Your Orange County Car Accident Attorney When Results Matter Most
So what should I do immediately after car accident? Assuming you can, move your vehicle to a safe place, call the police to get an accident report, exchange information with the at fault driver, take a few pictures if possible and seek medical treatment right away, assuming you’re injured. Once you’ve done those things, contact your insurance company and contact an injury lawyer for assistance. What you shouldn’t do is talk to the other side’s insurance company, give written or recorded stay statements quickly after the accident. Have a competent personal injury attorney help you with that stuff.
When should you contact an attorney after an accident?
You should contact an attorney as soon as you can, since evidence needs to be collected. Evidence might be photos, witness statements, important to get witness statements when they’re fresh in the witness’ mind. And several days to a week after is probably the best time to get those statements. Also, an attorney can help the client with medical treatment if they either don’t have medical insurance, have insurance where there’s large copays, the attorney can help the client get to medical providers and have those medical providers submit their bills to the insurance company to be paid, through the attorney.
After an accident, you are required to give your auto insurance information to the other driver. You only must show proof that you have coverage. You do not have to give them the extent of the coverage, but just that you had valid insurance at the time of the accident.
So, car accident attorneys like myself, do a lot of things for the clients. They help the client get a full recovery financially, and that is getting their past and future medical bills paid for, their lost wages paid for, and an amount for their pain and suffering and all the issues that go with that. Additionally, they can help them get to medical providers in an efficient matter if their health insurance is delaying or they have large copays, they will get an adequate settlement by negotiating with the insurance company, and if the insurance company is not offering a fair settlement, then they’ll file a lawsuit and they’ll litigate the case. And if they can’t settle the case, once the lawsuit’s filed, they’ll take the case to trial.
Should I Accept a Settlement?
I often get contacted by in individuals that have tried to negotiate with the insurance company themselves and have gotten offers, and then that person comes to me and asks if it’s a good offer, should I accept that offer? It all depends on a couple of things. It depends on the amount of insurance that the other person had and your injuries. When a case comes to me, I will evaluate it for all the damages to see how much they’re offering versus what the case value is worth.
A big issue in whether you should accept the settlement is are you fully recovered after the accident? If you’re still having pain and discomfort, and it looks like you’re going to need future medical, you need to talk to your doctor about that, have them write you a report, look into those issues of what you’re going to need in the future. Because once you settle your case, there’s no reopening the case. There’s no going back to the insurance company and saying, “Hey, I need a surgery now. Hey, I need more therapy.” If they settle the case, you’re signing a release and the case is done.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage
What I see a lot in injury cases is a client comes to me and we determine that the other side didn’t have insurance or had very minimal insurance. In California, the minimum policy is a $15,000 insurance policy. That insurance policy goes fast if there’s significant medical treatment to be done. If on your policy, you have what’s called uninsured motorist or underinsured motorist coverage you can make a claim to your own insurance company that will pay for the remainder of your claim, assuming you have enough insurance. One thing to note is this insurance is elective in California. You do not have to have it, but it’s very important to have it.
Another thing about that coverage is if your uninsured motorist coverage is below what the at fault driver has, for example, if the at fault driver has a $25,000 policy, and you have a $15,000 uninsured motorist policy, your insurance policy does not come into play. Your insurance must exceed what the at fault driver had at the time of the accident. It’s estimated to at 20% of California drivers do not have insurance at all. They’ll get their insurance to get their car registered, and then they’ll let their insurance lapse by not paying premiums. So, this uninsured motorist coverage is extraordinarily important in protecting yourself and your families in the event you’re in an injury accident.
Contact our OC car accident attorneys today.