You’re going about your daily business as usual, and then boom! The next thing you know is that you’ve been involved in a trucking accident and are injured.
A motor vehicle accident can cause injuries that turn your world on its head physically, financially, and emotionally. The financial burden on you can be especially overwhelming if you find yourself unable to pay huge medical bills and you can’t work.
If you’ve been injured in Los Angeles, Ventura, or Riverside, California, it’s important to note that personal injury claims there can help you get just compensation to take care of yourself, settle your bills, and atone for the physical and emotional pain you’ve suffered. They can help you get back on your feet after such as traumatic event.
The following guide to the California personal injury claim process should help you know the steps and timelines involved. Above all, it’ll help you understand how to help your personal injury lawyer get the best possible outcome for your claim.
What to Do After An Accident
The moments following an accident are almost always emotionally charged. You might simply feel numb, overwhelmed, or have an adrenaline rush. Perhaps the last thing on your mind at that time is compensation or legal claims.
Moreover, you may not know what to do next like many people. However, it’s vital to know that your actions during this time might help any claim you bring in the future or completely mess it up. So, here’s what you need to do immediately after being involved in an accident and suffering injuries.
Seek Medical Care
It’s vital to get medical attention as soon as possible following an accident, no matter the severity of your injuries. There are a couple of key reasons for this.
For starters, getting medical attention will ensure that a doctor properly diagnoses and treats you. Left untreated, your internal injuries can worsen and lead to life-changing complications. Secondly, visiting a doctor ensures that your injuries are documented and helps prove that the accident caused your injuries.
Notify the Authorities
Make sure to report the accident to the relevant authorities immediately. Notify the police, your employer, or your supervisor so they can document the incident. The report will help preserve valuable information that could have been lost.
Collect Crucial Evidence
Evidence is a crucial part of any personal injury claim. Unfortunately, you may lose or forget crucial pieces of evidence over time. To strengthen your personal injury lawsuit, be proactive in collecting crucial evidence.
If you’re able to, take photos of your injuries and the accident scene. Write down what you can remember about the accident. Any evidence and information you document will be invaluable for your case.
Avoid Saying the Wrong Things
It’s just as critical to avoid certain actions as it is to seek medical help or gather evidence. Don’t admit fault, apologize to anyone, say you’re “fine” or “Ok,” say you were or weren’t injured, or even comment about your state of health.
The defendant can use this to claim you admitted culpability for the accident or that you weren’t hurt. Moreover, avoid giving recorded statements to anyone, including your insurance company.
The Personal Injury Lawsuit Filing Process in California
When filing a personal injury claim in California, this is how the process goes.
- Meeting with your personal injury attorney—once you realize you have to file a personal injury claim, contact an attorney for a free first consultation. Provide your attorney with all the information they need, and also ask them any questions you may have.
- Demand letters—if your attorney determines that you have a valid claim, they’ll send the insurance company a formal notification letter indicating your intention to pursue a claim. In response, the insurance company will reply with a letter acknowledging your notice and letting you know it’ll look into your case without admitting fault.
- Discovery—once your attorney has filed your claim and the other party has responded, your claim will enter the discovery stage. Discovery lets both parties examine information and evidence from one another that may apply to the case. In addition, both parties can formally question interested parties and witnesses through depositions.
- Using the information collected during discovery, your attorney should be able to supplement the first investigation done at the beginning of your case.
- Negotiations—in most cases, the insurance firm will knock back your demands. Instead, it’ll give you a counteroffer that’s lower than what you asked for. Your attorney will negotiate on your behalf and may repeatedly haggle with the insurance adjuster.
- Settlement—at the end of the negotiations, your attorney will consult with you about whether to accept the settlement or not.
Proceeding to Trial
If the defendant refuses to negotiate or gives offers that are too low to cover the severity of your injuries, you’ve got the right to move your claim to court. However, keep in mind that trials are often much more expensive and time-consuming. So, you should consider the costs when considering whether to accept a settlement offer.
When hiring a personal injury lawyer at the start of the legal process, you should always keep an open mind about heading to trial. You’ll want someone who’s experienced in litigation and has a track record of success in the courts. If your lawyer is reputed to be a formidable opponent in the courtroom, defendants are more likely to offer reasonable settlements.
At the end of the trial, a jury or judge has the authority to rule if you deserve compensation and how much. Either you or the defendant can appeal the judgment and award.
Get Legal Help with Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit in California
If you or someone closest to you has been injured in an accident in Los Angeles, California, you might be understandably traumatized, overwhelmed, or don’t know what course of action to take. If so, contact the skilled and experienced California personal injury lawyers at Arshakyan Law Firm.
Our law firm boasts 20+ years of experience representing people like you and has won millions of dollars of compensation for our clients. Call us today at 818-659-9985 to schedule a free, confidential initial consultation.