If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident in Orange County, you may be wondering how to go forth and settle the injury claim against another driver so you can put the traumatic event behind you and continue living your life. Even if the other driver involved caused the accident, it is very likely that you will not be directly dealing with him or her. Typically, in these cases, you will be working directly with the other driver’s insurance company.
Your car accident claim could be greatly strengthened by the amount and quality of evidence you have in your case.
Evidence from the scene: Since the evidence in your case can be crucial, it is important that you get as much information as possible from the scene of the car accident including:
Police report: Soon after the accident, it is your duty, under California law, to stop at the scene of the crash and remain there until law enforcement officials arrive. Make sure you talk to the police and that your account of the accident gets into that report. An accident report usually becomes available at the police department a few days after the incident. Obtain a copy of the accident report for your records. This could play a vital role when it comes to settling your car accident claim. For example, if the police report states that the other driver was at fault when he or she rear-ended your vehicle, then, you have a pretty strong case and a good chance of getting a fair settlement.
Medical attention: After a car accident, it is extremely important to get prompt medical attention, treatment and care for any injuries you may have sustained. Getting immediate medical care not only puts you on the road to recovery but also creates documentation with regard to the type of injuries you sustained as a result of the car accident and the treatment you received afterward. It also helps keep track of surgeries, hospitalization and other medical expenses you incurred due to the car accident.
Documentation: Make sure you hang on to all documents including receipts, invoices and medical records. Make note of how many days of work you missed so you can claim lost wages as part of your car accident claim.
While you may believe that the insurance adjuster is friendly and may have your best interest at heart, that is usually not the case. The insurance company is a corporation like any other and is in it to make money. Insurers make money when they pay out less money to you on your claim. Insurance companies typically do this by trying to show that the accident was completely or at least partially your fault, which means they try to establish that you deserve a lesser amount that you requested on your claim. They will also try to argue that you provided insufficient documentation to support your claim. This could be an extremely frustrating process, especially because we would all like to believe that the insurance company would come to our aid in our time of need.
What you need to remember is that your claim gains strength with details and documentation. The insurance company is not required to reach a settlement agreement with you. In fact, they will most likely try to offer you a minimal settlement to make your claim go away.
It is important that you do not accept their first offer or rush into a settlement. While you may be eager to move on and put this unpleasantness behind you, remember, that when you sign that settlement agreement, your case is closed. You will not be able to seek compensation for any expenses you incur after you reach the settlement with the insurance company.
If you have a car accident claim pending settlement, do not engage in any online or social media activity. Any details you post on social media or online including photos or video could be detrimental to your car accident claim. Suspend social media accounts until your claim is resolved.
The value or worth of your car accident case is usually dependent on the nature and extent of your injuries and damages and the degree of negligence on the part of the other driver. For example, if you suffered minor cuts and scrapes and vehicle damage, the value of your claim will be much less than if you had suffered injuries that required hospitalization or ongoing treatment. As part of your car accident claim, you can seek compensation for damages including:
Property damage: This refers to any damage to your vehicle or personal property. If your vehicle is totaled, you should be able to get reimbursed for purchasing a vehicle of the same value. You may also be able to seek compensation for personal items that might have been damaged in the accident.
Medical expenses: This includes all types of expenses relating to your medical treatment and care including emergency transportation, hospitalization, cost of medication, medical equipment, etc.
Continuing treatment: This might include the cost of rehabilitative treatment such as physical therapy and chiropractic care, which might become necessary for your recovery, but might not be covered under your health insurance. In some cases, health insurance only partially covers rehabilitative treatment and care.
Pain and suffering: This refers to the physical pain and emotional suffering that one endures in the aftermath of a car accident.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a crash, you need an experienced Orange County car accident lawyer on your side who will be able to negotiate skillfully and help you secure maximum compensation for your injuries, damages, and losses. Call us to schedule a free, comprehensive and confidential consultation.