-SEE-SAM to discuss your car accident case or ask an attorney a question.

Spanish version: 15 preguntas comunes sobre accidentes automovilísticos respondidas por un abogado de lesiones personales

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