If you ever get involved in a car accident in California, which resulted in injuries or death of someone or the other driver, you must report the incident in writing to California Highway Patrol. Reporting is a must if the accident resulted in property damage of $10,000 or more. You should also inform your insurance company about the crash, in absence of which the insurer may choose to deny a claim. Among the other steps is to hire a car accident lawyer in California. Here are some facts worth knowing about car accident laws in the state and other relevant details.
The basic laws
First things first, there is a statute of limitations in every state with regards to the time given to a plaintiff to file a lawsuit against the party at fault. California is no different. In California, you have a time period of two years to file a personal injury case and three years to file a lawsuit for property damage. California is also a “pure comparative negligence” state. This means that you can recover compensation from the party at fault, regardless of your share in the accident. However, the amount of compensation will get reduced by the percentage of your share in the accident.
Hiring a lawyer
Hiring an attorney for your California car accident case is entirely a personal call. However, you should contact hiring a lawyer, if –
- You had part role in causing the accident
- You aren’t sure of fault
- Your claim has been denied
- You don’t have any experience of handling things with insurance companies.
The role of a lawyer in your accident case is extensive. They will do their share of investigation to ensure that your claim is backed by evidence. As needed, they will also take things ahead with the insurance company. Most car accident claims and lawsuits in California are settled outside of court, but if there is a need to go to trial, your lawyer will do that too. Lawyers in the state usually work on a contingency basis for personal injury cases, and that means that they only get paid if they win. You need an attorney who is experienced, known and has been working in California for a few years.
Finally, do discuss what you can realistically expect in compensation. At the end of the day, your fight for compensation should cover for your basis losses, such as medical bills.