In a city where the traffic is ranked among the worst in the nation, there is always the potential for accidents to happen. A San Diego car accident attorney understands the pain and suffering that often follows car accidents. Even those that seem minor at the time can result in lost income and significant medical bills. There is a broad range of types and degrees of injuries that may result from a car accident. Some are minor and can be healed with treatment. Others may persist and impact every area of the person’s life for the rest of their lifetime. The first thing you should do after a car accident is get medical attention for injuries that are apparent and those that have not yet surfaced.
Most drivers drive onto the road each day, confident in their skills to avoid an accident. Even the most defensive drivers are limited in how much control they have over other drivers. You never know when another driver will be intoxicated, texting, or disobeying traffic laws. When their actions result in an accident, you have the right to receive compensation for the damage the accident causes.
The Impact of an Accident on Your Body
It is easy to predict that in a battle between flesh and metal, the body is not going to come out the winner. Some areas of the body are even more vulnerable to being broken or damaged during a crash than others. An impact to the front of the car will often result in a collar bone fracture from the seat belt. At higher speeds, an impact will break ribs and possibly puncture the lungs. Although the seat belts can do damage to your body during a crash, they can also save your life. Injuries that occur from a seat belt are a sign that they are doing their job.
An impact to the side of a vehicle can result in even more severe injuries. There is only a door between the second vehicle and the person’s body. This can put you at risk of damage to any of the organs. Pelvic fractures are also common in a side-impact because of the alignment between the body and the second car’s bumper.
The faster a vehicle is traveling, the greater the impact will be. Injuries from a high impact crash are more likely to be apparent right away. Those from a lower impact accident may take some time to appear. People who are in a car crash have an increase in adrenaline and endorphins, which can mask the pain an injury would normally cause. Soft tissue injuries may take weeks or months to swell or show bruising.
Concussions are another type of injury that can take time to produce symptoms. When symptoms occur days after the accident, you may not realize that this is their cause. A headache, inability to concentrate, or trouble sleeping may signal a concussion even if the symptoms occur days later.
Always see a doctor right after a car accident, even if you don’t have any symptoms or obvious injuries. This will ensure you get the medical treatment you need and also provide a record that the injury was caused by the accident. If you wait to see if symptoms develop later on, it will be more difficult to prove the other driver caused your injury.
When to Call a San Diego Car Accident Attorney
While some injuries don’t appear until long after the accident, others are severe and can last for a long time. Most medical treatment starts with diagnostics to determine the full extent of the injury. Once the diagnosis has been made, treatments may include one or more surgeries, expensive medications, or long-term therapy. The cost for treating any injury can result in thousands of dollars of medical bills that you can’t afford to pay. If you lose your source of income because of your injuries, the burden is often greater. It is difficult to take the time you need to heal when you have to focus on a growing mountain of debt.
You should contact a San Diego car accident attorney immediately after getting medical treatment. Now is the time to determine whether you have a valid personal injury case. If you do, your attorney will have a lot to do so you can file a claim before your time runs out.
California Auto Accident Statute of Limitations
Every state has a time limit called a ‘statute of limitations’ during which a person has the right to file a lawsuit. In California, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim is two years from the time the accident occurred. You must file a claim during this two-year period or you will not have a case and you will not receive compensation.
California Shared Fault Laws
The primary challenges in any personal injury case are to prove that the other person or entity was at fault and that the accident caused their injuries. California has a shared fault law that may assign some degree of fault to the plaintiff as well as the defendant.
California differs from some other states in that it follows a pure comparative negligence rule. Other states have a cut-off point where the plaintiff can only file a personal injury claim if the auto accident was no more than a certain percentage of their fault. For example, if you are in an accident that is considered 50% your fault and 50% the other driver’s fault, a state with a cut-off point of 49% would not allow you to pursue compensation.
This is not the case in California. Even if the accident was 99% your fault, you will be able to collect compensation for the 1% that was the other driver’s fault. Sometimes, courts or juries will award hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars. In this type of case, even 1% would be worth the time invested in suing.
The Role of the Insurance Company
The role of the insurance company can be nearly as complex as the laws pertaining to car accident injury. You should always keep in mind that the insurance company is only interested in paying as little as possible; not in helping you.
Drivers who have automobile insurance have liability coverage. This coverage has a maximum payout that is determined by the policy. Your attorney can advise you on your options if the amount of coverage does not meet the amount of your damages.
Immediately after the accident, the insurance adjuster from the other driver’s insurance company may approach you. Insurance companies often try to get the victims to accept a settlement that is for less money than they will need. Never sign anything or make any agreements before giving your injuries time to surface.
You should also have the guidance of an experienced San Diego car accident attorney. He will know what type of settlement you should be able to get and will negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf. If you sign a release before realizing the extent of your injuries, you will lose the right to get any future compensation.
What a San Diego Car Accident Attorney Will Do
There is a great deal of information that is used to determine whether a client has a valid case. Some records that are needed include the accident report, witness names and contact information, property damage estimates, and medical costs. The initial medical diagnostics and treatment along with estimates for future medical costs will need to be considered. There may also be unique factors that will make a difference in your case. The attorney will collect all this information and use it to tell if you have a valid claim. If you do, he/she will help you take the steps to move the case forward.
Do Not Let Cost Be an Issue
No one is expected to understand how personal injury laws work. Many people are unsure about their rights and they fear that the legal costs of pursuing a personal injury case will only add to their financial burden. Failing to see an attorney immediately after a car accident is the worst mistake you can make. You may lose your opportunity to file a lawsuit when there is no risk to your finances to have your case evaluated.
San Diego personal injury attorneys who handle automobile accident cases work on contingency. That means you don’t have to pay anything unless you win your case. If you win compensation, then your fees will be a percentage of that payment. You stand to lose a great deal more if you do not pursue legal counsel.
The decision to sue after a car accident is not an act of hostility or opportunity. It is a legal means of getting compensation for the damage that the other person caused. You should never have to pay the price for someone else’s negligence.
Having your case evaluated or filing a lawsuit is never going to place an additional burden on you. Your San Diego car accident attorney will take care of all the details to prepare and present your case. Contact Batta Fulkerson to learn your rights and let someone else take care of your legal needs so you can focus on getting better.