Dealing with Insurance After an Auto Accident in Orange County, California
Every California driver must maintain a personal auto insurance policy that provides coverage in the event of a collision. California follows a fault-based statute for insurance claims following auto accidents. An injured driver has the right to file a claim against an at-fault driver’s auto insurance policy to pursue compensation for their damages. For smaller accidents, it is very possible for an at-fault driver’s insurance to cover the full cost of the injured driver’s damages, but it is vital for injured drivers to remember that they not only face the limits of an at-fault driver’s coverage but also that insurance companies are rarely agreeable when it comes to paying out claims.
It is very important for an injured driver to contact a personal injury attorney prior to negotiating with insurance companies. An experienced car accident lawyer can help get an insurance claim off to a strong start by filing a claim on behalf of a client. When an insurance claim adjuster notices that a claimant has legal representation, they will be far less likely to push back against the claim. The right attorney can make a significant difference in the outcome of negotiations with an insurance carrier.
Another issue that might arise pertaining to insurance is the possibility that the at-fault driver does not have enough auto insurance coverage to fully cover the cost of the injured driver’s damages, or the at-fault driver may not have auto insurance at all. In these situations, an injured driver may refer to their own personal auto insurance policy if it includes underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage, and California law affords an injured driver the right to file a personal injury claim for damages if an insurance claim will not cover their losses.
How Car Accident Photographs Can Help Your Personal Injury Case
There are certain pieces of critical evidence that can always add value and help strengthen a personal injury case related to a car accident. One of those pieces of evidence is accident photographs taken immediately following the accident. They say that a picture is worth a thousand words and it is absolutely the case in this circumstance. These photographs can greatly increase your credibility regarding your side of the story and can provide absolutely proof of property damage or injuries.
If you can take photographs of your injuries, and it is safe for you to do so, you should consider this as well. Attempt to take photographs of anything and everything, including skid marks, damaged vehicle parts, traffic signs or lights, the weather conditions, chipped paint, broken windows, and an overall view of the entire accident scene. Insurance companies tend to relent on calling victims untruthful when there is photographic evidence to back their claims up.
Using Witness Statements to Build a Strong Personal Injury Case
Along with photographic evidence, neutral third-party witnesses can be vital to proving your case. These witnesses have no monetary interest in your case, and if they will corroborate your testimony regarding how the accident occurred, it can result in strong evidence for your personal injury case. Always remember to obtain all the witness contact information at the scene of the accident if you are physically able to do so. If you are unable to do so, do not worry, it is very likely that the police report will have a listing of all witnesses to the accident.
How Your Documentation Can Assist Your Attorney to Build a Strong Case on Your Behalf
Did you ever write in a journal or diary when you were younger? Looking back, you will notice that the notes you wrote down bring up powerful memories that you had long forgotten. The same is true of a car accident case. Everyone always thinks that they will remember all the details, but car accidents are chaotic scenes and with medical appointments, insurance companies, loss of work, and more, many people forget the details in the upheaval of their lives following an accident.
Make sure to create a diary and write in it every day regarding your pain and suffering levels, doctors’ appointments, activities you were unable to do due to your injuries, your inability to return to work, and anything else that relates to your daily life after a car accident.
Also, in the same documentation file, keep all your vehicle repair bills, towing costs, medical bills, diagnostic imaging tests, medical appointments, physical therapy appointments, evidence of lost wages, and any other documentation that relates to your car accident. Having all of this information in one central location will help your attorney ensure that you receive compensation for all of your injuries and damages.
Types of Compensation
If you suffered damages related to a car accident, you may be wondering what types of compensation you may be able to receive. The following are some types of compensation that are commonly awarded to victims of car accidents who suffered injuries through no fault of their own.
- Medical Expenses – You may be able to claim all doctors’ visits, diagnostic tests, emergency room visits, surgeries, ambulance costs, physical therapy, occupational therapy, prescription medications, medical devices including wheelchairs, handrails, walkers and more.
- Lost Wages and the Loss of Future Wages – You likely missed a great deal of work due to your injury, therefore, you can claim not only your lost wages, but if you are determined to be disabled or unable to return to work, you may be able to claim the loss of future wages as well.
- Property Damage – Any damage to your vehicle, repair costs, towing costs, or the replacement of your vehicle, along with any property damaged inside of the vehicle, can be claimed in your personal injury lawsuit.
- Pain and Suffering – Your daily journal will help document your pain and suffering levels as well as the activities you are no longer able to perform independently. These non-economic damages are legally complex to calculate, and the attorneys at Easton & Easton can help ensure you receive the compensation for pain and suffering that you deserve.
- Punitive Damages – In some cases, the behavior of the other driver was so grossly reckless, negligent or egregious that the court will award punitive damages in an attempt to not only punish the wrongdoer, but to also dissuade others from taking such horrible actions in the future.
Our Trial Lawyers Have A Proven Record of Success
We recently settled a wrongful death case for $2.75 million. The decedent was 55 years old with no wife or children, just two surviving parents in their 80’s. Normally a jury, and therefore a defendant, would not pay more than $500,000 to 80-year-old parents for the death of their 55-year-old son where they suffered no economic losses as a result of their son’s passing. But because we were able to demonstrate the unique bond these parents shared with their son by persuasively telling their story, we were able to significantly increase the value of the negotiated settlement. The insurance company knew that taking the elderly couple’s case before a jury could result in a substantially higher verdict based on our preparation. Consequently, we were able to settle the case for an amount far in excess of our clients’ wildest dreams without them having to go through the pain and ordeal of a lengthy trial
We practice only on the side of the injured party and we NEVER represent insurance companies.
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Our office hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Evening and weekend appointments are available by special arrangement. We can also arrange to travel to your home, hospital room or other convenient location to meet with you and your family. If you hire us, we will handle your claim on a contingency-fee basis. We don’t win unless you win.
$2.75 Million Wrongful Death Settlement
We recently settled a wrongful death case for $2.75 million, where the decedent was 55 years old with no wife or children, just two surviving parents in their 80’s. The defendants’ insurance carrier initially expected to pay no more than $250,000 to settle the case of these 80-year-old parents who had no economic losses as a result of their son’s death. But because we demonstrated the unique bond these parents shared with their son by persuasively telling their family story, we were able to significantly increase the value of their case. After seeing how we would present this elderly couple’s case before a jury, the insurance company knew that taking the matter to trial could result in a substantially higher verdict based on our advocacy. Consequently, we were able to settle the case for an amount far in excess of our clients’ wildest dreams without them having to go through the pain and ordeal of a lengthy trial.
Contact an Experienced Auto Accident Injury Attorney
Don’t let the negligent party injure you financially too. You owe it to yourself to schedule a free consultation to learn more about your rights. Call us at 800-461-8259 or use our convenient email contact form to inform us of your circumstances.
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Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Car Accidents
Car accidents are a stressful occurrence, both physically and mentally. Victims are uncertain about the first steps to take following their accident. Some of the most frequently asked questions about car accidents are answered below.
Q: What Should I do Immediately Following a Car Accident?
A: Your first course of action should be to ensure your health and wellness. Contact the police and make sure not to move if you feel you are injured. Accept any help from the EMTs at the scene or go to the emergency room. If it is possible, try to get pictures of the accident scene. After an accident, refrain from talking to an insurance company without first contacting an experienced attorney to ensure your legal rights are protected.
Q: What Should I do if an Insurance Company Calls Me?
A: In most cases, the at-fault individual’s insurance provider is trying to get you to agree to a settlement far lower than you deserve. They will often use your words against you, attempt to record your conversations, or obtain a full medical history in an attempt to offer you a low settlement for your injuries and losses. An experienced attorney will be able to negotiate on your behalf and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
Q: What Should I do About My Car?
A: You have the legal right to have your car fixed at any repair center you trust. You also have the option to receive the fair market value for your car if you believe it is too expensive to have repaired. Do not continue to drive your car until it has been properly inspected by a professional auto mechanic.
Q: What if the Accident Was Partly My Fault?
A: The State of California follows a pure comparative negligence standard. Therefore, if you are partially at fault, you can still recover compensation and damages for the part of the accident that was not your fault. For example, if the jury determines that you were 80% at fault, you would still be allowed to recover 20% of the compensation you deserve. Never let the fact that you may be partially responsible for an accident deter you from seeking the compensation for your injuries and losses you deserve.
Q: What Kind of Compensation Can I Receive in a Personal Injury Case Related to a Car Accident?
A: Every car accident is different; however, you may be able to receive compensation for any medical bills, lost wages, property damage, loss of future earnings, emotional distress or mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment of life. In some cases, if the accident involved particularly reckless or egregious behavior, you may be able to also obtain punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended to punish the wrongdoer and send a strong message that this type of action is not acceptable.
Q: Is There a Time Limit to File My Case?
A: Under California law, you only have two years to file a claim to attempt to receive compensation for your car accident injuries and losses. While this may seem like a long time, conducting an independent investigation, hiring expert witnesses, and developing a strong case can take a great deal of time, and it is always best to get started as soon as possible.
Q: Why Should I Contact a Car Accident Attorney?
A: The personal injury lawyers with Easton & Easton are car accident experts, and can help ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve. We will negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf and build a strong personal injury case so that you can receive the full compensation that you’re entitled to. Contact our experienced attorneys at 714-850-4590 or online today to discuss how our legal team can help you determine your next steps towards a fair settlement.
From our offices in the South Coast Metro Area of Orange County, our attorneys represent victims of negligence in Orange County and communities in nearby Los Angeles County, Riverside County, San Bernardino County and San Diego County and on Pacific Coast Highway. Call us toll free at 800-461-8259 or contact our offices by email to arrange a free case evaluation with one of our Orange County car accident attorneys today. We handle all car accident injury and wrongful death cases on a contingency-fee basis.
Doug Easton, the founder of The Easton Law Firm, has been featured by the Los Angeles Times as one of Southern California’s Best Lawyers and has been repeatedly honored as a Southern California Super Lawyer. For more than 25 years, Doug Easton has earned Martindale-Hubbell’s highest AV Preeminent* peer review rating for ethical standards and legal ability. His sons followed in his footsteps many years ago, and together our family of lawyers has earned great respect and name-recognition among our peers in the legal community in Southern California.