Involvement in a car accident can not only be frustrating and precipitate inconvenience but, in certain instances, cause significant property damage, pain, lost work time and financial distress. Moreover, such events can leave impacted individuals confused and unsure of how to appropriately proceed. That said, the responses given by said subjects could exert a significant influence over how quickly and efficiently they recover.
The attorneys at West Coast Trial Lawyers, which serves the residents of Los Angeles and surrounding California cities, invites current and prospective clients to read the following blog highlighting seven important tips automobile accident participants are strongly encouraged to follow.
Arguably, the minutes and hours immediately following a traffic mishap are the most critical. An accident party must take several important actions, including:
Moving Vehicle To Safe Location
Provided the accident was not too severe and the vehicle is movable, all involved parties to relocate their vehicles to a safe area, such as the roadway in question’s shoulder.
Contact Local Authorities
If the participants are not seriously injured, one party should dial 911 to summon local authorities. Said officials will secure the scene.
Exchange Pertinent Information
All accident parties should exchange important information, including their names, contact information and auto insurance coverage providers. Furthermore, accident parties are also advised to obtain contact information from eyewitnesses.
Document Events And Evidence
If the individuals in question are able, they are strongly urged to document the events precipitating the incident, snap photos of their car and other involved vehicles and any other pertinent material or sights that could be used as evidence. That said, evidence should not be moved or even touched. These items will be studied by traffic engineers and gathered by responding authorities as evidence needed to help said professionals determine the accident’s causes.
Receive A Copy Of The Police Report
It is important to discuss the events with responding authorities. Said officials can author an unbiased account of the event based upon the information provided by accident participants and eyewitnesses. Such accounts will also prove paramount in future dealings with insurance providers or during civil actions.
Seek Medical Attention
Naturally, if the accident was serious and one or more parties sustained discernibly significant injuries, said individuals should not hesitate to summon medical help and receive treatment immediately. However, if the victim can complete the immediate aftermath steps, their next duty is to receive a thorough medical evaluation as soon as possible.
Both medical professionals and legal experts maintain that this examination should occur that day or no more than a day two after the accident. Seeking a prompt healthcare evaluation serves dual but crucial purposes.
In numerous cases, injuries, potential serious maladies caused by car accidents do not appear right away. However, quick testing might catch such problems before they become pronounced problems. Additionally, demonstrating that such internal or physical injuries were caused by the incident will prove vital in any legal or civil proceeding geared towards recouping financial compensation.
Notify Insurance Company
An accident victim should contact their insurance provider within hours, or, at the very most, a day or two following the mishap. The sooner one initiates the claims process, the quicker they might remediate vehicular damage and regain the ability to operate their cars.
However, insurance might cover other associated expenses like medical costs. However, it might take the insurance providers in question a significant amount of time to determine fault, which could delay or inhibit one’s capacity to receive compensation. Additionally, insurance providers often like to offer quick settlements that might not always cover the entirety of the policyholder’s expenses.
Consult With A Personal Injury Lawyer
Should the accident victim opine that the injury-inducing event was the result of another party’s negligent or malfeasant behavior, consultation with a personal injury lawyer is often warranted. An experienced car accident lawyer can review the facts surrounding the case and determine if the prospective client has the basis for a civil action.
File A Civil Suit
If the respective car accident lawyer maintains that their client has a case and stands an optimal opportunity to prevail in a civil proceeding, the client becomes the plaintiff who files a civil suit against the perceived guilty motorists.
Await The Accused’s Response
After authoring the appropriate paperwork and filing the action against the perceived guilty parties, plaintiff and attorney await a response. The accused can either offer a settlement or deny liability.
Should the accused opine that they bared responsibility for the incident, do not wish to proceed with a trial or have a public profile and do not desire to go through a public spectacle, said individual might offer a financial settlement. At that point, the victim will have to decide if the figure meets their needs. If it does, they can accept the offer. If not, said individual can reject the request and hope for a more lucrative offer.
If the settlement offer does not suffice or the accused party denies liability, plaintiff and attorney can then proceed to a civil trial. That said, a successful outcome in said proceedings will hinge on the plaintiff and their legal team’s capacity to demonstrate fault and several issues pertinent to all personal injury cases.
The State of California follows a civil tenet known as Pire Comparative Negligence. This legal instrument enables adjudicating bodies like judges or juries the authority to assign a certain percentage of blame to each accident party. Fortunately for the plaintiff, pure comparative negligence affords said litigant the opportunity to collect damages even when found 99 percent at fault. That said, demonstrating greater fault on the defendant’s part will yield greater compensation.
Meeting Personal Injury Mandates
Car accidents fall under the purview of personal injury law. Every personal injury cases is determined based on the plaintiff’s ability to demonstrate four key principles, that the defendant committed an irresponsible or malfeasant act, said action precipitated the events that caused the incident, the plaintiff’s injuries are the result of the accident and no other preexisting health malady or physical problem and the compensation sought is solely related to those injuries.
The Importance Of A Personal Injury Lawyer
An experienced attorney will attempt to demonstrate these principles by performing duties, such as obtaining eyewitness testimony, reviewing the documentation authored by law enforcement agencies and traffic engineers, procuring the plaintiff’s medical records, consulting with medical experts, investigating the accident scene and presenting evidence into the record.
Individuals who have been injured in car accidents they believe were the result of another party’s negligence are encouraged to contact West Coast Trial Lawyers for additional information. After reviewing the case, our team of experienced lawyers can help determine the most appropriate next steps.