HOW DO I CHOOSE AN ATTORNEY FOR MY CAR ACCIDENT CASE?
Look for experience, proven results, and a clear understanding of the nuances of California law concerning car accidents. The ideal attorney should have years of experience both in accident law and in courtroom litigation, with successful cases and recoveries as a record to back up that experience. Explore reviews and testimonials, but don’t overlook the value of an initial consultation to gauge a firm’s suitability and receptivity to your case.
HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO REPORT A CAR ACCIDENT IN CALIFORNIA BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE?
Per California law, you must report any accident that results in injury or serious property damage (judged to be more than $750.00 in damages) to the DMV. The law states you must make such a report within ten days of the accident. Failure to do so could result in additional problems, such as the suspension of your driver license. No statutes govern when you must report an accident to your insurance company. Still, best practices state you should inform your insurer of any accident as soon as possible to avail yourself of the protections of your policy.
AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT, DO I SUE THE DRIVER OR THE INSURANCE COMPANY?
Following an accident, California law does not allow drivers to sue insurance companies directly for damages. Instead, you will need to file suit against the driver. The other driver’s insurance typically takes over their defense based on the terms of their policy. Only in certain situations, such as when insurers act in a manner legally defined as “bad faith,” can you bring suit against the insurance company itself. Our attorneys can provide additional clarity so you can understand where to direct your efforts.
SHOULD YOU ADMIT FAULT IN A CAR ACCIDENT IF IT IS YOUR FAULT?
Simply put, no. At no point should you admit fault or claim responsibility for the accident even if all parties may implicitly understand that you were at fault. When necessary, such as when speaking to the police at the accident scene, provide an explicit and factual statement that only details what occurred during the accident. Do not make statements to your insurance company or another driver’s insurance about fault. Doing so may make you legally responsible for all the costs associated with the accident, complicating any chance you may have to defend a claim. Secure legal assistance quickly after an accident to avoid these sticky situations.
HOW DO YOU PROVE NEGLIGENCE IN A CAR ACCIDENT?
There is a four-pronged test the courts use to determine whether negligence was a factor in the cause of a car accident. These benchmarks include:
– Duty. In the case of cars, every driver has a “duty” under the law to drive safely and within the rules of the road. All drivers have this legal responsibility to one another.
– Breach of duty. Would the average person believe that their actions could lead to death or injury? If so, a breach of duty has occurred.
– Causation. Successful claims must demonstrate that the breach of duty was the specific cause of harm.
Damages. What are the actual consequences of the breach?