Largely due to dangerous driving behaviors, car accidents are an unfortunate fact of life in the 21st Century. They can cause serious injuries requiring extensive medical treatment and time away from work. If you have been hurt in a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence, contact the law firm Hanson & Mouri in Riverside County, CA today for a free consultation. Our motorcycle, truck, and Riverside car accident lawyers are here to help you navigate through the difficult times, deal with insurance companies, and to help you pursue full and fair compensation for your injuries.
The aftermath of a car accident can be a stressful ordeal, so it is vital to know the right steps to take. Here’s what to do:
When you are hurt in a car accident caused by someone else’s carelessness, or intentional disregard for safety, then it should not be on your shoulders to handle the resulting financial consequences. The following types of compensation are available in a car accident settlement:
However, even if an insurance company has agreed to cover your claim, they do not intend to pay beyond the policyholder’s limits. Your attorney will review all claims, policies, and settlement offers prior to accepting compensation, to ensure it is enough to fully cover your losses.
When an insurance company refuses to settle for the policy limit where the damages clearly exceed it, you have the option of filing a personal injury lawsuit against them or the at-fault driver personally. Fortunately, California does not place limits on the amount of compensation you can claim in a car accident lawsuit.
On the other hand, if more than one party is responsible, then you may be able to collect compensation under the multiple insurance policies.
A reputable Riverside car accident attorney typically does not charge up-front fees or retainers to take your case. They instead work on a contingency fee basis.
This means that their legal fees (typically one-third of the verdict or settlement) are not collected until your case is resolved. There are no charges for out-of-pocket expenses until you receive your settlement. If you don’t win, you don’t have to pay.
Holding a negligent driver responsible involves collecting as much evidence as possible by you, or both you and your attorney. Immediately after the accident, there is evidence that you can begin collecting at the scene if you’re physically able to. As previously discussed, photographs and video are powerful tools in proving how the accident occurred in a concrete way, and will link your injuries to the crash. You can even record witness statements and contact information. If you are seriously injured and cannot take pictures or video, ask someone else to do it for you.
Other examples of evidence you will need to obtain after the accident include:
Now, you may be feeling very overwhelmed at the thought of collecting all of this information. The good news is, an experienced car accident attorney can help you. They will perform an independent investigation on your behalf and explore all potential forms of evidence that will support your case, including:
A car accident lawyer will not only help you preserve critical evidence that could be destroyed quickly, but will help you avoid making inadvertent mistakes that can hurt your case.
Most car accident claims in California settle before going to court, but not all do. Your claim may end up going to court if you, and the insurance company cannot agree to a fair settlement on your claim, or if there is a dispute on who was at fault. No two car accidents are the same, so only an attorney can tell you if it will be necessary to try your case or not. Since most car accident lawyers take cases on a contingency fee basis, you fortunately will not have to risk any money out-of-pocket if your claim does proceed to trial.
Even if you did not cause the car accident, you will still likely need to report the collision to your insurance provider. Failing to do so may result in the cancellation of your policy or the loss of other legal rights. Be honest when you report the accident, but keep in mind that adjusters are always looking for ways to avoid having to pay out on a claim. Only answer the questions they ask and refrain from giving any unnecessary information, such as comments on fault, or on how you are feeling. Your attorney can deal with any follow-up discussions regarding liability and your injuries.
It can take as little as 1-2 weeks for you to receive a settlement check after you have signed the insurance company’s release of liability form. But unfortunately, there is no definite answer as to how long it will take for an agreement to be made and for your case to be resolved.
In California, insurance companies have 40 days to either offer a settlement or deny your claim once they receive proof. After that, the adjuster can still take their time to investigate and respond to inquiries. Whether you accept the claim offer, reject it, or appeal a denial, can also impact the waiting period. If your claim ends up in court, a car accident trial typically only takes 1-2 days once it has begun. However, the entire process generally takes at least one year. Since there are phases of litigation that can delay your trial date, such as:
It’s important to note that car accident lawsuits can still settle at any point. Oftentimes it will occur when one party presents evidence that can swing the outcome of the case.
Contact our legal firm now for a free consultation and we will listen to your accident case. Our Riverside car accident lawyers will keep you informed of significant developments and provide legal services promptly and professionally. You deserve to live the same life you had before your auto accident and the Hanson & Mouri personal injury attorneys can work to make you whole again.
Our law office serves Riverside, Corona, Norco, Temecula, Murrieta, Lake Elsinore, Hemet, Banning, Beaumont, Moreno Valley, & Calimesa.
A fantastic Attorney who did a wonderful job for us. He explained the process thoroughly and he’s also a very pleasant guy. – R. Parker